The combat is boring. This is mainly because it is incredibly easy. I didn't spend extra time advancing my characters (I tried to finish the game ASAP, actually), so I definitely wasn't too strong. Still, not a single boss offered any form of challenge. Even the final boss felt like nothing more than a ponderous standard encounter. It seems evident to me that a game cannot be exciting when there is no threat...no sense of danger or challenge. This wouldn't be _that_ bad if the battles didn't take so long. So, you get thousands of long, boring, simple fights over the course of the game. The dungeons are amateur in design, and made about 10 times more dreadful because of the combat. There's also a gauge in combat that shows when when each character will take an action. However, this does not create any real strategy because all the characters move at different speeds, so it's just a funky gimmick.
The story is not bad, but it is badly told. It uses about every hackneyed Japanese RPG element imaginable, but it doesn't remedy this problem with interesting characters or compelling twists. The translation is just dumb. Sony broke it down to simple diction and pure, fatuous juvenalia. The "romantic" relationship between Justin and Feena is basically insulting -- it has the maturity of an elementary school infatuation. Sue is an utterly pointless character, who's involvement in the story is simple arbitrary and ridiculous. What is the creature "Puffy"? The game never explains. I expected some kind of enigmatic quality to the creature, with a revelation disclosing all at some point (like Nall in Lunar). This never happens. It's stupid. The voice acting is hideous. Attemps at humor fall flat. Attempts at emotional expression are cringe-inducing.
The game took me about 50 hours to beat (though I tend to be slower than some). In my mind, the game is about 35 hours too long. So, expect the "meat" of the story to be padded with superfluous side-quests packed with obnoxious combat and torturous dialogue. I like side-quests...when they are optional or purposeful. In this game, the side-quests are neither. Adventures in a ghost ship or on a mysterious prehistoric valley might sound fun on paper, but without important story revelations or fun gameplay, it's boring. Granted about 10 hours of the game is pretty interesting. But that's a mere 20% of the game. In school, that would be an 'F'...a FAILING grade.
The game is just tedious. It's boring and insipid and hackneyed to death. I'm sure there will be many who say, "Grandia rulez! you lie!" and give me a "not helpful" vote. I didn't write this to please anybody...I wrote it because I think Grandia does not deserve the praise it receives. Heed my word, and perhaps you will save 50 hours of you life. That's a long time! 50 Law & Order episodes! A genuinely good RPG! Think about it.
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