Grandia III

Grandia III

Infobox VG| title = Grandia III


developer = Game Arts
publisher = Square Enix
designer =
engine =
released = JPN August 4, 2005
NA February 14, 2006
genre = RPG
modes = Single player
ratings = CERO: Ages 12 and up
ESRB: Teen (T)
platforms = PlayStation 2
media = 2 × DVD-ROM
requirements =
input =
nihongo|"Grandia III"|グランディアIII|Gurandia Surī 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. It was released on August 4, 2005 in Japan and on February 14, 2006 in North America. No European release has been announced. 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.

Game play

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.

Combat

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 Books

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 alloted 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.

Plot

etting

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.

tory

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.

Characters

Playable Characters

Yuki (Seiyuu - Masaya Matsukaze) (Voice actor - Johnny Yong Bosch) :Yuki is a headstrong boy who idolizes the legendary pilot Schmidt, aiming to be the second pilot to fly across the ocean, like Schmidt. He dreams of flying; the time meant to be training to become a potter has been spent instead in building many planes with varying degrees of failure. His father remains as of yet unknown. As with past Grandia protagonists, he wields a sword, uses magic fairly well (this excludes Ryudo) and learns the Dragon Slash technique prominent throughout the series.:Yuki's special moves include Aerial Slash, Whirlwind, Flash, Blade Storm, Invincible Aura and Dragon Slash.

Miranda (Seiyuu - Mayumi Wakamura) (Voice actress - Michelle Ruff) :Miranda is Yuki's mother, though Yuki refers to her by her first name. She knows her son inside and out. She is very supportive of her son, and often speaks well of him to Alfina for his benefit. She ends up accompanying Alonso on his journey to complete his personal world map. She wields two daggers in battle and has above average magic skills. :Miranda's special moves include Dagger Dash and Force Slash. Because she leaves early in the game, she does not learn anything else.

Alfina (Seiyuu - Haruka Kinami) (Voice actress - Stephanie Sheh) :Alfina is a softspoken girl and the next in line for the Communicators after Emelious, her brother. She seeks to find her brother, who has, for reasons unknown, abandoned his duties bitterly and disappeared. She seems to be pursued by different groups who, for varying wishes, either wish for her to halt her search or to capture her. Alfina happens to be the most emotional type of all of the characters and thus is quite similar to Elena of Grandia II. She uses a staff in battle, and is geared towards casting spells more than actual combat.:Alfina's special moves include Comet Spike, Stun Force, Ripple Shot, Holy Circle, Energy Drive and Armageddon, which she learns from Hect before taking on Xorn.

Alonso (Seiyuu - Shingo Katsurayama) (Voice actor - Bob Buchholz) :Alonso is a seagoer through and through, as well as a serious gambler on the side (he even lost his own ship for a time due to his choice game of chance: Arrange Dice). His goal is to personally complete his own map of the world and he strongly encourages Yuki to follow his dreams of flying. In battle, he wields a harpoon and has rather poor magic skills.:Alonso's special moves include Thrust Crash and Lancer Smash. Like Miranda, he leaves the group early in the game and doesn't learn anything else.

Ulf (Seiyuu - Takeru Shibaki) (Voice actor - Brian Beacock) :Ulf (Ull in the Japanese version) is an uncomplicated fellow who has lived in the Valley of Dragons for most of his life. Like the rest of his village, he has a love for food and simplicity. However, due to his parents' strict attitude he left the village behind, earning the dissent of many of the villagers. He and his dragon, Shiba, have made some acquaintance with Alonso and Schmidt. His weapon is a flail which alone causes great damage. His techniques are even more powerful. As one of the typical strongmen archetypes of RPGs, he has low magic skills to balance his immense strength.:Ulf's special moves include Rockbreaker, Force Wave, Flame Spike, Bigwheel, Shadow Warrior, Inferno Spike, Red Lotus and Dynamite Rush.

Dahna (Seiyuu - Sayaka Yoshino) (Voice actress - Jessica Straus) :A 23-year-old who has been the leader of her village ever since her love, Raven, mysteriously disappeared. Since then, she has grown cynical, scoffing feelings of love. Some view her as harsh and cold hearted, but those that follow her know that she is really a compassionate person. She believes that cards have an influence or reflection of life, and uses them to attack and cast magic. Much like Alfina, she prefers to cast spells more than actually fight, but the fact she can throw her cards at enemies from anywhere on the field gives her the advantage of distance. However, to balance this, she has the lowest Move rating of any character, meaning changing her position to another part of the field is difficult unless augmented with magic or equipment.:Dahna's special moves include Homing Shot, Mana Capture, Dancing Cards and Mana Spring.

Hect (Seiyuu - Ayaka Maeda) (Voice actress - Kari Wahlgren) :Hect is the mayor of the Terrarium, the only habitable town in the Verse Realm. To make things worse, her world is being crystallized and destroyed by a phenomenon called the Curse of Xorn. Because of this curse, she believes her world must be forgotten and thus often displays a hopeless and depressed personality. Now she spends her time severing the bonds between her world and the 'main world' by playing a mysterious (and sad) song on her violin. Hect joins the party temporarily later in the game until you get Alfina back and is in many ways the strongest character in the party. She uses a baton in battle to fight and uses it to fling energy spheres at enemies from a mid-ranged distance. Of course, her real power lies in her absurdly high MP and Magic stats (even higher than Dahna's), along with her one-of-a-kind Heaven's Gate spell.:Hect's special moves include Crimson Shock, Freeze and Armageddon, which is passed on to Alfina when she leaves the party before the battle with Xorn.

