Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is a sequel to Cygames and Arc System Works’ Granblue Fantasy Versus, which we reviewed favorably back in 2020. The series now returns with a wider roster of characters, a deeper dive into the Granblue Fantasy lore for newcomers, and a beginner-friendly fighting game that’s great for casuals, all while having a more technical aspect available for enthusiasts.
In a nutshell, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising follows the adventures of Gran, who rescues Vira from experimentation by the very empire he has sworn to fight for. Now embarking on a mission to evade enemy forces along with past allies, he will protect Vira at all costs in his honor.
So whether you’re a warrior, a sword maiden, or a cosmic entity, grab that blade and challenge fellow warriors in Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising!
Another Tale of Souls and Swords
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising continues where the 2020 installment left off, offering an easy-to-pick-up fighting game that looks good and plays even better. It’s very easy to compare it to Guilty Gear, as both games come from Arc System Works, but it can be argued that this offering is a bit more toned down and simple, which is perfect for series newbies like me to get into.
From the get-go, you have your traditional three-button attack configuration: normal, strong, and fierce commands. There is a unique function that allows you to charge your energy (more on that later), and the bumper and trigger buttons function as one-button specials, dashes, and throws, which for beginners and casuals would be a breath of fresh air. Simply based on the controls alone, first-time users will feel right at home, which is certainly a good sign that allows newcomers to not feel too intimidated about wanting to try out a visually appealing fighting game.
If there was any complaint about the first game, it’s that the launch roster of the game was pretty limited. Consisting of 12 characters and 13 more unlockable via DLC, it seemed thin compared to other fighting game titles. Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising immediately addresses this, putting the launch roster at a strong count of 28 characters, including 4 new ones not found in the original title (Anila, Siegfried, Grimnir, and Nier).
The character roster of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is a diverse mix of agile fighters, heavy hitters, grapplers, and much more. There’s someone for everyone, which is always nice to see, with each character offering an array of playstyles and varying difficulty levels to overcome. Beginners will have their hands full with learning these characters and unlocking collectibles to complete the growing codex, but because the controls are simple to access, the learning curve is quite smooth and manageable.
For a newcomer like me, it was certainly tough to choose a main character because the designs looked amazing. If anything, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising has stellar visuals that lean into the anime-styled fighters with flashy visual effects that can fill up the screen with bolts and sparks of light that are a sight to behold. There’s a level of faithfulness to the source material that fans will appreciate while playing.
Granblue Fantasy Versus Rising isn’t as technical as Guilty Gear Strive, however, you do have some zone specials and the unique function can either cancel or counter moves, which can give players some depth to work with. Guard Breaks, Air Blocks, and Recovery are also present, so there’s arguably a lot of attention put into the title for fighting game enthusiasts who are looking for a deeper experience.
“I Play For The Plot!”
One thing that vastly increases the mileage of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is its story mode. With three full chapters of part-visual novel, part-beat-em-up, and part-fighting game adventure, players are brought into the world of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising. This is especially useful for newcomers who are only diving into the world of Granblue Fantasy and using this as a diving point.
The lengthy tutorial mode teaches you all the basic moves to get through the many grunts and creeps that are thrown your way and ends with a full-length boss battle. Unlike the normal fighting game mode, your power and vitality increase as you delve deeper into the story, offering an RPG progression system that cements the story mode as a full-fledged adventure worthy of your time.
You’re ranked at the end of each quest or boss fight, and your final rating will depend on how fast you complete the level and how many combos or skills you land. Completing these levels will award you progress in the story, including learning new skills and retrieving new weapons to aid you in your quest.
While certainly a good time to get players familiarized with the basic systems of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, it slightly overstays its welcome. Each chapter is divided into episodes, which can number in the forties. If you’re invested in the Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising universe, I would say that you’re in for a massive treat. But if you’re not too invested in the story, these chapters can drag on for a while.
That said, the leveling-up process of learning new skills, equipping new weapons, and getting more powerful was a fun aspect of the story mode. There are nifty little combos that the game teaches you to fully maximize your skills, so they get your fundamentals on point when you eventually start going online multiplayer. It does the job as a glorified tutorial mode, if you can call it that, so don’t expect anything too deep or inventive.
As of writing, we didn’t get access to the server of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising so we cannot comment on the netcode or online features. However, I could say that from a single-player offline perspective, there is a plethora of content and features that players of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising can access, offering a package that’s filled with the usual fighting game features and then some.
Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising offers access to local versus, training mode, and this nifty diorama feature that allows you to create a visual display case with unlockable figures made of the cast of the characters. It is a treat for fans and fans-to-be as you progress through the game and is just another feature that players can take advantage of.
What We Liked:
- There’s something for everyone: accessible content for beginners and casuals and immersive challenging modes for longtime fans and enthusiasts.
- 28 characters to choose from, each with varying playstyles.
- Fantastic art style and stunning visuals
- Quite the meaty package for its price
What We Didn’t Like:
- Story mode is a little too long and repetitive after a while
- Choppy cut scene animations
Verdict: Buy It!
While it does scratch a certain niche, I wouldn’t dismiss Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising as just another anime-inspired fighting game. It’s a fun offering to get started with, and as you get better skill-wise, you’re left with a moderately sufficient technical fighter with a large roster of characters to choose from.
There’s something for everybody in Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, and don’t let its “fighting game genre” think that there are only versus modes available. The story mode allows you to enjoy a single-player experience where you can progress a character through the lore while learning the fundamentals of the game. Even if you don’t embark on a fighting game career, there’s enough content here to keep you interested and engaged, which is a very good deal for its price!
*Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.