Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review – Rising to the Challenge
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is an expanded and enhanced version of the 2020 fighting game, offering significant updates and new content that make it distinct. However, the absence of an upgrade path from the original game might alienate previous buyers. Judging the game on its own merits, it stands out as a substantial and satisfying fighting game, providing a wealth of single-player and online multiplayer experiences across various gameplay modes.
Despite its appearance as a typical anime fighter, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising brings considerable depth to its gameplay. Developed by a studio renowned for creating popular fighting games like Guilty Gear Strive and Dragon Ball FighterZ, their expertise in the genre is evident. One major criticism of the original game was its limited roster of fighters, featuring just under a dozen characters at launch. Although this was expanded through season passes and additional DLC fighters, the initial offering was a point of contention. Additionally, the game’s single-player modes were seen as lacking, with the basic RPG mode criticized as a simplified and less engaging version of the main fighting game experience.
Arc System Works has responded to fan feedback by extensively revamping various aspects of the original game in Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising. The RPG mode has seen significant improvements, including new content and an additional chapter. At its 2020 launch, the game’s netcode was lacking, but the introduction of rollback netcode has greatly enhanced the online multiplayer experience, making it much more satisfying. The character roster has also been expanded substantially, offering a wider range of options for players.
In online multiplayer, alongside the traditional ranked and casual matches, there’s an innovative addition somewhat reminiscent of the indie sensation Fall Guys. This new mode, named Grand Bruise Legends, is an obstacle course filled with mini-games. It serves as an entertaining diversion from the usual ranked match grind, featuring chibi-style characters from Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising in a competitive setting. Although it wasn’t heavily populated during the game’s launch week, it still provides a fun alternative.
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising introduces new gameplay mechanics in the form of Ultimate Moves. These moves, combined with the traditional light, medium, and heavy attacks, allow players to execute visually stunning combos. The game is more accessible compared to other titles in the genre, like Tekken or Street Fighter, with a lower skill ceiling. Most characters are relatively easy to learn and enjoyable to play, whether in offline modes or competing online for ranks.
If you’re new to the Granblue Fantasy series, playing the RPG mode in Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising might initially seem confusing. This mode is primarily single-player and caters specifically to fans of the franchise, offering them the opportunity to engage with their favorite characters in various settings. While the game includes a glossary to help newcomers understand the storyline, it might not fully compensate for the lack of excitement some players may feel. The pacing of the story mode, which was awkward in the original game, has been improved in this release. The flow between visual novel-style story sequences, cutscenes, and battles is more cohesive now.
However, some of the new gameplay mechanics appear to have introduced a certain imbalance, with some characters like Nier being notably overpowered, especially in ranked mode. This kind of imbalance is not uncommon in fighting games, and developers typically address these issues with patches to restore balance. Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising introduces Bravery Points, a new gameplay element. These points allow players to perform Raging Strikes and Brave Counters. Raging Strikes provide a powerful offensive option against opponents who frequently block attacks, while Brave Counters are designed to strengthen a player’s defense. This dual mechanism adds an interesting strategic layer to the game, encouraging players to balance their offensive and defensive tactics.
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is accommodating for newcomers to the fighting game genre, with several quality-of-life improvements aimed at helping players familiarize themselves with the gameplay. Similar to the Modern and Dynamic controls in Street Fighter 6, this game features auto combos and special moves that can be executed with simple button presses, making it more accessible. Additionally, there is a comprehensive tutorial, a feature for which Arc System Works is known, as evidenced in their previous title Strive. This tutorial guides players through the intricacies of the game’s mechanics.
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising stands out as a commendable fighting game. While it may not compete with the highly competitive nature of games like Street Fighter 6 or the anticipated Tekken 8, it holds its own as an anime fighter based on a mobile gacha franchise. The improvements made in this version have significantly enhanced the game. Despite the lack of an upgrade path for owners of the original game, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is a solid choice for those who enjoy fighting games, offering a blend of accessibility and quality gameplay.
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Game Information
- Price: $49.99
- Publisher: Cygames
- Developer: Arc System Works
- Platform: PC (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher