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Granblue Fantasy Relink Review

Granblue Fantasy Relink is an Action Role-playing Game developed by Cygames and has captured a lot of attention recently due to its visually stunning presentations and immersive gameplay experience. With rich and engaging replayability that can be tackled independently or with friends, it is shaping to be one of the biggest RPG titles of the year.

Even though a series of mis-happenings troubled the game’s development in the past, fans of the franchise and new players alike have waited eagerly for its release. In this article, we will be diving into the core of Granblue Fantasy Relink, and seeing what it has to offer, especially its main focus towards endgame activities and a fresh multiplayer experience. And ultimately, determine if Granblue Fantasy Relink is for you.?


Genre: Action Role-playing Game
Developer: Cygames
Publisher: Cygames
Release Date: Feb 1, 2024
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5,?
Reviewed on: PC (Code Provided by Cygames)
Price at the time of Review: USD 59.99 on PlayStation

Granblue Fantasy Relink Review – Story & Setting

The story of GBF Relink takes place in the realm of Zegagrande Skydom. A world of islands of all shapes and sizes floating in a sea of clouds, created and forsaken by its original inhabitants known as the “gods”. This majestic realm was once invaded by higher beings called the Astrals and its citizens known as the Skydwellers repelled the said invaders in an all-out war, leaving Zegagrande to live in peace and harmony.

In these peaceful times, the player will play the role of Gran or Djeeta, and depending on which character the player has chosen, they will assume the role of The Captain, the main protagonist of the story. This youthful individual dreams of exploring and uncovering the mysteries of the vast blue.?

One day, you discover a letter left behind by your father, instructing you to embark on a journey to a legendary island Estalucia. However, before you depart, you encounter a mysterious girl named Lyria. This meeting develops the course of their destiny. Together with your best pal Vyrn, the three set on an exciting journey.?

Granblue Fantasy Relink Review - Story

Upon starting the main campaign, you will be introduced to the Captain’s well-bonded crew which supports their Captain’s goals wholeheartedly. As with any JRPG, the game’s story begins at a slower pace but gradually involves the player in major and evergrowing events as they encounter more characters along the way.

The pacing of GBF Relink’s story is well laid out, with brief respites in between, the game follows an intact and solid straightforward narrative that I find enjoyable from time to time. From start to finish, events were impactful and meaningful, thanks to the narrative’s easy-to-love supporting characters who all had their personalities and backgrounds. 

However, the length of the story may not provide a truly fulfilling experience for those looking for a more in-depth story or writing. Granblue Fantasy Relink’s story is somewhat predictable, and players who are looking for a lengthier storyline or who just want to play for the story will probably be disappointed. 

The first major part of the story only lasts for around 10 hours, and this is where the players will be enjoying an intact experience. After the said 10 hours, the story will be continued in post-game and players will be enjoying another 10 hours of gameplay related to the main story. However, these are just a series of quests until the game truly ends.

The additional 10 hours in post-game were unnecessary, in my opinion, and served more as padding than anything to extend the game’s “story hours”. Granblue Fantasy Relink’s main focus is its endgame content and replayability, thus this is not surprising.

Gameplay Loop

Granblue Fantasy Relink provided a straightforward experience in terms of gameplay loop and exploration. Players will follow a linear path in the majority of the main campaign with little to no exploration. Granblue Fantasy Relink is divided into chapters and the typical gameplay is that you will be following in-game markers to know where to go, while finding hidden treasure chests or loot on the side.?This formula will be a staple until the end so expect little variations here.

Granblue Fantasy Relink Review - Party

Players will be encountering only two safe havens in the entire game while having the chance to explore eight to nine dungeon-like levels, which explains the main story’s 10-hour gameplay.

This could be a double-edged sword for most players. If you know what you are getting into, this type of gameplay is expected, however, those who are looking for a much deeper and wider exploration, will possibly find this mundane or lacking depth most of the time. 

On the other hand, there will be Side Quests from NPCs in towns or jobs from Quest Counters if the player wants to blow off steam and not progress in the main story.

Character Progression & Customization

Moving on to character progression and customization, and it is one of the most interesting aspects of the game. Although nothing is really original or unique here, Cygames did a great job in terms of overall character progression. 

Players will be given the freedom to play and customize with six characters in the early game, which are the Captain, Io, Katalina, Rosetta, Rackam, and Eugen. In Granblue Fantasy Relink, these characters will help the Captain progress in the main campaign and they will be appearing in major dialogues or cutscenes.?

