Well I finally posted my Grandia Xtreme review last week. Honestly I didn’t complete the game though. I made it to the boss before the final boss and it was crazy difficult, so I’m going to grind for a long time until I can over power the end bosses. I’ll focus on other games and try to play Grandia Xtreme every now and then; I’ll probably zone out with a podcast and grind some levels.
Besides that I posted two impressions for some demos. The first was Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine which was an okay third-person shooter. It’s worth noting that it’s my only foray into the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The other demo I played last week was Hamilton’s Great Adventure, which I thought was a stellar puzzle game.
I didn’t have a lot of time for video games last week; school took up the brunt of my time. I did play OutRun Online Arcade and I should post a review of that this week. My girlfriend and I resumed our game in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure and are making solid progress in that. I also picked up Pokemon HeartGold for the first time in a long time. I played an hour or two of that and took my PokeWalker with me to work for one day, and wound up sending it through the washer; as of now it doesn’t work.
I’ll post my review of OutRun Online Arcade this week, and maybe some demo impressions.
Oh, and I decided to start adding a score to my reviews. Grandia Xtreme is the first game to get a score.
Developed by Game Arts and published by Enix, Grandia Xtreme was the third game in the series to be released in the United States. It came out in 2002 for the PlayStation 2 and is notable for being a departure from Grandia and Grandia II. Instead of playing like a traditional Japanese role-playing game where players follow a town-dungeon-town format, Grandia Xtreme focuses on dungeon crawling. The dungeons are plentiful and they are challenging. But Grandia Xtreme has an identity crisis. Game Arts tried to get the best of both genres and came up short.
I assumed the role of Evann, a young Ranger who has distaste for the military, especially for one of its commanding officers, Colonel Kroitz. However, they come seeking his skills. After refusing to assist the army, they kidnap him. Once he wakes up he is briefed by the military and eventually agrees to lend them a hand, begrudgingly.
There have been a number of environmental disorders and the military thinks it might have something to do with ancient ruins located nearby, go figure. So Evann, along with a ragtag group of fellow warriors quell the disorders by removing ancient slabs from the heart of these ruins. After the disorders have been taken care of, Kroitz takes these slabs and opens a fifth ruin and it’s apparent he’s up to no good. While this was immediately clear from the first time he spoke, it took the gang forever to figure out he simply wanted to harness Quanlee, the ultimate power.
Remember how I said Grandia Xtreme differs from Grandia and Grandia II? Well, the biggest difference between these three is their format. Grandia and Grandia II stuck with a familiar town-dungeon-town format, and generally speaking the dungeons in these two games weren’t that tough.
Grandia Xtreme instead has a primary town (Locca) that the group works from, although there was a second town to be fair (Escarre). Instead of adventuring around and exploring new areas, I simply warped to the dungeon I needed to go to; and these were tough! In general they were much larger and held tougher enemies than the previous games. Same goes for the boss battles; these guys were tough, requiring level grinding at the end.
The best thing about the Grandia games has always been the combat, and Grandia Xtreme excels here. The battle system is pretty much directly lifted from Grandia II. Throw in the ability to fight more enemies at once and speed it up a little, and it’s the best of the three. Magic and skills function the same way, although mana eggs have slightly changed. This time around, eggs can be combined to form new eggs, and there are a lot of combinations to figure out.
Okay, so besides the format, there are other qualities of Grandia Xtreme that made me say it has an identity crisis. First off, six of the seven companions that join Evann, join him at the same time; and there is really little exposition for them. Throughout the game, I learned a little more about them individually, but they were really flat characters. In comparison, Grandia and Grandia II featured many characters that grew throughout their adventures. The second major aspect that draws my criticism is the item format. I would’ve preferred randomly dropped loot from enemies instead of acquiring gear as I would in a traditional RPG: buying better gear when it’s available from the store.
I don’t usually do this but there were a lot of minor gripes I had with Grandia Xtreme that I’m going to have a complaint dump. There’s not a lot of voice acting in the game, and what’s present is either overacted or just spoken awkwardly. There wasn’t much depth the characters or overarching storyline. Not including an item that could warp me back to town stunk, as did the infrequent save opportunities. The camera moved slowly in dungeons and I would’ve preferred having the camera controls mapped to the right analog stick rather than L1 and R1. Characters crossed paths too often in battle, canceling their turns. On the bright side, load times were practically nonexistent; much better.
