Following on the Lunar series, Game Arts gave us this spiritual successor. It's got the distance-based battle mechanics, it's boy heroes, it's got ancient evils, it's got evil empires, it's not particularly ground-breaking, and it's an unapologetic reminder of why Tropes Are Not Bad.The first title is most similar to Lunar, taking the latter's popular 'semi-realtime' battle system and adding fully 3-D worlds. Later games would expand the 3-D to battles themselves, allowing the series to come into its own.Mixing the turn-based battle format often attributed to console RPGs with a system of real-time action, they pause for choosing a character's next move, but other than that, characters and enemies run around the field, often trying to dodge attacks or to reach an opponent in time to interrupt their coming actions. This is especially important, since spells and attacks have different areas of effect and are vulnerable to being canceled. Consequently, with proper know-how it's even possible to end the fight without letting a single enemy attack once.Games in the series:
Broken Bridge: The first two games stopped you from going back to certain places after particular plot points. This also meant this if you didn't know where the Bonus Dungeons were, you could easily miss them and the nice rewards they give.
Cognizant Limbs: Big baddies, such as bosses, tend to have multiple parts with their own attack timers.
Combatant Cooldown System: The series features twofold combatant cooldowns: each Player Character has a "Wait" cooldown and a "Command" cooldown. The duration of the Wait cooldown depends only on the character's Speed stat (and speed-enhancing buffs), and the game pauses after a PC's Wait cooldown is over, letting the player select their next action, which is carried out after the subsequent Command cooldown, whose duration depends both on the Speed stat and the type of selected action (e.g. it's shorter for basic attacks than for massive Area of Effect spells). Furthermore, as the battles basically take place in real time (except for pausing to select commands), executing the selected action also takes some time: e.g. a melee attack requires an attacker to actually run up to the target before they can strike it. After the action is completed (or canceled), the PC is placed back on Wait cooldown. Unlike the PCs, AI enemies have only a single-phase cooldown whose duration is determined by their Speed stat.
Critical Hit: Actually a selectable attack from the start. It's good for messing around with enemies' IP bar.
Flawless Victory: Beating a battle without taking a single hit point of damage (or status effect), and with each character taking only one turn, earns you a different victory quote and theme tune.
In Xtreme, a flawless victory also gives you EXP bonuses.
In Grandia III, your party will recover 10% of their SP afterwards.
Gaiden Game: Parallel Trippers involves kids from the real world being transported into the universe of Grandia I; Xtreme is a dungeon crawler, with some of the dungeons being randomly generated. It was created to be an Evolution killer.
Get on the Boat: Generally speaking, once you board a boat, that wraps up your business on that particular side of the pond; you won't be back. On the one hand, this spotlights the linearity of the series; on the other hand, it's an effective way of making gamers feel like they're on the opposite side of the world.
Infinity+1 Sword: Averted. There are weapons that are the strongest, but the nature of the games makes strategy more important than the best weapons alone.
No Side Paths No Exploration No Freedom: Unfortunately, one of the major flaws of the game: it's exceedingly rare you have any other options on the world map beyond going to the next dungeon or restocking at the last town, and the circumstances always make sure that once you leave any region on the world map, you have no way of returning there. From a narrative standpoint, though, this has the advantage of avoiding the common RPG shortcoming of making the world seem small. In Grandia, the fact that the main characters travel around the world is actually a big deal, not something that can be done lightly in the course of less than a day. Grandia Xtreme and Grandia III do not have this, however, and you can return to almost every location. In Xtreme, the main character can teleport around using special gates. Grandia III gives you an airplane about a third of the way through the game.
Point of No Return: Once you've crossed over to a new map, any place you visited previously is gone for good. Justified in that the heroes lack a Global Airship to quickly ferry them around the world, relying mostly on slow travel across oceans. Again, this does not (usually) apply to the later two games.
Same Story, Different Names: Grandia's Angelou civilization mistakenly created the dark god Gaia through their own hubris, and were destroyed by the very same technology which built their great cities. Grandia II has a slight inversion of this story, with mankind enjoying the blessing from a benevolent god, but losing its autonomy in the process. The parallel between both games is illustrated in cutscenes showing humans making buildings appear out of thin air.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Averted, and then some. In the first two games, the departed party members not only leave behind their gear, but all of their accumulated skill and magic points, which can be re-applied to any character you want.
Spell Levels: The first Grandia game has three tiers of magic, each with its own set of magic points.
Status Buff: Recurring spells Diggin', WOW!, Speedy and Runner.
There Are No Tents: Averted. The party sets up camp inside dungeons fields to regain HP; In Grandia II, the main hero has a positively palatial tent in his knapsack. The party also usually has a meal with interesting (and occasionally hilarious) conversations.
Welcome to Corneria: Averted. Your characters will have in-depth conversations with just about every NPC, with the conversations changing in response to events in the game.
It's worth noting that the linearity of Grandia makes returning to old locations meaningless, since once you've gotten past the city limits, your job there is over. The developers could just as easily have greyed out the town names on the map rather then let you reenter. Yet you even have the option of revisiting old towns to check and see if their dialog's changed. (It has).
When Trees Attack: Man Eating Trees are a recurring enemy that shows up in forested areas. In Grandia II, they're actually disguised as part of the surroundings — until you get close.
Gaia, the main antagonist of the first Grandia, is a bizarre amalgam of plant and insect.