On the other hand, other staple or popular Granblue Fantasy characters are optional characters that will not appear in the main story and can be recruited from Siero’s KnickKnack Shop in exchange for Crewmate Cards which can be obtained when progressing in the main campaign or from Quest Counter Rewards.

Granblue-Fantasy-Relink-Review-Skills

It is clear that each character has their own playstyle and unique skills that players can master. Finding the best character that will match your preference and playstyle is indeed a joy and most of the time engaging in all aspects. Especially when forming a team that can tackle hard fights during the endgame. 

At the time of this review, players can fully utilize a total of 19 playable characters, 20 if you count Djeeta as another character and more will be added over time.

Each character will have their progression especially when it comes to Masteries. As you progress in the main story or while doing Side Quests, your characters grow stronger by gaining experience from enemy encounters and by leveling up, just like in any JRPG. 

Leveling up characters will provide them more stats and Mastery Points, or what we call MSP to progress their Masteries. Masteries are like your skill tree in most RPG games where you unlock nodes to have access to more Stats, Sigil Slots, and even Skills with the use of Mastery Points.

And then there are Sigils as well. These are like accessories that provide different stat bonuses through Traits which can drastically affect your character’s efficacy and even define their builds. There is a vast array of Sigils in the game that players can collect and experiment with and each of them is unique and governs a certain stat. Treat Sigils like your Decorations in the Monster Hunter Series.

Granblue Fantasy Relink Review Weapons

Weapons on the other hand are different avenues to play with. With six different and unique Weapons available for each character which possess different Stats and traits, players will be spending a lot of time finding the best weapons that will suit their playstyles.

Overall, I find Grandblue Fantasy Relink’s progression and customization engaging. Yes, it does take time to max a character especially when having limited resources in the early game, but the sheer possibilities and combinations that you can get out of this is just massive and it is a huge plus in my book.

Combat

Having an engaging progression is just a start, but GBF Relink has excellent combat mechanics as well. It is clear that Cygames put a lot of effort into making Combat as fun and immersive as possible. As an Action Roleplaying title, fights are in real-time. Players will be forced to make split-second decisions to overcome their adversaries in combat. 

Everything in combat is fast-paced. Managing skill cooldowns, timely strikes, and dodging enemy attacks provided an engaging and thrilling experience. Unique attack and skill animations were so fun to watch and satisfying to use. You can feel normal attack impacts, see smooth skill animation executions, and more.

Granblue Fantasy Relink Review - Combat

As mentioned previously, players will be given the chance to play with different sets of skills per character, each of them having unique animations. However, Skybound Arts made the battle even more satisfying to watch, especially if I managed to pull off a high damage-dealing combo and finish the enemy with a Full-Burst Attack.

Most of the time, you will be dealing with hordes of enemies and bosses in the field thus it will be chaotic, especially when an individual is adjusting to its demanding gameplay. But as one progresses in the game, players will become accustomed to the game’s overall combat design and will improve.

Luckily, an individual who is new to the genre will have access to a Story Difficulty when starting the game. A beginner-friendly difficulty, where an Assist Mode is available. When playing in Assist Mode, attack combinations are done automatically in combat. 

The next mode is Full Assist Mode where players are only required to move the stick and everything will be done automatically. I don’t recommend this to the general player, as it detracts from the overall experience, but there could be a need for a very small number of players who find it physically difficult to use a controller.

As an Action Roleplaying enthusiast, I am particular about how timings are implemented, or how the mechanics are designed for combat. And I can say that Cygames really paid attention to detail here, and enemy attack animations especially Bosses in general were designed with great skill and passion. 

As expected, the bosses in Granblue Fantasy Relink are the meat of the game and in most cases, the height of the experience. Each major boss in the main campaign is extremely distinct and has special attacks to execute in combat. 

These special attacks are mostly done cinematically and often lead to thrilling and engaging combat mechanics which players need to learn how to avoid. In our recent videos, we mentioned that it is somehow inspired by Final Fantasy XIV in terms of fight mechanics, and it turns out, we were correct.

Performance and Bugs

In terms of performance, we have played on PC (CPU: Ryzen 9 7950X GPU: RTX 3060 12 GB RAM RAM: 64 GB) to take advantage of higher frame rates. If you do have a system that can handle the game, we suggest playing it on a PC, since it provides a much smoother and more satisfying performance at above 60 FPS than Playstation. 

Throughout the main campaign, we experienced solid performance without any crashes or game-breaking bugs that possibly halted our progress. A steady framerate of around 120 FPS the whole time, without any major dips on the standard setting of the game.

