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So when I wasn't mourning the death of my Lunar 2 CDs, I decided to find another RPG to pick up.

I picked Grandia 3, on the "well, at least it's not a third run-through of Suikoden V..." ticket, combined with campaigns from the "There's no fucking way I have time to sit through Xenosaga's 45 minute cutscenes" and "What else do you have? Lost Magic? HA!" special interest groups.

I have to say a few things: first off, the battles are - predictably - awesome. It's a little harder to see exactly what's going on, thanks to the change in camera angles and the action meter (from Grandia II), but the battles are still good so far, and deep, even at this early stage in the game. No complaints here, whatsoever.

Also, the graphics are very good no matter what you're doing. Suikoden V - the conventional RPG of the year so far (I don't expect Suikoden V to beat Morrowind in any all-inclusive voting, I'm not stupid) had some killer cutscenes, but the graphics and presentation in overhead scenes, and battle scenes, were somewhat lacking, and the PS1-like loading times only made those few shortcomings worse. Here, the loading times are non-noticeable, and the graphics, and even most of the voicework, are well above par. The cutscenes are very, VERY well done.

But there's one thing that would make the presentation better: actually having something worthwhile to present.

Anyone here ever do a "Paint by Numbers" painting? You know, where you see the number 34 on the canvas, and look on a little guide that tells you that 34 equals orange? That's paint by numbers; a monkey could make it.

Well, Game Arts has released the first ever RPG by Numbers. A monkey could have made it... and predicted it.

I'm slightly less than an hour in, and so far, I've checked off a number of RPG stereotypes. Cheezy story about a youth trying to find his DREAMS~ through some external vessel (in this case, flying)? Check. Said youth is lamer than a limp dick? Check. Said youth has borderline incompetant best friend who doesn't battle and more or less gets in the way? Check. Said youth has a female authority figure that raised him (more on this in a bit), despite being... maybe five years older than him? Check. And what would an RPG be without the PURE OF HEART~~~ healer chick?

These cliches are put together in a way that makes me believe that they structured the story of this game from a game of Mad Libs. "OK, the hero's name is (Japanese male name), and he wants to be a great (noun), like his hero (proper noun), and travel the world in his (transportation device that a 15 year old could never hope to build, but does), but receives interference from his (synonym for authority figure) that raised him. :( Eventually, they stumble upon a fragile female with a pure spirit, who happens to be a (noun; vauge synonym for magic user)." Seriously, I'm not expecting every game to be the next Xenosaga... but this is rediculous. It's like I'm watching a well-made ABC Afterschool Special, it's so tripe, and takes so few chances. I'm not expecting every game I see to be the next Xenosaga - afterall, part of what's wrong with the genre nowadays is because FF VII set the "emo" and "angst" bars to a point where everyone tries - and fails - to get over them - but take SOME chances! And make your characters somewhat engaging!

The sad thing? I'm not expecting it to get better. Tycho from PA said this: We've recast Yuki as our point of view - but in context he's just another Goddamn doofus, like the rest of the idiots pressed to those discs. Every moment of the game where you are not directly involved in combat is torture. Things begin in a way that is heartwarming but not unctuous, with a party of somewhat novel construction and a mystery gently provided. The execution from there on out proceeds much like a actual execution, with the eventual death of the human brain. As someone that likes to wax poetic, and just got done absorbing a grandose story with enough political tactics and intrigue to make me gush to this day, somehow... I can't get excited about a story that basically equates, so far, to "there's big, bad men out there! Let's kill them... with the LOVE OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT~"

I'm wondering if I should stick this out... or trade it in while it's value is still high.

EDIT: I'm noticing that Derge of Cerebus is getting absolutely fucking HAMMERED by... just about everyone. That shouldn't make me as giddy as it does, but I can't help it.

EDIT: I forgot all about Miranda! For those that don't know, Miranda is Yuki's "mother". I put quotes up because... there's no fucking way! Check her out; there's no way possible a woman as young as her gave birth to someone obviously in his teens, not to mention how they interact; he calls her by name instead of the honourific "mom" or "mother", she teases him like a big sister, and goes as far as to STOW AWAY ON HIS BIG FLIGHT (which predictably goes awry; another RPG cliche). So why is she listed as his "mother"? Did she take him in while he was a baby? Is she older than she obviously looks and acts? Poor translation? Trying to appeal to incest fans? YOU MAKE THE CALL!

