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Comments on Thursday 20 May 2004:
Just finished playing Grandia 2. Not too bad. It's basically a Final Fantasy rip-off; the combat is a little bit more interesting than that of most FF games. The characters are also a bit more interesting. The plot is a bit more cliché. The music is about on a par, the in-game graphics slightly better, the pre-rendered video slightly worse, the humour slightly more self-deprecating.

It also devours the computer's resources a bit viciously - I had to reboot four or five times in the course of playing it, and usually I don't ever have to reboot except for Windows Updates. It somehow manages to consume the resources in such a way that even after it's crashed, everything else that's running starts falling over complaining of no buffer space. There might be patches for it, though - I didn't bother to look.

The underlying theme of the plot made a pleasant change - instead of Final Fantasy's "evil technology" message, Grandia 2 has a "personal responsibility" moral, presented as the unnoticed option to choose in place of evil organised religion. It also has an unexpectedly polyamory-friendly ending. On the downside of the game, the plot is extremely linear, offering seemingly no optional side-quests at all, and has very little in the way of puzzles, such that pretty much the entire game can be navigated through the practical expedient of "follow the wall on your right".

The combat also errs on the side of "extremely easy" up until the final six giant monsters; given Final Fantasy style combat, however, I don't think of that as erring at all - getting killed by random monsters in such games is extremely annoying, necessitating tedious repetition as it does. So it's nice that the combat is very easy, and only slightly irritating with the giant monsters at the end which are moderately dangerous and unfortunately necessitate sitting through whole sections of conversation again if you die. One thing games like this really should allow, and rarely do, is skipping through conversations rapidly - Grandia 2, unfortunately, does even worse at this than most, oftentimes forcing you to sit through it at a fixed speaking pace even when there is no audio of the dialogue.

Essentially, though, it's the same as a Final Fantasy game - if you liked Final Fantasies 7 to 9, it's probably worth picking up Grandia 2 out of a budget bin, like I did. If you didn't, it probably isn't. [23:36]
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