Granblue Fantasy: Relink Review

Granblue Fantasy: Relink Review
The OMG Review
Our review format is not your usual fare and we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that while the game is good, it probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point. We suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future. Maybe ever. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: February 1, 2024
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, PC
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Similar Games: Monster Hunter
  • Price: starts at $59.99

Granblue Fantasy has come a long way since its niche status as a Japanese mobile RPG. Now attracting appeal from a much wider audience, the franchise has seen a resurgence of interest as of late thanks to the recently released Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, which was well-received by critics and fans.

And now, we’ll be seeing a new entry to the Granblue Fantasy franchise, one that’s been in development for almost 8 years. Highly anticipated ever since its announcement in 2016, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is an action RPG that’s set to immerse both longtime fans and newcomers alike further in the series’ vast world of swords, skies, and airships.

Is this latest skybound adventure worth joining? Settle down, skyfarers, as we take a closer look at Granblue Fantasy: Relink!

Granblue 101

The mobile game may have been released way back in 2014, but that doesn’t mean newcomers should be hesitant to jump into this latest entry in the franchise. In general, you don’t need to be a scholar to understand and appreciate Granblue Fantasy and its world.

In Granblue Fantasy: Relink, you play as the Captain, either as a male named Gran or a female named Djeeta, who meets a mysterious girl named Lyria. It’s from this meeting that the captain begins a journey across the skies in search of a fabled land called Estalucia, where one’s dreams can be granted, all while assembling his crew and meeting characters of various classes and races.

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It’s a simple premise that should be enough to get you started with Granblue Fantasy: Relink as the game starts pretty much in medias res. You can even say the events that take place in the game are just one of the many detours the Captain and the crew take on their journey to find Estalucia.

The game has the player and crew arrive in a quiet town called Folca and they soon meet its kind Vicar, Rolan. Not long after, trouble starts brewing as the crew also comes face to face with the mysterious Pilgrims of Avia, and its leader Lillith and her lieutenants, one of which is the new original character featured in most promotional materials, the swordsman Id.

Like most stories in the genre, what starts as a journey to save a dear friend escalates into a battle that has the fate of the entire world riding in the balance. Luckily for the citizens of the skydom, you and your crew just happen to be there and are capable enough of doing what you do best: save the world.

While the main campaign’s story doesn’t break new ground, especially if you’ve had your fill of most anime and JRPG stories, it’s engaging enough to make you want to finish its roughly 20-hour run. The chapters are mission-based and are just of the right length that they feel neither dragging nor short to play. This is further aided by the amazing visuals and great voice acting (which I’ll touch upon later).

The main campaign will also take you through some diverse biomes like forests and deserts that look and feel distinct from each other. The developers have also done a good job of making these places enticing to explore as even the smallest corner possibly contains items or collectibles to pick up. It’s not an open world per se, but the areas are wide enough for some mild exploration on the side.

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One gripe I had while playing through the story was, as far as the narrative goes, there is already a specific roster that accompanies the Captain in the Granblue Fantasy: Relink campaign as shown in the cutscenes. Once you get to summon new characters later in the game (which we’ll get to in detail later), it starts to feel a bit disjointed.

Dragon Knights like Percival, for example, are generally not present during this journey, and story-wise, it feels like they popped in out of nowhere yet are still very much up to speed regarding the situation. I initially thought that the unlockable characters would play certain roles during the entire campaign, but that’s far from the case. It’s not a deal breaker, but it would have made following the story flow more naturally.

If anything, it’s appreciated that the game offers Fate Episodes that delve into the story of the individual characters, offering more insight and context, along with rewards like stat boosts to help with the journey ahead. This is a great way to catch up on some bits and pieces of the Granblue universe, so consume as necessary.

Overall, it’s a main campaign that does its job of telling a serviceable and standalone story that’s fun to play through and finish. As you would expect though, the end is only the beginning, and Granblue Fantasy: Relink opens up a whole new endgame loop that players should look forward to because it is what will make players invest an absurd number of hours into the game.

Fight for the Future

Action RPGs have the unenviable task of elevating combat to make it engaging as well as exciting, and Granblue Fantasy: Relink has this covered. The combat experience is simple enough that both newcomers and veterans should have no problem getting used to it.

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Items are mapped to your D-pad where each direction corresponds to your loadout, which includes potions that can heal you and your party, or fully revive you. The face buttons are mapped to your basic attack, unique attack, jump, and interact. By holding R1, these buttons will let you execute a skill of your choosing, depending on which you equip. The general control scheme works very well for what you need to do in-game, and it’s nice that you can slightly customize it, at least for the character skills, to your liking.

