After many many years I finally get around to playing this. I held Grandia 2 in such high regard, I played it three times over when the last Dreamcast died finally. And only a meager couple hours of Arcadia.
After 12 or so hours in now I have a good grasp of much of it. The elemental nature of fighting hand to hand is interesting. Coupled with the ship to ship combat that's nail biting fun.
Vyse and Aika are Blue Rogue air pirates. Along with Vyse's dad, the captain and leader of their town. Evil empire is chasing Fina, girl from magic land like Atlantis. Girl ends up with you, evil empire comes knocking, kidnaps everyone in town. Vyse and Aika go on rescue mission for dad and people. End up with an old guy thats a dead ringer for Captain Ahab chasing a giant sky whale, and we're off.
You end up saving Fina in the process and the escape from the evil empire made me think of Shinra and Midgar. But much more cartoony and with air pirates.
The world opens up a bit after this with the empire after you now. And Fina on a crystal world saving quest you decide to go on with her. The spell system and combat is unique and enjoyable. Focus to build points and use spells or special abilities in hand to hand. An extra layer of strategy that's engaging. Spells that use line of sight to hit multiple targets in battle. Kinda cool stuff.
Torpedoes, cannons, and secondary guns along with evasion strategies for ship combat. Shops let you upgrade different parts of your ship. While flying you can spam the search button and sometimes find points of interest. Then sell the info to a town vendor. Neat side quest to make you want to explore the overworld.
There is a mini game that a treasure hunter early on wants you to do. It downloads it to your vmu. I don't have any space on any cards so I haven't tried it yet.
Off to the desert toward the first crystal for Fina...
The old man pulls a fast one and decides he is done helping us and runs off to find his white whale on his own. We're on our own crystal hunting for now. Soon enough we find a desert hooch shaking her hips at Vyse and lures us in with her ship.
After some grinding and goofing around we end up at the Great Pyramid, not really but I see their inspiration. The first of the 6 crystals is here someplace.
I'll break here for now. This is really great so far. The air pirates theme is original. The characters are fleshed out and have unique personalities that don't grate on you. It has humor and clever banter. The inspiration for things such as Moby Dick for the old man was a surprise. Egypt for the first temple, with an Indiana Jones inside, and the pirates themselves as a kind of Robinhood. All things drawn from feel fresh with the original parts woven throughout. The dual battle systems had me wondering but they work really well. It doesnt feel like a 24 year old game.