I really want to say I enjoyed Grandia Xtreme. Leveling up characters and equipping them with new gear, just to watch their stats incrementally improve is somehow exciting to me and Grandia Xtreme was very pleasing. The dungeons were challenging and fulfilling, and the battle system is top notch. But, I’m glad to be done with the game, and can’t recommend it over Grandia or Grandia II.
Returning to school last week cut into my gaming/writing time so I was only able to pump out one article: my demo impressions of Bodycount. I was also played the demo for Toy Soldiers: Cold War however and should post my demo impressions of that game tomorrow.
Besides those two demos I did play a few other games. I barely played any Grandia Xtreme but I plan on playing it tonight. I played a little bit of Halo 3 online attempting to clean up my achievements in that game. Surprisingly I played a good deal of OutRun Online Arcade. I purchased this game late last year and played a little then. I’m going to write a review for it, but want to play more of it. I’m expecting late this week or next week for that, pending free time that is. Lastly I played a level of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure with my girlfriend. We’ve played it previously but lost our save file. We definitely want to beat it and I’d like to write about it, but who knows when either will happen.
I’ll post my demo impressions of Toy Soldiers: Cold War tomorrow and we’ll see what else happens this week.
To recap last week, I published my review of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and my demo impressions of Driver: San Francisco. I liked pretty much everything in Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, except the point and click gameplay and I thought the Shift mechanic in Driver: San Francisco as at odds with the realism I thought the game was attempting to portray, but I still enjoyed it.
This week I return to college as my fall semester is beginning! I’m not sure how it will affect the frequency of my writing yet, but my homework load will be the determining factor.
I’m still playing Grandia Xtreme. I know I’m close to the end, but I’m not sure how many hours away from it I am. I should hopefully be done by next week, or the week after next. That’s all I’ve been focusing on, but I did go out and purchase Halo 3: ODST last week which means I finally have all of the multiplayer maps for Halo 3! I’ve been playing Halo 3 multiplayer every now and then with a friend, but I don’t expect to write about either Halo 3 or Halo 3: ODST having beaten both ages ago.
I don’t know what’ll get posted this week, but keep watching!
I’m very happy about last week. I was able to throw a lot of posts up and made progress in the games currently on my docket.
I believe I’m in the final stages of Grandia Xtreme. Before I began playing the game I read a few reviews and one of them mentioned a one hundred floor dungeon. Well, the dungeon I’m currently in seems like it’s going to go on for a long time (there’s been a teleport back to town every five levels so far) and it being the final dungeon would coalesce with where I’m at in the story.
My friend and I also played a couple more hours of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, but we’re still pretty early on in that game.
I think I will write my first impression/review of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP this week. I’ve played it off and on for a month or so now, but it has been frustrating me recently and I’m going to write about it and be done with it. Although I’ll probably play it when I’m bored in the future…
I began playing a lot of Halo 3 last week. I remembered I recently renewed my Xbox Live Gold and began playing it with my friend. We also played a good deal of NBA Jam on the Sega CD and that game is awesome!
So I should post something about Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP this week, and we’ll see what else.
I took the week off from work last week and I really enjoyed my time off. Visited Eureka Springs, Arkansas among other things. Conveniently enough, I played some video games too.
I’m still moving along nicely in Grandia Xtreme. I’ve put about ten hours into the game and really dig the long, fairly challenging dungeons. The combat is fast-paced and I enjoy it so the time really flies by.
Besides that, my friend and I began playing Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers for the Wii. It’s an action-adventure game that has minor co-op integration. It looks very nice but doesn’t control all that great. Most of the gameplay so far has stemmed from set pieces that utilize the unique features of the Wii.
I’ve got a few demos I want to play so I will post some first impressions this week.
I’ve decided to move my In Between Posts posts to Sunday instead of Monday. I guess I believe the week begins on Sunday, and that fits the purpose of these posts better.
Anyways, I played two demos last week and finished Advent Rising. The demo for Catherine kept me interested in the game, while the demo for Dead Block was enough for me.
Now that I’m finished with Advent Rising I will focus on Grandia Xtreme for the PlayStation 2. Grandia Xtreme was a spin-off of sorts for the Grandia series; it plays more like a dungeon crawler than a traditional role-playing game where you go from town-town with small dungeons in between. I’ve enjoyed it so far.
I also played a little bit of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcey EP on my iPod. I bought it about a month ago and started playing it, but as I’m prone to do with iOS games, stopped. I took a few long breaks at work and will hopefully finish it soon.
As far as posts for this week go, I’ll probably have some demo impressions up, and maybe a review for Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.