Hooray for Mediocredy!

User Rating: 7.5 | Grandia II PS2
Plot *Minor Spoilers*

The story of the game is quite in-depth and in some parts you really need to pay attention to figure out whats going on but it is worth it. Similar to, well, every other RPG out there, theres a hero, bad guys, and a BIG bad guy that bosses um around. You as the hero are destined to hurt said baddies and rejoice with the peasants. The plot centers around a religion and its counter religion which your hero seems to think are both bull. The only thing (although it's a big thing) is that the story kinda comes apart at the end....like really apart. A very anti-climatic ending follows the final boss, leaving you feeling like the game has just spit on you.

Graphics

Mediocre. Grandia has never been known for it's stunning visuals but the character models in this one are lack-lustre at best. Not only are the graphics not very good but the game seems to be having trouble rendering then anyways. It's a good thing that your character is fast because you lag A LOT and you will constantly find yourself going at about half speed just so the game can keep up. The game also has some texture issues while in battle, meaning that from time to time some of your characters will have reverted back to their polygonal state and have no color whatsoever.


Sound

Again...meh. The sound and music are ok and fit the mood every now and then but it's nothing to go nuts over. Some of the cutscenes have poor voice acting and then some have none, and even when there are voice, you really can't feel it. They never really sound like they're in the situation (ie: quite calm dialogue in crisis) and it tends to come off a little fake.


Gameplay

The only real saving grace of this game is it's battle and growth systems. The battle system is based on a time bar at the bottom with portraits of all your characters and whatever you may be facing. They all move at once and when the portrait gets to a certain point, it can go. Certain factors effect the speed of the portraits, and of the moves you execute from them. The growth system is by far the best part of the game. At the end of each battle you get EXP to level up normally, but you also get separate points to level up your skills and magic. So if you want one uber strong character, go for it, if not, even um out. This option really adds a lot of flexibility and replayability to an otherwise linear game. Then there one thing that I didn't count on after playing Grandia 3, which was the difficulty. This has to be the easiest RPG I've ever played in my life. During the entire game I died TWICE, both to the same guy who turns out to be like the hardest guy in the game and the last boss also hit me TWICE, I'm dead serious. That however makes this a good beginners RPG. I would recommend this game for anyone looking to get into the genre without overdoing it on the first game.


Replayability

Not much. Once the story is revealed there isn't much drive in this one. You can try and play through again allocating your points differently but it really wont make that much of a difference as you get so many points that by the end everythings maxed out anyway. This ones definately a once playthrough.


Fun Factor

I had a good time playing this game. The difficulty could have been adjusted and it could have been a little more eye catching but other than that it was fun. The only thing that I HATED was the lag. The lag even in simple towns was frustrating beyond belief and it even lagged through cutscenes which I didn't even know was possible since it's a pre-determined event. If you don't mind that, you could stand to have some fun with Grandia 2.


Final Score

Graphics 4/10
Sound 5/10
Gameplay 9/10
Fun Factor 3/5
Re-playability 2/5
Overall 23/40