By ValorianEndymion 0 Comments
A couple of days after I did write the first blog entry about GE, at least I managed to complete the game first story arc. This mean that the last new player restrictions, which blocked trade and access to the Market Manager (aka Auction House) are lifted. This also mean that I got further that when I played in T3Fun server, which I was stuck in a much earlier part.
Now I am on the main quest, is the “Returned Devil”, which is an arc right after the first, I also managed to complete several RNPC quest, which I never managed to get. I wonder how much further I will push until call it done, maybe at least get o Kielce? or maybe Armonia… Maybe the latter because I am really curious of where the story is going.
But much depend on of me not getting stuck, thankfully main quest sort appear easier or at least I can brute force them using consumables, but I wonder how much I can push.
Talking about getting stuck, when I wrote the first part, I did mention either the next part begin about the visuals or the mechanics, and I have been bouncing between the both of them unsure of how to proceed, in one hand, for the visuals there is a lot I want to talk about but there is also a lot I wish to see, specially the parts in Orpesia (which at least would require me to get to Armonia), on the other on the mechanics, I feel that I need some time to warp my head on several aspects of the mechanics, due they begin really confusing at times.
The solution I find, was continuing with the visuals first, but split in two part, the first will cover the basics and earlier game, the second will be about the story and the later parts of the game.
On the mechanics, will be the last, that give me more time to think about a lot of stuff.
Granado Espada — Visuals of the Early Game
On the previous part I commented that one of GE features was it visuals and design, and while not all of it works, what works is enough to give the game a unique aesthetics that while other games might share the same setting inspirations Granado Espada will stand out.
So what the deal? Well, like I said, while other games might share the same time period inspiration, their design is often pushed, almost too much, toward the whole “things begin colorless (or at best gray/brown) and without details is realistic” mindset design, meaning that even if the setting meant to be in different time, they all appear to be very similar to other games, due not using the elements which could give a more unique identity or represent something (at best you get guns and tops hats). Think in the difference between something like Banner of the Maid (by the way, this is a great tactics game), which is a game based in the French Revolution, where the design draw direct form the period, but they use it a base to build from there, and how this give the game it own visual identity. Meanwhile, look at Fable 3, which is sort also meant to be inspired by the French Revolution, none of the clothes or visuals appear to reflect it and many feel they could be a generic medieval game.
Granado Espada however, tries to push is visual design toward the concepts of elegance and gorgeous on base it draws from a lot of sources in wild mix of: Renaissance, Gothic, Victorian to Baroque and other periods, but also combines it with a lot from fashion and high fashion and even modern day sub culture fashions (and pop themes) and others plus some anime aesthetics.
But what make the mix look even more curious, is that while you might expect Granado Espada draw from steam punk, it does not really do that, at least not in the obvious ways you often see in games. There are no trains or industrialization, while you might come across strange machines and even robots, they aren’t the focus (and most time they are more magical that steampunk), even blimps only appear as a side note, well, even normal ships almost don’t appear.
The result is that Granado Espada have this unique feel and design. The emphasis is elegance is reflected all around, instead of the typical colorless, detail less design, you have period inspired clothes with lots of colors, details and even volume. Now to be fair, not every costume or character design looks great, somewhere quite bad, but enough of them look so much good and unique that you can feel there isn’t anything like it.
Also, there is obvious the element of time, you can easily tell what parts are older and which aren’t by looking, due rough edges, texture quality and how the design of some elements did change, specially RNPCs.
Now before I continue, it is maybe worth to explain how costumes work in the game: You have three types of costumes, body, hair/hat, back and weapon.
Body is the main type of costume, hair/hat is self-explanatory, back cover stuff like wings and other things and weapon costume change the way the weapon hold by the character look.
Costumes could be gained either ingame, by crafting or as reward or by the costume shop, where you could buy any of the body costume, using Feso (a sort premium currency, which you can gain in game, the price is around 500,000 Fesos). There are other ways go get them however, since you have a trade costume npc, auction house or trading with other players.
Back in the earlier days (at least in the version held now by T3Fun), when you create a Stock Character you could select a default costume (I am unsure if this was also true in other servers), but at one moment they did change the system, Stock Character now have a default costume which you can’t change during character creation. But for a short while armor (don’t confuse with costume) did change visual, acting like a costume.
