Grandia 2, along with Skies of Arcadia, were the prime RPGs during the Dreamcast era. On the Dreamcast, the games were regarded as classics.
For the port of Grandia 2, though, the PS2 and PC versions were lackluster ports, complete with glitches and slowdown.
Now, 15 years later, Grandia 2 has been rereleased on the PC as an Anniversary Edition on Steam and GOG. One of the first noticeable things once you load up are the refreshed textures. While it’s not an HD upgrade, the textures are smoother, topping what the Dreamcast offered when the title was first released.
As for the story, it wasn’t exactly original then and still isn’t now. Players control Geohound Ryudo as he accepts a contract to protect Elena during her ritual to help banish evil. However, she becomes infected with a piece of the evil god Granas. So, Ryudo and Elena, along with the rest of the cast, proceed to try and get her cured and rid the world of Granas.
Like I said, nothing new, but still a decent story to experience. The cast of characters are good as well. Characters like Millenia and Mareg bring color to the story, especially in the case of Millenia and Elena.
The combat system is a mixture of real time combat and turn-based action that I enjoyed. An action bar shows when your turns are coming up as well as the enemy attacks. There’s quite a bit of strategy as well, as your physical attacks consist of a combo attack or a critical attack, which can delay an enemy attack, as well as moving around the field to better position yourself. You can also use the gauge to estimate when to counter or block an attack, leading to more strategic battles than a normal turn-based affair.
Magic is also a bit different in the game. Characters equip Mana Eggs, which give multiple magics. For example, the Chaos Egg has fire, lightning and wind magic. Both characters and the eggs can be upgraded with coins: magic coins unlock and upgrade spells, and special coins give new physical skills. There actually isn’t a level limit on when you can unlock these, so if you get a lot of coins early on, you can get some high level skills to help you out.
Grandia 2 is a fairly linear affair, going to the standard find a town, explore a dungeon, beat a boss and move on formula. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this, given the time this was made, but it can get repetitive for some without the plethora of sidequests RPG fans have gotten used to today.
Now, to talk about the anniversary port itself. I never had problems with the port, except for the small complaint of not being able to change the camera rotation (it’s inverse compared to most titles). Also, as I mentioned above, they did add some graphical effects and smoothed the polygons out, but it’s definitely not an HD remake like many other editions similar to this.
For players who have gone through this before, there is a new difficulty level and the Japanese voice acting to experience. For new players, though, some new features, such as a recap of the series or a documentary or some kind of developer feedback would have been great.
Overall, Grandia 2 Anniversary Edition is a barebones package with a few graphical enhancements. If you never checked this out 15 years ago, it’s worth a look to see how RPGs have advanced to today and how this title holds up. If you went through this years ago, though, there may not be much to bring you back to the series.
Final Score: 3.8 of 5