Grandia HD Collection Brings Great Remasters of Classic JRPGs to Nintendo Switch
Grandia HD Collection for Nintendo Switch brings two great JRPGs into HD while adapting them well for the hybrid console.
The Grandia series is one that is near and dear to the hearts of many JRPG players. The series’ IP Bar mechanics were influential and have inspired the battle systems of a multitude of RPGs since. That being said, the original Grandia has not seen a port since PS1, and Grandia II has only been ported to PS2 and PC since it first released. A return for the series via an HD Collection has been teased by GungHo Online Entertainment for awhile, and at E3 2019 the publisher was able to come out swinging with a full reveal for the Grandia HD Collection for Nintendo Switch.
I was able to try it out it out and talk to one of the port’s developers, and I could tell that it was an extremely faithful and beautiful looking remaster for Nintendo’s popular hybrid console.
The graphics of the original are intact, but have been tailored to fit the screen of Nintendo Switch in both docked and handheld mode without simply just stretching the images to widescreen. Because of this, Grandia HD Collection for Nintendo Switch is able to maintain the beauty of the original titles while introducing them to a whole new generation of players from around the world with some added language options.
Grandia uses 2D sprites in 3D environments, so it benefits the most from the remaster treatment. Text and images look better, and overall the models and environments now have a crispness to them that would have been hard to achieve on a PS1. I never played the original Grandia, but by comparing what I saw to videos of the original release online, what I saw was a massive step up. A major problem with releases like these is that the developers like to just stretch out the image instead of putting in the work to actually extend the viewable screen space. Fortunately, GungHo opted to do the later with the Grandia HD Collection and both games already pretty visuals are bolstered even further by the new resolution. As I’ve never played the first Grandia before, the taste I received of this excellent remaster has convinced me to give the fun game a try once the remaster releases.
That being said, Grandia is only half the package. Grandia II is the more famous of the two, but also had bigger hurdles to climb in a remaster due to being a early 3D game. Fortunately, GungHo Online Entertainment had the PC version of the game as a base, so the Nintendo Switch port of the game included in Grandia HD Collection feels like a slightly enhanced version of that. Like the original Grandia, it has been modified to work within modern screen sizes and resolutions. While some of the game’s rough edges show in this port, like the heavily pixalated cinematics that are played when a summon is called, overall the game looks sleek within this Nintendo Switch collection. This is a game I have played before and one I will still return to whenever this collection releases.
While the game looks good in docked mode, Grandia HD Collection excels the most in handheld mode. The remastered visuals look just as good on the smaller screen, and the portability the game has in this mode is a great fit for the RPG genre. GungHo Online Entertainment choose to bring Grandia HD Collection to just Switch because they thought the hybrid console was the best fit for the games out of any platform, and I couldn’t agree more after playing.
Even though the games are being left as they are from a gameplay and story standpoint in Grandia HD Collection, the port seems to be doing a solid job of ens ensuring that the port is successful in multiple regions with dual audio between Japanese and English as well as French and German localizations. JRPGs are usually text-intensive, and the Grandia games are no different, so these added languages should only expand the game’s appeal to a wider breadth of people located outside of just North America and Japan. For those that prefer to use Japanese voices, Grandia HD Collection will feature dual audio unlike the originals.
Grandia II is great game, and the original Grandia felt fun in what I played, so these were titles definitely primed for a remaster that finally got one. If you have never played either of the Grandia games included in the bundle, Grandia HD Collection seems like it will definitely be worth your time. For those of us who have played at least one of the original games, we have improved visuals and the added portability that the Nintendo Switch brings to look forward to in Grandia HD Collection.
Grandia HD Collection is poised to release for Nintendo Switch later in 2019. That being said, PC players can also expect Grandia HD Remastered to arrive on PC as its own game around when Grandia HD Collection releases; meanwhile, Grandia II Anniversary Edition will be receiving an update with all of these enhancements and will be renamed to Grandia II HD Remastered.