Granblue Fantasy: Relink is an action roleplaying game developed by Cygames that’s set to release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. The latest game in the expansive Granblue universe, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, sees the player take on the role of the Captain of the Grandcypher as the Skyfarers find themselves on a mission that outcome will determine the fate of all the Zegagrande Skydom.
Beautiful Characters Bring a Gorgeous World to Life
Granblue Fantasy: Relink does a fantastic job of presenting a compelling story in which both series veterans and newcomers will be engrossed due to the developer’s ability to seamlessly intertwine returning and new characters and lore and provide a continuous stream of emotional story points. As the game begins, the main character and his or her crew of Skyfarers are bound for adventure. A complication arises in the form of a mysterious girl to whom the main character shares a link, named Lyria. This intriguing character can both contain and command primal beasts; a power that is unsurprisingly sought out by many who would use it for nefarious purposes, and as such, the plot of the game begins to unfold.
The charming and diverse cast of characters in Granblue Fantasy: Relink is where the story shines brightest. With an immediate cast of nine characters, 12 additional characters, and four enemies, there is someone sure to delight every player, whether they be a returning favorite or an exciting newcomer. The main cast’s personalities cover all of the usual RPG character tropes but expanded further thanks to the Fate Episodes each and every character has access to. As you progress through the story and your level increases, you will unlock Fate Episodes that provide the player with additional backstory, concurrent happenings, and post-credit roll story continuation. They provide worthwhile stat boosts on completion to further inspire one to participate in these emotional and insightful character snippets.
A Battle System Where Simplicity or Complexity is Up to You
Granblue Fantasy: Relink differs significantly from the previous two entries in the series. Cygames has moved from the fighting genre to an action roleplaying game, allowing the world of Granblue Fantasy: Relink to come alive. With two fighting games under their belt, combat was likely to be excellent, and Cygames has surpassed even those expectations. Combat consists of going from one large-scale boss fight to another, with much more manageable smaller mobs in between. Each fight with a boss is frantic and formidable. It almost feels like a four-player raid because each boss boasts a considerable amount of HP, with a wide and varied move pool that expands as the battle progresses.
Not only are they tough, but each boss has a mode bar, which depletes with damage taken. When the bar is empty, the boss will enter Overdrive mode, which makes it far more ferocious. Thankfully, the same is true in reverse, as when in Overdrive mode, taking damage will whittle away the bar, resulting in the boss entering Break mode. In Break mode, party members can dish out significantly more damage. Battles can be long, but they continue to feel fresh and engaging due to the expanding move pool and constant need to be on high alert.
There is a plethora of mechanics that one must understand to be able to master the battle system. Each fight consists of the main character and three additional characters to make up the four-player party. Every character can equip a weapon that has the potential to be upgraded by increasing its level and uncapping it at the Blacksmith. Characters can have four skills at any one time, which can be rotated between at will, with the ability to unlock more by spending MSP in the Masteries tab. Each character, skill, and attack has an elemental property assigned to it, and each foe has an element that they are both strong against and weak against. Each character can equip Sigils rewarding buffs to attack, HP, element boosts, and more. A character’s capacity to equip Sigils increases through additional unlocks via the Masteries tab.
Each character can perform unique Skybound Arts, a special attack specific to them. A powerful chain attack burst is activated when the party activates them in quick succession. Link time is another mechanic that can help in battle and is initiated when the Link level is 100% and each party member has performed a Link attack. This benefits the party by providing more attack power, HP restoration, and quicker cooldowns for their skills while the enemy suffers reduced movement.
The game itself is rather straightforward. You will find yourself going from objective to objective with linear paths in between. There are a couple of towns that you can visit that act as hubs and break up some of the linearity. Otherwise, the destination is very clearly identified by the area around you, and in areas slightly wider than usual, there are other guidance methods. Because the game thrusts you from story point to story point, it can be finished on the shorter side of what roleplaying games usually clock in at.
As of this review, I have put 26 hours into the game, a substantial amount of which consists of post-game play. Post-game play includes completing various quests via NPCs in the hub cities, and at the Quest Counter. You’ll frequent this location if you plan on unlocking additional characters, undertaking co-op quests, and experiencing every human emotion during Fate Episodes.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink includes a range of accessibility options that provide an opportunity to modify the overall difficulty level. These options allow anyone, regardless of skill level, to enjoy the game in their own way. There are three base difficulties – Story, Action, and Hard. The former being story-focused and the latter combat-focused. The developers have also included an Assist Mode for combat. Allowing the player to play freely, have the character utilize all attack combinations and skills by pressing a single button with Assist Mode or initiating automatic attacks by simply walking toward an enemy with Full Assist Mode. None of these options change the game, so players can choose any difficulty or level of assistance without penalty.
Remarkable Graphics and Memorable Soundtrack Bring Zegagrande to Life
Graphically, the game looks gorgeous. It is clearly evident that Cygames has worked hard to bring the brilliant character designs that the game is known for to life as 3D models. Every element of the game, non-playable characters, enemies, and range of environments, have been lovingly crafted to match the game’s recognizable storybook-esque high fantasy style.
The score for Granblue Fantasy: Relink only elevates the beautiful scenery thanks to the musical mastery of Nobuo Uematsu and Tsutomu Narita. The pair have worked together in previous Granblue Fantasy titles, amongst other games, and it is no surprise that Granblue Fantasy: Relink’s soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment for every moment of the game, from the emotional highs and lows to intense boss battles, and revelations. Many tracks throughout the game are bound to find a special place in any playlist which odes to video game music.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink may have suffered substantial delays, but the end result is a memorable and worthwhile experience, full of traditional and nostalgic roleplaying charm that somehow perfectly blends traditional Granblue Fantasy series elements with engaging new mechanics to bring the series to a broader audience. It is clearly a labor of love that incorporates all of the best elements of a game of its genre and presents them back to the player in a beautiful world which one will not want to miss.
- Various difficulty levels and assist modes allow for players of all abilities to experience the game.
- Boss battles are enjoyable as they are frantic, challenging, and often larger than life.
- Beautiful graphics and moving musical score work wonders to further in-game immersion.
- Rather linear at times; point A to point B is often a singular corridor.
- No free travel or exploration beyond story points.