I remember this change very well, because when it was about to go live, you would receive the costume of the old default costume you had chosen, I mean, lets says you had a Fighter you choose as his default costume the “Camisa de Soldado”, when the change went up, the fighter would revert to other default costume and you would gain the “Camisa de Soldado” Costume. The process was kind confusing, there were some limitations, as there was some costumes which even if you choose back there you could not gain them exactly, in my case my Warlock had a Robe of Zyz which had a pink color, but I could only get the Robe of Zyz which was yellow.
However, at some point this did change again, for a system, which at least by the time I am writing this, you only have a single default costume for Stock Characters and armor no longer changes visual (only costumes). This is a sort strange choice, because the default costume for Stock Character aren’t really good or representative of what the game could offer and you are stuck with them until you got access to costumes.
Since we are just talking about costume, how they work for RNPC? First, they have a default visual and unique costumes they could use (each one have its own selection. I mean, musketeers share a selection of costume, but an RNPC such as Emilia would have her own unique costumes), for them, armor never change the visual at any point.
Now, on the RNPC themselves, there are two types, you have ones which are “Recruitable” (majority of the RNPCs), meaning you get them by doing a quest line and “Rare”, which could be got by Character Boxes, that could be brought in the premium shop or get inside the game (often by achievement and events and other means). But you can also get any of them by using the game auction house (but rarer ones can cost a lot).
Something I forget to explain, when you gain a RNPC what you gain is Card, which is used when you create the character or it could be traded. Note: There is also a system ingame of mercenaries, where you could sort I think rent a RNPC, but I never used that system, so I can’t tell much about.
Aside from the recruitment quest, each RNPCs (at least ones which you recruit), will have one or two sub quests, which both tell you about a bit more about them, and sort are a little highlight of the game, which the translation quality often hurt, but still you got little of “slice of life” or find something about the game lore by doing them. Also, this quests usually give you a book with one of their unique stances.
While I said, you can trade RNPCs, you have to be careful, isn’t unusual for one of the prerequisites to recruit a RNPC might need another one quest done (and often the character itself in your party), so selling one of them might lock you out of some quests down the line. As example, to recruit Vincent you need to have Andre in your party. In fact, I think several RNPC might require have Andre in the party. Not only this, but the game have an “Expedition” system, where RNPC not in use could be sent to do something and bring rewards, having certain combinations of them is vital.
RNPC design can be viewed in two ways, their visual and how they good they are in the game. The latter is way hard and less clear and even hard to talk about, due the confusing way Granado Espada mechanics work, which make hard to know which is good or not. Like even if you think that maybe the Rare RNPCs where better, you would not be wrong, but not right too. For example, want to know one of the best RNPCs? It is “Recruitable” one, Grace Bernellie, which you get very early on. Want another? One strategy of AFK is using “builder” character, which as the name suggest can build stuff which auto attack and kill even better and many of them early on, such as Jack and others. Want one of the best healers and support RNPC? Take Emilia.
Now, of course you Rare RNPCs will be useful or powerful, but the point is that you can live without them. Also, it appears that is not unusual for Rare RNPC becoming “Recruitable”, As example, Cherlyn was originally a Rare RNPC, which now you can recruit as any other character.
But I will talk more about mechanics in another post, for now, let’s go back to visuals.
As they are the first introduced, not only they got most costumes but their design is maybe the most representative of the game, each Stock Character follow a theme in general. However, as time passed, and RNPC got most of the spotlight, Stock Character sort fall to the sideline.
- Fighters (the figures in the center holding swords): Most of their costumes are armor or leather inspired. Not much to talk here.
- Warlocks (blond figures at left and right): They maybe possess some of the more unique costumes, specially the female versions, which often feature skirts with a lot of volume, their design often goes between very elegant to straight out of a cheap romance novel cover.
- Scouts (the ones with grey/black hair slight above the center): This is hard to define, like I have no idea what the theme is as each of their costumes is very chaotic, but again very unique.
- Wizards (The girl with pony tail at the left and the figure with a top hat above the center): Side by side with Warlocks, they have some of the more unique costumes, Wizards costume are all around good, there isn’t much volume, as skirt are very tight and long.
- Musketeer (the figure wielding guns above): Their costume as the name suggest, suggest a uniform like but very stylized.
Overtime RNPCs sort became the main focus, as most new updates and promotions often will be based around one or more new RNPCs. I would need to look one by one, and that would take forever, but there is a couple of things I can say:
- Older RNPCs often have the more rough visuals, they aren’t bad, but you can see a lack of polish in comparison to newer ones.
