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Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review - A Shiny New Coat On A Familiar Fighter

  • Great entry point for newcomers
  • Bolstered roster of fighters
  • An enhanced version of what was already a great game
  • Streamlined story may not appeal to RPG fans

A PC review code for "Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising" was provided to SVG for this review. The game is available now on PS4, PS5, and PC.

"Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising" emerges as a sequel that feels more like an enhanced edition of its predecessor rather than a brand-new entry — but that's not a bad thing. Developed by the esteemed Arc System Works, it continues the legacy of the "Granblue Fantasy" universe, serving as a bridge to the upcoming action RPG, "Granblue Fantasy: Relink," which we were also able to check out during this year's PAX West. It's a game that doesn't just ride the waves of its prior success but attempts to surf new tides.


At its core, the combat mechanics remain true to the original, offering the familiar, fluid, and intuitive experience fans have come to expect from Arc System Works. The addition of new features like dash attacks injects a fresh zest into the battles. This balance makes the game accessible to newcomers while still offering depth for the veterans who love to master every nuance of their chosen warriors.

A Roster That Packs a Punch

The expanded roster is a standout feature, boasting 28 characters at launch, including four new challengers. Basically, you won't be at a loss for finding a fighter that gels well with you. Each fighter brings a unique flavor to the table, ensuring a diverse culinary spread for all tastes. Whether you prefer the heavy hitters or the agile, quick-footed types, there's a character for every fighting style. The promise of future DLC characters keeps the future tantalizing, hinting at more exciting fighting styles to come.


Here lies the most divisive change: the RPG elements from the original game's Story Mode have been tossed out the window. Instead, players are offered a streamlined story experience that focuses more on battles than on narrative depth. It's a more simplified experience. While the story itself, spread across three parts, is engaging, you can't help but miss the richer, RPG-infused storytelling of its predecessor.

Training Wheels for the Rookies

For those dipping their toes into the "Granblue" waters for the first time, the Training and tutorial modes are akin to a friendly instructor holding your hand without being patronizing. These modes do an excellent job of introducing the game's mechanics, ensuring that even the greenest of fighters can hold their own in the arena. It's a welcoming gesture that makes the game approachable for all, especially for a game in a genre that can come with extremely serious and hardcore veteran communities.


Arcade mode brings a twist to the traditional format, allowing players to choose their opponents and difficulty levels. It's like being able to pick your path in an adventure book, offering a personalized journey to the final showdown. The Versus mode, on the other hand, sticks to the classic formula, providing a straightforward, yet enjoyable, head-to-head battle experience, perfect for couch competitions with friends.

Online Play: The Digital Dojo

The online experience in "Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising" is a highlight, thanks to the implementation of rollback netcode and crossplay. The lobby system, reminiscent of "Dragon Ball FighterZ," adds a social dimension to the online arena. Whether you're jumping straight into battles or wandering the virtual arcade, the online world feels alive and kicking. However, the true test of the netcode's mettle will come as more players join the fray post-launch.


Enter Grand Bruise, a mode that takes a leaf out of "Fall Guys'" book, offering a quirky, mini-game-filled battle royale experience. While it strays from the game's core fighting focus, it's a delightful diversion, adding a dash of casual fun to the mix.

"Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising" doesn't skimp on additional content, either. The Crane Game, Journal, and Figure Studio add layers of engagement beyond the fighting arena. The Journal is a treasure trove for fans, housing artwork and music that deepen the lore and world of "Granblue." The Figure Studio, while niche, offers a creative outlet for those who wish to craft their own scenes. These features add a nice touch of personalization and replayability to the game.


A Well-Crafted Sequel with Room for More

The game excels in being accessible to newcomers while still offering depth for returning players. The inclusion of a free version with rotating characters is a smart move, lowering the barrier for entry and allowing players to dip their toes in before diving fully into the "Granblue" universe.


"Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising" is an admirable sequel that polishes and builds upon the foundation laid by its predecessor. While it doesn't revolutionize the series, it certainly enhances it, offering a richer, more varied experience. The game's approachability, coupled with its depth and variety, makes it a strong contender in a peak year for the fighting game genre.

However, the removal of RPG elements in the story mode and the feeling of being more of an upgrade than a full-blown sequel prevent it from achieving a higher score. Nonetheless, with an 8 out of 10, "Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising" stands tall as a game that both honors its roots and embraces new horizons, making it a must-play for fans and newcomers alike.