Presented by Graham
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This month in Together Retro we delve into the world of one of the Playstation’s classic RPGs with Grandia. Developed by Game Arts, the team behind the Lunar franchise, this Japanese RPG is highly regarded for the innovations made with its strategic battle system.
For the most part, Grandia plays like a fairly typical RPG of its time – explore the world finding party members and equipment, brave perilous dungeons and level up your party as you progress through the story.
Where Grandia differs, though, is in its unique battle system. Rather than simply choosing moves and watching as your characters attack in order, Grandia adds depth to the system by allowing you to delay or counter enemy attacks with your own. However, this works both ways – your more powerful moves can be disrupted by enemies too.
Grandia was first released in Japan in 1997 exclusively for the Sega Saturn, and this version was never released in the west. However, a Playstation port of the game was released in 1999 and this version was bought to North America by Sony Computer Entertainment America, and to Europe by Ubisoft.
Although Grandia hasn’t had another physical release since the Playstation port, it was made available through Sony’s Playstation Network in North America and Europe in 2010 and can therefore be enjoyed on PS3, PSP and PS Vita consoles.
There have been numerous entries into the Grandia franchise following the first, although not all of them have been made available in the West. Grandia 2 was released for the Dreamcast in 2000 and was well regarded on the system. It was later ported to PS2 and PC. Grandia 3 was released in 2005 exclusively for PS2, and is the last traditional game released in the series to date.
In addition to the main series, several spin-offs and sidegames have been released. Most of these have remained exclusive to Japan. The last release in the series was Grandia Online – a free to play MMORPG that ran from 2009 to 2012 in Japan. Although new entries in the series seem unlikely, developer Game Arts are still active – their most recent release being Dokuro for Playstation Vita.