Those in Europe might not have heard of this late PlayStation-era RPG. It’s one I remember vividly, thanks to its distinct steam-punk vibe and memorable battle system. It’s not only coming back, but is also finally coming to PC later this year. Perhaps this time it’ll get the recognition it deserves.
Grandia didn’t commit to the 3D polygons that were popular back then, instead focusing on 2D sprites on a crude 3D isometric viewpoint. While polygons have aged poorly, hand-drawn art seems to have endured a little better. With a good enough HD treatment, this could still look appealing by today’s standards. The voice acting could also do with a revision, because at times it was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night levels of terrible, but that’s the only real blemish I had against it back then.
Turn-based RPGs live and die by their battle system. In Grandia turn order is depicted by a time bar. Both the good guys and bad can do things that affect turn order, such as landing critical attacks to cancel an ability. Defending yourself is a viable option, since characters need to walk up to their targets to attack, and you can re-position your characters to get out of the way. It’s a very grindy RPG, but that never really bothered me too much.
Then there’s the music. It’s very of its time, but again it’s strangely appealing. The theme tune is like a promise of a grand adventure full of twists and turns, from being driven to tears by the sombre violin solo or pumped up by the main theme. Just listen to this greatness.
Doesn’t that just get you motivated, ready to seize the day? It did for me back then and it still does now. GungHo Online Entertainment have been weirdly quiet at the time of writing about Grandia’s HD Remaster, but there’s every chance that this will be a memorable trip back to happier days.