Granblue Fantasy Relink: Review
Story And Setting
Visuals And Performance
Granblue Fantasy: Relink delivers an unforgettable gameplay experience as you grind for the best gear and master its complex characters.
- Engaging Gameplay
- Versatile Characters
- Fun Boss Encounters
- Great Coop Mechanics
- Cliche Storyline
- Matchmaking Errors
- Excessive Grind
I’ve been an avid consumer of gacha games for a long time now. From Fate/Grand Order to Genshin Impact, I’ve played them all. However, there’s no way I’d forget my first gacha: Granblue Fantasy. Featuring a rich world, beloved characters, and interesting gameplay, it is one of the longest-running gacha games still going strong.
- Editors Note: Our reviewer tested out Granblue Fantasy on PS5, spending over 45 hours in regions of the Zegagrande Skydom.
When Granblue Fantasy presented the possibility of an action-packed game titled Project ReLink, I can’t tell you how excited I was. It’s been 8 years since then; I’ve been waiting patiently. And it looks like that wait was worth it as Granblue Fantasy: Relink is tons of fun, which I hope to explain extensively in my review.
Story And Setting
Before I begin, let me make this clear. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is not a traditional story-rich JRPG. The story mode exists as a device for the gameplay. Yet it still manages to deliver a short and sweet adventure full of heartwarming moments for fans, and some epic setpieces.
Step foot into the vast world of Granblue Fantasy, populated with floating islands, distinct regions across the sky called Skydoms, and sky dwellers. For newcomers to the franchise, the premise is that our protagonist’s crew goes from Island to Island, looking for the “end of the sky,” Estalucia. Sounds kind of like One Piece, right?
The overall lore is too deep for me to explain, featuring stuff like the alien Astrals and native sky dwellers. Relink doesn’t go into all this explicitly either. However, the game holds plenty of lore in the form of texts, story glossary, and archive entries to read.
Considering how lore-rich this fantasy world is, Granblue Fantasy: Relink could’ve featured a stronger story
Granblue Fantasy: Relink is set in the Zegagrande Skydom. The story is a rather straightforward quest of rescuing your allies from the clutches of evil, battling monsters, and working together to stop a world-ending threat. It’s very simple and basic but gets the job done. On top of that, it also features an interactive quest design that doesn’t rely on map markers.
A Love Letter For Series’ Fans
The story itself is nothing special except for the lore. Although standalone, it assumes you’re somewhat familiar with the series. Thus, new players might have some trouble when the crew starts discussing past events. However, fear not. You have Fate episodes: monologues of characters explaining their origins and stories.
The entire game is essentially a gift for long-term fans. It is completely voiced, characters have quippy dialogues, voice acting specifically in Japanese is exquisite, and after the still animations of the gacha game, you get to witness this beloved crew act out the plot in real-time, it all warms my heart.
Considering how lore-rich this fantasy world is, Granblue Fantasy: Relink could’ve featured a stronger story. Still, it handles even non-story characters brilliantly. In JRPGs generally, if you pick a playable character outside the story, he essentially says nothing. I played it with Lancelot, one such character. Yet, he had detailed lines and interactions as if he was really there. This was a great detail.
Now, for the spicy part which I’m sure you were waiting for. I must say I was thoroughly impressed by how solid the combat was. The gameplay is much more complex and fun than it lets on, especially when you reach the good stuff post-game.
The basic combat loop features normal and heavy attacks, blocks and perfect blocks to reflect damage, and dodges and perfect dodges to gain invincibility. Plus, some skills are mixed in for quick bursts. It looks like a simple button masher, right? Yeah, I thought so too, but Granblue Fantasy: Relink proved me wrong.
The game has 19 different characters, all distinct in playstyle. You need a Crewmate card to unlock them, obtained from quests. Every character demands a different way to play and is quite hard to master.
