Definitely rent this game first...

User Rating: 8 | Growlanser V Generations PS2
Okay first thing out of the way. I'm pretty sure unless you have never played growlanser games or unless you're a true die hard fan (that means anyone who enjoyed just one previous growlanser game shouldn't bother reading this) you probably aren't going to find anything greatly amazing in this game. Growlanser: HOW is a real time strategy rpg and it holds strong to that statement which shows in its graphics. Keeping an overhead view for all gameplay and not focusing on stunning graphics Growlanser is going to boil down to the music, cut scenes (storyline), and gameplay as far as I'm concerned. First off the soundtrack is amazing and watching the opening trailer I was instantly ready for a classic. The music has a very strong emotional tie into the game and you'll definitely notice it if you watch the opening trailer. As soon as you enter the gameplay as I said graphics are going to be the first things you notice they're nothing great but the dialogue and cut scenes do actually make up for this. Being an anime style game Growlanser definitely plays large on this and has beautifully drawn anime cut scenes but with technology as is they could have done a little better with the voice overs seeing as how anticipated this game started out. This leaves the gameplay which can be very annoying but very enjoyable at times. Almost all missions include an escort condition as you will always have some form of NPC to guard and keep safe from enemies. As typical of Atlus there are very visible difficulty spikes in the game, starting off easy and then sending you into two very difficult fights within the first 30 mins of the game which can cause you to pull your hair out if you're not familiar with strategy and rpg genre type games (I'm not quite sure why you're still even interested at this point if you're not an rpg gamer...). The level up system is pretty innovative and you'll get a very good chance to become familiar with it as the third character you get will learn new moves like crazy. Leveling up is done through gaining exp as usual in rpgs but learning moves relies not only on reaching certain lvls but in many cases finding skill plates. These skill plates can then be placed in a skill tree. The problem with this is, it takes a lot of thought into placing these skill plates as it determines how many skills you learn and how fast you learn them. Each skill plate has an arrow and your exp will follow those arrows so if you have a skill plate set up like this: < attk up>\ /
your skills will follow the connector arrows and once you've mastered the first skill it will begin learning the next skill and continuing lvling the first one until it is maxed out. You'll find this makes it very easy to learn a mulitple amount of skills if you can acquire skill plates at a fair rate and try to find any means possible to linking them. Once you start learning alot of skills though you'll find out that the skill tree can become very cluttered and it'll become increasingly hard to make sure your "roots" connect efficently so you don't have to constantly change exp flow to learn new moves. Overall for a strategy rpg Growlanser is fairly basic and doesn't hold much innovation in its gameplay except for its skill tree. If you don't enjoy anime or putting alot of quick decision making into your gaming I'd suggest you skip this game. However if you do enjoy anime, are an rpg fan, and can handle the split second mission condition changes and difficulty spikes I would recommend you at least give Growlanser: HOW a fighting chance at being a game worth your time.