Every role-playing game has to have a hook – a carrot dangling in front of you that urges you onward. What’s the hook with Grandia? They take an interesting approach to this by making just about everything able to increase in level. You can increase your character level. You can increase your stats. You can increase your spell level. You can increase the amount of spells you can cast. You can increase the power and speed at which you can cast the spells you already know. You can increase your skill with individual weapons. You can increase your special attacks. On top of all that you can buy or find weapons and equipment that may be stronger than what you are currently using.

All this is very compelling but what’s odd is how the combat remains generally easy throughout the game (at least so far at 32 hours in). I find I’m not wanting to increase in levels so I can defeat a powerful monster that is standing in my way. Instead I’m wanting to defeat the monsters in my way so I can finally unlock my last level 3 fire spell. But once I do unlock it then I want to be able to cast it faster and have it do more damage so I keep fighting…

The end result is that I really look forward to the combat in this game even though it’s mostly a cake-walk and goes by very quickly. There are no random encounters and a lot of combat can be avoided which is nice but I don’t want to avoid combat in Grandia. I get excited when I find another creature to fight as it gets Justin that much closer to unlocking his final weapons skill. Right now it’s called “??????” and sits there mocking me but I will master it and finally learn its True Name.  Oh yes. It will be mine….

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