Granblue Fantasy: Relink Review

Granblue Fantasy: Relink

When I first previewed Granblue Fantasy: Relink, I was unaware that Granblue Fantasy: Relink was a sequel within the Granblue Fantasy franchise. The hack-n-slash gameplay elements mixed with beautiful environments and characters reminded me of Final Fantasy XV‘s combat system and art style. Keeping these two factors in mind, I went into Granblue Fantasy: Relink with an open mind and focused primarily on the gameplay elements and how good the story might be. So how does Granblue Fantasy: Relink hold up? Find out in our Granblue Fantasy: Relink review!

Game: Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Developer: Cygames Inc
Publisher: Cygames Inc
Platforms: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 (Reviewed)
Release Date: January 31st, 2024
Players: 1 to 4
Price: Base: $59.99 USD

Story

When it comes to JRPGs, some have stories that can be all over the place. Thankfully, Granblue Fantasy: Relink keeps a steady pace without giving the player whiplash. Although it is a sequel to an already-established franchise, it does not beat the player over the head with past lore or plots. In fact, outside of the opening sequence, most of the story revolves around plot points introduced throughout the game.

At the start of the game, you will choose your character; no matter which gender you pick, the crew will refer to you as captain. While heading to Estalucia, your ship is attacked by a Wyvern and other creatures. In order to handle the situation quickly, Lyria the crew’s summoner calls forth Bahamut.

With the enemies quickly dispatched by Bahamut, Lyria looks to call him back but a weird seal appears causing Bahamut to go berserk and damage the ship. This knocks the party off of their current track and they have to regroup within the Zegagrande Skydom. While in the Zegagrande Skydom, the crew meets a mysterious man named Rolan. After the short meeting, they get interrupted and Rolan is called away to help with a rampaging Primal Beast and to save some villagers.

This is the first clue regarding rampaging Primal Beasts and sets them down a fateful path toward the Church of Avia. The church kidnaps Lyria, sending the crew on a journey to rescue her while trying to uncover Lilith and the Church of Avia’s plot.

Thoughts on Plot

When Bahamut was first introduced I thought that Granblue Fantasy: Relink was a spinoff of Final Fantasy, however, as the story progressed it was clear that this was not a spin-off but inspired by it. GBF: Relink has a more light-hearted tale even while dealing with kidnappings and evil organizations. The story focuses more on the power of friendship, never leaving a friend behind, and that anyone can be redeemed.

The plot has a nice steady pace that won’t bore you to sleep and the side quests within the game can easily be completed while progressing through the story. There are moments within that will give you flashbacks to other popular JRPGs.

Despite this it feels more like the developers are using them as inspiration rather than trying to be an exact copy. A nice feature about the game is that there are still quests and story bits that happen after beating the main story. If you want to replay through any of the levels you can but you don’t have to.

Combat & Gameplay

Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a hack-n-slash action JRPG focusing primarily on combat. Most of the game revolves around combat with the player running from one place to the next slaying monsters and gathering resources. Outside of picking up quests and resources, the game has very few non-combat interactions.

Throughout the story, you primarily interact with your crew and the other main characters to push the story forward. The biggest downside is you do not get to learn about each character’s past directly from them – you can learn more about each character’s past through the Fate Episodes. The Fate Episodes give players the chance to learn about the character’s past or how they were feeling during certain points of each mission.

During our playthrough, we encountered only two issues: the game seemed almost too easy and during a certain level, the camera kept focusing on things that didn’t matter and would adjust the camera angle randomly.

Almost too Easy

When not fighting through the story, the player can choose to go on quests to gain rewards. These quests are an easy way to level up and gain resources but are not necessary to progress through the story. In fact, you can be almost 10 levels below the boss monster but still manage to fight and take it down. Yes, it does take longer, but as long as you can dodge/block abilities and heal appropriately you can take it down, slowly.