- I will talk more about this later, but the game features a internal database where you can see all RNPCs, their costumes and quests.
- Like I said, each RNPC have its own costume list, and they are more free form, meaning that some stuff it very modern and might don’t fit in, like swimsuits.
- I you played any gacha game, you might be familiar with the concept of having several versions of the same character, GE isn’t much different, as often Rare RNPCs, might be an existing character but with a different theme or in a different moment in life. As example, one RNPC you can get is Ludin, the young sister of Leonele, but you can also get the Rare versions of her: The “Blue Flame Ludin” (which is older version of her) or “Student President Ludin” (which is an older version of her, but with a school theme).
- No one asked, but here is a small sample of RNPCs, you might want to check Granado Espada SEA site which have a gallery, which is nice but it there is some missing RNPCs (http://www.granadoespada.com/page/character.php)
Weapon and other stuff
The weapons visual design are again very mixed, the very first weapons, the Crescemento ones (I explain this later, when talking about the game mechanics), feel very rough and out of place, later weapons are can go from good design to not good, but it hard to tell, changes in the game mechanics sort made that you almost don’t change them very much.
I will talk more about this later, but here is quick overview, you likely start using Crescemento Weapons for a long time, since their stats change as you level up until a point, from there you are either going to move toward using Experimental (you gain some tickets which allow you to get some of them), Evil or Constellations Weapons (both you can gain either tickets or boxes or by trade Bount Hunter Tokens and by other menas), since you gain boxes or tickets which give them to you. While you might find other weapons as drops or rewards their stats aren’t good enough most of the time.
Now on the subject of Back Costumes, most of them are wings or things similar, they aren’t great, but useful, as many achievements and quest might reward you with them, and they do offer some bonus, but they don’t fit in, they are often too huge and almost block the character model. It can be really annoying walk around and seeing dozens of people in a small area all using the same back costume.
So with that said, that leave us with hats and hair and face costumes, there isn’t much to talk, most were ok, you mostly like don’t pay much attention, since change aren’t that meaningful or huge.
World — The Early Game.
Let´s talk a bit about the game world visuals, here I will cover earlier part of the game until Viron. Kielce and later part will be covered later. This sort cover only the Granado Espada continent, not Orpesia.
The World design however is a mixed thing, most time however, it works :
Cities often feature rich visuals and architecture with brighter colors, but save from finding npcs and services you most don’t really interact with these spaces, except if you go what of your way to take screenshots and using the pose system. There is some strange elements, like you can spot textures, while they don’t look bad, they do feel sort look out of place.
Some cities were given attempt to make the more unique, such as Coimbra, which have a sunset theme around it, Ustiur and Bahamar are more like advanced outposts, which make it stand out. However, the other cities all appear to have a default bright sunlight fell to it, which despite different architecture inspiration, make them feel sameish.
Outside of cities, things get a bit worst as open spaces are a bit generic and bland, so much that there isn’t much to talk about. There are different areas, from the more generic green areas, to places such as Bahamar Swamps, Abertal and other rocky areas, the volcanic are around Prison de Joaquin or Katovic Snowfields.
Dungeons are sort mixed, there is a lot of emphasis on textures on them, but their design often very standard as most dungeons (and open spaces) are often square or circular spaces connected by corridors, however later dungeons, specially places like Lucifer Castle do look more interesting.
However, one of the major dungeon design issues is that they aren´t large enough to hold many players, specially if you remember that each player is three characters, places can get so crowded that at best can get difficult and at worst impossible to get thing done. You might not only find that there is no good spot to move or stand but enemies will die before you have a chance to do anything, due many times people in afk or bots will be using ranged characters. I noticed this Lucifer Castle, when I got there do a quest, which require to simple kill four monsters, but find myself unable to do due lots of people inside.
Another element of Granado Espada stand out it is the soundtrack, which is hard for the to explain, but is a mix of epic music, electro, dance, folk and many more stuff (sorry I am not very good figuring out those more specific genres of music) that somehow… works is almost jarring when you listen to it.
Here is a small sample from youtube:
This is the game main music and the barrack theme:
Here is another one "Odyssey".
And here is another one, which is called 'Witch on a Diet" and don´t ask me why:
That is all for now… next if things follow smoothly, I will talk about the mechanics and maybe the rest of the visual, or I will save for another part, like I said: much depend on of my pushing forward.