Granblue Fantasy - Relink is a Gorgeous Action Packed Delight!

Granblue Fantasy - Relink is a fun, fantastic, combat-oriented game that borrows heavily from looter shooters but is packaged in an aesthetically pleasing package that's sure to wow.

Granblue Fantasy - Relink is a Gorgeous Action Packed Delight!

Issue #5 - Volume 3

A while ago, I fell into a slump regarding the games I wanted to play. I had spent a few weeks barrelling down the Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade to arrive at Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth quickly. However, as I approached the middle of Remake and Rebirth's launch just days away, I was deeply saddened by my lack of progress. I took some time away from Remake to finish some of my backlog. After putting it down for many months, I picked up back Yakuza 4 Remastered and arrived at the very middle of the game. Once again, I found myself exhausted from the game's dated movement and even worse combat - Saejima's arc, narratively, was exciting. Still, I pushed the same combo to get through Part 2 of the game.

As I sat in my chair in the dead of night, my eyes draped in exhaustion, the filtered light from my monitors radiating enough to power a small town, I came across Granblue Fantasy - Relink.

I was quickly captivated by the game's gorgeous illustrations and surprisingly beautiful world. An anime aesthetic is rarely able to be replicated so faithfully in a 3D space (see Guilty Gear for an actual example). Off of this alone, I took the plunge into Granblue Fantasy. And boy, was I in for a treat. A fully fleshed-out action combat system with dozens of playable characters, a fully offline single-player campaign, dutifully designed environments, fantastic voice acting, a power level system that allows for replayability, crafting and upgrading a variety of weapons, augments, dozens of skills to create different load outs for other characters for different enemy types, including the ability to play online with friends.

After almost 10 hours in the game, I still felt like I hadn't touched every system; after 10 hours, I still wanted to play out the single-player campaign. After 10 hours, I'm excited to see where everything goes.

Stunning. I cannot continue to describe appropriately how amazing this game turned out to be. The game has several tricks up its sleeve. It wears its mobile roots proudly on display. This allows the users to engage in genuinely fun, expressive boss battles, and at one point, you even get to take on a boss a la Kaiju style. It's a welcomed addition to the game's already stellar combat system. The story's final moments were an incredibly gripping experience that I haven't felt in a long time. The fact that the story ended but was quickly expanded for the post-game is excellent. With far more items available, new weapons, movesets, and the like.

Once you complete the game and witness what the base game has to offer, the game quickly drops you into New Game+ mode. Or rather, more of a post-game. More quests, more challenging quests, recruits, and new currencies that are fully earnable in-game. More craftable weapons and more augments for your characters. Throughout the base game, you are only awarded bits and pieces of your character's full kit. It felt weak.

However, now that we are in the post-game, all of the additional weapons are available, and since the crafting materials and upgrade materials are now locked behind more and more difficult enemies, the game incentives you to continue fighting through the post-game content and the more difficult bosses and dungeons to attain those materials. You couldn't have completed your mastery trees during the base game, but it wasn't meant to be completed there; it was meant to continue forward into the post-game.

I enjoyed Granblue Fantasy: Relink much more than I expected to. Truthfully, I had zero expectations when I went into the game. I even spent the first couple of hours just skipping through the cutscenes. I praise the developers for summarising what happened in the cutscene. That was a fantastic addition that helped me care about the stories and characters, even when I did not care. By the time the middle of the game rolled around, I was invested in the story.

All things considered, though, the story went where I expected it to go, but the litany of characters and interactions made everything feel cohesive. It's one of those stories that is less about the actual plot and the execution of the story.

As I put the game down after fifteen hours of gameplay, I have to say there are still at least a couple dozen hours of content left. Moving forward, I am going to play the game casually. The game's gorgeous illustrations and spectacular art direction do a lot of heavy lifting. Still, it's a fun, fantastic, combat-oriented game that borrows heavily from looter shooters but is packaged in an aesthetically pleasing package that's sure to wow.