An engaging, captivating fantasy for the hardcore
Now that the world's done drooling over Odin Sphere, it's time to find the next stunningly beautiful game that came out of nowhere. That search is already over. GrimGrimoire is every bit as breathtaking as its action-oriented cousin, but instead relies on tactical thinking and classic WarCraft-style play mechanics. As with any real-time strategy game, the goal is to usurp resources, use said resources to create bigger and badder units and eventually crush your opponent. In that regard, Grim sticks to established ideas set in place years ago. Everything else is pure magic.
Whereas most RTS games try to make the experience as real as possible, with intricately detailed units and real-world sound effects, Grim purposely infuses the entire experience with majesty and awe. Everything that moves, from the tiniest mana-grabbing elves to the stupidly cool dragons, is a work of art in motion. Any time you manage to save up enough mana to produce an egg, fend off an onslaught of spell-slinging homunculi and transparent ghosts and hatch the egg at the last second to reveal your towering dragon, it's a moment worth cherishing. Graphics don't mean everything, but, as with Odin Sphere, they can make a great game soar into total excellence.
Even the largest stigma of console RTS games - poor controls - is alleviated to some extent. A sensible button layout allows quick movement and the ability to command multiple units at once. Our only complaint is that you can't give mass orders to, say, everything on the screen. You have to order by race, so for example, say you want to send a swarm of fairies, two golems and a ravaging chimera to intercept an incoming menace. You have to order the fairies, then the golems, then the chimera, with no way to say "everyone attack!" It's a small issue, but worth addressing.
As beautiful as this world and its inhabitants are, we couldn't help but tire of the battle area. You spend so much time duking it out inside the cavernous hallways that you'll wonder what the rest of the Grim universe looks like. Other areas are mentioned in the story, but our experience is largely limited to the same dingy stairways, while the missions are almost always "destroy all other enemies."