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Posted by: Michael Lafferty

Oh no! … Not the dreaded Jelly Rabbits!! …

They are big, and pink, and round, and … and very Pokemon-ish.

*the forest echoes with the sound of terrified shrieks … or is that laughter?*

Grand Fantasia is not about hyper-realistic or nightmarish monsters, or creating a world that asks players to delve deep into the min-max side of massively multiplayer online gaming. It is, however, very much about accessibility with charm and fun tossed in as bonuses.

You may log in and find yourself embroiled in a rousing game of Find the GM. That, in as much as anything, speaks to the spirit of Grand Fantasia. The game does depart, slightly, from the standard control aspects and that might bring about a few moments of mumbled frustration when figuring out what click does what, but generally this is not a game that requires players to do much more than enjoy the light-hearted adventure.

The more hardcore MMOers might not find this game up their cyber alley, but those games looking for a slightly more casual pacing could find Grand Fantasia to their liking

The game, even with graphics and monitor settings at their highest, will not tax a system. There is no bump mapping and the world is rich in pastel tones. It is vibrant and pleasant to look at; and the music that loops in the background follows that trend.

The game begins with players awakening and discovering they are a sprite messenger. The sprite is an anime-style character that aids you in certain areas. Like many other things, they are cute and very friendly in appearance (as well as graphically familiar), and most important, they are eager to please. In fact, sprites are your best friend in the game. They can salvage and collect items for you, learn to craft for you and generally are there to bring a smile to your face.

There are two main servers with various channels for each. When it comes to creating a character, there some minor customization choices (male or female, with the ability to select from pre-built options in the eyes, iris, hair, hair color and skin color areas). There are eight classes available in the game – but players begin as novices and then choose from the list as they level. General class categories include berserker, paladin, ranger, assassin, cleric, sage, wizard, and necromancer.

Once you have that all sorted, it’s off to adventure. Early on the quests generally involve teaching the game’s ropes, have some nice back stories and are well attached to level. You start to specialize your character at level 5, then again at 15 and 30.

As innocuous as the game’s beginning does seem, though, it ramps up and there are team-based battlefields as well as player-versus-player options. The game also allows for mounts, guilds, a player romance system, bulletin boards and an auction house.

Like any MMO, Grand Fantasia is an adventure that requires time to experience. It also should be appealing to those who like anime-style graphics.

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