Kyle here, gaming aficionados.
This time, our "distinguished panel of experts" will give you the lowdown on GameArts' PSX-and-Saturn hit, Grandia.

Here's a little primer on Kyle's RPG Roundtable Reviews rating scale:
0-1 is the lowest of the low. Basically, don't even touch the game's box.
1.5-4.5 is below average. You might still like it, though.
5 is absolutely average. Most games are a 5, so don't think this is bad. I mean it.
5.5-9.5 is above average. These are damn good scores, even a 5.5. Definitely pick it up.
10 is the ultimate. If you can't afford the game, consider selling body parts.
Grandia
Laguna LoireGrandia's plot is just really great in the beginning! It's kinda simple and stuff, and not a whole lot goes on, so there's plenty of time to figure the whole thing out. It was great! I hate to say it, though, but it really got kinda bad by the end. About halfway through I got totally lost in the whole thing, and it was just way too much for me. And the whole setting was just way too messed up to figure out. Still, it was a lot of fun!
I like 'em all, but this one's a 5.0.
AlfonsoThe cast of Grandia is absolutely brimming over with personality... all of it bad! In true GameArts style, we are subjected to these individuals' running commentary constantly, and this is easily the worst cast I've seen in some time. It seemed promising at first - surely, I thought, they will not spend too much time on these characters. But by the end of the game, entirely too much development had been given to the major players.
I suppose these fellows deserve a 2.5.
GauGau no like Grandia gameplay at all! Me no like see-before-fight monster, and that all there is. Why me no get in random battle? There not enough monster. Me no like ATB battle, 'neither, and in Grandia me need move around in ATB! It 'ATB wait,' like FFT or Xenogears, not 'full-active' like Final Fantasies, but it still too hard! Me no like learn spell by using, 'neither. But Grandia fights pretty easy, and least me like that.
Gau give this 1.0!
LacanWell, at least Grandia's graphics are tolerable. Originally, this was a Sega Saturn game, and it was made pretty early in that system's lifespan. Unfortunately, although the character portraits are a bit more SD than most, they are still much too detailed for my tastes. The fully rotatable environments are a disgrace: is nothing to be left to the imagination? I did like the use of pastels, and the distinctively blurry sprites.
If I had to judge, I'd give it a 7.0.
NikkiDudes, when I first cranked up Grandia, I was totally thinking it was gonna be one of the most non-bodacious OSTs I'd ever heard. That opening theme is major suckage, dudes! But once I got into it, I was most radically impressed with the town and dungeon themes. They really rock, and you will hear a lot more of them than of the bogus emotional tunes. But those few tunes are most bad, so I can't like, you know, say it's good.
I'd crank the volume up to 4.0.
KyleWell... their opinions basically suck! Here's the catch:
If you take their scores and reverse 'em, you'll get a pretty accurate picture.
Like that little dork Gau, he gave the gameplay a 1.0? That is a 9.0, which is close enough to perfect for government work. And whiner-boy Lacan thought the graphics were a 7.0 - yeah, right. Try 3.0 and you're closer to the mark.
Now, for the real low-down on Grandia, I'm your man. Plot-wise, it's pretty slow in parts, but it gets really good in other parts. It's a little simpler than most things Square puts out these days, but it works well and gets you emotionally involved. The characters are pretty much all really likable - GameArts doesn't go in big for subtlety, but hell, I'm not one to complain about that! It's too bad the 'villains' don't get more screen time, though. Gameplay-wise, this is easily one of the best ever. Sometimes, I actually enjoyed the wandering monster battles. Graphically... well, it originally came out at about the same time as Final Fantasy 7, and it hasn't aged as well. The sprites are blurry, the colors are eyesores, and the PSX just isn't equipped to handle the Saturn-style coding that allowed the big towns, so things load pretty slow. Music-wise, there are maybe a half-dozen really good tracks - the rest are filler. But those tracks are really good. I mean, really, REALLY good.
3B-wise, well... there's plenty of babes running around, but the graphics and drawing style don't do them a lot of justice. There's some blood once in a while, but again not much. Beast-wise, the bosses are suitably weird, but even some of them are recolors, to say nothing of the wandering monsters.
Overall, Grandia is a lot better than the sum of its parts. And if you can get a ways past New Parm, it really doesn't let up, and it's a great ride. I was playing pretty intense by the end.
Put together, it's about a 8.0!