Loved the first Grandia when I was a teen and I was able to pick up the second on Dreamcast for $20, new. Well worth every dollar and whether it's the PS2 or Dreamcast version, you won't want to miss out.
Game Arts has put together a solid RPG with Grandia II, even if it isn't as deep or difficult as the original.
After what seems like an interminable wait, Dreamcast owners can finally get their hands on the English version of Grandia II, the sequel to one of the Saturn's most beloved RPGs. Although supposedly a sequel, Grandia II does not pick up where the first Grandia left off. Instead, the game presents an entirely new storyline, replete with new characters, revamped visuals, a simplified experience system, and pseudo real-time combat. At the outset, it should be noted that Grandia II is an easier, more middle-of-the-road game than its predecessor, but there's still plenty to love about the game, whether you're an RPG newcomer, a veteran, or a dyed in the wool Game Arts junkie.
Thousands of years ago, the gods of good and evil, Granas and Valmar, engaged in a fierce battle for world domination. Granas defeated Valmar, but not before their battle shattered the world and split the continent of Silesia in half. It was a small price to pay, however. Evil was defeated, Valmar's remaining body parts were sealed away, and centuries of peace and love followed. Grandia II picks up moments before this happy-go-lucky story goes to hell in a handbasket. It seems that for the last few years, evil monsters have begun repopulating the land. Seeing no end to the bloodshed, the Church of Granas in Carbo decides to do something drastic - perform a resealing ceremony on Valmar's wings. A young girl, Elena, the gifted Songstress of Granas, is the key to the ceremony. Hired to escort Elena to the ceremony, you'll play the role of Ryudo, a ne'er-do-well jewel thief and renowned bodyguard. Of course, things don't go as planned - the ceremony fails, evil is unleashed, and Elena is left with a rather interesting form of schizophrenia. Pursued by the forces of darkness, you must speed Elena to the Cathedral of Granas, humankind's last, best hope for peace. Along the way, you'll find yourself caught up in the modern-day re-enactment of the battle of good vs. evil, save a few needy souls, and even enlist the aid of a few comrades, such as the stubborn thief, Roan, and the brash battler, Mareg. OK, so it isn't the most original or inspired story, but there are at least a few twists to keep things fresh while during the 40 to 60 hours of your life Grandia II will occupy.
A competent story is an integral building block of any RPG, but an RPG is also only as good as its battle system. Fortunately, Grandia II excels on both counts. The story is told clearly and efficiently, with no minced words or botched translations. More importantly, though, the battle system in Grandia II rocks. Battles progress in real-time, pausing only for command inputs and spellcasting. At the bottom of the screen is a holistic indicator that represents the time between fatigue and attack for both friend and foe alike. When a character's icon is in the first section, they can do nothing but defend against attacks. However, once the icon hits the command section, you can input a battle command. This is where the fun begins. Each character has a number of options, such as combo attack, critical attack, magic, and special moves. Combo attacks do the most damage, but they require a short delay before execution. A critical attack doles out less damage, but it can be executed quickly, and it can even cancel or counter an enemy attack. Magic and special moves are just what you'd expect, powerful moves that eat up a little MP or SP in exchange for devastating the enemy or bolstering your party's statistics.