It’s common to see games, after launching all planned DLCs and losing popularity, release a discounted full version with all extra content. Fortunately, this is not what Granblue Versus Fantasy Rising is.
A New But Familiar Adventure
Although there are some balance decisions and system changes that may or may not have annoyed its player base, Granblue Versus Fantasy tried to do more than just feel like an expansion. It underwent a comprehensive balance and system overhaul, which made it feel like a new experience, something I appreciate.
As for everything else, the game is pretty much as you’d expect from your typical fighting game. It has a dull, repetitive story mode that works as a tutorial at best and your typical, outdated fighting games’ arcade mode. You earn in-game currency through fights, which can be spent on weapon skins, character colors, artwork, and a few other items.
There’s also a Granbruise mode that is the most different addition to the game. In this mode, you use your avatar to compete against other players in a party game that is reminiscent of Fall Guys and this is something that I very much welcome and appreciate.
I appreciate it when fighting games offer more than just ranked online battles. Street Fighter 6 certainly spoiled me in this regard. However, I believe that a franchise attempting to relaunch itself, regardless of the size of its balance changes, should strive for a little more.
Still, the fact they indeed tried to provide more than a bare-bones arcade mode is something worth praising. Add that to a roster of 24 familiar characters and four new ones and it becomes harder to complain about the game.
In terms of visuals, this is one of the most visually appealing franchises from Arc System Works. I dare to say it’s the best one when it comes to visuals.
Although the unapologetic anime aesthetics is not for everyone and is certainly not for me, the cell shading technique used in this game, along with the game’s animations, lighting, colors, textures, models, and everything else, come together to create an undeniably aesthetically impressive fighting game.
What Exactly Is New in This Fantasy?
As for what changed, there are quite a few things. You have your new unblockable attacks, running attacks, an updated auto combo, balance changes, all characters from the previous version of the game, and four new ones. All that said, I don’t think that the soul of the game has changed much. It still is a grounded, footsie-based fighting game with, mostly, clear turns and a beginner-friendly combo system.
Regarding the game’s beginner-friendly aspect, I can assure you that such a design decision will not satisfy all fighting game players. Frankly, the more I play Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, the more I appreciate the solution that the developers came up with to attract new players who can’t do motion inputs. There is an easy specials button, and by pressing it in conjunction with a direction, you can select the special move to execute. For instance, forward plus special might result in an anti-air attack while neutral plus special might make your character throw a projectile.
Motion inputs can be performed with different buttons, or the special button can be pressed in combination with the Medium, Heavy, or Unique attack buttons to alter a special’s strength and functionality. This is when the mind games start and the game becomes a bit more complex.
For instance, heavy special attacks are much more powerful, but they make your special attack’s cooldown much, much longer. If you perform a heavy invincible reversal, your adversary is free to pressure you for a while. This dance of knowing when to use something and when to punish an adversary for using something is what makes Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising an interesting and unique fighting game.
Rollback Is Here to Stay
Perhaps the most significant addition to Granblue Fantasy Versus is its stellar rollback netcode. Arguably, the absence of rollback was the reason the game initially failed. However, with more characters, an updated combat system, and the great ArcSys rollback we know from Guilty Gear Strive and DNF Duel, we might see Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising staying relevant for much longer than its previous version.
To evaluate the game’s rollback netcode, I competed against players from both my continent and others. Although I can’t say it’s ideal, I managed to have fun matches with up to 5 frames of rollback. I’m frankly not surprised since I managed to do the same when playing DNF Duel and Guilty Gear Strive, so at least you can know for sure that your online experience is going to be good this time around.
While you shouldn’t anticipate the same transformation that Guilty Gear underwent from Xrd to Strive, this is undeniably another quality game from Arc System Works. It feels like an expansion at times, yes, but it does provide a lot of content and a fresh enough experience.
With a great netcode, a large roster, beautiful graphics, and beginner-friendly footsie-based gameplay, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising might be what resurrects this fighting game franchise and makes it stick around this time. It’s a great game for beginners that doesn’t forget its hardcore fanbase.
- This article was updated on December 13th, 2023