"Do something, retard!".

"Die you diseased rinosaurus pizel!"

Don't tell anyone, but I think this guy jerks off

Granstream Saga's battles are different from most traditional RPGs.

"Listen to me and your path shall be straight, young grasshopper"

Granstream Saga

Great puzzle RPGs are hard to come by these days. THQ, however, has brought us a great example of what a game in that genre should be like. The Granstream Saga is the story of a young man named Eon in whose hands lay the future of Granstream and its four continents. As a baby, Eon was found in the town of Arona wearing a mysterious bracelet, and was adopted by Valos, a man with great knowledge of magic. The story unravels rapidly through beautiful animation sequences (much like those in the Lunar series from Working Designs) and soon the gamer is submerged in an adventure like no other.

TGS has a lot more to offer, however, than just its unique storyline. Eon gets to travel through fully poligonized environments in an overhead view (much like Zelda for the NES). The camera angle can be rotated a full 360 degrees, which makes the field traveling and exploring easier. Battles take place when Eon comes into contact with enemies while traveling the different lands. The battles take place in real time, and allow you to move Eon as you desire. The graphics during battle are as amazing as when traveling, and you can even see each of Eon's different weapons and armor in full detail.

The musical score for TGS isn't as great as in other RPGs, but it fulfills its purpose by intensifying the many dramatic moments in the game. The puzzles in the game are very unique and could keep an inexperienced player wandering around for an hour. There are subtle hints to most of the puzzles, although some offer the gamer no clues at all.

With every great game, however, come its flaws. Although the controls are great and simple during exploration, performing the special moves during battles is very frustrating (those of you who had trouble with Sabin's blitzes in FF3 will find they were nothing compared to these key sequences). TGS is also short by modern RPG standards (it took me less than 20 hours to beat the game), with only about 20 different areas to explore. The game is also very easy (aside from the puzzles): The AI of the enemies that you encounter was poorly done, since every enemy falls for a wait-block-counter pattern, and almost every move (with the exception of the specials for each enemy) can be blocked (even magic attacks!). Even the bosses are a piece of cake once you get used to their simple patterns.

However, TGS's great story, characters, and multiple endings dwarf those minor flaws. Every RPG fan should not let this one pass by; at least rent if you have a free weekend. Playstation owners will not be disappointed by this great game.

-Hernan the Eternal Champion

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