Non-Playable Characters

Rotts (Voice actor - Kirk Thornton) :Rotts is Yuki's old friend, who helped Yuki with his different airplanes. He leaves for the mainland himself after seeing Yuki off on his intended trans-oceanic flight, hoping to meet Yuki when he succeeds. Yuki meets with him later.

Emelious (Voice actor - Lex Lang) :Emelious is Alfina's brother, and the one meant to be the next Communicator. He ran away from his duties and attained the power of Xorn in order to destroy the guardians and become a god himself. In the end, he realizes life would be empty without Alfina and confronts Xorn, only to die, but not before saying to Yuki "Take good care of my sister".

Raven (Voice actor - Jamey Schrick) :A mysterious, black and red clad man, Raven bears unknown connections to Emelious and the Guardians, as well as a romantic connection to Dahna. He batlles, but is defeated by Emelious, and dies after receiving a kiss from Dahna. Schmidt (Voice actor - Michael McConnohie) :Schmidt is the idol of pilots everywhere, both the pioneer in flight and the best. He has grown into a disgruntled, blunt recluse, and only in extremely rare cases will build a plane for someone else. He had a wife who presumedly died in an accident. Schmidt is the first person in Grandia III to fly across to the mainland.

Kornell (Voice Actor - Bob Papenbrook):Kornell is at first seen as a bandit seeking Alfina's capture (initially angered when Miranda calls him a "muscle-bound peabrain") but is later found to be working alongside Violetta under Emelious. Kornell battles Yuki and crew with a Battleaxe and an Iron Fist (which is treated as a target).

Violetta (Voice Actress - Wendee Lee):A psychotic woman who is madly in love with Emelious who attempted to kill Yoat, but failed. She is destroyed when she tries to call out to Xorn. Violetta battles Yuki and crew with a Demon Scythe.

La-Ilim (Voice Actor - Daran Norris):An inhuman and wicked creature who serves Emelious. He is able to use a Crystal Skull to summon a dragon from the dead, which he used to battle Yuki and crew twice.

Grau (Voice Actor - Kim Strauss):A man who works alongside Emelious apparently as his right-hand man. He is later revealed to have plotted against him to use Xorn's power, but is destroyed by him.

Bianca (Voice Actress - Mona Marshall):A self-centered gambler who owns her own casino and is utterly detested by all those who visit it. She took advantage of Alonso's gambling habits and took Alfina's Communicator Brooch as well as his ship. However, Alonso earned them back by revealing that she was cheating everyone.

acred Beasts

Gryph (Voice Actor - Paula Tiso):Gryph is the guardian of Arcriff and leader of the other five who takes the form of a giant eagle. She is a benevolent soul and gives wisdom much like a queen would. She assures Alfina that there is reason to love her brother, despite how evil he has become, only to be killed by him shortly afterwards.

Drak (Voice Actor - Douglas Rye):Drak is the guardian of Dragon Valley who (naturally) takes dragon form. He is wise and noble, allowing Ulf to pass through despite his defection out of boredom. He is killed after questioning Emelious if he can really control Xorn's power.:Drak's Orb performs powerful fire damage which continues to knock opponents down with every round.

Yoat (Voice Actor - Kim Strauss):Yoat is the guardian of Baccula who takes the form of a mountain ram. He is attacked by Violetta and Kornell, who are repelled by Yuki and crew. He gives Dahna the courage to continue to lead her people as chief.:Yoat's Orb recovers and revives your party and continues to do so with each passing turn.

Seiba (Voice Actor - Douglas Rye):Seiba is the guardian of Vejas Jungle who takes the form of and armored unicorn. He informs Alfina of how powerful Emelious has become and is the last guardian to die in order to summon Surmania from the Verse realm.:Seiba's Orb powers your party's stats, making them stronger, faster, etc.

Unama (Voice Actor - Sherry Lynn):Unama is the guardian of Melc Castle who takes the form of a dolphin. She died presumably before Emelious' wrath, but knows her spirit can rest in peace with Alfina, strong as she is.:Unama's Orb stops time, freezing your enemies in place.

Xorn (Voice Actor - Douglas Rye):Xorn is the guardian of the Verse Realm and takes the form of a giant, shadowy mass. He is very evil and unbecoming of a guardian, and waged war with the other five. His power was sealed, but awakened by Emelious, who sought to revive him, but ended up doing so out of love for his sister, Alfina. Xorn serves as the game's final boss.

Crew

*Chief director: Hidenobu Takahashi
*Main scenario writer
*Movie director & Scenario supervisor: Ryu Kaneda
*Character illustrator: Yo Yoshinari
*Music composer: Noriyuki Iwadare
*CG producer: Mikitaka Kurasawa

Trivia

*Johnny Yong Bosch, Michelle Ruff and Stephanie Sheh provide the voices of Yuki, Miranda and Alfina, who are your first three party members. They also play Ichigo Kurosaki, Rukia Kuchiki and Orihime Inoue in the anime series Bleach, who are also the first three major characters to achieve primary focus.

External links

* [http://na.square-enix.com/games/grandia3/ Official U.S site of Grandia III]
* [http://www.square-enix.co.jp/grandia3/ Official Japanese site of Grandia III]


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