Audio & Visuals

Aside from having quality gameplay and progression, the game excels with excellent character models and level designs. I lost track of how many times I just stood in one spot just to admire the world around me, its vibrant colors breathing life into it. 

One can see the level of dedication and passion that was put into the game’s 3D models. Paired with Cygame’s excellent character illustrations and clean UI, Granblue Fantasy Relink is simply a game that perfectly encaptures the JRPG experience.

When it comes to audio, the game’s overall musical scores were enough for me to be nostalgic about how old JRPGs were presented in the past. As expected, Bosses have the best scores in the game which elevated the experience.?

Granblue Fantasy Relink Review - Visuals

However, what I want to focus on is its overall sound design, especially in combat and exploration. Attack hits, explosions, and skills executions felt great, thanks to these intricately designed sound effects. 

On top of that, I cannot stress how exceptional the Japanese voice-acting in Granblue Fantasy Relink is. With the combined buttery smooth gameplay executions, sound design, and Japanese voice-overs, we simply cannot ask for more.

In recent JRPG games, we’ve observed phenomenal English voice acting and we’ve expected that it will be the case in this game. However, the English voice-overs in general feel lacking in most cases. I gave it a chance but I eventually switched back to Japanese.

Replayability & Price Point

Now that audio and visuals are out of the way, let’s move on to replayability. Judging from the level of content we have played so far, this is a huge part of Granblue Fantasy Relink.

After the main story campaign which is 10 hours or so, the game truly begins. Various new features will start to be unlocked one by one, such as new weapon selections in the blacksmith, higher-difficulty quests, Masteries expansion, and more. 

You will be assigned to complete more demanding quests to further unlock more features, similarly to how progression works in the Monster Hunter series. Of course, the more difficult the quest is, the better the rewards. You will find yourself constantly upgrading your party to keep up with the ever-growing challenges Granblue Fantasy Relink presents.

Grinding plays a big part in Endgame and usually, players will be farming for materials for weapon upgrades, more experience and Mastery points, more Sigils to equip, and more.

The endgame of Granblue Fantasy Relink I find it addicting and engaging. I eagerly kept on checking all the things that I could take advantage of after a short period of time.

I found myself asking the same questions on repeat after completing a series of quests. Questions like, what upgrades can I do now, how can I get stronger gear, and such, which overall provided a healthy endgame loop.

As a reminder, players can fully utilize a total of 19 playable characters with different skill loadouts and possible builds in the base game. Replayability is surely not a concern for most players if grinding is up their alley.

Although it is expected that repeat bosses will be a thing at endgame, just like in hunting games, I can’t help but be a little disappointed by some of the larger bosses that had their assets reused and somehow painted it with different colors or with different skins. I am probably nitpicking at this point, considering the genre, but some players will find this an issue as well.

While Online Multiplayer on the other hand plays a pivotal role in terms of replayability. If multiplayer is your focus or you will play with friends, you are in luck. More than 100 hours worth of gameplay is not a stretch and it could be even more, thanks to the game’s engaging character progression.

Moving on to the price point. The game’s Digital Edition price tag is 59.99 for both Steam and Playstation on Cygame’s site. With the game’s volume of content and overall production, I can confidently recommend it at its current price especially if you are a fan of hunting games or you enjoy this kind of gameplay loop. 

While players who will be playing for the narrative alone (which you really shouldn’t be) are recommended to wait for a sale. 10 to 20 hours of gameplay is relatively short in my opinion as it is not the focus of this game.

Final Thoughts

Granblue Fantasy Relink is overwhelmingly filled with positives in our book, however, we also understand that the game is not for everyone especially how relatively short the main story campaign lasted. It may not satisfy players seeking a more robust narrative experience.?

Granblue Fantasy Relink Review - Final Thoughts

Fans of hunting games will find their money’s worth here, in particular players who love to engage in online multiplayer sessions. Cygames did a splendid job of laying out the overall character progression, especially at the endgame. I cannot wait for possible DLCs soon but for now, I will keep enjoying this game with my friends.

8.5

Great

Story & Setting 7
Gameplay 9
Audio & Visuals 9
Replayability 9
Pricepoint 8.5

Summary

Granblue Fantasy Relink is an action-packed RPG with stunning graphics, engaging combat, and high replay value. Fans of the Granblue Fantasy franchise and players seeking a visually impressive gaming experience will undoubtedly enjoy this game. Although there are a few areas that could be improved, the overall experience is incredible, and it’s worth playing, especially online with friends.

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