In a way, the game feels almost too easy even on the regular difficulty. Throughout our playthrough of the game, we did not die once. This is mostly due to how the game handles resurrecting and healing teammates. From the very start of the game, the player is given multiple health potions and a resurrection potion.

These potions are refunded each time that you visit a hallowed ground location. On top of that, you can get an ability that resurrects you for free during combat and recharges after a certain amount of time. If that wasn’t enough to keep you alive, the AI will immediately rush over to resurrect a fallen ally; the resurrection time is rather quick compared to other JRPGs.

In combat, the player can switch between normal attacks and power-raising attacks. After doing a combo with a power raise attack, the player’s skill level will increase. Increasing the player’s skill level will make it so the player’s skills are more effective. If the player takes too much damage or gets a negative status effect, the skill level drops down to one.

As enemies become staggered or their armor breaks, there will be link attack options that will deal a good bit of damage and increase the player’s skill level. There is another gauge called Skybound Arts that once fully charged deals a devastating attack. Allies can also chain their Skybound Arts attacks to deal even more damage. If all four party members release their arts it’s called a Full Burst, dealing an exponential amount of damage to the enemy and granting buffs to the party.

Within the game, there are fights that you cannot win no matter what you try. Rather than having you get to a certain point before triggering the next sequence, it will allow you to get hit slightly to trigger the cutsence. In a way, Granblue Fantasy: Relink feels like it is meant to be a beginner RPG.

Soundtrack and Voice Acting

The game features two voiced dialog options (English and Japanese) and 7 subtitled text options. Unlike some other JRPGs, the main character is voiced and will interact with the crew to progress the conversation. In English, the game features a ton of notable voice actors.

One of the best things about Granblue Fantasy: Relink is that it will list who the voice actor is on the character card that way you don’t have to wonder and go crazy trying to think of who it is. Each actor delivers excellent performances and keeps you emotionally invested in the story’s plot and each character interaction.

The game itself has a stellar soundtrack that sets the mood properly for any atmosphere. If there is combat, there is epic battle music to set the mood rivaling that of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, Persona, and the Tales series. The music will keep you going and will draw you in and not let go. If you feel like listening to a certain song, you can go into Lyria’s Journal and listen to it.

Verdict

After spending a weekend with Granblue Fantasy: Relink, we can honestly say the game is a diamond hidden in the rough. Each character has its own personality and fight style that feels different during combat. Additionally, you can earn character unlock tokens to recruit new allies to aid you on your journey; this is refreshing compared to the Gacha system or having to buy characters.

The main plot in Granblue Fantasy: Relink may be rather linear but it keeps you engaged and focused on the quest at hand. Side quests can be completed without distracting from the overall plot and aren’t a burden like in other JRPGs. Combat within the game isn’t solely focused on level but rather skill.

You can be under-leveled for the encounter but if you have the skill you can still take down the enemy. Granblue Fantasy: Relink gives players multiple ways to level which can make it a bit easy; thankfully, you can change the game’s difficulty in the settings while playing rather than having to start a new game.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink feels a bit short compared to other JRPGs but it seems like the developer wanted to focus on players being able to complete quests together rather than a long story. The game features settings to make it so that other players can’t spoil certain things for new players if doing quests together.

Most of the characters are likable and there are a ton of emotional moments throughout. Some of the boss fights within the game are on par with some of the top JRPG boss fights and the visual experience the game provides will keep you mesmerized.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a fantastic game that you will enjoy whether you pick it up when its full price or on sale. A sequel to a smartphone RPG, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a surprise gem that everyone should have fun playing.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink was reviewed on PS5 using a copy provided by Cygames. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is now available on Steam, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. 

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The Verdict: 9

The Good

  • Beautiful graphics and great use of color
  • Easy to understand combat system
  • Allows for up to 4-player co-op
  • Can change the difficulty while playing.
  • Voice acting and a musical soundtrack that will suck you in

The Bad

  • Potions automatically refill
  • normal difficulty feels to easy
  • A camera bug on one level makes it hard to navigate
  • Limited party interaction

About

Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.


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