That’s right. Grandia.

While I grew up on Final Fantasy 2 and 3 and was blown away by Chrono Trigger and Suikdoen and the like, Grandia is simply the pinnacle of the genre.

Boasting beautifully animated 2d sprites on fully rotational 3d maps (wow!), the camera became an essential part of the gameplay. For one of the first times you actually fought your turn-based battles on the map you were standing on instead of being whisked away to some generic battle map. These were stunning graphics at the time.

The best part? Visible monsters. That’s right, no random battle nonsense here, you can pick your fights, and even sneak up on enemies to gain a pre-emptive strike. The combat was exciting and fast paced- no longer would your characters just stand on one side of the screen, they’re move all around the battlefield and dish out all kinds of punishment and special moves. The game also gave you a meter letting you know when each character would attack, letting you plan your battles accordingly. All of this was a revelation at the time. The memorable score, fun (if j-cutesy) characters- it was simply the best RPG of the 32-bit generation, and I’ll fight anyone that says otherwise!

Sony has just announced that they’re releasing the title on PSN this Thursday, February 25h, with the 80-hour, 2-disc game clocking in at a reasonable $9.99. This will be awesome to play on the PSP in the time away from the tv, that’s for sure.

Takahiro Nishi (Sound Director of Game Arts) wrote this on the Playstation Blog-

I believe Grandia is ideal for RPG fans who missed the original version and those gamers who want to recapture the magic of their gaming past, and it can be appreciated by players young and old, men and women, casual and hardcore because this is a timeless game.

He is right. What do you guys think, am I nuts? Discuss your favorite JRPGs on the messageboards.

I’ve gotten absolutely sick of JRPGs in the years since Grandia (couldn’t be more disinterested in Final Fantasy XIII) and the sequels have certainly paled in comparison, but it will be awesome to give this classic another whirl come Thursday.