Skyfarers the world over can now settle their disputes with the release of CyGames, XSEED Games, and Arc System Works’ one-on-one fighter Granblue Fantasy: Versus. Should you believe in victory, or does this title need to cool down a bit?
Granblue Fantasy: Versus Review
Whether you’re a newcomer to the fighting game genre or own multiple fight sticks, Granblue Fantasy: Versus caters to those from all walks of life. Controls are made up of light, medium, and heavy attacks, along with a unique action that varies on character, not unlike the BlazBlue series of games.
Those just starting out need not worry though, as special moves can be streamlined with the use of the Skills button. Taking a page from Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series, players simply need to press the Skills button and a direction to perform maneuvers that would typically take a quarter circle movement. Those who are notorious button mashers can also get by with its Auto Combo system.
Of course, those well acquainted with Arc System Works’ vast library can kick things up a notch with some of the depth its engine provides. Dodges, Cross Overs, Clashes, and Recovery Moves help Granblue Fantasy: Versus stand toe-to-toe with the legends of the FGC, and meter management through the use of its Skybound Arts and Super Skybound Arts adds a level of flash and pizazz while also turning the tides of battle. It’s not the most complex title on the market today, but what is present here will test the mettle of even the most experienced EVO fanatic.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus does differentiate itself through the use of its cool down system. Those looking to spam heavy Reginleiv projectiles are in for a rude awakening – each special move requires a bit of cool down before it can be used again, with the power level of the move determining the length of the cool down. Some may decry this mechanic, but it is a welcome addition that requires players to mix up their strategy when things get heated.
Of course, a fighting game is only as good as its roster, and the denizens making up Granblue Fantasy: Versus’ roster are a lively bunch. Even those unacquainted with the browser and mobile game will find somebody to love – brawny wrestlers, mini knights, and long-eared girls with pets are just a few of the characters players can learn along the way. The selection of characters and stages is fairly light at launch, and the inclusion of day one DLC is unfortunate, but there is just enough variety in its present selection to keep players engaged.
Most of the options present in Granblue Fantasy: Versus are par for the course. An Arcade Mode with seven battles, a Versus Mode, a Free Training Mode, and a Mission Training Mode are welcome additions and feature a fair amount of customization. While the addition of more modes (including a Survival Mode) would have been appreciated, what is here is serviceable. Players can also net Renown Pendants along the way, which can unlock lobby avatars, artwork, and more – a nice touch.
Also included is an Online Mode, complete with Lobbies, Ranked Play, and Room Matches. The steps taken to ensure players have a silky smooth experience are admirable – players can dive into Initial Ranking Matches before throwing down, and those getting ready for the next battle can hone their skills with Free Training and Mission Training. When finally connected, netcode is fairly stable, even when playing those halfway across the world.
Perhaps its biggest draw for longtime fans is its RPG Mode. Told with a mixture of cutscenes and talking heads, things begin with strange happenings with Katalina and lead to something far greater. There are a fair amount of secondary characters and jargon that’ll likely be lost on newcomers, but the world is rich with fantasy elements and lore.
Unfortunately, gameplay in this mode is an absolute grind. Broken up into a number of different quests, players will spend most of their time hacking down goblins, imperial soldiers, robots, and other threats. Though players can gain EXP, collect Rupies, and gain new Support Skills, the proceedings lack depth – we were routinely netting S ranks without too much effort. There is a fair amount of customization for stat junkies, but we found that a rudimentary loadout worked outside of boss battles.
Just be warned that the presentation here is not always smooth. Despite playing on the PlayStation 4 Pro, we encountered low framerates and choppy sound on more than one occasion. These elements are far from game-breaking, but they did take away from the polish the rest of the game features.
Despite its light roster and stage selection, Granblue Fantasy: Versus’ sheer charm and accessibility will appeal to veterans and newcomers alike.
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