may take a long time to simmer, but Grandia III is
a tasty recipe once you sample its flavors.
by Colin Thames
17, 2006 - It's
been a number of years since the last Grandia game,
but the wait is over for fans now that Grandia III
has been launched. The series was never particularly
innovative, it was just a lot of fun, so you can expect
more of the same. A lot of RPGs have been released
during the interim which makes Grandia III seem even
less original. Thankfully it still has its charming
characters and manages to dish out the action.
story is convoluted and can be distilled to the basic
save-the-world premise that is standard RPG fare.
Yuki is a young and adventurous sort that aspires
to be like his hero, Sky Captain Schmidt. Yuki has
designed and built many flying contraptions, all of
which have been failures - until now. Determined to
fly off his little island in search of big adventure
on the mainland, he takes off into the wild blue yonder
on his newly built plane, unaware that his mother
is stowed away onboard. While in flight, Yuki spots
a girl being assailed. Being the good guy that he
is, he decides to stop and help her while at the same
time his plane is forced into a crash landing due
to the extra weight of his mother.
is the name of the rescued girl. She's the one of
the last of the lines of Communicator, which enables
her to communicate with the Guardians. Alphina's brother
is also a Communicator but he's turned greedy and
evil as he is intent on killing the Guardians in an
effort to take over the world. Yuki joins Alphina
in a quest to stop her brother and his minions from
realizing their evil conquest.
told you the story was a little on the cliched side.
Fortunately you get most of it over with at the beginning
and the characters become more fleshed-out through
dialog, cutscenes and in-game action. You will meet
lots of new characters, some of which become members
of your party but you won't have to learn the back
history to every NPC you run into. The voiceover work
is good but some of the dialog is a bit on the cornball
side. The characters discuss a variety of subjects,
most of which have nothing to do with the storyline
or gameplay. But these conversations give us insight
into the characters' personalities. Frankly this could
have been accomplished with a 30-second cutscene on
each of the main characters. There's just so much
superficial filler that you'll begin to yell at the
game to "Get on with it already."
are lots of interesting places to explore such as
enchanted forests, castles, ruins and villages. The
maps are huge and encourage exploring with an open-ended
style of gameplay. You can explore a lot of places
on foot but when it comes to extended travelling there's
nothing like taking to the skies in a plane. Flying
the plane is an enjoyable and quick way to get around.
It links you to four continents as you fly over fields,
ocean, rivers, mountains and deserts.
IP gauge lets you see where enemies are and lets you
avoid them if you don't want to get into battles -
but battles is what the Grandia series is famous for.
Beginners may become a little perplexed at what seems
to be a complicated battle system but these rules
are just in place to make it more engaging. The system
is dynamic which places it somewhere between a turn-based
and real-time battle system.
nearing enemies the IP gauge will become active offering
you three cyclical phases to help you stage and execute
your battle. The IP gauge moves like a clock giving
each character a certain amount of time for his or
her turn. Their likeness is imposed on the wheel of
the gauge as an icon, and they travel around the wheel
as they enter into the three different phases. Interface
commands are made fast and furiously since timing
is of the essence. Issuing commands at the right time
can help delay your opponent's attacks and even cancel