GrimGrimoire Review

GrimGrimoire (Available on PSN)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1
Genre: RTS
Publisher: NIS
Developer: Vanillaware
Release Date: October 4, 2011

Parent Talk: GrimGrimoire is an RTS originally released for the PS2. The PSN download contains that, with no extra content. The game’s colorful aesthetic makes it look like an anime version of Harry Potter, and its content is just as appropriate for children. There’s no bad language or blood. The only hindrance for younger gamers may be the challenge.

Plays Like: StarCraftSwords and Soldiers, and other RTS games.

Review Basis: Finished the PS2 original and the PSN download.

Details: You can read Jarrod’s review of the original here.

What’s This About?

  • GrimGrimoire is a fantasy game set in a wizard academy, which draws immediate parallels with Harry Potter. Protagonist Lillet Blan is an apprentice mage studying different magics under several eccentric professors, including a bearded gentleman named Gammel Dore, Advocat the devil, a woman that summons ghosts and spirits, and an alchemist that turned himself into a mutant lion.
  • The story spans five days, but Lillet must relive them many times until you solve the academy’s mysteries. First, she needs the philosopher’s stone. Then, she must save her new friends from a bound demon and worry about what schemes other characters are cooking up. It’s an interesting cycle.

What’s This Remembered For?

  • Its superb graphics and unique, but compelling gameplay. Vanillaware earned its reputation for delivering the best artwork and character sprites of any developer. Games like Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Odin Sphere have beautifully-animated and extremely vivid art; GrimGrimoire is no exception. Character portraits are large, detailed, and wonderfully colorful. Creature sprites are well-animated and ooze personality. The game’s presentation is spot-on, and looks even better now thanks to the PS3’s smoothing abilities. Despite being a 2007 PS2 release, GrimGrimoire looks more vibrant and fun than many other new titles available on PSN.
  • GrimGrimoire has stayed outside the box in being a fantasy RTS game. It alternates dialoq sequences and battle, so things are simple and straightforward. In battle, you begin with a humble selection of “Grimoires” (magic books) which allow you to summon and command creatures. To defeat the enemy and advance the story, you must harvest crystals for magic energy that amass units to destroy the enemy’s runes. Runes are basically home bases, from which you cast spells. Progressing nets you a wider variety of Grimoires that can be leveled for better units and spells.
  • Balanced and fun. Though it’s an RTS, the formula is optimized for consoles. The large character sprites are easy to manipulate, and it’s quick to select individuals or groups with the D-pad if any are stacked. Vanillaware thought of everything. Units are balanced so every map is a challenge. For example, ghosts (Astral beings) are immune to physical attacks, so you can’t bull rush and expect victory.However, units can be assisted to render them vulerable, such as with the Homunculi’s abilities.

Anything Else You Need to Know?

  • This version is identical to the PS2 game. There’s no extra content, enhancements, or Trophy support.
  • No other visual upgrades were made. No new maps were added either, so you must be happy with what’s there.
  • Battles span about 20 minutes, and the game lasts around 40 hours, thanks to 25 story missions and 25 bonus missions.

Who Should Download This?

For $10, this is a steal. GrimGrimoire was one of the most original and entertaining 2007 games for PS2 and remains to be so. For any strategy game fan, this was worth $50 then, so it’s well-worth $10 now.