Gaming Nintendo Playstation Retro Corner Reviews

Retro Corner – Grandia Review

Developed By: Gamearts

Released In: First in 1997. Latest in 2019

Platforms:  Sega SaturnPlayStationDreamcastGame Boy ColorPlayStation 2PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Switch 

Grandia was recently remade for the Nintendo Switch, and boy is this remake good! I also want to highlight the fact that I will be comparing this game to the original PSX edition at the reviews end. So lets get to talking about Grandia.

Some of you may have clicked on this saying, “Well what the heck is Grandia.” and to you I say, “Come, let me culture you friend.”

The game, first released in 1997, and was extremely innovative for its time whether you knew it or not. Grandia’s story is riveting yet lovable, and the live action battle system is unique even by today’s standards. After playing, you will see how it clearly paved the way for games like Chrono Trigger.

Unfortunately, Grandia came out at the same time as Final Fantasy 7, and was swiftly swept under the rug. However, I am here to tell you why this game is still worth playing today.

Story

Never has there been an RPG with a more beautiful, innocent, or lighthearted of a story. It follows the tale of Justin, a young teenager who just wants to be an adventurer. In classic JRPG fashion, Justin and his younger cousin Sue find themselves on an epic journey in their quest for adventure; to uncover the mystery of a long lost civilization.

Now this may not sound like an overly compelling story, but I dare say you would be wrong. The characters are so different than the ones you encounter in your typical rpg. They are kids, first and foremost, and their dialogue is constantly showing that. They have the innocent child viewpoint of the world, and most of the game has the vibe of “Adults just don’t understand.”

Image result for Grandia 1 dialogue
Justin talks to his mom

Even better than the fact that they are “just kids”. (as many RPGs are centered around kids) They aren’t out to save the world right off the bat. They are just curious, and out looking for innocent adventure for most of the game. The stakes aren’t earth shattering, which makes Justin and crew seem more relatable.

The beginning of the game has Justin and Sue running around “playing” adventurer. This is adorable, and took me back to my own childhood. The relationship between he and his mom is cute as well. Not to mention the fact that none of the adults take him seriously,

“I’m gonna be an adventurer.”
“Sure you are kid.” *pats head

Image result for Grandia 1

This story WILL move you, and bring a smile from ear to ear. The characters are lovable, and I am left wondering why the heck I never heard of them earlier. (Stupid FF7)

Gameplay

Like I said earlier the live action battle system is truly out of this world, and I’m confused why it hasn’t been more closely replicated: You are thrown into a large 2D battlefield where the combat is both turn based and live action.

Depending on how the battle was initiated, every character will be placed on an action bar. This dictates when that characters turn will start. However certain attacks can stun an opponent (or yourself), causing them to be passed up on the action bar. The trick to this system is that if you time your attacks strategically enough, you can stagger the enemies and kill them without being touched. Be careful though as the enemy could do this to you as well.

Image result for grandia battle system

The over world of the game is vibrant and colorful giving just a little more incentive for exploration. Level ups come pretty naturally, and don’t require a whole lot of grinding, unlike other games of its time. Also, avoiding enemies, and learning to ambush them from behind (giving you battle advantages) is not overly difficult.

Final Thoughts

I quickly grew to love Grandia, and the story it told. The innocence of the kids, and the way they interacted sold the characters for me in a way that has never been done before. The battle system is addicting once you finally master it, and develop your own strategies. OH, and the music is catchy, it has a unique tune to it, and I found myself humming multiple songs throughout the week.

I loved this game, and it is an adventure I won’t soon forget. I would highly recommend it to literally anyone. Even if you have never played an RPG before, I think that this is the perfect place to start. Grandia’s mechanics are fun, but not overly complicated. Not to mention that the plot will keep you intrigued and smiling from start to finish.

Image result for Grandia 1 dialogue
Justin, Feena, and Sue

The Nintendo Switch HD Remake is definitely the version you are going to want to pick up. The graphics are great, it has the new added cut scenes, and unlike the other remakes doesn’t have atrocious loading times. The PSX version is the second best, however I recommend getting this one. (Nintendo Switch Grandia Link)

Rating

Here at Press Start Hub we have decided to finalize our ratings through memes. For Grandia none could be more appropriate than “Ok Boomer” it will truly take you back to a time in your life where all you wanted to do was break away from your parents.

About the author

Ccleveland83

Charles Cleveland is a passionate freelance writer, and author. A retro game enthusiast who is unafraid to argue that the GameCube was the best system ever made. Playing video games for 17 of his 21 years of life, along with collecting just about every game system ever made. Charles aspires to write non biased content on both old and new video games.