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    Grandia II
    Author: Drew Lanclos   Publisher: Ubi Soft   Developer: Game Arts
    Date Posted: August 15th, 2002
    SLRating: SLRating: 7/10
    Bottom Line: A great game gets mired down in a lousy port job.

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    Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
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    Graphics/Sound

    There's not a whole lot of voice acting in the game (presumably due to limited space on the GD-ROM of the original Dreamcast release), but what is present is about what you'd expect of American-localized Japanese anime, though, in my often criticized opinion, probably a notch or two up from, say, El Hazard. Ryudo is voiced by the venerable Cam Clarke, responsible for Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid, and Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among many many other roles. All the other voice actors have equally large resumes behind them, and it generally shows. Sometimes the acting can be a bit over the top, but it's usually pretty good.

    And it is at this point that the gushing of the game shall stop.

    Not that it really needs to, of course. The game, taken as a game, is a very sound one. However, as a port compared to the original Dreamcast version, it falls flat on its face. I played this game on the trusty Athlon 900 with 256 MB of RAM and a Radeon 32 MB. The game looked gorgeous even in 800x600, but particularly nice in 1024x768x32. However, it was practically unplayable at that resolution, as it ran so slowly. In fact, I mostly played the game in 640x480x16, and most disappointingly, it still crawled even at that resolution. The framerate never touched 30 FPS to my knowledge, and in the high-poly town environments, it had a tendency of slowing into the single digits.

    A Dreamcast with a PowerVR chipset ran this game at 640x480x32 at full speed. I know, because I put the two of them side-by-side. My modest, yet still perfectly capable gaming machine, couldn't appreciably play this game in its lowest possible detail setting. That is truly sad. The box requirements specify a minimum of a Pentium II 300 and 64 MB of RAM. I've quadrupled the RAM and tripled the processor frequency, and the results are still far short of what I expect this title should be able to produce. As unfortunate as it is, this kills the gaming experience right there. I can't seriously say how strong of a system you would need to run this title at full speed with all the bells and whistles turned on, because I'm pretty sure that a faster system won't actually speed up the game that appreciably.

    As a note, the game seems to have a problem with DirectX and S3 chipsets, for some reason. Transparent areas of polygon textures have a tendency of glowing or flashing when played on an S3 chipset, making the whole thing look like quite the mess. Of course, if you've read the above paragraph, and you've got a system with an S3 card, I doubt you were planning on getting this game anyway, since the rest of your system likely isn't up to the task.

    And finally, regardless of what game resolution you play in, the FMV movies are stuck in 320x240 and sampled up to match your screen resolution, giving you a blocky, compressed mess. Surely Game Arts had the original CG source for the movies and could've re-sampled them in Bink or higher resolution MPEG before letting them go like this...

    Pros & Cons/Conclusion Go the the next page
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    Article Navigation

    1. Introduction
    2. Background
    3. Gameplay
    4. Graphics/Sound
    5. Conclusion/Pros & Cons
    6. Rating Breakdown

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