Growlanser Wayfarer of Time
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|Growlanser Wayfarer of Time|
Front box art of North American release
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
Growlanser Wayfarer of Time (グローランサーIV?) is a TRPG originally released on the PlayStation 2. It was developed by Career Soft and published in Japan by Atlus in 2003. It is the fourth installment in the Growlanser series, but it has a self-contained story. In 2011, a remake with additional content and new characters called Growlanser IV: Over Reloaded was released on PlayStation Portable in Japan. The North American version, called simply Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time was released on July 31, 2012.
Wayfarer of Time features an isometric perspective and a "traditional RPG" style exploration in towns, dungeons and 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, or 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 the 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 its 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 specifics 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 rescuing a 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 players 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.
- Voiced by: Naozumi Takahashi (OVA only)
The game's "silent" protagonist and leader of the party. When Crevanille was young, he was taken in and raised by Dixon. Growing up surrounded by strong warriors, he possesses merit as a mercenary, despite his youth.
- Voiced by: Ryoko Nagata
A boy collapsed in the forest and rescued by Crevanille and Regina. Since then he has come to live with them as a member of Arten Schwart. He is gentle and always positive. It became Crevanille's duty to look after him.
- Voiced by: Yuki Makishima
A girl who is a "Ruin Child", a survivor of the civilization which was destroyed 2000 years ago. She somehow has a connection with Crevanille's past, but because she lost her memories other than knowing her own name, their exact connection is a mystery.
- Voiced by: Kozue Shimizu
Daughter of Dixon, the leader of Alten Schwart mercenary group. Because of being surrounded by rough guys, she has a bit of a nasty tongue. Has a brother-sister relationship with Crevanille.
- Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai
Man met at Reinfaltz base. He puts on a cool air but is hiding a passion. With an honest and steady personality not matching his outward appearance, he is full of ambition and reliable as a comrade.
- Voiced by: Masumi Asano
A daughter of the Mayfield noble family. She was raised sheltered as a lady, so she has ignorance of the ways of the world, and her pride is high. Once she decides something, she dislikes turning from it.
- Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya
A mysterious girl from a parallel universe. She has ears and tail like a cat but seems to dislike being regarded in the same light as one.
- Voiced by: Shinpachi Tsuji
A master swordsman from a distant land with a reputation which spans the continent. He trained the current Royal Guards of Valkania in swordsmanship. He is a man who is strict toward himself and others.
Magnus (PSP ver. only)
- Voiced by: Tatsuhisa Suzuki
Pupil of the master fencer Hien. He is so preoccupied with the future that he often neglects his immediate surroundings, and it seems that he is unable to read situations. Ever since his life was saved by Pamela, he serves as her guard.
Meline (PSP ver. only)
- Voiced by: Yumi Shimura
Younger sister of twins. She considers disturbing things to be normal, and if she is displeased she is quick to raise her voice. She is a self-centered child who wants to be praised and fawned upon, but she has a mature side...
Tricia (PSP ver. only)
- Voiced by: Yukika Teramoto
A bright and cheerful girl. She looks after the protagonist as his senior, but as the flames of war spread, her position will end up changing...
- Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi
A human-figured familiar to serve the hero. Constantly bright and cheerful, and perhaps the party's moodmaker. TP type's feature is to strengthen your physical ability.
A human-figured familiar to serve the hero. Prudent with diligence, her behavior is full of intelligence. LN type's feature is to strengthen magic.
A human-figured familiar to serve the hero. Somewhat childlike, a warm and snug peculiar atmosphere is LM type's characteristic. She gives a calm impression but as for abilities, she compares favorably to the other types.
D-MD (PSP ver. only)
- Voiced by: Yoko Hikasa
She is a familiar devoted to tools and instruments. She believes that familiars should be used as tools by humans.
Akyel An angel, an enemy of humankind, who is actually came from the future with Uriel.
Uriel An angel who believed in humans to the last. She came from the future with Akyel.
