Grandia HD Collection
Switch version tested
I was insanely excited when the Grandia HD Collection was announced for the Switch as the two games contained are among my favourite RPGs ever made. The collection doesn’t contain 3 or Xtreme which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as by all accounts they were nowhere near as good as the first 2 games, 1 being released back in 1997 and 2 being released in 2000.
I won’t get too much into the plots of either game beyond just saying that it’s traditional RPG save the world stuff, a bit of a cliche but with plenty of charm and great characters to elevate this. The combat is largely easy to pick up but there’s the potential for tactical thinking in there and they were the first games I really played to have enemies visible on the screen so you could avoid random battles if you wanted to.
I’ve dipped into the first game and I’m about 25 hours into the second and so far I’m pleased to report that the story and characters still hold up after all this time, and the combat remains pretty good overall. This is the first time I’ve played 2 in years and I’ve hit that playtime in about 4 days which I’d say speaks volumes for how much I’ve enjoyed playing it after so long.
This brings us on to the conversion itself and this is where things start to get a little negative, graphics have been cleaned up a bit and are largely functional and don’t look awful but I’ve had a few instances where character faces have glitched or just looked wrong. Combined with the fact there are a lot of instances when you’re in dialogue with other characters and you’ll get a sound effect on repeat really long in comparison to other sound effects and the music which is really off-putting.
The music seems to stop and then loop again which may be a side effect of the games having originally been CD-based but it’s still really noticeable, it’s a shame as the soundtracks are both excellent. I’ve also had a couple of instances where the game has crashed for no reason at all which is incredibly frustrating and pretty damning.
Added to the technical issues I’ve mentioned I’d say the release day didn’t exactly go smoothly as it was released on the 16th of this month so you’d expect it to be available first thing. It actually didn’t hit the eShop until about 6:30pm with no communication coming from the developer as to what was going on which had people wondering if it had actually been delayed at the last minute.
Then there’s the matter of the price, at £36 for a digital-only release it’s not cheap. When you consider you can get the first game on PSN for about £6 (admittedly not prettied up) you’re looking at £30 for the second game which is ridiculous for a near 20-year-old game which has just essentially been given a lick of paint.
Overall I’m giving it the rating I have because the games hold up remarkably well by modern standards, but I’d have rated it even higher but for the glitches and the high price point. While these aren’t game-breaking by any stretch they do also have the effect of detracting from the overall enjoyment of the experience. If the issues get patched then it’d be an easy 8 or 9 for me, it genuinely hurts me to rate it at a 6.
TBG Score: 6/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 16/08/2019
No. of Players: 1
Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment
Download link: eShop