Mon, 07 Mar 2005
Well, it's certainly not Grandia II. Grandia Xtreme took Grandia II's excellent battle system and improved on it. Unfortunately, that's the only thing it improved on. The plot is simplistic, the characters are unbelievable, the dialog is crappy, and the voice acting (with the possible exception of Kroitz, voiced by Mark Hamil) is horrid.
The main character is Evann, a Ranger with the ability to travel via Geo Stream. This allows you to teleport deep into various dungeons, after you've visited the destination the hard way, of course. In what appears to be an attempt to make the game longer, at various plot points the Geo Streams get reset and you have to go back through the areas if you want to reopen them. (Note that doing this is completely optional, for plot purposes at least. But really, you don't want to play this game for the plot.)
And then there are the corridors. At various points of the game, you must go through randomly-generated areas. Presumably the random generation is to enhance replay value. I found it annoying.
There are parts I liked. Junctioning eggs was fun for a while. Magic is contained within magic eggs; in order to cast a particular set of spells, you must have an egg that provides those spells equipped. You find eggs with only the barest minimal spells. You may then, however, junction them in pairs to get better eggs. Different combinations give different results, and the really powerful eggs are, understandably, difficult to create. (I ended up taking a chart of combinations out of a FAQ and writing a Perl script to list optimal recipes.)
I'll complain about the ending after the spoiler barrier. Just note that if you do stay with the game long enough to beat it, you should wait through the end of the credits, as with any console RPG, really.
Ultimately, I really can't recommend playing this game unless you're much more interested in gameplay than story, characterization, voice acting, and dialog.
The ending. Ugh. For one thing, I was surprised by the ending; I wasn't expecting the game to end there. (Contrast to Grandia II, where I kept going, "The ending's close now...") And the characterization continued to be horrid. Quanlee suddenly having a revelation ("Yes! That's it! I was lonely!") from an offhand comment by Evann has got to rank as one of the most annoying character developments I've seen.
I still go back and play it because I haven't finished the void corridor, and I want to see what's at the end, but I have to take long breaks between plays, because most of the stuff is tedious and annoying.