Granblue Fantasy: Relink (PS5) review
Role-playing game with focus on an actGranblue Fantasy: Relink is based on the popular mobile title Granblue Fantasy. Over the past decade or so, developer Cygames’ intention has been to spread the good word of Granblue to a wider audience, and so it has given the green light to the likes of Granblue Fantasy Versus and Relink – console mods that will (hopefully) prove the value of the property outside of the game. Mobile space.
Re-engagement in particular was a long The time is coming. The project was first announced in 2016, and original developer Platinum Games – of Bayonetta and the popular NieR: Automata – left the operation in 2019, with Cygames taking the title internally. The question then is whether this extended wait – exacerbated by multiple delays – has finally paid off.
For what it’s worth, there’s definitely some platinum DNA still left in the Relink. Hack-and-slash combat is accessible but requires well-timed blocks and dodges, unlike the systems you’ll find in the studio’s more popular releases. However, what sets Relink apart is its reliance on RPG elements; Stats, equipment and massive damage numbers are at the heart of the game, while battles are peppered with character-specific attacks and skills that work on cooldowns.
Speaking of characters, Relink has a fairly large roster of playable heroes. The title actually consists of two parts: the single-player story campaign, and mission-based, Monster Hunter-esque quests that can be tackled either through CPU allies or other players online. The latter is where you’ll benefit from the aforementioned character roster – but you’ll need to complete the main campaign before you can tackle the vast majority of the game’s additional quests.
In a way, the single-player story serves as an introduction to Relink’s mechanics, but to call it a tutorial would be a huge disservice. This is a full campaign consisting of cutscenes, action-packed levels, and some impressive cinematic scenes. It is quite clear that a lot The effort was put into the headline; The main adventure is a real thrill ride for most of its duration, as you fight flashy bosses and take part in some crazy platforming sections. Again, there are times when we feel it all very Platinum – Especially in terms of pacing and combat encounters that seem to grow more and more ambitious as the plot progresses.
However, there is a downside to having a campaign of this intensity. In terms of length, the single-player story lasts around 15 to 20 hours (including available side quests), and when the credits roll, it feels a bit short-lived. Don’t get us wrong, everything crescendos and ends in a satisfying way, but if you’ve spent the last few years hoping Relink would be a sprawling RPG adventure, you’ll likely be disappointed.
On the other hand, the fact that the Relink has little to no filler is commendable. Too often, we see larger, budget RPGs like Final Fantasy 16 ruin their own momentum so they can steer players toward boring filler stories and snore-inducing sidequests. Relink’s campaign may only take 20 hours to beat, but it’s 20 hours of fast and furious fun.
Moving on, the narrative itself is nothing special, but is charmingly told through a cast of likeable characters. You play as the captain of a ship soaring through the sky – the same male or female protagonist that is central to the mobile game. Relink’s story is actually part of this title, as the captain and his trusted crew create the Zegagrande Skydom – a group of floating islands that they have yet to explore.
Naturally, things don’t go as planned, and the crew soon makes an enemy of the cult-like organization, leading to an adventure that takes the captain and his crewmates across the diverse islands of Skydom. The plot is predictable and the characters don’t get much time to express themselves, but it does a good job of tying all the events together. Even if you’re not familiar with the franchise, you’ll still have a good feel for the characters featured, and the sky-based world they inhabit.
Early in the campaign, you have the opportunity to unlock playable characters who are not part of your immediate crew, using items that can be obtained through quests. However, it is important to note that these additional heroes have nothing to do with the main story, which focuses exclusively on the Captain and his five closest allies. As such, we’d likely recommend completing the campaign before exploring your expanded roster, so you can get to know the core crew better.
In battle, you play as a single character while the AI takes on up to three members of your party, and each character comes with their own unique fighting style and loadout abilities – which can be upgraded via an incredibly long skill tree. Undoubtedly one of Relink’s main selling points is the aforementioned playable menu; It’s diverse in terms of gameplay, and we struggled to find a hero that wasn’t easy to use in combat.
The Captain, equipped with a shorthand and with a wide range of aggressive and supportive abilities, is pretty much the default choice – but there are ranged fighters with weapons, spell-casting magic users, and many beautiful warriors carrying oversized, cartoon-sized weapons around. Taking them all out for a spin, finding favorite items, and turning them into high-level powers is really a big draw of Relink once you’ve finished the main story.
Fortunately, you’ll have a ton of quests to do after the campaign. These tasks come in many shapes and sizes; Some task you with eliminating waves of monsters, others ask you to defend a location, and others pit you against particularly dangerous bosses. In general, though, the quests don’t correspond to the scenery that plays out throughout the story. End-game missions are approaching, requiring near-mastery of defensive techniques so your health bar doesn’t melt – but most missions will be over within minutes.
The idea here is that you’ll be grinding objectives in order to level up characters and store materials, which can be used to craft and upgrade weapons. This is where the Monster Hunter comparison comes into play, because it’s the same kind of structure: select a mission from the hub city, gather your CPU buddies or find allies online, accomplish the mission, then return to the hub and so on that you can power up your character, ready To do it again.
The thing is, the mileage you get on your mission will vary depending on how much you enjoy Relink’s battles. On a basic level, the combat system doesn’t come close to the addictive depth of Capcom’s popular series, and if you’re willing to complete the game all The task, you will re-link for who knows how many hours. To some extent, the variety of characters keeps things interesting – and the game’s toughest bosses can pose a serious challenge – but whether you’re with the CPU or other players, the repetition starts to take hold long before you’ve outmaneuvered much.
This doesn’t mean that Relink’s combat system is bad, far from it. At its best, it’s a collection of combo attacks, well-timed blocks, and finishing dodges. It feels a bit floaty at first, but once you get used to the rhythm, there’s a lot to like about the action. Furthermore, teamwork is actively encouraged, as grunting enemies require a barrage of blows to bring them down. Fighting close to your allies opens enemies up to high-damage link-up attacks, and the wide array of support magic – healing spells, barriers, and buffs – means it’s usually best to stand shoulder to shoulder so the entire party benefits.
Aside from the ultimate iteration, our only complaints about combat don’t really stem from the system or mechanics. First, battles can be an absolute cacophony of visual noise at times, making it difficult to react to incoming attacks. Secondly, the characters Never be silent. This isn’t a big deal during side quests, but in the story, there are points where characters will provide a ridiculous amount of exposition while you’re immersed in a desperate process of survival. It’s a shame that the cast can’t calm down, because Relink’s got a frankly great orchestral soundtrack that’s often lifted by the roar of electric guitars.
Before we jump to the conclusion, we should note that although Relink has great art direction, graphically it is rather rough. You can definitely tell this was aimed at the PS4 version, but the disappointment comes when you realize that the PS5 version’s performance mode is limited to 1080p resolution only. The lower resolution means assets can look noticeably jagged on a 4K display – but at least you get a very smooth 60fps.
(tags for translation)Review