The game also offers guard and dodge options but makes it so that players cannot abuse them. Guarding too much will cause your guard to break, and dodging can only be done in bursts before your character pauses. If you play on the edge and are skilled enough to guard or dodge at the last minute, you’ll get benefits during combat. It’s certainly a nice balance that doesn’t leave things too easy but also rewards those who can put their skills to good use.

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Granblue Fantasy: Relink’s gameplay loop is one of its strongest assets, which, in a sense, can be comparable to Monster Hunter. Hub towns will serve as the main point of advancing the main story campaign, but will also contain quests for you to undertake. These are repeatable quests that offer varying degrees of difficulty, mechanics, and rewards that you can either do solo, with CPU members, or team up with other players to complete.

The only difference is aside from missions where you simply beat 1 Boss to win, there will be other varieties like Survival, Defense, and Item Collection. Each will have a set of rewards, including resources that you will need to craft and upgrade weapons and Sigils. The higher the difficulty level, the better the rewards.

Side quests also feature prominently in Granblue Fantasy: Relink. Towns you visit will often have NPCs that will have requests ranging from the usual fetch quests like collecting certain items or hunts like defeating X number of a certain enemy during a mission. They’re nothing complicated and are worth accepting since you get more rewards by finishing them, but don’t expect award-winning writing or life-changing quests here. They’re as cookie-cutter as they get, but the rewards are worth it.

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Granblue Fantasy: Relink’s combat sees players form a party of four, where party synergy will spell success to a certain degree. While aimed to be more enjoyable when played with friends, the CPU AI is quite competent and can handle itself even through the toughest battles.

Rarely during gameplay did we have to worry about our AI-controlled teammates messing up as they would make use of the skills they had, dodge incoming attacks when needed, and heal you when you’re in critical condition.

This party system also sees players fill up enemy stun gauges by dealing damage to execute Link Attacks, which are dual attacks from certain party members whose links have been activated. Do enough damage and once everyone does a Link Attack, will you enter Link Time, which slows down time for the enemy and buffs up your entire party.

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Another way to dish out damage in Granblue Fantasy: Relink is through Skybound Arts, which are basically each character’s super moves. Filling up your Skybound meter lets you unleash your chosen character’s signature Skybound Art, and when your party members perform 4 Skybound Arts in succession, you will unleash an extra Full Burst Attack.

These attacks are a sight to behold, offering players a torrent of effects and particles that could get in the way of actually knowing what’s happening at that moment. There were times when it would be difficult to read what was happening, but that’s part and parcel of seeing these special moves decimate opponents.

That said, it was quite disappointing that Granblue Fantasy: Relink only lets players control one character. The only commands you can issue out to your party relate to Skybound Arts, and that only commands them to either activate it right away or hold it to ensure a successful Full Burst. It could be argued that with so much happening, it would get quite complicated to control all 4 characters, but it would have been nice to expand the suite of commands available and not be limited to just Skybound Arts.

The hardest and most satisfying challenges in Granblue Fantasy: Relink will see players challenge hulking and screen-filling bosses that offer the best rewards in the game. Each boss will have distinct attack patterns that require careful navigation, along with an “enrage mode” where they do more damage and Skybound Arts become less effective.

These bosses are a real spectacle. Not quite at the level of say, Final Fantasy XVI, but they do offer a level of awe and excitement during battle. Their designs are sharp and distinct, and really sell the look of a tough challenge for the party. If anything, there comes a point in Granblue Fantasy: Relink where these bosses will become huge damage sponges, but the fast-paced and frenetic combat ensures that these encounters remain engaging and fun.

Choose your Champion

One other aspect that will capture the interest of players is its wide range of characters from the Granblue Fantasy universe. It’s impressive how each character in the roster will have a distinct playstyle that players will find suits their preference, with some being harder to handle compared to others.

The captain, for example, is your jack-of-all-trades who has both buff and healing skills and fights using combos. The more combos you do, the higher his/her Arte level gets, making your combos stronger. On the other hand, Rackam is your solid long-range fighter who takes out enemies with his rifle and unique charging attack. What’s distinct about him is his attacks increase his Heat gauge that, depending on how high it is, will speed up the charging time of his Unique attack.

There’s also the likes of Narmaya who utilizes two sword stances in combat, and Zeta, the spear-wielding fighter who specializes in attacking from the air.

You’ll start with a measly cast, but Granblue Fantasy: Relink will give players the chance to call upon other characters to join the captain’s crew. In case it sounds like a Gacha, fear not! Granblue Fantasy: Relink will allow players to summon these new characters through Crewmate Cards, slowly filling up your roster as you progress through the game. These opportunities don’t come easy, so deciding on who to call on first is an impactful decision. You’ll be able to choose freely who to summon, so it could be wise to select a member that complements your playstyle well.

