Grand Fantasia is a colorful, free to play MMORPG published by Aeria Games. Grand Fantasia is delivered using anime inspired graphics and includes a large variety of exciting features and mechanics.
As with all our new player reviews, the first thing I'm going to cover is the character creation system available in Grand Fantasia. Within 20 seconds of launching the game, I was already impressed at the vast amount of customization options available. I'm so used to MMORPG games that offer 2 variations of hairstyle and a class choice, I wasn't expecting Grand Fantasia to deliver so much so quickly. In terms of your actual character, there are 13 different hairstyles, 6 different skin types, 9 eye variations and 8 available hair colors. There's a second area of customization, for your own personal pet called a Sprite. They also have a large variety of options to choose from, including eyes, shape and color, they look strangely similar to the cute pets available in some of the Sonic games, Chao's. You can preview all of the classes on your character, to see what the end-game armor will like, and there's also a class selection for your Sprite. Sprites appear to assist mainly with the crafting aspect of the game, all Sprites are able to gather certain resources but each Sprite class adds 1 unique crafting ability. For the duration of this new player experience review, I decided to choose Assassin as my character class and Fairflower as my Sprite class.
After a cutely funny cut-scene, you arrive on Siwa Island, the tutorial zone for Grand Fantasia. The starter quests are what you would expect from an MMORPG game, providing basic quest types that help teach you the basics of movement and combat. The first enemies you encounter look like a slightly mutated version of your own Sprite, so they're not all that vicious. The combat system is your standard MMO setup, abilities go on your hot-bar, and then you use the associated key to perform that ability. The really interesting part of the tutorial is the Sprite system introduction.
The Sprite system is easily one of the best aspects to Grand Fantasia as it gives players a unique approach to crafting, as well as a personal companion. You can access your Sprite by using the gem you're given at the start of the game, you then have a few choices. You can send your Sprite out foraging for mining and other craft supplies, or you can ask it to create something out of supplies you already have. There's also a number of other options such as salvaging materials from items you have, or just having a friendly chat with your Sprite. If you leave your Sprite window open, they will often talk to you, offering advice on nearby monsters or telling you funny stories. They also get quite upset if they don't find anything during their foraging excursions, which actually made me a little sad when I saw my Sprite break down into tears. You can improve their chances at foraging and crafting by using the training option, this option requires a certain amount of materials but increases the Sprite overall efficiency in that particular area.
Overall, my new player experience of Grand Fantasia was one of the best I've had in a long time. The colorful, anime graphics, combined with the upbeat, feel-good music delivered a unique experience unlike any other MMORPG game I've played. The Sprite system is a fantastic change to the typical grindy crafting systems, and having that constant companion alongside you removes any lonely feelings you may have when there's not many players around.
- A brilliant Sprite system that adds a lot of depth to the game
- Colorful, anime inspired art design
- Upbeat, feel-good music
- Large amount of classes available
- Player base isn't as big as other MMO games of this type
- Combat system feels dated