Granblue Fantasy: Relink Demo Review

Granblue Fantasy: Relink is an upcoming Action RPG developed by Cygames, based on the popular Japanese Gacha IP Granblue Fantasy, is coming to the PS5, PS4, and PC via Steam on Februrary 1st. Players can expect a wide variety of their favorite Granblue Fantasy characters to come to life in a brand new way, in this colorful, action packed, and just downright fun action game!


Overview

Promoted as a "fully realized, complete package" rather than what you expect from games released now to be a live service trying to take all of your cash and time, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, going by the demo released on January 11th/12th on the PS4/PS5, is a very promising game. Important to note, there are no gacha elements whatsoever in this game.

The game features a fully fledged story mode, which the developers noted that it takes around 20 hours to clear, but then more story becomes available, as well as challenging end game bosses. Check out some of the bosses in the game here, it's a visual treat!

This review, based on the demo available for PS4 and PS5, will go over the tidbit of story shown, gameplay, audio, and visuals.

Story

The story sees Gran, newcomer to the franchise Rolan, and the Skyfarer crew come across sudden turbulence while aboard their airship, coming to the realization that this wind is agitating nearby Goblins, causing them to go on a rampage and terrorize nearby locals. Gran and crew come to the rescue, defeating goblins and their captains, while also rescuing the town folk.

After defeating the big boss of the goblin invaders "Greatshield Madbeat", the crew come to the realization that the sudden strong gust of winds is caused by Tempeal's Primal Beast, and upon coming to that conclusion, the story for the demo concludes, leaving you on a nice cliffhanger.

I can't say much as to the overall quality of the story based on this "in the middle of things" demo, this is a very simple story mission, and just a small taste of what there is to come in the full story. There is not enough information for me to give the story a solid opinion yet. I personally think they should have given us the start of the game as a demo, but perhaps they wanted to avoid spoilers, even though the start of the game can be seen on YouTube already!

Gameplay

While I can't say much about the story, even if the story in the final game is not that impressive, where this game truly shines is in it's Gameplay. Originally, Relink was being developed by Platinum Games, but they eventually finished what they were contracted to do, and then the rest of the development was handed off internally to Cygames Osaka.

You can see the Platinum Games DNA all over this game, rather that be from the perfect dodges, air dodges, multiple ways to combo your attacks, launchers, air combos, and extremely flashy effects. However, they managed to make this unique from your standard Platinum Games affair by offering more nuanced combat, many different characters and gameplay styles, extensive character customization, and co-op multiplayer.

While there is still a healthy amount of playable characters in the demo, with there being 10, the full game is set to have 19 characters, will all but Gran and Djeeta offering vastly different playstyles and team roles. Each character has access to a wide variety of weapons, each providing unique passives so that it won't simply be upgrade to the highest attack number. There is also an ability tree for each, giving you the chance to unlock more skills to further customize and make each character your own.

The Sigil is where you'll truly get to build your favorite characters to your liking. Think of Sigils as armor skills or gems in Monster Hunter, where you have a limited number of slots, and depending on the total level of a specific sigil equipped, you get the corresponding enhancement, all the way up to level 45

Also similar to Monster Hunter and perhaps even PSO, is the gameplay structure. The game is NOT open world, but rather a hub based system where you select missions from a board, and then you and your party of AI or online embark on the quest. As far as we know, the story mode is only available with AI companions, but the online, or quest mode, is available with either AI or online companions.

Truly the shining star of the gameplay is the gameplay variety you get from each of the characters, with more to come via free updates throughout the life of the game! For example, Rackam, Helmsman of the airship Grandcypher, uses a long ranged rifle with special bullets to help your team from afar, to Siegfied, a slow, but heavy hitting dragonslayer who wields a greatsword, with the ability to charge, and perform perfect timing attacks to increase his damage output.

Audio

The music is another star point to Relink, with well known composers Nobuo Uematsu from Final Fantasy fame, as well as Tsutomu Narita, who worked on Xenoblade Chronicles X, as well as the fighting game Granblue Fantasy Versus. For just a small taste of the soundtrack, check out the official theme song!

There are confirmed to be a little over 140 songs throughout the game, and from the small amount I've heard in the demo, we're in for a musical treat!

One complaint I have with the audio however, is just the amount of chatter the team constantly quips out during combat. The audio balance here is not the best, with sometimes your teammates blasting your ear out, distorting the music, and sometimes not being able to hear them at all during intense combat moments. I hope this can be addressed during the full game, but if it's not, it's by no means a deal breaker.

Visuals

The game uses a gorgeous cell shaded anime look for it's characters and environment, while the background gives off a painterly look, giving it a very unique style to stand apart from it's counterparts. The visual effects are extremely well done and very active, albeit a bit visually cluttery at times, but I'm sure it's something we will get used to after hours of playing.

Unfortunately, at least on the PS5 version of the game, the 60 FPS mode is stuck at 1080p, causing the overall image to appear much more blurry. This also strangely effects the user interface as well, making the menus slightly less visually clear. I hope this is addressed, many games offer different resolutions for the game and user interface, that will help the 60 FPS mode look much better.

The 4K mode is locked to 30 FPS, which while some of you may find that suitable, for a fast paced action game that requires precise button presses and dodges, I don't think 30 FPS cuts it.

Check out a comparison between the two modes, as you can see, the 1080P mode is a blemish to an otherwise beautiful game. Luckily, if you plan to play on PC and have a decent rig, this shouldn't be an issue for you. Left is the Quality mode, Right is Performance.

Overall Thoughts

I've been looking forward to Granblue Fantasy: Relink ever since it was first announced many years ago, back when it was simply known as project relink. After being disappointed with Final Fantasy XVI, Relink seems to fill the void of a fun, action RPG with deep mechanics, as well as a wide variety of gameplay. Keep an eye out on this, and the full game releases in less than a month! Especially keep Relink on your radar if you're into grinding a lot for endgame, as well as difficult bosses that can be done either solo with AI, or with friends online!


Dkmariolink
Dkmariolink

A lifelong gamer who is now in gacha purgatory, Dkmariolink is a variety content creator with a passion for JRPG's and Action RPG's. Some of his all-time favorites include Persona 4, Dragon Quest 8, Bloodborne, MH3, and Kingdom Hearts 2. You can reach out to them via twitter! https://twitter.com/TheDkmariolink
Email for inquiries: [email protected]

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