The Granstream Saga
|The Granstream Saga|
The Granstream Saga (グランストリーム伝記 Guransutorīmu Denki) is an action role-playing game for the PlayStation. The game was the first 3D title developed by Shade, a development team within Quintet led by graphic designer Kouji Yokota. It is an intended spiritual successor to their previous Super Nintendo games, Soul Blazer and Terranigma (involving Tomoyoshi Miyazaki and Masanori Hikichi).
The Granstream Saga is lauded as one of the first fully polygonal RPGs, as opposed to using polygonal characters with pre-rendered backgrounds, polygonal environments with scaling sprites, or other such combinations. The game features anime-style cutscenes by Production I.G. It is also somewhat unusual in that the characters the player meets in the game are faceless.
Gameplay consists of top-down RPG exploration and storytelling. When confronted or ambushed by an enemy, the camera angle shifts to a 45 degree angle, and combat gameplay begins. Combat gameplay consists of real-time one-on-one battles, as opposed to traditional turn-based RPG combat. In real-time combat, the player utilizes several weapons and abilities, such as swords, daggers, axes, warhammers, and various spells. When not in combat, they spend a very large time exploring, gaining new weapons and armor, and conversing with the many characters of the different continents.
The game takes places after a short animated sequence where Eon and Valos cut a section of land off of Shilf. After discovering a young boy has disappeared, Valos performs locating magic to find the boy in an ancient cemetery. The spirit of the Wise Man speaks to Eon here, and asks him to find and help his daughter, Arcia, to use the Orb and recite the lifting verse to raise the land. Together they make it a goal to raise the other continents as well, and set off on a journey.
The game's anime cutscenes feature music by composer Kohei Tanaka while the rest of the in-game music was composed by Quintet's sound staff including Masanori Hikichi, Miyoko Takaoka and Takako Ochiai.
Upon release, GamePro scored it 5 out of 5, stating it is "one of the most enjoyable new role-playing games of the year," praising its "intriguing story line, evil enemies, and frantic fighting action." They considered the "voice-overs during most of the cut scenes" as "audio highlights" and concluded its blend of "classic RPG elements (puzzle solving, spells, saving mankind) with those of the action/fighter genre" make it "a fun, challenging adventure."
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "Overall, Granstream Saga isn't a bad effort; it's just an average one. Neither the gameplay nor the storyline elevates it into the same category as Square's Final Fantasy, Konami's Suikoden, or Capcom's Breath of Fire."
The game holds an average score of 66% at GameRankings, based on an aggregate of 9 reviews. THQ was the United States publisher, and their job with the English version's voice acting in the game has been criticized in retrospective critiques. Hardcore Gaming 101 gave it a positive retrospective review, stating that, with "its immensely enjoyable combat system, excellently executed story, and very strong presentation, Granstream Saga is easily Quintet's finest work."
- "THQ Brings Japanese Hit Game to U.S. Market With "The Granstream Saga"". The Free Library. Business Wire. March 10, 1998. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
- "The Granstream Saga Release Information for PlayStation". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- The Granstream Saga Original Sound Track (CD liner). Kohei Tanaka. Japan: First Smile Entertainment. 1998. FSCA-10029.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "The Granstream Saga for PlayStation". GameRankings. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
- Electronic Gaming Monthly: 1999 Video Game Buyer's Guide, page 123
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 44. Imagine Media. August 1998. p. 96.
- Consoles +, issue 72 (January 1998), pages 138-139
- "Audio Atrocities". Retrieved 2007-02-28.