Grandia is a classic RPG that was released for the Sony Playstation 1 in late 1999. With a unique magic system and fun game play Grandia is a great play.

Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: October 26, 1999
Platforms: PS1
JustRPG Score: 91%
+Unique magic system.
+Great voice acting.
+Classic RPG action.
-Slow story line.
-Dated graphics.
-Some characters are annoying.


Grandia Overview

Grandia is a traditional RPG for the Sony Playstation 1. This basic role playing game is like most created at this time. Characters will level up and gain new abilities and stats and will grow stronger the more you use them. Where this game differs from others in the genre is it’s magic system. Players exchange magic eggs to learn a type of spell. As the player uses that spell it will level up and they will learn more. If you have two types of spells and level them both you will also get new spells that are combinations of the two. The story starts out really slow and is a bore at first, but later on the story picks up and gets much more engaging.

Grandia Screenshots

Grandia Featured Video

Full Review

Grandia Review

By, Jason Ferguson

.hack Part 1 Infection (Dot Hack) begins with a bang. Something disastrous happens to your character‘s real world friend, while innocently playing a 20 million-subscriber base, wildly popular online RPG game (MMORPG), The World. To unravel the mystery of your friend’s misfortune, you become an online, ingame rogue hacker, exploring every corner of The World, even some virus-infected ones.
The hero is armed with the special skills of Data Drain and Gate Hack, and some colorful, talented fellow adventurers to fill the two other available party slots. Different adventurers must accompany you depending on the plot‘s development. You have some control over the others in your party, including upgrading them through trades or gifts. You can play only a single class, Twin Blade. Other characters are from different classes, with varied strengths and weaknesses, from a mage type (Wavemaster) to a bully (Heavy Axeman).
Gameplay takes place in three principal areas – towns, fields, and dungeons. Towns house The World’s servers. There, the player can save the game, buy magic scrolls and useful and unique items, store items, buy equipment, and talk and trade with lots of other players in character online. One town has an unusual ranch to check out, a patent homage to an enduring feature of just about every Final Fantasy.
The town’s Chaos Gate provides instant teleportation to a particular wide-open Field, containing monster encounter hotspots, a mystical spring, treasure, and lots of mysterious food. You enter three distinct keywords, some known at the game‘s onset, and others learned through play. Whatever keywords are entered, the difficulty level of the destination is helpfully revealed. This prevents a low-level party from being massacred. Once the keywords are entered, you travel through the Chaos Gate. (You can enter specific keywords learned to continue the plot, do side quests, or do unlimited exploring. Or, you can instruct the Gate to enter random keywords, and take your chances. There‘s also an option to enter any keywords you wish from a word list.) Every Field houses a single Dungeon. The dungeons, where you spend much of the game fighting for your life, are not overly large in size, and always range between three and five average levels.
Many have compared Dot Hack to Phantasy Star Online Episode I and II (PSO) on the Gamecube. Let us gently discredit this. We feel Dot Hack has far better graphics than PSO. The Fields and Dungeons contain many colorful, over stylized backdrops and settings, including weather effects. Dot Hack’s monsters resemble the beautifully-drawn monsters of the later Final Fantasy’s. Dot Hack’s world is gigantic with a seeming infinite number of locations to explore. PSO’s world is relatively small, and plot is threadbare, with meaningless, though fun, side quests, which instill no enthusiasm in the player. Dot Hack’s plot is deep and complex, with each subplot advancing the story just a little bit further. (Remember though, the end of this game in no way comes close to wrapping up the story, to be completed in the three games to be released later this year.) One visual treat, however, was lifted directly from PSO – the cascading rings that accompany the teleportation of characters to and from different areas.
