The Granstream Saga Lived a Short Life, but a Good One

The Granstream Saga

Around the middle of the original PlayStation’s lifetime came a game that, for a short time, was being called one of the first truly 3D role-playing games. Of course, it was tragically forgotten soon after. The Granstream Saga is a title with the pedigree behind it to warrant a huge fanbase, but whose time came and went in the blink of an eye.

The game was developed by Shade, who employed a team of Quintet designers. (If that name doesn’t make bells ring, think Illusion of Gaia.) Granstream tells of the story of a post-apocalyptic world where continents float in the air to avoid being swallowed by the flooded world.

The narrative is shown through the eyes of Eon, who, along with with his surrogate father, is tasked with blowing bits off of their continent. The energy needed to keep them afloat is mysteriously diminishing, and if they don’t do anything about it, the land will sink into the ocean. The obvious problem there is that at some point, there won’t be any land to cut off. Our heroes don’t reach that eventuality though, as the magic stones used to cut off tracts of land run out first.

As the father and son discuss a solution, they are flung into the throes of adventure.

The Granstream Saga

The gameplay is your standard top-down action RPG, where you move around towns and dungeons in a linear fashion. When you make contact with an enemy, the hero will suit up in armor to do battle with the poor fodder.

You see, like many other video game foundlings, Eon was discovered wearing a gauntlet — inexplicably referred to as the Scepter — that can absorb weapons and armor found lying around and then materialize the equipment à la Eat-Man‘s Bolt Crank. It’s an interesting way to get an otherwise mundane youth into combat gear, I suppose.

The Granstream Saga

In fact, the entirety of The Granstream Saga is interesting. The animated cutscenes are beautifully drawn and uniquely abundant for an era of games in which anime-style cutscenes were sparse, often reserved for opening and ending scenes. The music is of the same caliber one would expect from the makers of Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, and the music within the animated scenes is akin to something you’d hear in Star Wars or Lord of the Rings movies. I’m dead serious, this soundtrack is glorious.

The Granstream Saga isn’t especially long, clocking in at around 25 hours and having literally nothing to pull you away from the main path set forth by the game. However, what it presents in its short runtime is a feast of engrossing, unique story elements and endearing characters. This is the type of game we westerners usually have to import because publishers don’t want to spend the money on localization, only this one was localized and brought to the States.

Not hard to find and well worth the look, The Granstream Saga is a rare treat for JRPG enthusiasts.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x