|Release Date (JPN)|| 04/08/2005 (PS2)
|Release Date (USA)|| 14/02/2006 (PS2)
|Release Date (EUR)||None Announced|
Grandia III is the most recent installment in the Grandia series, developed by Game Arts for the PlayStation 2 and published by Square Enix with music by Noriyuki Iwadare. The game follows the adventures of a boy named Yuki, and utilizes features seen in previous games of the series, such as a fast-paced battle system.
Grandia III takes place in an unnamed world, consisting of a main continent surrounded by the Belion Sea, which is vast, to the point where only one person has flown its breadth, Sky Captain Schmidt. Yuki hails from the village Anfog, on Titalos Island. Much of the world relies on methods of flying, from dragons to planes, which use a magical power source.
The Guardians are mystical beasts which reside in the world of Grandia III, hailing from the Verse Realm. They came to Yuki's world after a war broke out on their own, quieting wars in both worlds.
Approximately 5,000 years in the past the world was nearly destroyed in that war. The 12 Guardians stopped the destruction and guided the remaining people of the world to safety. They then watched over the world, imparting wisdom to the people through a chosen line of “Communicators”, who could understand the words of the Guardians.
Yuki, an aspiring pilot, has been building an airplane with his friend Rotts in the hopes of being the second pilot to fly across the ocean, following in the footsteps of his idol, Schmidt (though he keeps these plans a secret from his mother, Miranda). So far, he has been rewarded with little success, with nearly twenty projects which, for varying reasons, have failed to get him where he wants to be. On this final flight, he finds that his mother stowed away on his plane, and is unable to fly high enough with the extra weight.
His reprimanding of his mother is interrupted, however, by the sight of a girl in a carriage being chased by several men. Yuki decides to get involved, and swoops down, inevitably crashing into the forest. He and Miranda fight to defend the girl, who they learn to be Alfina, a Communicator, one of those who speaks with the Guardian beasts. They, in light of what had just happened, offer to escort her to the temple at Arcriff, and become more and more involved in the events surrounding the disappearance of Alfina's brother, Emelious.
The player controls Yuki and his companions through a detailed, fully 3D world, fighting their way through obstacles using a battle system in the same style as the other Grandia games, with some slight tweaks. Throughout the game Yuki enlists the aide of various characters and creatures called the Guardians to aid him on his journey. Rather than use a world map to travel between areas in this game, the player flies in a plane to travel between locations.
Battles in this third installment are similar to that of the previous Grandia games, with tweaks both minor and major. It uses the same premise of system, where actions are chosen, but rather than the linear IP Gauge of the other two Grandia games, it is circular, as with the Turn Dial in Grandia Xtreme.
Icons representing all characters and enemies on the field begin an encounter on a point on the dial depending on circumstances of combat (if either the enemy party or the player party was running away from the other prior to the encounter) and progress along the circle at their own rates. Once the icon reaches the Command point of the wheel, the game pauses to allow the player (or computer, if the icon is an enemy's) gives that character a command. The icon then continues an area of the gauge highlighted in red at a rate varying by the action chosen. Spells, skills and criticals progress more slowly during this period than a combo. When the icon reaches the ACT point in the gauge, the command is carried out, and the icon is sent back to the start, where the cycle continues. Characters on the field have two standard attacks: Combos and Criticals. Combos are the normal attack, in which the character will swing/stab/shoot the enemy a number of times as per their weapon's use and any applicable skills. They do more damage overall than Criticals, whose purpose is to knock the position of an enemy on the Turn Dial backwards and into the air. If a combo is performed upon an airborne enemy, then a special Aerial attack is done, which deals considerable amounts of damage. If an enemy is defeated with an Aerial Finish, the monster may drop more valuable items.
In addition, the monsters of the game have been greatly powered up since the previous Grandia games. It was actually easier to overlevel the party members in the past games and make battles effortless. However, this Grandia takes things to a new level. Monsters will always stay consistently stronger than you throughout the game. Even if your levels are high, the monsters in any one area can give you trouble. This comes partly in from the fact that the stat growth for party members is very minimal, gaining only a possible two or three points toward each statistic. This "watered down" stat growth keeps the game challenging and keeps the player on a more defensive, strategy-oriented plan of action in battles rather than just selecting the most powerful special move or spell to finish off all the enemies effortlessly. Incidentally, the final boss is still quite capable of damaging and killing the party even at Level 99 wearing the best equipment.
Mana Eggs and Skill BooksEdit
The mana eggs are present in this game as they are in other Grandia games, though, as in the other games, the system is not entirely the same. Mana eggs are equipped to a character to obtain bonuses to spells of certain elements. A person can also extract spells from a mana egg, destroying it in the process, or fuse two mana eggs together to create more powerful mana eggs, which can in turn be extracted to obtain more powerful spells. Spells are equipped individually to a character, and each requires a certain amount of a character's Magic points to be allotted to it, limiting the number of spells a character may equip.
Skills work in much the same manner, but with some differences: skills work on their own equipment slots, and use skill books, rather than mana eggs, to amplify a set of traits specific to skills. Most skills tend to be of the passive nature, without needing to be cast or activated. Skills are obtained through extraction from skill books, but skill books, unlike mana eggs, cannot be fused. Skills are also equipped in a manner similar to spells, though they are allotted a different set of points.