I hate bad voice acting. Grandia 2 has bad voice acting. I love Grandia 2. It may defy logic, but I do believe that voice acting can become so bad that it circles around again and becomes campy and wonderful. If you played the first Grandia game, you’ve probably already experienced this effect.
The story is insane. Not in the “grand adventure” context, but more of the “directly ripped off from the drunken, paranoid ramblings of a wandering schizophrenic” variety. It’s magical in that it combines religion, science, beastmen, runaway princes, gods of both the living and dead variety, and your typical unexpected hero with family issues into a single, semi-cohesive story. Do things always make sense? Not really, but they don’t have to when the plot isn’t the main focus. Grandia 2 is all about the characters.
Oh, and what a group of odd characters. There’s the irritatingly pious nun, the hilariously quick-tempered and suggestive manifestation of an evil god, the runaway prince (I’m pretty sure role-playing games of the time require at least one runaway prince, by law), the surprisingly philosophical beastman, and the android puppet who learns how to feel. Yes, it’s diverse. Yes, you become incredibly attached to most of the characters. No, *sniff* I’m not crying. You’re crying. Shut up.
The voice acting was a mistake and shouldn’t have happened. The character of Millenia is the sole voice I enjoyed in the game (for the right reasons, I mean), which is sad considering many of the other voices are done by people who have done a much better job voicing characters in other games. I blame SEGA, because despite the insanely low odds of them actually being culpable, they’re an easy target and convenient scapegoat. Shame on you. The voice acting is actually surprisingly entertaining to listen to, though, due to the plot being so convoluted and strange. You can almost hear someone coaching the vocal talent, going, “Now let’s try that again, but this time, more screechy and anime-like. Don’t be afraid to put emotion in it. In fact, put in too much emotion on purpose and we’ll work with that. Try to sound as clingy and scary-emotional as possible, like you just jumped out of the bushes to profess love to someone you’ve been stalking for the past several weeks.”
One of the main things to love about Grandia 2 is the combat. It’s simple, versatile, and if you screw up, it’s probably your own damn fault rather than the game blindsiding you. In-game tutorials ensure that it’s impossible to not understand how these systems work, which is a blessing given how many games now just throw you in and expect you to know what all the buttons do. Case in point: I’ve played a ton of games and still don’t know what the “luck” statistic does in any of them. Anyone? Evidently, I wasn’t lucky enough to have anyone explain the purpose behind such a stat.
Grandia 2 is greatness, campiness, and weirdness rolled into one sexy ball of guilty pleasure. I don’t know why it’s so good, but it really, really is. It’s been ported both to the PC and Playstation 2, so experience it however you can, but I really do recommend the Dreamcast version.
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