Random Article


 
Event News
 

REVIEW: Granblue Fantasy: Relink — Not A Mere ‘Monster Impact’

 
 
Overview
 

Published by: Sega Corporation
 
Developed by: Cygames, Inc
 
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 PlayStation 5 Windows
 
Genre(s): Action RPG
 
Mode(s): 1 – 4 Players (Online
 
Game Type: , , , , , , ,
 
FG RATING
85%
85/ 100


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

Raves


Large playable roster. Flashy combat. Vibrant visuals

Rants


(For Consoles) Fuzzy Performance Mode, noticeable draw distance. Some non-monetary mobile metagame grind and gacha features present.


0
Posted January 31, 2024 by

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240120161933

Granblue Fantasy has had significant enough success for mobile in Japan and Asia that the studio felt confident enough to venture beyond the turn-based mobile space and into the fighting game scene with Versus. Now, that must’ve had significant enough success too, as the studio now seeks to appeal to a much larger audience. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a premium action RPG that struggles to welcome new players into its universe but boasts flashy visuals, a fluid combat system, and an addictive gameplay loop that’s just enough to keep would-be newcomers hooked.

STORY

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240119205549

Granblue Fantasy: Relink takes place in the same universe as the original game with much of the fan-favorite characters and creatures as well as a few fresh faces and an entirely new chapter in the saga. The story follows Gran (or Djeeta if you chose the female protagonist) and their motley crew of Skyfarers, continuing their journey beyond the known skies in search of Estalucia, the legendary island detailed in the letter left behind by your father.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240119210052

While fans of the series will certainly feel excitement to experience a new chapter in their story, newcomers will definitely be lost in the who what where for the first few cutscenes. Fortunately, the game tries its best to not make you feel like you had to be there, keeping the new journey largely at focus albeit after some necessary but short exposition to get things rolling. Newcomers will have many opportunities to catch up to the lore and history of the franchise thanks to Fate Episodes, short and narrated visual novel-type experiences with occasionally playable sequences that fleshes out each of the playable characters as well as bits of the world’s lore. These Fate Episodes are entirely skippable but do try (in my case, succeeds) to incentivize you with much needed buffs and upgrades for the relevant character.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240126212554

The campaign alone is relatively short and if you stuck with it till the end, will have made new fans of you if you weren’t already thanks to actually being an entertaining story with mostly interesting characters and fine voice over performances. However, the core gameplay of the game only really starts to open up once you’ve beaten the campaign.

GAMEPLAY

The original game may have been turn-based but as they’ve showcased in their fighting game release, the studio certainly has the chops to produce stunning fast-paced combat which persists even into Relink. You play as 1 of 19 playable characters, each with their own combat style, perks, and gimmicks. Some more significant than others, but all are quite unique of one another, giving you aa vast pool of playstyles to mess around with. The game, at least the core campaign experience, is perfectly suitable for solo play, but the game supports up to 4 players online. In singleplayer, you can take up to 3 of your unlocked characters with you and are rather competent AI companions that is certainly more than just fodder, specially if you also manage their gear and masteries.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240121213033

Character progression, as well as the core gameplay loop outside the main campaign is reminiscent of Monster Hunter, in that you play through a selection of side-quests eventually unlocking progressively harder quests with proportionate rewards. You’ll want to grind quests a few times to gather materials and resources to strengthen your characters in order to take on the harder quests or to achieve the highest attainable rank (S++). As mentioned, though the entire campaign as well as some of the earlier end-game quests are entirely enjoyable solo, but the harder quests will require min-maxing characters, careful consideration of party composition, and in most cases, employ the help of other players.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240120180751

 

Relink’s combat system is fast, fluid, and quite intuitive that it’s not only easy to pick up but also a blast to play. Controls are quite simple and you can get away with mashing a few buttons, but you can also choose to be more deliberate in optimizing each characters unique abilities to add an extra layer of skill and strategy to the combat. Its in the higher difficulties that combat starts to drop some of its finesse. When you start taking on quests where each monster hit like a truck, you’ll begin to hate situations where you’re attacked off camera, or when visual and audio effects mess with your senses causing you to miss the timing on avoiding or parrying likely lethal attack. That being said, you can still mostly get away with it through maxing your characters gear and masteries, so long as you’ve the dedication to grind.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240126212554

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

Granblue Fantasy stays true to its visual motif of vibrant and colorful anime-style fantasy that harken back at all time fantasy classics like Vagrant Story or Tactics Ogre. Certain visual elements convey some subtle watercolor-like elements supplemented by some flashy over the top visual effects that shines brightest during combat. Every character is well illustrated and translates beautifully in 3D, even for mere NPCs that populate each of the 3 main hubs. As I mentioned, the story may be a bit jarring for the uninitiated but the well composed visuals of each cutscene and the great voice over work for most of the cast certainly help in keeping you invested.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240120181820

I do want to note that for consoles, at least for the PS5, the difference between performance and resolution modes seem more significant than what you typically see in other games. Performance mode upscaling leaves the resolution a bit fuzzy and the draw distance is noticeably short but not in a way you’d expect. The game makes the colors of distant objects smudged, which gives off the watercolor effect and is great for distant objects, but with the short draw distance, this effect does not look too good up close, and can make it a bit weird or jarring when you start to notice. Resolution mode certainly looks best but hard to recommend since it caps at 30 frames which can be disorienting for a game as flashy and fast as Relink.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240120190902

Do note that at some point during our review, the game did go through some updates and though it’s unclear whether performance mode was tweaked, but it seemed to looked better than our initial experience. Of course, PC visuals looks the best, but we can’t comment on the game’s optimization as we’ve reviewed the game primarily on the PS5 version.

Granblue Fantasy_ Relink_20240120164008

VERDICT

It’s understandable to be apprehensive of playing Granblue Fantasy Relink if you’re a newcomer, and though the tools to catch up are within the game, it will certainly take some effort. However, once you do so, you open yourself up to a highly enjoyable action RPG experience with lots of hours for you to sink your teeth into. It’s a no brainer of course for would be fans, but Relink is also a great reason to be one, too if you aren’t already. 


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


0 Comments



Be the first to comment!


Leave a Response

(required)