Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a wild new angle for the franchise, taking players on a new party-based action RPG journey that will span the Sky Realm. Fans have had a lot of questions about what Relink will offer and how it will play, and Cygames brought the goods this week. Moreover, I recently had a chance to sit down with the game and get a taste of its action. It left me excited to continue adventures with familiar characters in an all-new style, especially if I can get some buddies involved in the party.
A vast new quest
During my time with Granblue Fantasy: Relink, I got a good feel of how typical quests and combat will play out in the game. Each quest takes players to an environment to explore and accomplish various tasks, whether it be defeating certain enemies, challenging bosses, or other such objectives. To that end, you get to play one character among a party of four. You can either play solo, where AI will operate the other three party members, or you can play co-op where up to three other players will take up control of your party members individually.
I rocked the gunslinging Rackam in my session, but Gran (or Djeeta), the duelist Katalina, the magic-slinging Io, the veteran cannoneer Eugen, the plant-slinging Rosetta, and the burly knight Siegfried were also available. More importantly, they all play vastly different. Sword wielders like Gran/Djeeta, Katalina, and Siegfried are built to do damage up close and tank enemy aggression while characters like Io, Rackam, Rosetta, and Eugen throw down magic and gunfire from a distance.
For me, Rackam was an evasive caster. I could fire off volleys of bullets, unleash massive blasts, and quickly reposition myself on the battlefield when enemies closed in. With each character rocking a hugely different kit in real-time, it felt extremely fun to experiment with characters and where they fit in your composition, but I don’t think players will miss out by just finding the character that fits them best either, especially with co-op available. There’s plenty of progression to be had as you explore branching skill trees, weapons, and sigils to change your abilities and stats, so investing your time into one or another character should prove fruitful.
It's also worth noting that this game has some PlatinumGames talent behind it and once I dug into the quest during my session, it immediately showed. Combat in Granblue Fantasy: Relink is incredibly fast-paced and flashy. As mentioned, I was moving, grooving, and blasting enemies to bits as Rackam, operating at range and then using a particular dodge skill to quickly move out of attack range if enemies got too close. However, there were also powered up Link Attacks, Skybound Arts, and Chain Bursts that put teamwork on full display with some of the game’s most impressive attacks.
At key moments if my team and I were doing well in using our regular attacks and skills, we unlocked the chance to do Link Attacks. If one character used a Link Attack, another character could immediately follow up with their own. After hitting enemies with a full compliment of Link Attacks and Skybound Arts, we gained the chance to unleash a Chain Burst, which is a full-team super move. Building up to that big hit and then landing the full thing was an immensely satisfying experience and I can only imagine it feels even better when you get to coordinate with other players in co-op to pull off those big moments. After my party managed to defeat the boss of the current quest, we got to enjoy the experience and spoils that would allow us to expand our skills and customize more later, which I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of.
The Sky Realm is calling
My time with Granblue Fantasy: Relink was short, but sweet, especially given just how much content there will be in this game. Players will be able to explore over 100 quests across a vast campaign, whether they travel co-op or solo. There will also be post-game content to challenge players further. For those who just want to enjoy the story without too much effort, there will also be assist modes that help in combat or even take care of battle for you almost entirely. That doesn’t even include reveals of playable characters we haven’t seen yet. With so much still left to see, we’ll look forward to seeing more of what Granblue Fantasy: Relink has for us as Cygames prepares Relink for launch in 2024.
This preview is based on a hands-on PlayStation 5 build of the game presented in a closed session by the publisher. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is set to release on PS4, PS5, and PC on February 1, 2024.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Granblue Fantasy: Relink's action-RPG style is an exciting take on the franchise
Cygames is good, IMO — I liked how the coop played in Dragalia Lost, despite being a F2P mobile game — this might actually turn out decent.