Grandia on Saturn vs PS1

I am often espousing the virtues of Grandia on the Saturn over the PS1 port, and folks often ask me why - I realize there‘s no real good explainer video with ALL the differences, which might be impossible, but I’m going to attempt to put most of the big stuff together right here.

The very first thing you'll notice is the frame rate in town is better on Saturn, and there are shadows to the buildings, which PS1 doesn't have. Also the sprite anchors are better on Saturn, whereas on the PS1 they kind of jerk around. Fair play to PS1, obviously there's better transparency, and they have sprite-based shadows instead of circles under characters. Also, critically (as @"◉◉maru"#146 pointed out) the ground textures are in the wrong place in the town - you can even see that in the video preview here, the house in the PS1 version is floating between two floor texture zones. You can see all that stuff in this video:

Some effects were simplified for the PS1 version, as you can see here:

Then there's battles. To explain a bit, Grandia has a 3D world with sprite-based characters. But in battles, they use a bitmap for the background, because this lets them do 3D transparency over the 2D environment without issues, due to peculiarities of the Saturn hardware.

The PS1 has a nicer effect for getting into battle, but once there has a lower res texture for the battle map, and the zooms aren't as expressive, whereas the saturn texture is higher res and because of the odd jagginess of it better mimics the 3D environments you walk around in. Also the menus are transparent in the PS1 version but they're ugly on any version, I wouldn't say one's better than the other. I have a soft spot for dithered transparent 3D anyway, so my opinion is invalid here!

PS1 magic effects are arguably nicer, it's down to preference

personal pref again but I really prefer the look of the ghost fog in the saturn version. it fades in and out of intensity whereas the PS1 version is just a straight (very heavy-handed) transparent overlay:

These are all pretty subtle, but the biggest one for me is you'll get entire layers of sprites missing in cutscenes:
Saturn original:

Any of them are fine to play, but since there's an english patch out for the saturn version now, you might as well check that out!? (has instructions in summary)

AND you can also apply a widescreen hack and other screen effects to basically get yourself a saturn remaster in emulator!?

There are more differences here and there of course. I mean heck, even the title screen is different.

Again, not big stuff, but... it's sure noticeable! This is the the kind of thing I notice when playing through the game, and the reason I tell people to play the Saturn version, so... hopefully that helps somebody!!

In case anyone is looking for a patched version, this one worked for me


I‘ve been keeping an eye out for the “finished” version of the English patch but it sounds like what’s missing is so minor (FMV subtitles and “censorship” whatever that was) I might just go ahead and dip in.

also there's no FMV with story of consequence that I can think of!?

Wow awesome thread! Never played Grandia but stuff like this is immensely fascinating. Thanks!!

..should I play Grandia?

grandia is nice! it‘s absolutely not essential but if you like RPGs in a world that looks like a tiny diorama then it’s got a lot of that. check out that fog area example, the pirate ship. I love that kind of stuff, and if you do too, you'll probably like the game.

Ah, curious to know what scene that is!

I just want to say that Grandia IS essential >:(


@JoJoestar#6900 I just want to say that Grandia IS essential :rage:

Grandia has one of the most influential battle systems ever so, for that alone, I'd agree. Bonus: Iwadare at his best for the soundtrack, and it's probably the best Game Arts game overall. Also, not a big problem for me but, as far as I remember, none of the story or characters have aged poorly in terms of cringe / "modern Western sensibilities" which is not something you can say of most Japanese role-playing games released around that time.


@exodus#6872 The very first thing you’ll notice is the frame rate in town is better on Saturn, and there are shadows to the buildings, which PS1 doesn’t have.

The very first thing one should notice is that the street textures are not in the right place! That's what always drives me crazy about this version.

Oh right, the floor textures!

The only "cringe"-ish moment I can recall is when everybody falls down a hole and the male protagonist has a "huh!? I feel something soft?" moment and gets slapped by the female protagonist. But it's not so bad, because he's like "what was that for!" and that's kind of the end of it.

@exodus Thanks for the info! More often it's the case where you need to research these RPGs and look for the best version and/or fan mods like the Un-Worked hacks to make Working Design games fair.

Looks like the official HD remaster uses the PS1 version but was developed while referencing the Saturn version [per siliconera]( Could never decide which version to play (first time) - but I think I'll go with the translated Saturn one when I get around to it.

In one of those videos above (HD remaster vs saturn) you‘ll see there’s not a lot of evidence the saturn version was referenced in any way. There‘s really nothing wrong with playing the HD remaster, but if you’re gonna play on your PC anyway, maybe the translated saturn one is the way to go.

The remaster isn‘t great in a few ways from what I’ve seen. Here's some examples:

Misaligned sprites (saturn vs remaster)

maps being a big mess and missing textures (saturn vs remaster)

saturn skybox

remaster "skybox"

i'm always wary of slapped together remasters for stuff like this

Just from the streets of the first town alone I think its obvious which one is the definitive reversion.

Differences as aside I just got the English patched version for Saturn and this is an extremely hangout-y first town. I must have been in too much of a rush last time I played it on PlayStation years ago.

Yeah, there's a lot of hanging out in the towns, though you kind of get immune to the charm over time… that said, the ship is a pretty hangouty space too, so… who knows!

Grandia is one of my favorites. It‘s a game that gets referenced a lot (there are a lot of RPGs that say they were inspired by Grandia’s battle system, but never quite feel as good), but there are some aspects of the design that don‘t get recognized. Nearly every random NPC has 2-4 unique bits of dialog that has a full beginning-middle-end, conversational feel. When discussing the hang-outitude, it’s rare to see a game expand that scope beyond the main cast.

That said, I wished the HD remaster had the resources to get more love. I was hopeful it would've had the Saturn elements as well as the PlayStation content. The biggest fix is that Feena's final spells are fixed. In the PS version, she needs to level her magic to 99; it's like ~30ish on Saturn.

Heck, I gotta keep going with this grandia re-playthrough of mine. I realize I'm not even on disc 2 yet. this thread continues to inspire me to get back to it!

oh man, i'm sad to hear about this hd remaster

ah, it's still much better than the nothing we had on modern platforms before!