Developed by Game Arts, Sickhead Games Published by GungHo America Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Recently we have seen an influx of classic games getting the HD remaster treatment on modern consoles. I for one really like this trend because growing up I didn’t really have PlayStation consoles so I missed out on a lot of classic games that I’m just now getting to play. A huge RPG franchise that I missed out on was the Grandia series. I’d always see the ads for Grandia in Game Pro and Game Informer and I was always super interested in playing it. Luckily I was finally able to get my hands on the series with the Grandia HD Collection for the Switch. Grandia HD Collection is currently available on the Switch and a release is slated for PC in September.
This collections boasts not just the original Grandia but it also features Grandia II. These two RPGs packaged together makes for a total possible play time of over 100 hours. This is a really great deal for its selling price of $39.99 on the eShop. Did the years of anticipation live up to finally playing it? It’s hard to say. It’s both a yes and a no, but let’s dive deeper into it.
Now that I’ve had the chance to experience both Grandia titles, the word that comes to my mind is ‘adventure.’ This is hammered in right when the opening movie plays. You’re treated to some of the sights and locations that you’ll visit during your playthrough. Now even though both games have been remastered, they do show their age with trends common to RPGs from the late 90s and early 2000s with slow paced openings and uneven pacing throughout the games. In Grandia you’ll find yourself with a low amount of exp gained per battle. Its skill/magic system works similarity to Secret of Mana’s system where the more you use a skill the stronger it gets. Once it gets strong enough you unlock a new skill. This makes it important to level up your skills to suit your play style.
What really sets Grandia apart as a JRPG is its combat system. Both games feature an active combat system that relies heavily on the position of your characters and when your attack lands on your opponent. For example, if you hit the enemy hard enough when they are charging up to make a huge attack you can cancel that move from going off. Other times you can counter the enemy and do a little more damage. If the enemies are all grouped up while using a spell or skill that covers a wide area, chances are you can hit everyone at once. Now be careful because what works on enemies also works on your party. Combat also boasts a lot of tactics that you can give to your party to have them act independently. If you’re also tired of grinding you can also set your whole party to auto battle and just let them go at it.
Grandia HD Collection offers two classic RPGs in one package for the wonderful price of $39.99. While the games do show their age it’s a good bundle for players who want to re experience or experience for the first time the tales of Grandia.