After what seems like an interminable wait, Dreamcast owners can finally get their hands on the English version of Grandia II, the sequel to one of the Saturn’s most beloved RPGs. Although supposedly a sequel, Grandia II does not pick up where the first Grandia left off. Instead, the game presents an entirely new storyline, replete with new characters, revamped visuals, a simplified experience system, and pseudo real-time combat. At the outset, it should be noted that Grandia II is an easier, more middle-of-the-road game than its predecessor, but there’s still plenty to love about the game, whether you’re an RPG newcomer, a veteran, or a dyed in the wool Game Arts junkie.
Thousands of years ago, the gods of good and evil, Granas and Valmar, engaged in a fierce battle for world domination. Granas defeated Valmar, but not before their battle shattered the world and split the continent of Silesia in half. It was a small price to pay, however. Evil was defeated, Valmar’s remaining body parts were sealed away, and centuries of peace and love followed. Grandia II picks up moments before this happy-go-lucky story goes to hell in a handbasket. It seems that for the last few years, evil monsters have begun repopulating the land. Seeing no end to the bloodshed, the Church of Granas in Carbo decides to do something drastic – perform a resealing ceremony on Valmar’s wings. A young girl, Elena, the gifted Songstress of Granas, is the key to the ceremony. Hired to escort Elena to the ceremony, you’ll play the role of Ryudo, a ne’er-do-well jewel thief and renowned bodyguard. Of course, things don’t go as planned – the ceremony fails, evil is unleashed, and Elena is left with a rather interesting form of schizophrenia. Pursued by the forces of darkness, you must speed Elena to the Cathedral of Granas, humankind’s last, best hope for peace. Along the way, you’ll find yourself caught up in the modern-day re-enactment of the battle of good vs. evil, save a few needy souls, and even enlist the aid of a few comrades, such as the stubborn thief, Roan, and the brash battler, Mareg. OK, so it isn’t the most original or inspired story, but there are at least a few twists to keep things fresh while during the 40 to 60 hours of your life Grandia II will occupy.