Dot Hack’s combat engine can best be described as modified real-time. Much like the action-RPG, Kingdom Hearts, button mashing can be effective to beat monsters. Monster combat icons appear as large yellow twirling landmarks. As you approach, the landmark dissolves, monsters come at you big-time, and, undoubtedly, players will feel a healthy adrenaline rush. Some of Dot Hack’s many monsters do not stand around waiting to be pummeled, rather some you need to catch. Dot Hack lets you turn combat almost into a turn-based affair. The player needs only to hit Triangle in the middle of battle to pause the game instantly. From there the player can give orders to the others in the party, anything from healing someone, reviving another, casting a spell, designating a target monster. Without jeopardizing your party from the hailstorm of monster blows, combat becomes a calmer, more strategic, experience. This will help the many action-challenged. Camera angles play a big role in successful combat. You must be facing a monster to do any damage. As in many games, manipulating opposing environmental elements, like fire vs. water, is a key to successful monster combat.
Dot Hack’s cyberspace setting provides a wealth of Wow-inducing outbursts. The Data Drain option in combat is a great example. When a monster’s approaches zero, the player can Data Drain to reduce a horrendous, gigantic steel robot, for example, into a sniveling, puny monster, easily defeated with a single blow. Data Drain always results in a nifty, rare item or essential Virus Cores so you can Gate Hack areas of The World now closed, but needing investigation. One bad side effect – if you defeat, a Data Drained monster, but a single experience point is earned. One REALLY bad side effect – if you Data Drain too often without giving the skill a rest, you may overload and explode. Game Over. In the case of Boss monsters, Data Drain works the same, but what remains is no sniveling puny monster, but a full-blooded slightly less tough monster. All of this makes for interesting and captivating combat, a large part of the game.
Fresh Features
Dot Hack is replete with new and interesting features that kept us riveted.
To start, the entire background and story of a real world gamer becoming a rascal hacker, penetrating deep into a virus-infected online game, is quite novel. Combine this with Dot Hack’s emulating the look and feel of an online game universe. (Message traffic on the web shows many gamers mistakenly believe Dot Hack is a real online MMORPG, along with monthly fees! No real Internet connection is required.)
Just like in the real word, Dot Hack replicates your excitement level when “New” appears before a popular forum or on your email screen. Some of the game involves receiving emails as the plot develops, as well as new, crucial information surfacing on The World’s Board. (Look out for emails challenging you to a strange game of Tag.) The online game world looks very familiar with a bunch of characters wandering around the game’s towns, with the ubiquitous balloon icons talking typical “trash” to each other, even criticizing “newbies“.
Combat grippingly called for surprisingly strategic decision-making to succeed, not related to the usual attack or defend choices. Do you go for experience and upgrade your character or try for some special equipment or a Virus Core, vital to Gate Hacking? The innovative control of other party members became second nature to us after some practice. The game rewards a player taking chances, like entering a Field or Dungeon rated 5 levels above the player’s current level. On the other hand, the game scoffed at players entering areas much lower rated the their current level, by awarding negligible experience points for victory.
Dot Hack takes progress reports to a new level, by slowly unlocking books that contain much in the way of statistics and information. There’s even a monster compendium with tips for defeating them.
Some might complain about the minimal “Save Game” ability, but we thrived on it. You explore a very hostile cyberspace environment without the facility to save. Only in a server-hosting town is saving possible at the local Recorder. We may be a solitary voice in the Wilderness, but we like this throwback to the good old RPG days. Those of you old enough to remember the Wizardry series, may recall those fingernail-biting multi-combat treks back to the Castle just to save the game. In case you’re really stuck deep in a dungeon, a common item will teleport you to the outdoor field, from where you can simply gate back to town from the command menu.
Many pieces of equipment come with distinctive powerful attack, healing, and status skills, essential to combat dominance. The player must tradeoff whether to equip something that will raise defense or offense or something less vigorous that lets you use a powerful skill. Trading is the most successful way to upgrade equipment.
