Grandia HD Collection is Missing the Manual — GeekTyrant

Grandia is an RPG that was developed by Game Arts which was released between 1997-2000 on Sega Saturn and PlayStation. GungHo Online Entertainment has since ported the game and its Dreamcast sequel Grandia II as HD remasters in the Grandia HD Collection on PC and Switch in 2019 and that collection has finally come to PS4 and Xbox One as of March 26, 2024. The team at GungHo has been kind enough to provide me with a digital copy for Xbox of the game for review purposes, but all thoughts below are my own. You can purchase your own copy from your digital storefront of choice (such as the Xbox Store [affiliate link]) or pre-order a physical copy from Limited Run Games until April 14.

The highly-anticipated Grandia HD Collection for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S are here! Get your hands on two games that changed the landscape of RPGs forever, in beautiful HD graphics.

GRANDIA: Dive into the captivating journey of Justin and his allies as they race against the sinister Garlyle Forces. Unravel the mysteries of a forgotten civilization and immerse yourself in an RPG hailed as a timeless classic, inspiring generations of games to come.

GRANDIA II: Step into the shoes of Ryudo, a jaded Geohound with a heart, as he embarks on a magical quest alongside a group of unlikely allies. Their journey is riddled with twists and turns as they seek a divine weapon to save the world. Delve deep into this tale where the line between good and evil blurs, and everything is open to question…

To set the scene for this review of the Grandia HD Collection, I am new to Grandia. I have not played it before. It’s also a really long game and so I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. Now let’s dive into the meat and potatoes.

As a remaster, I’m fairly disappointed in this collection. The team did a good job of fitting the game to a widescreen format and the game is presentable. However, that seems to be about it. My most frustrating complaint is that the game comes from an era when game manuals were really important. Games didn’t always explain how mechanics worked because you could look in the manual. Unfortunately, there’s no manual with the digital copy of the Grandia HD Collection. I had to Google a manual so that I could understand how combat worked and that’s a large part of the game. I look at other remasters of late like the Metal Gear Solid Collection Vol. 1 and while it has its faults, it did include game manuals so that players could know how to play the game.

While the textures and sprites look okay but in my opinion they should have done one of two things. The first option that I would have appreciated would have been making the textures really pop. They still look a little blurry and very flat. The other option would have been an option to turn on scanlines. I know scanlines can be divisive, but I like having the option for older games because when done right, it really comes together.

I have one more complaint regarding Grandia HD Collection and it seems to be from the original game and not the HD remasters. In Grandia, different characters level up at different speeds meaning some characters outpace other party members. Also, stats still confuse me. Sue has a higher STR than Feena, but appears to deal less damage with a weapon than Feena. That doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe I’m misreading from the manual scan I had to find online to learn what any of that means because they couldn’t be bothered to include it.

That’s enough negativity though. I am enjoying Grandia. It has some voice acting that’s fun, the story so far has been engaging, and the characters have personality. You get to play a young (12-ish) boy named Justin who just wants to be an adventurer. He ends up leaving his home of Parm to find an ancient peoples and save the world (I think?). Also, the music is okay at times, but at other times it is phenomenal and perfect for the moment.

The combat system is new to me. It’s turn-based like many other RPGs, but not in the same way. There’s a track that all participants are on and depending on their stats, each participant moves along the track at different speeds. Then, different actions can actually cause another participant’s action to be canceled before they can perform it. It’s an interesting dynamic for sure. Overall, I think I like the combat system. I also appreciate how your characters not only gain experience for participating, but each weapon/magic stat also gets experience based on what that character used. As weapon/magic stats level up, your base stats (HP, STR, etc.) also get a boost depending on which weapon/magic stat leveled up. Once again, this is only made apparent by reading the manual that I had to Google.

I will admit that I haven’t really played Grandia II. From what I’ve seen it looks like a decent port with remastered graphics. I honestly think that the 3D graphics actually help it. My biggest wish from my minute experience would be updated 3D models, but that’s not going to happen on a simple remaster.

I think if you were nostalgic or always wanted to play Grandia and want to use modern hardware, Grandia HD Collection on Xbox is decent. I do wish that a bit more work were put into it and at least access to a digital manual was simple with an in-game interface so that gamers can actually understand how the game functions. If you are willing to look for a manual online, then Grandia can provide a fun experience. According to How Long to Beat, the collection takes over 60 hours to complete which is a solid amount of time.

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