For example, I played Lancelot, and his entire gimmick was essentially to keep attacking endlessly. His kit includes skills and dodges that chain into a relentless combo, maintaining which is easier said than done.
Similarly, another character I thoroughly enjoyed is Narmaya. She has various stances and timed button presses to execute combos. Considering how hectic battles can get, executing a perfect combo is a satisfaction I can’t explain.
Ah, The Magnificient Boss Fights
Moving on to the heart of the gameplay, the boss fights. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is essentially a Monster Hunter-style boss-hunting game albeit with some big changes. And if these boss fights were not good, trust me the game would’ve dropped hard.
Once again, it managed to surprise me pretty effectively. The boss battles are excitement incarnate and require precise dodges and predictions. You can’t just rush in and spam attacks. The boss goes into Overdrive and Bloodlust modes frequently, which essentially gives it steroids. It becomes resistant to damage and dishes out heavy punishment.
To counter this, you also have some steroids. Filling foes’ stun bars allows a cooperative link attack. Completing the link gauge starts Link Time, where everything slows down and you get some hefty buffs and a chance to go ham. Similarly, you have ultimate skills called SBA, and if everyone uses them consecutively, the boss gets a nice surprise.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink is essentially a Monster Hunter-style boss-hunting game albeit with some big changes
I love how the game discourages mashing and forces you to take some time, predict the attacks’ timing and form a strategy, or get wrecked.
End-Game And Co-Op Is Where I’ll Be Spending Hundreds Of Hours
If that wasn’t enough to sell you on Granblue Fantasy: Relink; wait till the end-game opens up. The demo had no character progression, so let me enlighten you. Each character has a simple but extensive skill tree, boosting various stats. Doing Fate episodes does the same.
You can take characters to level 100, and they have craftable weapons enhanceable to level 150. Maxing one gives permanent stat boosts regardless of equipped gear. However, the true build potential lies in the Sigils. These provide buffs levelable to a whopping level 50; each character can equip multiple of these.
Although there are a ton of quests and you don’t get bored for hours, the quest variety felt somewhat repetitive.
If you’re worried you might not have enough to do, cast those worries aside. Especially if you do all the quests in co-op, trust me the fun is x100. Completing a quest with flawless teamwork is loads of fun. It’s great how the game discourages abandoning your teammates. Revive downed allies quickly or it’s game over.
Listing some downsides, it’s a shame you can’t switch characters on the go. Similarly, although there are a ton of quests and you don’t get bored for hours, the quest variety felt somewhat repetitive to me; I hope it’s improved. Next up is the static matchmaking screen, forcing you to stay put. Things would’ve been a lot better with background matchmaking.
Visuals And Performance
Finally, we come to the visuals, and Zegagrande Skydom is a sight to behold. Granblue Fantasy already has a beautiful art style, yet Relink manages to elevate it further. From gigantic mountains to bustling cities, Frozen wildlands to volcanic calamities, the visuals are sure to enchant you.
There are some epic moments and setpieces in the story that are a visual feast. Plus, the visuals during combat never hinder it either. 4 characters spamming very flashy moves on a boss, yet all of its tells and attack animations can be clearly made out amidst the chaos. The game never suffered from over-flashiness for me.
From gigantic mountains to bustling cities, Frozen wildlands to volcanic calamities, the visuals are sure to enchant you
As for performance, Granblue Fantasy: Relink features a 1080p 60 fps performance mode and a 4K 30 fps quality mode on the PS5. While the lack of 4K 60 fps can be a downside, I found the performance mode to be both exceptionally beautiful yet crisp and smooth even during the heaviest of situations.
All in all, Granblue Fantasy: Relink manages to stay fresh even after dozens of hours with all its gameplay variety and thrilling quests. With a little support down the line that adds more variable quests and end-game stuff, it can surely become a solid adventure for anyone looking for an engaging co-op experience or a tough fight.
That was all about my review of Granblue Fantasy: Relink. While you’re here, consider checking out some more of our reviews.
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