Quite a lot has happened since the last time I wrote about my play through, but honestly, I’m getting kind of tired of just retelling the story of the game in these articles. I’ve done this with all three of the Final Fantasy games as well as the Witcher, but I’d like to write more about the mechanics and other gameplay elements instead. This is why I’ll try to only shortly focus on the story in Grandia from now on.
The Story from New Parm to the village of Luc
So since last time, Justin got on the ship to the new continent. On the ship, he found out Sue followed him and snuck on board, so they were forced to work as sailors for the duration of the trip. Soon, they met Feena, a third playable character, who was already an adventurer. The three of them went on board of a ghost ship and defeated the boss there before finally reaching New Parm.
In New Parm, Justin got extremely disappointed with the local Adventurer’s Guild, which turned out to be just a glorified tourist agency. The president of the guild also kidnapped Feena and tried to force her into marrying him, so there was that to. Sue and Justin rescued Feena and the three of them went to explore the nearby ruins where they talked to Liete again.
Returning from the ruins, they found a wounded kid with ah horns and a tail. The Garyle military, including Mullen, Leen and the three teenage girl generals were after the kid, so they imprisoned everyone. Thanks to some help from Leen, the group and the kid, named Ren, managed to escape and went to Ren’s home at Luc Village.
The Garyle army followed and tried to steal a sacred statue, which turned out to be a huge spirit stone. It broke, but the army took half of it. Also, Leen turned out to be Feena’s sister! Right now, I’m heading for the End of the World, a huge wall which no one managed to climb yet. I guess I’ll be the first to do it.
Initially, I tried to train my skills intelligently, so I could get new, useful moves as soon as possible. Eventually, I realized there isn’t much point to this, because the game modifies the various formulas for experience gain so you can’t get to far ahead in any one skill or spell, and it’s extremely easy to catch up with skills you neglected for a while.
This didn’t stop me from overtraining completely, though. At Don ruins, there is an area with traps that do damage to everyone in the party right next to a save point. Basically, I was able to use my healing spells in the field until I ran out of mana and then just go back to the save point to recover. I did this until everyone’s water magic was at level 5 or higher. By that point, the process became so slow I just didn’t feel like grinding anymore. Still, this gave me access to Slumber, All Heal and provided some very welcome stat boosts. The extra mana points will especially be useful.
Speaking of magic, I haven’t really said anything about how it works. Justin and Sue don’t start with any magic before they meet Feena, who starts with a the fire skill available. From then on, I can find items called mana eggs in various places of the world, as long as I explore everything thoroughly. Each mana egg can then be used at a shop to teach one skill to a character. There’s a limited amount of eggs, so I’m not sure if there’s enough for everyone to learn all four magic skills, so I decided to use the eggs on the characters who will stick with me until the end of the game first.
I guess I forgot about that. Grandia is a game with a relatively large number of characters, but you never really assemble your party in any way. Instead, old characters leave and new join at various points in the story. As I said, I’m not sure if I can get enough eggs to teach all the skills to all of them, so for now, I’ll be teaching the two who will be staying with me until the end – Justin and Feena. Right now, Justin has already learned all four and Feena only lacks the Earth skill. I think I managed to get all the eggs I could to this point. I got:
- One from the ghost ship boss
- One in the sewers beneath New Parm
- One on Merril Road
- Two in Rangle Mountains (one in each sub-area)
- One in Dom Ruins
I’m a bit worried I missed an egg in the Misty Forest, but I tried to explore everything, so I’m hoping I didn’t. In any case, that means I got a total of six eggs up to and including the village of Luc. Since the party can hold four characters, and I know Feena started with the Fire skill already available, this means I need at most fifteen total. I’m also 90% sure one of the final characters starts with plenty of skills learned, so the total number is probably even smaller.
When I played the game as a kid, I’ve definitely missed a bunch of eggs so I was also missing a lot of skills at the end, so I’ll do what I can to stop this from happening again.
The Skills and Spells
I like how the various moves you can do in battle don’t follow the usual mold as much as most other games do. There’s no “Fire 1/2/3” in this one. There are stronger and weaker fire spells, but they differ in name, look, mechanics, basically everything other than the element. There are also combination such as fire + wind (thunder), water + wind (ice), etc.
Each character gets several weapon skills and four possible magical skills. Using any of the moves related to the skill provides some experience in that skill. Once 100 experience is collected, the character gains a skill level. To unlock moves you need a amount of levels in a certain combination of skills.
In addition to this, each skill gain provides different stat bonuses, so you can actually specialize your characters to a degree. For instance, if I focus on axes and earth magic with Justin, he’ll do a lot more damage with the extra strength he gains. On the other hand, fire and sword skills will increase his wit. It’s quite a fun system, but for now, I’ve been using the “gotta catch ’em all” approach of using all the skills equally so I could get more moves sooner.
Honestly, the game is really easy now. Part of it is probably due to abusing the trap mechanic at Dom ruins and part due to exploring everything, which made me get a lot of experience and money, which I then used to buy fresh equipment at every shop. Part of it also because I’m really still at the start of the game. The overall story isn’t really known yet and for now, the goals the game provides are very immediate – “go to the next area to learn more”.
Mostly, it’s because I have a better grasp of the mechanics now than what I had as a kid. Back then, I was running away from monsters, getting ambushed, wasting mana eggs and focusing on the wrong skills. Now, I understand how to slow down enemies, cancel their attacks, move away from potential damage and just use all the skills at my disposal far more effectively. Thanks to this, several bosses I fought up to this point didn’t get a chance to hurt me even once.