A few days more to release with the launch trailer below, it goes without saying that this is one of the game that I am waiting for to scratch that anime action itch.
Having explored a few demo sessions of tutorials, campaigns, and quests in Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PlayStation 5, which was what initially thought to be a JRPG revelation turned out to be the 2024 linear-based ARPG game I’ve been searching for — a molded cinematic team-based action (offline or online) including ring-style monster hunter boss fights.
This not only took me by surprise but also caught me off guard spending more hours than I thought, eagerly delving into the mechanics and combos of each character. Here’s my first take on Granblue Fantasy: Relink.
Trailer Details as shared on YouTube:
A grand adventure in the skies awaits—take a final look at Cygames’ upcoming action RPG, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, launching Feb 1st, 2024.
Full Sparky Action On The Go
With the options to jump, guard, lock on, and attack while maneuvering, one thing that sparks my interest is the gameplay in Granblue Fantasy: Relink Demo, reminiscent of the combo-driven action seen in Tales Of Arise. Enjoy and let the sparks of flashy slashes fly.
Note that all action is done in-game with a seamless transition from exploring to instant combat without going through a separate screen.
Characters you control will hit enemies with a seamless stream of combo wombo ( using square and triangle) streak to either build the enemies stun bar or your skybound art gauge to initiate the cinematic flair attacks to feast your eyes on. But one thing for sure is the buttons to initiate block and dodge are either R2 or L1 which felt a bit offputting to pull off and a bit unconventional.
These buttons are the main bread and butter of the game as boss fights tend to be more akin to Monster Hunter as they hit hard. While the timing of block and dodge is essential, there’s a full assist mode for those who prefer a more casual experience, automatically dodging and attacking for you.
Hence making the experience more accessible to more casual-based players like myself. While online mode is available, it is more about the PVE ( player versus environment) settings and no PVP aspects in sight. The demo allows you to equip weapons and skills, and embed sigils for attack or health enhancements, yet there aren’t many other RPG elements introduced in this demo such as inventory purchases, accessories, campaign sidequest, and blacksmith.
Choose Your Many Characters
In this demo, there are over 11 characters to choose from, each with their unique moves, lively lines, combos, skills, and elements, not to mention buffs and debuffs. Surprisingly, that’s more characters than you’d find in some fighting game rosters. And this is where it kept me immersed as I explored each one while exploring and figuring out my favorites along the way.
Note: In my opinion, I wouldn’t be surprised if the gameplay for excellent scores requires players to master each character to maximize the damage output/DPS to a boss.
However, you can’t swap mid-combat or preset preferred actions on your allies such as focus on healing or focus on attacking in this demo.
The Adventure Awaits In Style
The campaign and quests give a tidbit taste of the stylish gameplay and cool breezy atmosphere of what the game sounds and feels like. Resembling casual MMOs with serene music beckoning you to embark on new adventures or face bosses in the ring—a delightful concept that has a nice ring to it.
Speaking of things that ring, the voice acting sounds decent, the overall music feels orchestrally serene, and the graphics can be a little bit dated with the environment textures, yet manage to accentuate/bring out character 3D models like a photo mode filter-esque charm.
The Preview So Far…
This plays like a linear ARPG adventure spiced up with the challenge of scoring big in the arena through continuous combo executions while minimizing damage. This could be a potential next big thing, depending on the overall gameplay. The only small drawback is not able to swap control between allies mid-combat and add preferred actions on the allies in combat.
I am personally intrigued to see how it seamlessly blends arcadey cinematic action experience with Monster Hunter-style gameplay including combo wombo as my current enjoyment in the demo has me looking forward to checking it out once I get my hands on a copy.