Granblue Fantasy: Relink (PlayStation 5) Review

By Eric Ace 31.01.2024

Review for Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PlayStation 5

Granblue Fantasy started as a mobile game that was released in Japan back in 2014, and it grew to be tremendously popular. This growth was likely fuelled by some big names that were part of the game, such as Nobuo Uematsu of Final Fantasy fame. The series later got a very nice-looking fighting game that Arc System Works helped draw. Now, Granblue Fantasy: Relink sees the characters embark on a new adventure on console and PC.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink is the latest in a series of games that once started as a mobile RPG. Despite what one might think of mobile RPGs, there is no denying the absolute spread of them, and some have become massively huge hits. There is a specific type and feel to these types of games, though, often based on "gacha" mechanics - a mix of gambling and unlocking that keeps people spending money on the game. Gratefully, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a single purchase as there are no gacha mechanics, and it plays mostly like conventional JRPGs minus a few odd choices.

The adventure follows the exploits of the main character, referred to as "The Captain", and a small group of "Skyfarers" - adventurers who have ships that fly between floating islands - through a new land. The story begins after many of the events already established in the lore. One of the more relevant aspects of the plot is that the main character once tried to save a mysterious girl named Lyria and was killed in the process; she shared her life with him and they became linked henceforth. Many of the other characters have backstory that are previously established, such as how the crew came together and how they got a ship.

Screenshot for Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PlayStation 5

This past story luckily does not impact the game as the story here is self-contained, and there is even a section that players can read over regarding past lore (and get stat bonuses in the process!) to get to know the characters better. As it is, the cast is composed of your typical plucky young hero, the mysterious young girl, the confident older owner of the airship, your young loli, your sultry dark mage, and so on. That is just the main party. Other characters can be unlocked that are a selection of some of the more popular characters from the franchise.

From the beginning, Granblue Fantasy: Relink comes out swinging. As the crew is flying peacefully, they are attacked ultimately by a dragon summon that starts to destroy the ship. It is a cool-looking opening with everything on fire and the ship going down in a crash. The first "dungeon" is a great deep forest. Relink makes exploring fun, with far more than just the random "side tunnel to a treasure chest" that populates many other games. This title was originally partly developed by PlatinumGames (of Nier fame) and it shows in the level design.

Screenshot for Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PlayStation 5

Battles are fast action RPG affairs. Each character has a basic attack with a heavy attack they can weave in, as well as a guard and a dodge. There are not any complex combos, and the basics are a little disappointing. However, each character can slowly unlock special moves, such as air slashes, fire balls, healing, and so forth, and from here the player can throw these in to mix. Any single character is not that complicated, but to add to the equation is that there are many playable characters that are all slightly different. There are people with guns to shoot from range, closeup sword users, and mages who hang back and dump spells onto the enemies from the rear.

As alluded to a little, each character ultimately is not that deep. This is where some of the problems arise. A character has two unlock grids, which is how stat bonuses and new moves are unlocked, but many are just small things like "+2 attack". One of the worst parts, though, is the unlock points are shared between all characters, meaning it is not easy to swap to a new character if points were previously spent on someone else. Furthermore, do not expect any complicated equipment management. There is some basic upgrading on the weapon, and equipping some various traits that can be interesting, but there are not any typical accessories, armour, etc.

Screenshot for Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PlayStation 5

Graphically, the game is very good. There are many, many times, either on a ship or an overlook, that it is hard to not just stop and look around due to the gorgeous backgrounds and watercolour look of the characters. This is rare in JRPGs, and a testament to the work done in this area. The town feels alive, and all the nooks and crannies are enjoyable to go and find.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink comes out swinging. The story is serviceable; a typical party travels around helping people, which, as far as any overarching plot goes, is a weak point. The banter between characters is a much better positive, and it is fun watching them talk with each other. Its main strength comes from just how good everything looks, all the different characters that can join the party, how fun exploration is (often a rarity in JRPGs), and just how this is such a solid game. It is not going to blow anyone away storywise, but the overall package sets a high bar going forward.

Screenshot for Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

There are many times that it is fun to just stop and look around, and the story and characters are a fairly tight package, which is appreciated. Battles are fast, if a bit consistent of spongy enemies. Its mobile roots are obvious, in relation to how equipment, upgrades and other characters work. Overall, there is not a huge sweeping story that will stay with you, but it's a coherent, high quality RPG that is solid across the board.

Developer

Cygames, Inc.

Publisher

Cygames, Inc.

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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