Granado Espada (jp) - Fluff randomly plays.
Granada Espada is originally a Korean Mmorpg based around a relatively original concept of user controllable teams (Called MCC - Multi character control), within the game system you can party ingame, at the same time, with up to 3 of your own characters (the other two controlled by ai or manually by you if selected), additionally, you can hire npc's or collect NPC cards which allow normally unusable characters to be available within your party.
The benefit of this system is that unlike Final fantasy online, you do not have to wait around for ages for a party if you don't want to!.
The graphics are absolutely superb, be it small intricate details within the towns, or simple things like nails in peices of wood out in the wilderness, smoke rising from small huts.
Theres detail at work here that puts even Elder scrolls 4 to shame.
A major downside of this game (at the moment), is that it's only available in two flavours, Korean and Japanese, the latter being the one i play as its the one i understand, however this language barrier isn't completely crippling, as other friends of mine who do not know any japanese, have been able to play through quite happily with a few pointers here and there.
The battle systems efficient and satisfying, the monsters clever and at times really fun (skeleton warriors running away with treasure chests strapped to their backs!.
The bosses are huge, and disgustingly hard for anyone under level 35 ish, however you can reach level 35 on your own with a few days play, don't expect to power level your way to insanity however, as i've been playing quite often since the beta service for japan opened, and i'm only level 56!.
While it's not much point to someone who can't understand japanese, i will say that the quests are fun and envolving, the 'challenge' system is absolutely amazing, allowing you to party with your own characters and other peoples groups to accomplish various tasks, be it defending lakeside camps to storming a monster infested hillside to kill the sleeping beast at the top.
A great game for anyone interested in games on the other side of the earth and with the patience to work past the obvious barriers.
Official sites :
Japanese site : http://www.granadoespada.jp/
Korean site : http://ge.hanbiton.com/
Helpful sites for english gamers that don't know japanese :
http://ge.anime-project.de/ (Granada Espada Wiki, English)
http://www.onrpg.com/ftopic72340.html MCC2 and MCC3 quest guides (engrish)
http://www.onrpg.com/ftopic72209.html Quick start guide (engrish)
Some screenshots i've taken whilst playing.
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00011-tn.jpg Making my wizard!
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00012-tn.jpg My wizard's ass...
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00015-tn.jpg Teleport points! (very useful)
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00016-tn.jpg A char i wish i had, heh.
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00018-tn.jpg Bend over baby :x.. (dungeon entrance)
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00020-tn.jpg On my way to dungeons
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00023-tn.jpg The ultra cute Gun seller
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00028-tn.jpg My Gunners ass...
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00031-tn.jpg Looks like i'm about to trip!
http://www.lostnovice.com/GEReview/capture_00040-tn.jpg One of the many boss's (non agro so leave it alone if you're still noob!)