Still unhappy

Let’s consider today’s update an extension of yesterday’s Final Fantasy VII anniversary commemoration: marking the occasion with tangential pain and suffering.

“But Parish,” you say, “what does Kirin‘s Granstream Saga retrospective have to do with Final Fantasy VII? Come on, dude, that’s a stretch.”

But is it? Is it really? I say thee nay. Granstream is absolutely perfect as a representation of the ruin FFVII wrought upon the RPG genre. No, despite some tongue-in-cheek remarks in that FFVII article I wrote last year, I don’t actually blame the game for everything bad in the world. Still, you can’t deny that it marked the beginning of an unpleasant new era of RPG aesthetics, in which perfectly good concepts that had worked in the 16-bit generation were transformed into cold, soulless, often unplayable disasters in the rush to match Square’s technical proficiency. That is Granstream Saga in a nutshell — a pitiful, joyless excuse for a follow-up to Quintet’s brilliant Super NES trilogy (that is, SoulBlazer, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma).

So read. Read, and be woeful.

13 thoughts on “Still unhappy

  1. And Phantasy Star 4, how come nobody says that PS4 was the pinnacle of 16 bit RPG games. Also, a major character was killed in it and stuff.

  2. But is that the fault of Final Fantasy VII, which was something significantly different than other RPGs of the era, or of other people who blindly followed in its footsteps? Don’t hate FF VII, hate those that couldn’t come up with their own vision.*

    *Note that I had stopped gaming after the NES era until I was introduced to this game in January 1998. Then I was all “You mean games do THIS now!?” and have been hooked ever since.

  3. I’ve finished Granstream Saga. It is so absolutely dull and awful to play. There are only like two enemies in the entire game! And you fight them the same way! There are no interesting puzzles. No interesting level design. The characters are barely there.

    I refuse to believe that essentially came from Quintet. I REFUSE. LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

  4. I remember I once rented an RPG called Beyond the Beyond back in 95 or 96, and I didn’t know and never figured out how to get out of the house where you started in the game. It was awfuly frustrating. There’s no way Granstream Saga can be more horrid than Beyond the Beyond (which was kinda 16 bitish in style).

  5. I’ve played and beaten that game, and I can’t remember anything about it beyond its jank-ass combat. Telling!

  6. Beyond the Beyond was another horrendous early PSX RPG, yes. Thankfully, I never got suckered into buying that one, though a friend of mine did.

    Sadly, this was back in my “ZOMG! Anime makes everything cool phase”, before I knew better. Of course, that’s just why I *bought* Granstream. I never actually *finished* it until I foolishly volunteered for the “bad RPGs” section of the old zine.

    Fortunately it was slightly more fun to write up than to play. Next time I think I’ll find something I can at least moderately enjoy to write about, though.

  7. Was Granstream Saga the one where getting new armor actually changes your 3D model? I think I remember thinking that was really cool.

  8. Yeah, it does, actually. The “scepter” materializes whatever armor you’re using as you enter combat. One of the nice touches which makes the other graphical failings all the more odd.

  9. Shade isn’t really Quintet. Shade was founded by Koji Yokota, a relatively minor member of Quintet, and one or two of his fellow staffers. Granstream’s a co-production by the two companies, but Quintet’s contributions are few; some of the Terranigma composers wrote music for the game, and Tomoyoshi Miyazaki, one of Quintet’s two big guns, co-authored the story.

    That’s probably the source of the myth that Quintet somehow became Shade or had a major hand in Granstream. It has a few characteristic Miyazki twists, so it sometimes feels like a Quintet game. It’s really not, though. Most of Shade’s grunts were Sony employees who hadn’t done anything major before Granstream.

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