GRANDIA (Game Arts, 1997 - Sega Saturn, PlayStation)
There’s a very good reason for me to start this blog with Grandia: this first entry in the series, and most importantly its hero, perfectly symbolizes how video games used to make me feel. The excitement of discovery, this out of control desire to enjoy a personal journey through ever-changing lands, and the pleasure of being challenged and surprised by a story that had a heart. In one word: Adventure.
The first time I had heard about the game was in a french animation magazine (AnimeLand #63), and the moment my eyes saw the screenshots and the illustrations for the game was the moment I started to want this game very badly. There it was, a brand new world to explore, a plot that got me curious, and a brilliant character design. Lucky for me, the game was released on PlayStation in april 2000 in Europe, the magazine came out in july and, my birthday being in august, I had obviously found what I wanted to get as a gift.
Grandia is one the games I’ve spent sleepless nights playing, it even made me pretend I was too sick to go to school, just because I didn’t want this adventure to end. Ever.
Game Arts went on working on the series with two other entries (Grandia II and III), and a couple of spin-offs including the pretty great Grandia Xtreme (2002) and a MMORPG nobody seemed to care about (2009). If this one allowed the series to barely survive for a couple of years, we can pretty much say that Grandia left us in 2005…
- What I’ll never forget: The battle system which is still one of my favorites of the genre. The music, especiialy the main theme. Justin, the pure definition of a true hero and adventurer.
- What I’ll try to forget: the painfully long beginning of the game. Of course it’s totally worth it so we can truly enjoy how brilliant the adventure is after it, but it really hurts when you’re starting the game a second, third, fourth time. Oh, and the awful american dubbing! But american actors dubbing games are evil, they should never be allowed to come near any of them X(