PS2 REVIEW: GRANDIA 3
The command entry phase lets you determine and input your method of attack or defense. The execution phase takes place when your icon circles into that range. Here your commands are issued and the real fighting begins. The other zone is a waiting period where your character is in a holding pattern until you cycle back into the command entry phase again.

Choosing the right commands takes some forethought which brings some strategy into the game. You will be able to cast magical spells, issue special attacks and put your skills and weapons to the test. You will get bonuses for aerial maneuvers and also if you make it through the battle without taking any damage. You can continue to level-up your character so that each fight is different. Mana Eggs can be collected and used to beef up any of the four different magic classes. They can also be turned into rare and powerful spells. Spell books increase three main skill areas such as counter-attack speed and a reduced intake of MP. Armor and weapons are also upgradeable and the special moves that are unique to each character are preserved to maintain each character's individuality. If these new traits are not enough to hold your interest you can have the CPU do your fighting for you. It works pretty well but it only does the bare minimum. If you want to get the bonuses you'll have to take matters into your own hand.

As large as these maps are, the graphics never disappoint. Textures are realistic and the poly count is high, giving us incredibly detailed and diverse environments to explore. Even the homes that you pass by in the villages are incredibly detailed as you can see the wood grain on the beams. The character models, both the heroes and the monsters are brought to life with equal aplomb. They display appropriate facial expressions and animate with incredible smoothness. The music isn't memorable but it also doesn't irritate so I'm not complaining.

Come to think about it there isn't much to complain about at all. Grandia III takes the basic RPG ingredients and cooks up a great, solid RPG that is guaranteed to satisfy millions of hungry RPG fans worldwide.

Features

  • Romp through vibrant and colorful fantasy locales and natural environments
  • Stunning cinematic sequences are animated by hand without the use of motion capture
  • Scan surroundings to look for search points or treasure chests
  • Ply the skies by plane to journey from one place to another
  • Use your sword in the "random encounter free" field to destroy objects or stun enemies before attacking
  • Seamless transition from field screen to battles with over-the-top animations
  • Semi real-time battle system allows for fast paced action and strategizing with a Command Wheel that breaks the RPG mold of typical command text windows
  • Perform and link up Aerial Combo attacks for massive damage
  • Multiple auto-battle settings for each character dictate fighting strategy in addition, utilize the Strategy Advice System for tips during critical moments in battle
  • Control conversation flow during special event scenes

By Colin Thames
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
Grandia III (PS2)
5.0
Graphics
Some of the best graphics to ever grace the PS2. This is definitely Xbox territory.
4.2
Control
The battle system takes some getting used to. Turn based fans will love it but those that prefer real-time might be put off.
3.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A ton of dialogue which may turn you on or off. The music is relaxing but unmemorable.
4.0
Play Value
You definitely won't replay this game for the storyline, and after what seems like hundreds of battles, you might end up becoming a lover and not a fighter.
4.1
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
2
Preview By Gooseberry

Better start brushing up on your Japanese, Grandia fans. Squarenix is preparing for the August 4 release in Japan, and there will be a lot more info to come during this years E3.

Yuuki and Alfina, the typical 16-year-old RPG heroes, have already been revealed and now there are screens of Emelious too.

Yuuki hopes to become a pilot just like his idol, Schmidt, the "king of the skies". Alfina, bearing more than a passing resemblance to an elf, can speak with the holy beasts that serve as gods in the world. She is also searching for her brother, Emelious, who disappeared three years earlier.

Grandia III continues with the almost real-time system used in Grandia II with some additions like an aerial attack system and the ability to speak to the party members during combat in order to encourage them, thus boosting their abilities.

Many of the dev team members return from previous Grandia games, like character designer You Yoshinari, scriptwriter Takahiro Hasebe, and composer Noriyuki Iwadare.

Stay tuned for more info as soon as we have. For now, do we really have to suggest that you look at the nice pretty screenshots? I thought not.

Click For Media

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best