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
yubsie
Aug. 14th, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
Heh, apparently someone took that RPG Cliche List as some sort of GUIDELINE. Is there a Major Villain X who might possibly Mr Protaganist's father?
superbus
Aug. 14th, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC)
Haven't gotten far enough yet to know; the only bad guy I know of is VERY obviously bad; none of this "former soldier who got lost with Jenova" shit. He's big, cruel, has large scars, and hits the ground with a REALLY BIG CLUB (with spikes!) hard enough to cause cracks in the Earth. For no reason, at that. It's like they didn't think we could handle any surprises in our storylines.

It's a polarizing experience, to say the least; no chance of being betrayed, at least.
yubsie
Aug. 14th, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
Okay that doesn't really sound like Secret Daddy material. :p

It's like those Captain Planet villains who would pollute just 'cause! :p
bardiche
Aug. 14th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
I was hoping beyond hope that Grandia 3 wouldn't end up... you know, being like that. I mean, I loved the first one, and liked the second one, but... ah well. Looks like my "Rule of Threes in Games" strikes again.

(Yes, I am well aware that it's not the third game in the series. I think my point still stands, tho.)
dmajohnson
Aug. 14th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
I don't know--Those look like some REALLY motherly hips. :|
hezul
Aug. 14th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
Aw, man. I'd been looking forward to when I would have enough cash to go pick up Grandia III, too.

And the sad part is, even after knowing the plot is lame? I'll probably still end up buying it. Because Grandia Xtreme didn't even pretend to have a plot and I still managed to enjoy it by focusing on the battles and ignoring everything else. How's the battle system feel in this one as opposed to 2? Because much as I'd like to have a game with a real plot, I'll probably still end up picking it up to try out whatever adjustments they've made to it, because ultimately I am a WHORE for the Grandia engine.

(That still makes me really sad about the hero, though. I've come to rely on Grandia for awesome heroes. Ryudo! Fucking Ryudo, dammit! That is what I want in a hero! D: )
superbus
Aug. 14th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
From what I've seen - remember, I'm not even an hour in - it seems like a carbon copy of Grandia II's engine, with asthetic differences. I haven't gotten deep into Grandia II in a very long time (not since the VMU Incident, which cost me advanced saves in Soul Calibur, NFL 2K1, Shining Force and Grandia II which I have never recovered from), but it seems like they added a skill move to go along with magic; those skills are used by using - shock - SP, which you can recover 10% of if you win a battle without taking damage... hence, where the skill comes into play when it comes to canceling moves by your opponents.

But if you're such a whore for the engine... still avoid it. I've heard they cut combat down significantly here, and while boss fights are supposedly very nice, they're very few and far between. If you're going into this just for the conbat, then the plot will make you cry to the point where it doesn't really matter anymore. I would go as far as to say that Grandia Xtreme has a BETTER plot... yeah, I'm not kidding, either.

(I personally liked Ryudo's sidekick better. But the characters throughout the game were much better; even the stereotypical mage chick was much better done)
hezul
Aug. 14th, 2006 07:35 pm (UTC)
I might still have to give it a try because I am THAT LAME. :/

(Actually, if you do end up deciding to trade it back, mind telling me how much you'd get for it? If I'm still feeling horribly compelled to satisfy my curiosity train wreck syndrome curiosity, I might would be willing to give you however much for it.)
superbus
Aug. 14th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
EBGames.com is reporting it at $26.99, with a backorder.

For you? $15, which would include shipping. That's actually a little bit less than some people on Ebay, apparently, but with me, you at least get peace of mind.
hezul
Aug. 14th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
I would love you with the fury of a....something okay I fail at metaphors today. ♥
samuraiter
Aug. 15th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
Grandia is one of those series that started on a wonderfully high note ... and headed downwards. (Notice that G3 was distributed by Square Enix; the SE curse is still in operation.) I've only played a bit of G3, but I wasn't exactly moved by the experience. G1 hit the ground running, G2 hit it angsting, GXT missed it completely, and G3 just kinda hovers right above it. It's a shame to see such promise squandered.

I mean, by itself, it's a good game, but, as I find myself frequently noting for more and more series, it doesn't live up to the lineage. (See: Lunar Dragon Song.)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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