Grandia 2 wrap-up

I wanted to consolidate my thoughts about Grandia 2 in one place before I go on to the next topic, so here goes.

Grandia 2 starts out quick and is really a great game for about 15 hours.  At around that point, there have been a few interesting subplots, including (to my mind) the best one (“the Eye”), which is both vaguely creepy and depressing.  Neither is done often in JRPGs, and in Grandia 2, they are done well with supporting and main characters feeling quite real.

Likewise, combat at that point is both swift and challenging.  Bosses are tough, and even regular enemies will wear your party down after a while.  The Eye in particular is tricky and satisfying to defeat.

Unfortunately, at that point the game begins to degrade.  Ryudo’s one-liners are still enjoyable, and he is among my favorite non-silent main characters… but the rest of the party becomes somewhat cliche.  Roan deserves mention for at least having an interesting struggle with himself in his subplot, but nobody else has any particularly redeeming development.

Things begin to slow down in battles, too.  Bosses become increasingly easy, and regular enemies are a joke – in the final dungeons, every normal battle can be finished with a single super-move, making each battle just 20 seconds of load-watch-super-move-end.  The end plot points are, naturally (it being a Game Arts game – both Lunars and Grandia 1 did the same) quite cliche, and would be nigh painful if Ryudo didn’t say something offbeat every so often.

Is it worth a play?  Certainly.  I’d say it’s in the upper half of PS2 RPGs.  It’s still good fun, but it does become rather tedious.

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