Back in 2019, a game hit my radar. It had a fascinating art style, the combat looked engaging and there is an RPG Mode which sounded phenomenal. Its name was Granblue Fantasy Versus and I was locked in. Would it live up to the hype? Well, six days ago I received my review code and began my adventure in the sky realm filled with skyfarers and primal beasts.
Up, up in the air in Granblue Fantasy Versus
The first element I tried out was the RPG mode. This mode is basically the story mode and gives you access to the world of Granblue Fantasy. You play as Gran a young skyfarer who along with Lyria known as the girl in blue travels the skies with his team. The long and short of it is Gran travels this world with Lyria and his best friend Vyrn a small red dragon.
If you’d like to enhance the RPG Mode I recommend watching the anime on Netflix or Crunchyroll (Crunchyroll is better as it has season two). This introduces you to the many characters and their motivations as well as the state of this world. I thoroughly enjoyed it and when I started up the RPG Mode it enhanced it because the RPG Mode is set sometime after the anime so you won’t be as lost.
As the plot of the game picks up the world seems to be in upheaval, the primal beasts (godlike entities that govern the many floating islands) are in disarray. Your allies have lost their memories and a long-dead enemy force has returned somehow, not only that there is some kind of sinister and alien force behind all of it.
This all sounds great but honestly, the plot of Granblue Fantasy Versus is quite basic. Your allies losing their memories is just an excuse so you can fight the other members of the roster. It reminds me of earlier entries of the Mortal Kombat franchise.
Flying higher and higher
Even if the plot is paper-thin there are a lot of features that are part of it that make the RPG Mode and the rest of the game brilliant. For example, you can customise your character’s weapons. There are multiple elements that help to enhance your weapons capabilities against your opponents, ranging from the usual fire to water, to the more obscure light and dark. You can also combine weaponry to enhance the damage they deal which is a handy feature. Weirdly my favourite part is that each character gets a different skin for their weapon of choice. Not only that the number of skins for each character is impressive.
Then came the online aspect. My god not only can you fight against people from around the world but you can also have friends from around the world join you in battles in the RPG Mode. It’s a lot of fun when you’re facing down a terrifying primal beast and you’ve got a buddy helping you defeat it. You can also customise your online avatar giving you a fully unique presence when you’re looking for matches.
Making these battles so compelling is an impressive combat system but this is a game from Arc System Works so that is no surprise. It’s simple to engage with but to master it will take hours for each character which is going to give beat ’em up junkies that fix.
Never coming down
Overall Granblue Fantasy Versus is one of the best beat’ em ups out there. The gameplay is flashy and intense accompanied by an energetic score that you can’t help get excited about. Not only that it’s one of the best looking games I’ve had the pleasure to play recently. Apart from the weak plot, I couldn’t find fault in the game and even the plot has a weirdly charming mix of characters to fall in love with.
If you’re a fan of beat ’em ups and anime you cannot miss this game. I would also recommend the digital deluxe edition as it gets you access to the evergrowing roster, two separate but brilliant themes, and an artbook.
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