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Grandia III review

Engrossing battles, but such deja vu plotting

Pros

  • Battle system is engaging and complex
  • Great graphics and atmosphere
  • Likable characters
  • passable story

Cons

  • Best characters depart early on
  • Character customization is so-so
  • Little originality on display

The PS2 is home to more Japanese-developed role playing games than any obsessive fan, let alone a rational gamer with a reasonable budget, could ever dream of playing. Most of them have a quirk that sets them apart from the rest. With Grandia III, it's unquestionably the battle system. But from its spunky teen lead and his winsome female friend, to the land of mysteries and monsters they inhabit, the tale is almost tragically rote.

You can blame this lack of imagination on a desire to serve up what works. You'll find a girl in peril, a world on the brink of destruction and a dangerous rival with a personal and selfish vendetta. It stars a young boy who's too naive to keep himself from roaming across the world with a sword in hand and generally doing good every chance he gets. Sound familiar?

What saves it is how the story is told with panache. Yuki is a pilot, obsessed with building planes and soaring through the skies. Alfina is a communicator, a girl who speaks to ancient gods that take the form of giant mythical beasts (summons, you might say...), the apparent center of the world's ill-defined religion. This story setup calls for cinemas that bowl you over, but none of these elements do anything to prevent a game that hits the same notes as most other RPGs.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionAn excellent battle system and gorgeous graphics to boot. But the plotting suffers from deja-vu
PlatformPS2
US censor ratingTeen
Alternative namesGrandia 3
Release date14 February 2006 (US), 14 February 2006 (UK)
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