In a first, Dot Hack comes with a 45 minute anime video. This gives some great background on what’s going on in The World, as well as provide clues for completing the game. In a nice twist, voiceovers for game speech can be set for Japanese or English presentation. Listening to the authentic Japanese voices really keeps you glued to the game.
Though some may scoff at what follows as meaningless, we liked the game’s unlocking of some nifty new “toys” to like, some only available when the game is cleared. You can unlock many different background music play lists. Tired of creepy tunes, just switch to something more upbeat, or futuristic. Just like real world gamers, who constantly change their desktop wallpaper, new and different wallpapers are unlocked along the way. Some are concept art of characters, while others are full blown anime renditions of the characters. This makes for great fun, and seems to pump additional energy into the game. As you progress over a dozen special cut scenes or movies will become viewable after defeating the game.
Though Dot Hack’s extras and new wrinkles enhance the RPG game experience, much of the gameplay will ring true to those who enjoy RPG‘s. Expect plenty of exploration in a huge 3D world, frequent monster combat, tons of treasure to earn and discover, upgrading your character’s weapons and armor, and needing to level before tackling pivotal story dungeons. The status screens for the characters and all equipment are well laid out and easy to grasp.
Time for Completion
Game length in hours always concerns many purchasers. A short RPG normally takes a lot of flack, and many online are asking about Dot Hack‘s time for completion. (Some have questioned whether Bandai should have released a single 80 hour game for $50, rather than four 20-hour games for $200 for a single story. This matter is beyond the scope of this review, but our high opinion of this game as a standalone is obvious.) Our experience, playing the plot without doing side quests or extra exploration, is in the 12 to 15-hour range. Players side-questing and extensively exploring, aside from the main plot, can expect to spend 25 hours to complete the game. You can even continue to advance your character, after game completion, to get a jump start on Part 2 due in May. In the next game, your character can be imported from Part 1.
Furthermore, imagine trying to explore every nook and cranny of the fields and dungeons accessible by a large number of 3-word combinations. Doing that would put the game in the 50-hour range, if not more. However, at a certain point, new items dry up, and a single experience point is earned for any defeated monster, no matter how tough.
While, as is evident above, there is much to recommend in Dot Hack, certain concerns to varying degrees deserve mention.
From the “Why oh why did they leave this out?“ File. Pregame game board traffic and information about the Japanese version released months ago had many salivating for replaying the game in “parody” mode. This mode apparently converted all Dot Hack’s game world characters into satirical comedians. Sorry to say, this highly-anticipated feature is missing from the version released here.
The game requires massive amounts of button pressing. Every item or treasure uncovered from combat victories or exploration (opening chests, searching expired adventure remains, collecting food for Grunty’s, as examples) must be confirmed with a button press. When there could be 50-100 such occurrences in a single dungeon or field, over the course of the game, finger cramps seem inevitable. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance also required lots of bashing for buried treasure and chests, but the items literally flew into your inventory, a much better way to handle this.
The manual is woefully terse and lacking in some crucial information and guidance. While the ingame tutorials fill in many of the gaps, one extremely important gameplay feature is missing from both the manual and tutorials – instructions on control your characters directly during combat.
Final Word
We got a kick out of Dot Hack. The feeling of “just one more dungeon” dominated our lives for the 3 days to completion. The engaging environment held our attention without much effort. The strategic nature of combat, plus the convoluted plot kept us going for hours on end. The constant unlocking of both frivolous and important gameplay features created a “what’s next” anticipation. Now, if I could only read Japanese better, Dot Hack Part 2 is already out in Japan!
Final Grade: B
With the relatively recent release of Grandia Xtreme, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the masterpiece that started the series. Although not as epic as say, Xenogears, and not as impressive as say, Final Fantasy X, Grandia is an RPG classic that shouldn’t be overlooked.


