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|Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time|
Front box art of North American release
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable|
Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time[a] is a tactical role-playing game developed by Career Soft and published by Atlus. It was originally released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan in December 2003, and later for the PlayStation Portable in Japan in August 2011 (as Growlanser IV: Over Reloaded) and in North America in July 2012. It is the fourth installment in the Growlanser series, with character designs by Satoshi Urushihara. A visual novel fan-disc Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time - Return, containing three short stories, was released on PS2 in 2005.
Wayfarer of Time features an isometric perspective and a "traditional RPG" style exploration in towns, dungeons and the world map that are very similar to the original Growlanser. Enemies can be seen on the world map and they can be avoided. Each dungeon has a unique, fixed layout (with the exception of the "bonus dungeon", which is randomly generated).
The equipment system is markedly different from most RPGs. Characters can equip two pieces of armor, one being a "Ring Weapon". In the Growlanser series, a Ring Weapon is a new technology where magic rings transform into different weapons depending on the user's personality. Players find these rings often after the defeat of an enemy and can equip different rings for different stat bonuses and different gem-equip slots. There are over 100 types of gems that cause various beneficial effects such as adding extra attacks, more elemental defenses, increasing range or adding spells to the character's repertoire. These gems all have an innate level and that level must match or be lower than the slot available in the Ring weapon to be equipped. Each Ring Weapon only has 3 gem-slots with a level of 0-9 for each slot to equip the respective level gems. Additionally, a gem's color must match the color of a ring slot. A gem can be equipped into any given slot, however, penalties are incurred if the gem has a skill that can be learned.
There are 11 potential playable characters, but there is a four-member party limit in battles. The fate system allow players to save some characters from death based on their decisions and ultimately unlock some additional endings.
Like other games in the Growlanser series, Wayfarer of Time features some dating sim elements. The player can improve or damage the protagonist's relationship with others based on the conversation options chosen and what decisions they make in the game. A character's portrait in the status menu gives how good their relationship is with the player character; the happier they look, the better their relationship. Also, the familiars have the ability to see the party members' opinions of the protagonist. Wayfarer of Time features a new vacation system where players spend time with their party members to form close friendships or pursue romances. Completing a character's back-story quest will unlock features such as ultimate armors, skills and one of the 40 possible endings.
Like its predecessors, Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time utilizes a free-range movement tactical RPG battle system. Unlike grid-based TRPGs, a character's movement range is represented by a circular area in which the character can move anywhere within its confines. In addition, movement speed is based on the amount of MOV points a character has in the game. Another unusual aspect of Growlanser's system is that it's active-time based rather than strictly turn-based. Instead of each side taking its turn in waves, both sides move and act based on individual units' speed stats. Physical attackers must move towards the enemy to connect the blow within its range while magical attackers must take the time to chant their spells in exchange for being able to hit much farther ranges. Because characters' actions play out in real-time, a player can interrupt an action at any time to perform a new action.
The Growlanser series features cooperation magic, in which two members of the party can cast stronger support or offensive spells (for ex: Co-op Heal or Co-op Sleep). In Wayfarer of Time, the player's party can only cast area of effect spells through use of cooperation magic. However, some enemy bosses are capable of casting AoE spells on their own.
Wayfarer of time features "limit abilities" which are similar to limit breaks in Final Fantasy. Depending on specific circumstances, characters may activate their limit abilities that vary from powerful attacks to extremely useful support magic.
Major events in the story have unique battle objectives, such as the ability to rescue an NPC from enemies rather than simply 'defeat all enemies'. Reinforcement enemy forces sometimes show up in battle, making it prudent to plan a strategy, rather than rushing blindly into battle. There are a wide array of mission goals that vary from the normal "defeat all enemies" such as: escape the battle without killing anyone, protect the NPCs, search out areas where enemies are trying to ambush you, don't let the enemy escape, set fire to different points on the enemy camp, and more. If the player's entire party dies it is Game Over, but if the player survives a battle they can achieve four outcomes: Mission Failed, Mission Passed, Mission Clear, and Mission Complete. All of which let the player continue the game and may unlock an alternate story branch.
Wayfarer of Time takes place on a continent called Noievarl, which is divided into four countries. While Noievarl civilization is currently similar to that of medieval Europe, they once possessed many futuristic technologies that appear in sci-fi. The countries have become increasingly hostile towards their neighbors and are now in the midst of war. South of the mainland is Lamplast Island, where the Arten Schwart mercenaries are stationed to defend Noievarl from foreign invaders.
2000 years ago, the people of Noievarl progressed in magic and science, and built a highly advanced civilization. Then powerful Angels attacked the humans, and brought them to the brink of extinction. A young man named Crevanille, who was raised as a mercenary at Arten Schwart, witnesses a six-winged seraph in the sky. Knowing that it is a sign that the angels are returning to oppress humanity, he sets out to battle the angels for the sake of the world. Crevanille must discover how to defeat the angels and save the fate of humanity. He will become a new Savior of Light; the Growlanser.
Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time has been stated by Atlus to have over 40 possible endings. The PSP version has three possible story branches that the player may choose from which will lead to a different outcome of the main storyline. Additionally, the player can unlock a unique epilogue for each of the playable characters, as well as most of the NPC allies, if the protagonist romances or becomes best friends with the character and completes his or her sidequest. It is possible to achieve multiple endings in one play through (by reloading saved games), but will require a minimum of four playthroughs to achieve every possible ending.
Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time was originally developed by CareerSoft in 2003. The game was directed by Shinjiro Takada, who also worked on Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. The main scenario writers were Fuma Yato and Yo Haduki, who were also lead writers for Devil Survivor. The original soundtrack was composed by Tomoyuki Hamada, with new opening and ending tracks for the PSP version composed by Ryota Kozuka.
Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time was generally well received by critics. The game was praised for its unique battle system and the large amount of player choices and replay value. NeoSeeker stated that "With over 40 possible endings to view, Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time definitely offers a huge amount of replay value for those who appreciate it." One of the common criticisms of the game was its dated graphics.
- GROW LANSER IV -Wayfarer of the time- in Japan
- "Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time Neoseeker Profile". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "Wayfarer of Time Story". Growlanser Realm. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Wayfarer of Time Preview". RPGamer. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
- "GDemons, High Schools, And Sex: Just Another Day At Atlus Games". Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- "Growlanser Wayfarer of Time PSP Review". Retrieved 2013-02-28.