If you are like me, you’ve had your eye on Granblue Fantasy: Relink ever since it was initially unveiled in December 2018. The title has had its fair share of problems during its development, but thankfully, that didn’t deter the team at Cygames from releasing the game that many, including myself, were looking forward to. It is finally here! But is Granblue Fantasy: Relink worth the wait? Find out in our Granblue Fantasy: Relink review!
Game Name: Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Platform(s): PS4, PS5 (Reviewed), PC
Developer(s): Cygames, Inc.
Publisher(s): Cygames, Inc.
Release Date: February 1, 2024
You play the role of the Captain, who you can choose to be as Gran or Djeeta, but will always be referred to as “The Captain” throughout the game. The Captain shares a life link with a blue-haired girl named Lyria, who has the power to manipulate the Primal Beasts scattered throughout the world. These Primal Beasts are creatures that were created from the previous invaders of the Sky Realm, the Astrals. The Captain’s goal in life is to follow in the footsteps of their father, who has reached a land called Estalucia, otherwise known as the end of the skies. The Sky Realm has loads of islands, and plenty of adventures await the crew that follows the Captain to their destination in Granblue Fantasy: Relink.
Traveling Through The Sky Realm
The crew following the Captain in Granblue Fantasy: Relink follows them to the town of Folca, where they encounter a person dubbed Mr. Fix It, but his real name is Rolan. Here, they are hired to help out the land of Folca after Rolan sees your crew’s capability to defeat goblins, and this is where the gameplay loop is introduced.
Like others you’ll encounter during your adventures, this town will provide a number of useful utilities such as access to a quest counter, a blacksmith, a Knickknack Shack, where you can purchase useful items, and the docks. You unlock more quests as you progress the game’s story, which is usually done by heading to the docks to continue the story. You can access quests to get materials and resources to upgrade your characters. You start with six characters to put in your four-member party—Rackam, Io, Eugen, Katalina, Rosetta, and the Captain. For story quests, you have to keep the Captain in your party, but you don’t have to play as them. When you do normal quests from the quest counter, you can have anybody in your party.
You can unlock more characters by using crewmate cards. You have a list of characters all from the Granblue Fantasy world that you can add to your crew, but you slowly get crewmate cards, so be sure to use your cards wisely. My recommendation is to play the Granblue Fantasy: Relink Demo and practice combat with an assortment of characters to find which ones you want to play first before deciding. However, since that is only on PlayStation, you might check out the demo to see which character fits your normal action RPG playstyle.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink plays like a power fantasy-type game, and there’s a character for everyone, or in this game’s instance, multiple characters, with a wide variety ranging from speed, power, technique, versatility, range, support, or summoning creatures to help out in a pitch. Every character has a combo with the normal attack button, but when you integrate their unique attacks with their special attack buttons, that is when the differences start to arise. Some characters can parry, some can combo into finishers, and some can straight-up do charge attacks or skills. Some have gauges that can transform them into something else. Some characters can change their battle stances and change how their combos or passives work. I spent most of my time mastering and playing as Zeta.
Each character in Granblue Fantasy: Relink can be customized with the sigil system. Sigils in the beginning start pretty basic, gaining upgrades such as more health, attack power, or defense. As you get further on in grabbing more sigils, you can get critical hit percentage sigils, critical damage sigils, or special unique sigils that add perks based on your current stats. Your characters get more sigil slots for use as you use your mastery points to increase your offense level and do the Fate episodes, which are simple quests that focus on each character.
As you progress in the story and level up your characters, you will get access to their Fate episodes. In the mobile game, these episodes gave you added stats and boosts to your characters. The same is true for this game. Fate episodes allow you to see their history as well as a story of theirs related to the island of Folca. There are battle segments in the Fate episodes that help increase your knowledge of how each playable character can play, but since it is based on their stats in your party, it is recommended to work on most characters at least a little bit so you aren’t slaughtered on these segments.
Combat is made interesting in Granblue Fantasy: Relink due to its enemies, ranging from goblins, golems, wyverns, and elemental beings. The normal enemies in the game are pretty easy to figure out and sort, though ranged enemies can be quite the nuisance if you need to get up close and personal to beat them. However, the strongest part of this game is how they deal with the boss battles. Dragons, Primal Beasts, and named character fights allow many changes to strategy or party to defeat them.
The groundwork of the boss fights isn’t exactly new to the JRPG scene, but they are done extremely well here. Bosses have a pattern of moves that they do, and strong attacks will be documented by the red area underneath. The more they get hurt, the more moves the boss adds to their repertoire. It also becomes more sporadic the more damage that gets dealt to them. Some of the boss fights can get out of hand pretty quickly, and at times, you’ll wonder just how you’re expected to take the boss down. But, if you ask me, that’s part of the fun.
