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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: NIS America
Developed by: Vanillaware
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Players: 1
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and up)
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

For those who think there isnít much life left within the Playstation 2 console, hasnít played the latest title from NIS America, GrimGrimoire. This is a shiny example of the creativity and visual prowlness that Vanillaware and NIS have. Though not sure about what the heck is a grimoire, it doesnít stop you from enjoying this 2D adventure.

Within the world of GrimGrimoire, you attend a famous school of magic, and are in control of a new student by the name of Lillet Blan. The school is run by a white-bearded professor by the name of Gammel Dore, who helps protect the philosopherís stone. For some reason Lillet is reliving the same five days over and over again, and with each passing day, several questions are clarified, unraveling the wickedness going on. While this setup is very interesting, it all boils down to the cast of characters, which all have their own dirty little secrets.

Just from looking at the first few minutes of the game, you would think this title is a role-playing game, but the fact of the matter is that itís actually a RTS (real-time strategy) title. The beauty about RTS titles is that there are several aspects that keep the game involving, which is where the grimoires come in. There are four different disciplines for which you can acquire grimoires (spell books), which are necromancy, sorcery, glamour, and alchemy. Within in each category there are three grimoires, which brings you to a grand total of 12. As you learn a grimoire, you have will have access to different powers and abilities. These abilities will come in handy for various battles where you have to defend yourself for over-the-top monsters.

While playing this game, you will realize that most of your time will be spent in battle. Each and every battle you enter into is unique in its own way, but what makes things interesting is that some battles can last as long as an hour and you donít have access to any saves. Spells that are used within battle are determined by the kind of magic used by your adversary. Using the rock/paper/scissors format, itís difficult at times to respond to an enemy attack when your response is dependent on what type of magic they select.

Considering the visual powerhouse titles that have grace the Playstation 2 console, GrimGrimoire is definitely not one of them. Itís a visual masterpiece to see the detail sprites working hand-and-hand with the vivid 2D backgrounds. Cutscenes are very well produced, incorporating immersive features like pulsing when the characters breathe. While the visual is very appealing, the sounds are a hit and miss. The music is very cute and quirky, which fits the mood of the game quite well. The sound affects are another nice addition to the overall product. In regards to the voice-overs, at times it can be a bit forced and bland, but as you progress through the game, youíll get use to it.

When you think of RTS titles, you generally get the control scheme of keyboard and mouse. The idea of trying to map this genre of game around a PS2 controller is mind binding, but the creative minds over at Vanillaware came up with an in genius way to make it possible. Selecting units can be done by simply highlighting them and pressing the square button. Another way this can be done is holding down the square button and moving your cursor over the unit to highlight them and issue commands. The shoulder buttons L1 and R1 are designed to control the menus, while the camera can repositioned via the right analog stick. If you want to narrow your viewing range, but focusing your attention on one specific enemy, simply use left or right on the D-pad to make that happen. The control scheme for this game isnít really that complicated, allowing gamers to grasp its setup in a matter of minutes.

When it comes to additional content, this title is a little lacking. The core game, depending on your skill level will take you around 20 hours complete. Along the way, you can unlock various bonus stages to explore, but after all thatís done, there isnít much left to this title. But due to the well brought out storyline of GrimGrimoire, you would be eager to play through this title one more time, getting your fills and lasting memories. A nice addition to this title would have been a hard difficulty level. Not saying that Normal was too easy, but there is a lack of challenge within the this title, something that gamers would of easily flocked to. Online gameplay would have been nice too, but itís not really needed.

When you look at the final product of GrimGrimoire, itís hard to be critical of a well thought out and balanced title. The single-player experience is very enjoyable, but I felt this title could have done so much more by the way of a multiplayer option within the game. After looking at the great detail that was put into the gameplay and visuals, not to mention the superb voiceovers, you can easily be seen that the Playstation 2 isnít ready to step aside allow the next-generation to take control within the Sony camp. For those who havenít picked up this title yet, you are definitely missing out on another great experience.


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