The story to Grandia has some low points, but it’s still a good story. The first few hours are very slow…slow enough that I had trouble pushing myself to continue with the game. Now, looking back at what followed, I clearly made the right decision when I continued playing. Not until a good way through the first disk does the game REALLY pick up, but it becomes quite the adventure after that. The main character is Justin, a young boy who wants to be an adventurer like his father. Accompanied by his friend Sue, and carrying a memento from his father, Justin begins a quest for excitement. The group manages to get trapped in the middle of a secret military operation by the Garlyle forces. Slowly but surely, you become aware of Garlyle’s evil scheme, and risk your life to stop it. I really don’t want to give too many details about the story away simply because most of the cool stuff happens so late in the game and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything. I will guarantee though, that once you get into the meat of the plot, you won’t want to turn back!


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The characters in Grandia are surprisingly impressive. Justin annoyed me a lot at first, but the progress he makes through the game is amazing. He goes from a little kid who wants to go out and play to a brave little kid fighting to save the world. The characters all progress nicely, and you’ll grow to love most of them. Sue, one of the first party members you’ll get and the youngest member of the group, is a little bit annoying, but the remaining cast is excellent.


Combat in Grandia is EXCELLENT! For those of you who have played the newer Grandia games, it is relatively similar, but this is the one that started it all. Your party learns spells by exchanging magic eggs at stores (where you also purchase weapons and equipment…which are pretty much like any other RPG). You will then learn basic spells for whatever attribute you exchanged the egg for. The more you use each spell the more it will level itself up. Leveling a spell to high enough levels will cause it to spawn new spells, and leveling up spells of two different attributes can teach you a combined spell (for example, you can learn blizzard by leveling up wind and water). Each character also can wield multiple weapons, which also can be leveled up. Leveling up your weapons can then teach your character multiple different techniques. You also can learn combined weapon and magic attacks! It all sounds pretty confusing, but I guarantee it isn’t. Combat in Grandia is actually pretty enjoyable, and since there are no random battles you won’t have to fight very often unless you want to. When you choose to fight, how you encounter the enemy makes a difference. If the enemy comes up behind you he will have initiative and will get the first turn. If you sneak up on the enemy you will get the first turn. There’s a LOT of strategy in this game. Grandia is all about fighting, and if you don’t fight you won’t be able to level up your character, your spells or your skills. So fight often!


During battle it takes characters a while to cast spells, or use skills. The higher level the ability is the faster it will be cast. While you are preparing to cast a spell, you are vulnerable to counter attacks, which inflict greater damage. Grandia has an IP bar, which shows the progress of you and your enemies. Once a character’s IP bar is full they have several different options of what to do. Characters can evade, dodge, run away, use items, use skills, use magic or attack. You have two different types of attack though, such as a critical hit, which is a single powerful attack that may cancel enemy actions, or a combo attack, which is a series of weaker attacks that take less time to execute. This adds even more strategy to the game! Despite the huge amounts of strategy here, Grandia isn’t a very hard game at all. Still, the combat is very innovative and fun. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself actually wanting to fight every enemy you encounter. Grandia also has the awesome addition of save points that restore your HP and MP (which lots of RPGs seem to be doing nowadays), so after you run around leveling yourself up you can restore your status and do it again! You’ll probably get at least 40 or 50 hours out of this game, but unfortunately there is no real replay value here.

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The graphics in Grandia are obviously pretty dated (only because the game is several years old), but the game still features a colorful 3D world that fits the game nicely. The camera is fully rotatable, so you’ll be able to easily explore this environment. Some of the spells have nice effects, and the characters and environments, although not really impressive, are unique and nice looking. But, don’t play this game looking for exceptional graphics or you’ll be disappointed.


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Grandia featured a good amount of voice acting. Most of the voices seemed to be really well done, but there were a select few who were just plain annoying. I’m trying my best to block out the voice of Sue when she does her “rah-rah cheer.” I suggest that you NEVER use that ability…it will likely scar you for life. Other than the occasional quote by Sue or Milda, the voices were pretty good. Some of it may seem cheesy at first, but then you’ve got to remember that half of your party consists of little kids. The soundtrack to Grandia was full of both memorable songs and dull and repetitive songs, but overall the soundtrack was of high quality, and most of the music was a perfect fit for the game.


Sure, compared to many modern RPGs, Grandia seems really dated. However, it’s a classic that features one of the best battle systems in the world of RPGs. You may find games like Grandia II or Grandia Xtreme to be a bit more polished and less outdated, but this is where it all started! The story begins a bit on the slow side, but the game turns out to be an exciting adventure! Above all else, Grandia is a fun game, and if you give it a chance I’m sure you’ll agree. If you’re one of the many RPG fans that overlooked Grandia then I suggest you give it another shot!


Final Grade: 91%



Grandia Screenshots


Grandia Videos

Grandia Trailer


Guides / Links

Grandia Guides / Links

Grandia Wikipedia Entry