Dixon The leader of the powerful and famed mercenary group Alten Schwart. Due to his reputation he has an open invitation to join the Valkanian Royal Guard, and has utmost trust from his mercenaries.
Bauer As Dixon's right-hand man he supports the Alten Schwart group. He is a largehearted and warm personality full of human kindness.
Sydney Manager in charge of Crevanille's base. Very sincere and serious and never lets anything slip.
Maggie A clever scientist who supports Crevanille with technology developments.
Mel Runs the accessory shop at Crevanille's base. She came from another continent and wandered about as a merchant prior to that. All of her merchandise is handcrafted.
Alicia Marquelay Princess of Marquelay who wants peace and to unify the four nations on the continent.
Baker Marquelay's lead general, who is deeply trusted by Alicia. Charged with defending the nation of Marquelay.
Deringer President of Dulkheim, who has a lust for power. He will try to use various schemes to capture the public's heart.
Ludwig Dulkheim army officer, generally in charge of Reinfaltz base. From his military achievements in the Eizenvant battle, he is adored by the citizens as a hero.
Lumis Lichtmann Leading person of the magic research in Dulkheim. It is said that if it were without him, the utilization of magic stones would have been ten years later. When he immerses himself in research, he forgets food and rest.
Cargill An officer in the Dulkheim Army with a dark reputation. In the Dulkheim military, there is an unofficial secret information department where such things as prisoner interrogations and assassinations are carried out, and Cargill is a member.
King of Valkania He is devoted to the prosperity and interest of his country and will put out aggression toward other countries. He has the Royal Guard which has command of a mighty military force.
Norman A commissioned officer under Muntzer, he is young but able. He supports Muntzer with his cool-headed judgment on the battlefield.
Simmons An officer in the Valkanian Army, who is very devoted and not above using foul tactics to rise in rank.
Death Wing Captain The fearsome Death Wing mercenary group's leader. He is always wearing a skull mask. His group is feared throughout the continent.
Berhart Muntzer Valkanian Royal Guard member. Because he is quiet, he appears to give an unsociable impression but in fact he is calm and subtle. Because he always pays attention to the people in the surroundings, he keeps his subordinates' morale high.
Diana Silverneil Valkanian Royal Guard member. Regarded as easily the equal of her fellow Royal Guards and of any man on the continent, despite the rarity of female Royal Guards. It is said that she inherited her fencing skill from her mother.
Alfonse Ordinale Valkanian Royal Guard member and lord of Ordinale. Holds a strong sense of justice, he constantly considers his citizens' well-being. He is firm and stubborn when he puts his mind to something.
Christopher Ordinale Alfonse's twin brother. He enjoys flirting with women and constantly wanders the continent beyond Valkania's borders.
Cynthia (PSP ver. only) Elder sister of twins. Unlike her sister Meline, she is serious, calm, and has common sense. She does not say much but when she tells her sister not to do anything strange, she tightly holds the reins.
Pamela (PSP ver. only) A gentle elder sister type. As a member of the mercenary group, she initially supports the Crevanille's party from the shadows.
Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time was originally developed by CareerSoft in 2003. The game was directed by Shinjiro Takada, who also worked on Devil Survivor, and Taiji Hida.  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. New opening and ending tracks for the PSP version were composed by Ryota Koduka.
Atlus USA has stated that the huge amount of text in Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time made this one of their largest translation projects to date.
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.
A Kotaku article about ATLUS USA implied that Wayfarer of Time has become a sleeper hit for ATLUS. 
- "Growlanser Wayfarer of Time Official Site - Release Date<!->". Atlus.com. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- "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.
- "Wayfarer of Time Characters". Growlanser Realm. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- "Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time Credits". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
- "Growlanser IV Original Soundtrack". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
- "Growlanser Wayfarer of Time PSP Review". Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- "GDemons, High Schools, And Sex: Just Another Day At Atlus Games". Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time's Official Website (English)
- Growlanser IV: Over Reloaded Official Site (Japanese)