The Beauty of Granblue Fantasy
The boss fights aren’t the only thing that is not new but used well in Granblue Fantasy: Relink. The map designs and the atmosphere of the game have vibes that are similar to how the action RPGs of the PS2 and PS3 eras of old were known well for purpose. Newer action RPGs like large expanses of areas with few fights between traveling. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is pretty much the opposite. The areas of the dungeons and maps you travel are very linear. They have paths that break apart and have secrets all over the maps. It makes exploration worthwhile even if there aren’t a lot of paths that are off the main linear one you are on. Every few steps will have you battling and encouraging you to move forward. This means you will not get lost. Even though the maps are made for the story, they made maps shorter and linear because you will be traversing them and parts of them constantly through quests at the quest counter.
The designs, the animations, the effects, and even the combat are all beautiful. Cygames did a fantastic job bringing the artwork and design of the mobile game Granblue Fantasy to the PS5. The Dragons and Primal Beasts have such a scale that looks fantastic on the backdrop of just how large this world is. You have so many party members on cutscenes, and they help present how vast some of these bosses are. The individual details, such as the scales of massive dragons or the fire blazing from a fire wyrm, are simply amazing looking. You can tell that the developers put a lot of passion and love into making this world look as big and boisterous as it feels when you see the scope compared to the mobile game.
I also want to note that each boss’s music is incredible, and there is a journal that allows you to go back to the music you have heard throughout your adventures. Personally, I’ve gone back and played a few songs right after hearing them from the boss fights so that I could hear them undisturbed. The soundtrack to this game will be incredible, and I am so glad they took the time to make each area unique with its sounds.
Bringing Your Sky Realm To Your Friends
Granblue Fantasy: Relink has an offline and online mode that is geared towards grinding for materials: The quest mode. Here, you can access this mode either offline or online for materials, sigils, and experience points, which ultimately become the game loop once you’re done with the story. I had two experiences playing the quest mode online. My first attempt was seamless; I could play with someone I knew for a few hours, and we had no issues checking out quests.
My other experience, on the other hand, was a complete mess. As myself and the other person tried to set up a session, we were constantly kicked as we tried to join the same lobby. Eventually, we reset everything, finally allowing us to get our session going. Once the lobby was joined then, things were fine, but it was such a pain to get things sorted. Sadly, this continued when early access happened as well. Hopefully, Cygames can get this sorted for when the game is officially released.
As for what you can do online, it’s pretty limited, as you can only do missions that the lowest-ranking member of your group can do. There are also several levels that the quests are based on: Rank 1 (Easy), Rank 2 (Hard), Rank 3 (Extreme), and Rank 4 (Maniac). Also, if a high-level player jumps into a session with someone with a lower level, the higher-level character will be nerfed. I wish you had more to do, and ultimately, I feel it hurts the game. You can go between Folca and other locations you have unlocked. Other players can journey to their respective locations as well, and it will be the way their game has it saved, but you can’t do story missions or follow along to other areas. You can only do the quests together when it comes to fighting. It would be nice to be able to progress through the whole game, start to finish, with a personal group of 4 people!
Living The Fantasy Of The Sky Realm
Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a dream come true in many areas: a fantastical story, beautiful visuals, an addicting combat system, and so much content and resources to grind. I wish the online mode had more going for it and a cross-play functionality. I mean, I fully intend on grabbing Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PC once it hits Steam, so I can play with some of the PC friends who will own the game. Yet, it would be nice to play with them and help them while grinding materials with my PlayStation 5 account. I’ve spent countless hours grinding levels and materials and unlocking all the available characters, and it would be helpful to do so. The lack of crossplay is a big omission. Overall, I highly recommend Granblue Fantasy: Relink to all lovers of the series, both the anime and games, or if you want a place to help you get started in the world of Granblue Fantasy!
Review Disclosure Statement: Granblue Fantasy Relink was provided to us by Cygames Inc. for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy.
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Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a masterpiece and is an amazing entry point into the world of Granblue Fantasy. The gameplay is engaging, the art design is immaculate, the music is amazing, and there is much to do in the game. I just wished the online component had more going on.
- Some of the most engaging gameplay I have ever played
- I could listen to this music for hours
- The scale of boss fights is incredible
- Online could be better implemented
- Some may not be big fans of linear map design
- Certain quests can get repetitive when you are doing them one after another.