Granblue Fantasy: Relink

Review: Granblue Fantasy: Relink

My only interaction with the franchise is through Granblue Fantasy Versus. While I may not know the whole story, I appreciate that a world is available on mobile devices. I’ve also followed the journey Granblue Fantasy: Relink has gone through in the several years it has taken to arrive. The original launch saw PlatinumGames helm the project, only to move it away from them to a new developer.

I’ve watched Relink videos and demos as they became available. With such a tumultuous development cycle, I was worried about how the launch would go. Thankfully, my concerns dissipated quickly, and I can safely say that 2024 begins with yet another solid title to consider.

To the Skies of Zegagrande

Fans of the mobile game and anime will have a leg up on players new to the series, but thankfully, Granblue Fantasy: Relink sets itself apart enough to onboard new players without much hassle. There is a timeline the series follows, but you won’t need to concern yourself with it. The developers include Fate Episodes, a way for players to get up to speed on the ongoings, places, and faces they’ll encounter. These sections help link backstories and relationships, so if you’re a fan of Final Fantasy 16‘s Active Time Lore, this idea is similar.

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You begin your journey as Gran, the captain of the Grandcypher, as the airship explores the Zegagrande Skydom. Alongside your crew featuring Lyria, Katalina, Rosette, Io Vyrn, Eugen, and Rackam, the team falls into a situation that asks them to stop the Church of Avia after kidnapping Lyria, who is capable of summoning Primals. In a twist, the opening hours showcase a brilliant boss battle against Bahamut, allowing players to experience what’s to come.

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Granblue Fantasy: Relink is short and sweet with little padding

The single-player story in Relink introduces many mechanics, but it’s much more than just a tutorial. It’s a complete campaign comprising cutscenes, levels full of action, and some breathtaking cinematic set pieces. The developers have invested a lot of effort into the game’s main adventure, and it shows. The core adventure is an exciting experience that keeps the players engaged as they confront challenging bosses and participate in insane platforming sections. The game’s pacing and combat encounters are reminiscent of Platinum, and as the plot progresses, the battles become more and more ambitious, making it an exhilarating ride for players.

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Relink features an extensive roster of playable heroes. The game comprises a single-player story campaign and mission-based quests that you can play with either CPU allies or other players online as Monster Hunter quests. Players must complete the core campaign first to access most additional quests.

Each character has a unique playstyle and special skills reminiscent of Genshin Impact. Players who prefer a straightforward sword-fighter will find satisfaction in playing as Gran, indulging in hacking and slashing mechanics familiar to any action RPG fan. With so many characters, players are bound to find a few favourites to suit their playing style.

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In Granblue Fantasy: Relink, combat is a standout feature. Although players can equip only up to four skills per character, they can switch them out at the Quest Counter or when not in combat. The game offers a range of distinct characters with unique abilities and playstyles.

Characters with casting abilities can unleash barrages of magic and concentrate their power to deal bursts of damage. Even characters with similar roles, such as Rackam and Eugen, have their skills and attacks. Rackam uses guns to rain bullets on enemies, while Eugen can snipe from afar. This diversity within each character’s abilities and playstyle is a significant highlight of Granblue Fantasy: Relink, making every character feel unique. Moreover, players cannot switch characters mid-battle, adding a strategic element to the game.

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Also, there is a feature called Skybound Arts, which are ultimate attacks unique to each character. These attacks are extremely powerful and can be used when the player’s meter hits 100 percent. However, Relink encourages the player to wait before firing off their Skybound Arts, as if the entire party uses it one after another, it can activate a group attack called Full Burst, dealing enormous damage to the opponents like Persona’s All-Out Attacks. You can also command your party to hold on to their Skybound Arts, so you never have to worry about them going off too soon.

Those who were expecting a sprawling RPG adventure may be disappointed, as Relink’s campaign is relatively short. When the game ends, players may feel a bit underwhelmed due to its short duration, but coming off a few length games in January, I’m glad to see it isn’t a sprawling world. However, it’s important to mention that Relink’s story wraps up satisfyingly.

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Granblue Fantasy: Relink, despite being an immersive game, has a minor issue with Crewmate Cards. As you progress through the main scenario, you can recruit characters through these cards. However, they are not given much importance in the main storyline, except for a few insignificant mentions if they are taken along.

Fate Episodes provide more information about each character but don’t affect the game’s storyline much. For instance, Percival, the Lord of Flames, is recruited early on, but his inclusion doesn’t affect the game’s character dialogue. The story revolves around the protagonist, who has to be taken along on every mission until the post-game, and their interactions with Lyria and the initial crewmates.

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On the other hand, it’s worth praising Relink for adding artificial playtime. Unlike other action RPGs that include filler storylines and uninteresting side quests, Relink’s campaign is a fast and intense 20-hour experience. Players can expect a non-stop flow of action and excitement throughout the game without any unnecessary distractions.

Verdict

Granblue Fantasy: Relink is all killer and no filler, and I wish more RPGs would do away with padded content. Some characters you’ll encounter are incredible to play in a polished campaign worthy of your time. There are also several excellent systems to enjoy, from the progression system to the endgame. Despite a rocky development, Cygames delivers an incredible experience worth waiting for. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is an excellent start to the year by keeping storylines simple and devoid of filler.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Review: Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Summary
. Despite a rocky development, Cygames delivers an incredible experience worth waiting for. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is an excellent start to the year by keeping storylines simple and devoid of filler.
Liked
Story is short and sweet and engaging
Tons of excellent characters to use
Excellent bosses
Exciting score
Didn't Like
Lack of high fidelty visuals