Xenogears vs. Grandia

Xenogears vs. Grandia

2D sprites, massive 3D worlds

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Versus on

PS1 arguably had the best lineup of RPGs in video game history so let's explore 2 top-notch RPGs and see which one comes out on top.

Xenogears screenshot
Xenogears features a cool fighting mini-game so it already has the advantage

Stand Tall and Shake the Heavens

Both of these games have memorable stories. Firstly, Xenogears tells a tale that's much larger than life itself with constant twists and turns and an in-game history that goes back over 10,000 years. It incorporates elements of science, politics, religion, and love perfectly in its complex narrative and by the time you finish it, you'll want to play again just so you can piece things together better. The cast of characters with Fei, Elly, Citan, Bart, Rico, Billy, Maria, Chu-Chu, and Emeralda make for a diverse and distinguished party while The Gazel Ministry, Grahf, Ramsus, Krelian, and Miang will keep you on the edge of your seat with their nefarious and often mysterious actions.

Embark on an Unforgettable Journey

Meanwhile, Grandia stars a young adventurer named Justin who travels to an archeological dig with his friend Sue in search of treasure. There, he learns that an artifact from his father holds a strange power so he journeys east to unravel the mysteries and become a legendary adventurer. Along the way, he meets delightful allies such as Feena, Gadwin, Rapp, Milda, Guido, and Liete. However, the dastardly General Baal has plans to become a powerful being and reshape the world as he wishes so the gang tries to stop him. The journey is full of memorable moments such as making it to the other side of the giant wall known as The End of the World.

Obviously, these are 2 very different stories as Xenogears is complex and mind-blowing while Grandia is much more lighthearted and upbeat. Due to its massive scope and bold take on heavy subjects, I can easily say that Xenogears has the better story although Grandia's charming characters and unforgettable journey still have a special place in my heart.

Photo of Xenogears and Grandia for PS1
Yes, I still own and treasure my physical copies of these awesome RPGs

Did you just see my mad skillz?

Next up, Xenogears and Grandia have very cool battle systems. First up, Xenogears kind of has 2 as you can fight as your party members both in and out of their giant mechs known as Gears. While inside, you use fuel to perform attacks as well as increase levels that allow you to execute stronger attacks. Outside, your characters can unleash awesome combos using action points which I find to be far more enjoyable than battling in the Gears. Grandia's battle system is a lot more strategic as you can either perform combo attacks which do more damage or critical blows that give you a chance to cancel an enemy's move. The constantly moving IP gauge that shows when each combatant will attack makes battles exciting and it's incredibly satisfying to consistently cancel your enemies then tear them to shreds. Even though Xenogears is a ton of fun, Grandia offers some of the most strategic and rewarding combat in the genre.

Celtic vibes and whimsical melodies

Music is an important part of any RPG and both of these games feature awesome soundtracks. Noriyuki Iwadare composed Grandia's score and it's full of incredible orchestral pieces that'll make you feel motivated as you journey forth. However, Yasunori Mitsuda's score for Xenogears remains one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time. In fact, I'm listening to the Xenogears 20th Anniversary Concert as I write this and each song is bringing back loads of memories. The clear Celtic influence adds a gorgeous layer of exuberance to many of the tracks while others feel much more melancholy which reflects the somber moments of its story. Even though I love Grandia's music, Xenogears has a captivating score that very few game soundtracks have come close to since.

Grandia screenshot
Grandia's final boss sure is a Baal

I played Xenogears and Grandia a lot in my life and completed each game with well over 60 hours on the clock. Even though they're both awesome and timeless RPGs, I have to pick a winner which is...

Winner Xenogears

Grandia is a phenomenal game with one of the best battle systems in RPG history. However, Xenogears' large-scale and breathtaking story, memorable cast of diverse personalities, and awe-inspiring music are simply unmatched in the genre. That being said, if you prefer more lighthearted tales then you'll probably have a much better time with Grandia. Anyway, I was thinking; can you imagine if Xenogears had Grandia's battle system? That would blow my mind!

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

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