Grandia is a PSone RPG from Game Arts. In it you play as Justin, a fledgling adventurer who is determined to set out exploring the world. You are accompanied by your childhood friend Sue, and her little pet...flying bunny? named Puffy. As you continue through the game, you gather more friends and of course enemies.
Gameplay - First thing, you can see your enemies in the level, even bosses. This makes it quit easy to dodge battles (not bosses of course though) if you aren't in the mood for them. I spent a good majority of the game running straight by enemies. The battles themselves are fun. They are fought in a real-time/turn-based combo, in which you wait for your character's little icon on the bar to reach the active point, but when you character is hit he/she can be knocked back on this guage, or just stunned on it for a second or two. Their attack can also be cancelled if the enemy hits you at the right (or wrong i suppose) time. The same goes for the enemy, which creates a rather interesting strategy: keep the enemies from attacking by timing your attacks and slowing them down. Many bosses can be defeated without you taking damage if you just time your attacks right. Sounds too easy, but it's not. This game had some of the toughest boss battles I have ever played, some to the point of frustration. Another interesting aspect of the gameplay is the way the leveling is done. Each character has certain types of weapons he/she can equip to (such as axe, sword, bow, etc.). Each of these weapons has a skill associated with it, and when the corresponding skill goes up, certain stats (depending on the skill) go up as well. Same with magic. Which means that even if you character is a low level he/she can still be powerful from their skills. Also, as your skills go up your character learns more special attacks that are dependent on skill level of the various weapons and magics, so if you use only one type of weapon you will end up missing out on some powerful abilities. Magic spells are done the same way except certain elements combine to make more elements (for a total of 8, only 4 have skills though). Level layout is a bit confusing in some places, especially the towns. I got frustrated a few times because I would get turned around and not be able to find a place that I had been to once before. There is a nice birds-eye view option that will show you the surrounding area (only in town, though), but its not really labeled, so you still have to guess where things are.
Graphics - Good graphics for its time, not the best though. Colors are vibrant and character designs are flashy. The characters themselves are well-detailed and reflect their personality well. The backgrounds are detailed, but at times a little drab.
Sound - Great music. Very fitting, and didn't distract. The main character's voice acting was... well, not good. He pitched his words wrong, or he had a weird emotion in his voice and it grated on my nerves at times. Mostly, the other voice actors were decent, but nothing spectacular.
Story - You're all about the adventuring here, but as you go along you find out interesting things that add to an overall deep, and intriguing story. It is written well, if a little odd sounding at points, and there are parts that pull you in, then have you shouting at the TV for one thing or another. Which is all good in my book. The only downside to the story when it was finished. There were a few loose ends that i felt should have been addressed, but I guess hey left it up to the gamers imagination. (hehe)
Replay - Possible, since the gameplay is pretty fresh from other stuff, you may want to pick this up again after complete it. It's not too long and not too short. I finished it in about 32 hours, so its not going to consume alot of your time.
Overall - I would say this game is one that any RPG fan should give a shot. With its well-written story and unique battle system, it's worth the time and money (you should be able to pick up a copy for around $20).