Grand Fantasia

Action Based Anime MMORPG - Grand Fantasia is a cheery Anime MMORPG. Bright, and colorful with adorable Sprite companions, players explore the vast world of Saphael battling monsters, raiding dungeons and fighting other players.

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Game overview

Almost approaching its' tenth birthday, Grand Fantasia is an F2P Anime MMORPG that doesn't reinvent the wheel of the genre but follows the 'If it isn't broke, don't fix it" mentality.

Pleasantly cheerful music, and a game world that is bright and colorful, Grand Fantasia's art style holds up well. What doesn't, is the PVE and PVP content. Quests in Grand Fantasia are painstakingly boring and what's left of the PVE content is little more than level grinding for PVP.

PVP is all but inaccessible to anyone but high-level players, and the P2W game model the game uses makes PVP very unbalanced, as all the top Pkers have spent real-life money to give themselves a huge advantage over the competition and grant themselves powerful end-game gear. PVP is the best part about Grand Fantasia, but unless you spend money, you don't stand a chance.

The game is dead and that makes it hard to recommend. A new server, Siwa was released 5 months ago, and it is already a ghost town. A world full of lively things is now lifeless.

➔ Main points:

  • Downloadable F2P Anime MMORPG
  • Vibrant and cheerful art style
  • Game world is too big and spread out
  • Often feels like a single-player experience because no one else is ever around
  • P2W PVP, only high-level spenders can be competitive

Full review

Presentation: Sunny with a chance of cheerfulness

In life, there are always a few things that can always bring a smile to your face, no matter how down you’re feeling. A good New York pizza, every episode of The Office, the release date of Half-Life 3, etc. and I would count Grand Fantasia’s presentation among those things.

The art style of Grand Fantasia makes the game world very appealing.

To say that Grand Fantasia is bright is an understatement. The world is very vibrant and the music is very cheerful. As soon as you boot up Grand Fantasia, the light-hearted orchestral music begins. It reminds me quite a bit of the music in the Pokemon series mixed with Kingdom Hearts. And yes that’s a good thing.

The weapons and armor in the game are all very colorful as well which is very fitting for the Anime MMORPG style that Grand Fantasia is going for. A lot of the weapons are hilariously over the top, like the Demolitionist Heavy Cannon, which is bigger than your character is or the Ranger's bow, which looks like the wings of a bat.

The graphics of Grand Fantasia, do look a bit dated in 2018, but the art style is still very likable, and as a result, the presentation still holds up quite well.

Character Creation

The character creation in Grand Fantasia, however, leaves a lot to be desired. There are only 12 different eye styles to choose from, and a paltry 4 eye color options. For hairstyles, you’ve only got 16 to choose from and 8 hair color options. This is a pretty paltry amount of options, even for a standard MMORPG, but for an Anime MMORPG, it’s really a bummer. They could’ve gone wild with it, and it would’ve made character creation a blast. Instead, it’s just a bit disappointing. There are 10 classes to choose from, and they’re what you would expect from an RPG. Very standard stuff, like Druids, Assassins, and Paladins. Making up a bit for the lacking character creation choices, are Grand Fantasia’s unique Sprites.

Sprites are magical little creatures that serve as allies and companions to players who help you in and out of combat, helping in battles and gathering and crafting resources for you. They start off small but grow over time as they level up. They’re really quite adorable and you could have a Sprite that looks like one of the gobble monsters from Pac-Man, or one that looks like Kirby.

Each Sprite has a class of its’ own that you choose during the character creation process. Certain Sprite classes benefit characters of certain types, so it is crucial that your Sprite’s class synergizes well with your own.

Grand Fantasia's Heavy Cannon in over the top in a very good way.

Skills and Talents

Each player starts off as a novice, no matter what class you intend to pick, and once you reach level 5 on the starter island, you’re able to pick your very first class skill. You can learn new class skills at level 5, 15, 30, and 65 from skill trainers at the cost of gold. There’s a healthy amount of skills for you to choose from like quick, spammy skills, or powerful skills with a longer windup.

There are also Master Skills: powerful passive effect skills that you can gain at high levels at the cost of experience. The first tier of Master Skills opens up at level 45, and the final tier opens up at level 75, so you won’t have to worry about these for awhile.

Players also have the abilities to gain talents which give passive bonuses to your characters. Several talents are unlocked just through leveling up, but most talents in the game are learned through the use of talent blueprints which you can acquire via collecting the ingredients for them throughout the game world.