Each character will require leveling up, further extending the value of the game in terms of playtime. It’s a feat in itself to catch them all, as the saying goes, but unlocking them is extremely satisfying because, apart from adding another playable character, your party composition will also change to accommodate better strategies and skill synergies.

Each character in Granblue Fantasy: Relink specializes in one weapon type, and their weapons can be found and/or forged at the local blacksmith, as long as you have the required resources and money.

Leveling up your characters gives you Mastery Points, which you use in individual Mastery trees. Each tree will provide players with stat upgrades and skill unlocks to strengthen them for the upcoming battles. Mastery points are easy to come by, but as you’d expect, there’s a certain level of grinding needed to get your party up to spec, much more for the whole roster.

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Sigils also play a big role in putting together your ideal build based on your playstyle. These are pretty much your equipped items, and each will have different effects like raising attack, granting you passives like increasing your attack if your HP is full or even increasing the number of potions you can carry. There’s a bunch to unlock, allowing players to customize the playstyle of their party depending on the challenge at hand.

Despite the multitude of systems, one thing that Granblue Fantasy: Relink does well and does right is to make them simple enough to understand. While it doesn’t quite contain as much depth as other titles, and you will notice a straightforwardness to it towards the later end, there’s just enough here to satisfy those looking for some wiggle room for customization and freedom.

Beautiful Skies

Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a stunningly beautiful game, and we cannot stress this enough. The whole game is such a sight to behold, from the character designs, the enemies, and the domains that will be explored. While we usually choose to play at 60 FPS even if it meant lowering the resolution, this game made the choice genuinely tough.

Speaking of performance, Granblue Fantasy: Relink offers a quality and performance mode. On the PS5, the quality mode prioritizes 4K at 30 fps, while performance throttles resolution down to a disappointing 1080p at 60 fps. Frame rates hold steady on both modes for the most part, especially during combat, but the stunning art at 1080p is so hard to justify. Maybe 1440p would have been a good target? Either way, the game looks and performs well in the setting of choice considering the sacrifices.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink also works well on a Steam Deck. The quests and short sessions work well on the go but at the great cost of watered-down visuals, which is one of the best aspects of the game. Still, you can tweak settings freely, pushing the Steam Deck’s TDP to max for more horsepower, and it’s great to know that the option to play portable is there.

The various places players will get to explore offer fantastic views. Icy mountains feel dark and cold, while lush plains look bright and fresh. Folca, for example, is a simple town with a grand cathedral that offers detailed architecture that’s meant to be admired. On the other hand, towns like Seedhollow are bustling with markets, and the gates and arches are filled with so much detail that you can’t help but stop and admire the view.

Granblue Fantasy as a series was known for its amazing soundtrack, and Relink is no different. Boss themes are exhilarating and fast, while music, as you explore towns, takes on a relaxing and slow tempo. The numerous themes across the game fit their locations perfectly, and we found it hard to fault anything in the audio department.

The voice acting, as you can expect, is also top-notch, and that holds for both the Japanese and English voices. You can feel the emotion of the character’s voice, which makes the main campaign a joy to play through. During combat, dialog exchanges and banter between party members keep things lively, further enhancing the experience.

What We Liked:

  • Stunning visuals paired with top-notch voice acting and music
  • Large roster of playable characters with diverse playstyles
  • Deep customization options and build possibilities
  • Slick and fast-paced combat system with highly competent AI companions

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Unlockable characters could have been better incorporated into the main story
  • Command options for AI companions could have been expanded
  • Performance mode dips the resolution to a disappointing 1080p

Verdict: Buy it!


If there’s one thing that can sum up our adoration for Granblue Fantasy: Relink, it’s that Cygames has made the long wait absolutely worth it. The game feels like a product that was delivered with love and care for the franchise, highly evident in its stunningly gorgeous visuals and equally mesmerizing audio.

Combat is a highlight, offering fast-paced and slick battles that get the blood pumping, accented by visual effects that may be a bit too much at times. Still, there’s a lot of fun to be had, and the gameplay loop feels addictive and rewarding.

The value offered by Granblue Fantasy: Relink is immense. Playtime can easily soar to almost 100 hours, and with several characters to unlock, players can take on this skybound adventure for a long time. SEGA has delivered a trifecta of games to start 2024 strong, and we’d love to see them continue these high-quality outings throughout the year!

*Granblue Fantasy: Relink was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.

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