Growlanser Generations
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 01/30/2007

Growlanser Generations contains both Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice and Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness. Each game is rather independent of the other, so it matters not which of the games players start with.

Growlanser II‘s story puts players in the shoes of Wein, a knight trying to climb the ranks. In Growlanser III, players take over as Slayn, a man who shockingly–wait for it–forgot his past. The stories of both games involve dozens of other characters and have multiple endings. Despite the rather cliché beginnings to both plots, they are both involving and very, very well written. Certain choices made during dialogue help determine which ending players get, as they can lead to different events. All of the dialogue is done extremely well–nothing short of superb. Characters interact realistically, have unique, individual personalities, and often can get players laughing with witty remarks. The games’ stories themselves change dramatically throughout as well, and both are solid efforts.

Both games are strategy RPGs, so the battle systems are of course the major parts of the games. Thankfully, they have a very good system. The games in this pack essentially take the standard SRPG grid-based system and throw it out the window, then add real time into the mix. Players won’t have to deal with the grid based maps many SRPGs feature, but instead, they have free range of motion for all of their characters on the maps. The battles take place in real time, too, which means that while characters are moving around the map, the enemies are moving too. The maps can create many obstacles and choke points, and the game does a very good job of allowing players and baddies to utilize these chokepoints to great advantages. Magic in the game takes time to cast, but is generally powerful. The characters casting the spells can be distracted by attacks, however, and must be guarded carefully. There really is a lot going on in the battle system. Thankfully, it’s easy to pause the play at any time to give new orders to characters.

The exploration in each game varies. Growlanser II has players guide a tiny sprite around a map that has various points highlighted, with lines between them that players travel on (see most other SRPGs). Growlanser III, meanwhile, allows a much freer range of motion, with players opened up to movement for their exploration, as well as actual towns instead of simple menus to interact with.

Screen Shot
Katrina claims another victim.

Overall, the amount of things to do in both games is huge. There are tons of side quests in each game that can be discovered by talking to people throughout the world. Each game also has multiple endings, as mentioned before, which adds to the replay value of both.

The customization in the games is fairly good. The main way players can customize characters is through ring weapons. By attaching various rings to characters’ weapons, they can improve certain abilities and attributes. The rings also allow for additions to further increase abilities. Finding these rings and customizing them is a major part of the game.

Screen Shot
Ring weapons…kind of like…lightsabers?

The graphics for Growlanser Generations are quite dated. This seems to be the thing to expect for SRPGs, but a lot of locations simply look dull. While the character artwork itself is quite good looking, and some of the spells have some neat animations, overall the graphical quality of the games is quite low.

The music featured in both games is good. The battles have suitably epic music, and story sequences have pretty good scores–nothing great, but everything is good. Sound effects in battle are pretty good too, but a few can get really annoying, especially some of the enemies. Voice acting overall is decent, but a few of the main characters have really annoying voices. This is actually suitable, because the characters are supposed to be annoying, but it can grate on the nerves a little bit after a while.

Growlanser Generations is a superb value, as players get two solid SRPGs in one package. This is further proven by the fact that not only is each of the games a superb SRPG in its own right, but they also innovate very well and have good storylines. It is rare to find a single SRPG with such qualities, let alone two in one package.

-Joseph Wartick

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Very Good
Graphics Below Average
Sound/Music Good
Replay Value Legendary
The Verdict: 8