Granblue Fantasy: Relink Review — 8 Years Of Wait Worth It

From a gacha to full-blown action galore, an enjoyable grind awaits.

Granblue Fantasy Relink: Review
Overall
4
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Granblue Fantasy: Relink delivers an unforgettable gameplay experience as you grind for the best gear and master its complex characters.

Pros

  • Engaging Gameplay
  • Versatile Characters
  • Fun Boss Encounters
  • Great Coop Mechanics

Cons

  • 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. 

Key Takeaways
  •  Developer: Cygames
  •  Publisher: Cygames, Xseed Games
  •  Release Date: February 1, 2024
  •  Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC
  •  Game Length: 20+ hours
  •  Time Played: 45+ hours
  • 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.

Cutscenes (Image by Me)
Cutscenes (Image by Me)

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.

Story (Image by Me)
Story (Image by Me)

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.

Fate episodes (Image by Me)
Fate episodes (Image by Me)

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.

Gameplay

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. 

Combat (Image by Me)
Combat (Image by Me)

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.

Characters (Image by Me)
Characters (Image by Me)

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.

Boss fights (Image by Me)
Boss fights (Image by Me)

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. 

Skill tree (Image by Me)
Skill tree (Image by Me)

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.

Quests (Image by Me)
Quests (Image by Me)

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.

Visuals (Image by Me)
Visuals (Image by Me)

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.

Verdict

Verdict (Image by Me)
Verdict (Image by Me)

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.

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re a fan of Granblue Fantasy and like action RPGs with engaging combat and hard quests.
Dont Get This Game
If you were looking for a more traditional, story-focused JRPG and don’t like excessive grind.
Do I Need To Get This Game
Yes, every fan of the series or action games in general will have a great time with the impressive combat and going on quests with other players.
Alternative Games
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • Tales of Arise
  • Monster Hunter series
  • Granblue Fantasy
  • Granblue Fantasy: Versus
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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming, and an avid consumer of a multitude of different genres for over a decade now. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces. Experience: 8+ months

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