The World: Too big for its’ own good

No, the header of this section is not a reference to dot Hack. Saphael is a double-edged sword in that while it’s nice to look at, and there is a myriad of maps and dungeons for you to explore and train at, simply put, there’s too many. The game doesn’t have nearly as many players now that it did when it first launched, and unless you’re playing with some personal friends, you will go a very long time without seeing another soul anywhere. At least, not until you’re fairly high level. Which kinda defeats the purpose of an MMO.

Grand Fantasia's character creation is pretty standard and previews what your character will look like fully decked out.

Quests: The Dark of Grand Fantasia’s moon

Quests are to RPGs, what peanut butter is to jam; they go hand in hand. And for a lot of people, quests, and the quality or lack thereof of said quests, can either make a person want to keep playing a game, or make them want to quit. In the case of Grand Fantasia, it’s the latter.

Quests in this game, are boring, Very, very boring. The entirety of the game itself, is pretty standard, as the developer played it safe, so not much effort seems to have been put into the quests. All of them are very repetitive and will have you leveling up your snoring skill in an hour or less.

PVP: Unbalanced mess

The PVP in Grand Fantasia is similar to that of another Aeria Games title, Shaiya. In the sense that it is completely unbalanced, pay-to-win and pretty much nigh-inaccessible to newer players.

There are generally two types of players in PVP in Grand Fantasia: Rookie players who may or may not have a clue what they’re doing, and all the end-game players who wreck everyone they come across. There isn’t an in-between. Grand Fantasia also uses a terrible in-game item mall system, which completely ruins the economy of the game, and makes it more trouble than worth for F2P or even light-spending players to bother with PVP. The mechanics of PVP, in general, are solid, but the terrible game model that is in use here ruins the fun completely.

The world of Grand Fantasia is lively but the player base sure isn't. You'll go hours and not see anyone

Fantasia: A little less grand, and a lot more dead

Alongside the P2W design of PVP that puts of most of the game’s player base, another major issue with Grand Fantasia is that it’s dead. It is very, very dead. It’s not uncommon to play for hours and not see another living soul.

Want to do a dungeon but it’s too tough for you to go at it alone? Good luck finding a party. Want to join a guild? Try Guild Wars. you’ll have more luck there than in this game.

Couple this with the already problematic size of Grand Fantasia, and despite the game itself being full of life, nearly ten years after its’ release. Grand Phantasia is pretty lifeless.

The PVP of Grand Fantasia has potential but is ruined by the P2W Item Mall game model.

Final Thoughts

As much as I like the presentation of Grand Fantasia, it’s pretty much impossible to recommend this game to anyone in its’ current state. The PVE content that is fun (I.E. dungeons) are pretty impossible to do because there’s no one around to play with. The rest of the PVE content is just grinding. The quests are extremely bland and soulless. The PVP is completely P2W, and the community for the game, what’s left of it anyway, is very unhelpful and obnoxious. Most players left are end-game who just sneer down their noses at ‘noobs’ and aren’t inclined to help you or let you join their guilds, and are just generally very unfriendly. The game doesn’t have much on the upside and as a result, is little more than something that can be fondly remembered by those who played it at launch.

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Graphics: full 3D
PvP: guild or factions PvE PvP
Cash shop influence: high
Exp rate: medium

Originality
Grand Fantasia is a pretty standard Anime MMORPG which doesn't stand out much in terms of style. The most unique aspect of the game is the Sprite Companions that follow you around and help you in and outside of combat.

What We Liked..

Bright and colorful world

Upbeat music

Fun Sprite companions

.. and what we didn't

The world is too big and you often play by yourself

Repetitive and bland quests

Very low player base

Unbalanced economy


Fun factor
4.0 out of 5
Community
2.0 out of 5
Graphics
4.0 out of 5
7.5
Worth A Try

Review summary

  1. Presentation: Sunny with a chance of cheerfulness
  2. Character Creation
  3. Skills and Talents
  4. The World: Too big for its’ own good
  5. Quests: The Dark of Grand Fantasia’s moon
  6. PVP: Unbalanced mess
  7. Fantasia: A little less grand, and a lot more dead
  8. Final Thoughts

What we liked..

Bright and colorful world
Upbeat music
Fun Sprite companions

.. and what we didn't

The world is too big and you often play by yourself
Repetitive and bland quests
Very low player base
Unbalanced economy
7.5
Graphics - 80 / 100
Fun factor - 80 / 100
Longevity - 60 / 100
Originality - 60 / 100
Community - 40 / 100

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