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Granblue Fantasy Versus review. A fighting game with simple, but fun to use controls. Perfect for casuals & pro fgc players alike.

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AT LAST, the gaming drought is over, and I finally play a new game!

Post image

This is the next game from Arc System Works, the same dev of Guilty Gear, Blazblue & Dragonball FighterZ, and it's a fighting game / action rpg based on the popular Japan mobile game Granblue Fantasy. I actually played the mobile game through the browser because you apparently can, which is pretty cool



So basically, the game starts with you, either a woman or a guy with a little red dragon companion, helping a blue haired girl that's chased by soldiers because she's a superpowered woman who can summon dangerous beasts. So you & a woman from the enemy army decided to go on an advernture afterwards, recruiting other adventurers & flying a ship through the game world which consists of sky islands. It's kind of like One Piece, but in the sky. And instead of the gum gum fruits, you have Final Fantasy esque summons that can assist you in battle which are called primals based on various mythologies, and there's a couple of races in play, and even angels. And a grand adventure awaits you.


This fighting game takes place WAAAY deeper into the story of the mobile game after meeting many2 story characters which I haven't got that far yet. The story's a lot simpler: one of the main villains from the mobile game unleashes dark crystals upon the world that warped people to become hate filled, including many of your companions, and so you have to fix it & defeat the villain to save the world. Pretty basic stuff. It's serviceable & it introduces new players to the world's settings, but it definitely is made for the fans of this game because there are many references to the mobile game in each character's backstory & movesets.


If I have to describe how this game is played, it's like if Street Fighter have the same fun gameplay as Under Night/ Guilty Gear, make the movelist simple to use & have them run on cooldown meter like the mobile game, and be very pretty. Cooldown for example means have you use a hadoken & wait until the cooldown is over, and then proceed to use it again when the meter is back to normal. Thinking that a hadoken or shoryuken move is too complicated? Don't worry because you can use R1 with a direction to release the moves that you want, which is so helpful when using characters that has a movelist like Zangief or charge characters like Guile. It deals less damage, but it's preferred to use the simple buttons to release combos. It takes getting used to, but it works. And it's a lot of fun when you can do combos like this


The game has 2 main modes. The first is your typical arcade mode, and the other is the action rpg mode with various missions & chapters. Most of the missions are like playing a much more fighting game esque Odin Sphere, which is awesome!

Most of the missions are pretty easy because the enemies are weak by design, just like playing the mobile game. Before the battle you can equip various weapons where the menu looks like this.



This is actually how the mobile game's equipment menu is like as well.


So the trick is to equip a main weapon that will determine your elemental damage, and then equip the rest of the slots will other weapons to further increase your HP and attack power. You gain these weapons by completing missions & getting weapons through the equipment raffles, aka the gachas which is how you gain new characters in the mobile game but it's simplified here, and just buying weapons from the store. How you decide what equipment suits you best is up to you.


The game's action rpg mode is a lot of fun, albeit repetitive because well, it's just like playing the mobile game so you're expected to mow down weak enemies. You can recruit different characters by fighting them out of their brainwashed state because they're infected by the hate plague, and this plays mostly like fighting in the arcade mode, but the enemies have a larger healthbar & they have access to "overdrive" mode which temporarily powers them up. This mechanic btw is also in the mobile game, and it's implemented here pretty well. 


But the best part about this mode are the gigantic bosses you get to fight against, and these guys are a lot of fun to beat. Here's just an example of the early boss

And it gets even better later on where the bosses are even more challenging, and with sweet songs playing in the background that gets more epic when you manage to get through their first phases. Kind of like Metal Gear Revengeance. 


After you beat the rpg mode, you unlock even harder difficulty which makes the enemies tougher, so you can play the mode all over again if you want to have more challenges.


There are a couple of things that this game could've done better. The first one is the loading screen. For some reason, playing the rpg mode & going through different menus doesn't happen quickly. Instead everytime you want to customize your character or choose a mission, or even progress to the next part of a mission, the game always go to a loading screen for 15 seconds which will get annoying often. Which is why I found out that the best way to reduce these loading is to pick a mission you want to do, and then customize your character there instead because the menu will load up quickly. Why isn't it like that in the normal customization screen?? 


The other is the character roster. At the moment, there's 11. Seems pretty small, and then you realize that apparently most of your main character's companion in the mobile game's story are here as well, but they're just npcs, which makes no sense why they're not playable right now. The mobile game has HUNDREDS of characters to recruit & use


why not have more at the start?? More are coming as dlcs, but there's only 5 characters planned. And none of those guys are the main companions which are still just npcs. Maybe they're saving them for the sequel or expansion, which is just dumb.


Finally, the action rpg mode is fun yes, but it can get repetitive if you're not used to playing these typical mobile games with a similar battle plan. A couple more mission variety would help it out a lot. And thinking about it, the way your recruit new characters are the same with everyone: beat the crap out of them from their brainwashed states. Why can't a couple of them just straight up help you without needing to do that? It's only a matter of time before you think to yourself "oh look, another companion. Guess I have to beat you up to recruit you!" after the first few recruits.


Despite that, this game is a lot of fun both as a fighting game and as an action rpg, and it makes me play the mobile game to get accustomed to the game's VAST lore, which is pretty awesome. And this is definitely a great beginning to a new series which I'm sure will have even more characters to play as with more mission variety that makes the game a lot more robust. I give this game the rating of "so good you can't wait to see what's next in the sequel". With a badass seal of approval!



Great start to 2020 indeed. Can't wait to join my local tournament for this game & see what kind of crazy combos others came up with!



Side note, one of the characters in this game is Lowain, a cat man with plenty of tools & other buddies to help him out, and his ultimate attack is to summon a primal Yggdrasil, easily the most daunting character to deal with when your health is close to death. Here's how you deal with her.



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