Granblue Fantasy Relink
Image via Cygames

Review: Granblue Fantasy Relink Wears Its Heart on Its Sleeve

When I first got my hands on Granblue Fantasy Relink in December 2023, I already knew it was going to be one of my favorite titles of 2024. Having now experienced the game in full, some of that passion cooled, but that doesn’t mean that Relink isn’t worth playing. While some may certainly feel out out of their depth when engaging with the lore and certain plot beats the game throws their way, it’s an incredibly proficient action game with a decent post-game to keep playtime long and players engaged.

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Granblue Fantasy Relink starts off with the protagonist character (Gran or Djeeta) and crew on the fantastical airship called the Grandcypher. While traversing the skies they come under fire. The Astral Bahamut is no longer heeding the call of Lyria, a young girl who is capable of harness the power of the Astrals. (These are elemental beings of untold power that appear in the mobile game as raid bosses and summons.) The Grandcypher is nearly destroyed while fighting off the raging Astral, and the crew is sent plummeting towards the sky-island below.

From there, Gran, Lyria, and a handful of characters to get you started end up assisting Rolan, a character new to the Granblue series, in soothing another Astral that has gone mad and is ravaging mines just out of Folca. The story progresses with a series of quests that remain mostly uneventful until Lyria is quickly kidnapped by Id, a member of a mysterious religious organization that remains a constant enemy as you explore more islands and take on more Astrals.

The narrative is stock and standard, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is. It’s a fantasy adventure in a colorful world that is ultimately about the power of friendship and redemption. It reminded me a lot of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, in the way that it wears its heart on its sleeve. You won’t really get any kind of narrative depth out of Granblue Fantasy Relink, but it’s earnest in its intentions, and sometimes that’s good enough. Ultimately, the message of the game is a hopeful one even as the story continues into the post-game.

Image via Cygames

One of my minor gripes with Granblue Fantasy Relink is that the characters you can recruit through Crewmate Cards, which are obtained as you progress the main scenario, aren’t really acknowledged in the main scenario outside of a few throwaway lines if you take them with you. You can learn more about them through their Fate Episodes, which more or less break down who they are and how they came into the company of Gran in the mobile game, but they don’t hold any real importance aside from showing up in cutscenes alongside Gran or Djeeta. I ended up recruiting Percival, the Lord of Flames, fairly early on in my playthrough, but it didn’t make much of a difference in terms of character dialogue as the story solely focuses around the protagonist (which you will need to take into every story mission with you until you get into the post-game) and their relationship with Lyria and the crewmates you start the game with. These include Katalina, Rackam, Eugen, Io, and Rosetta.

Thankfully, Granblue Fantasy Relink does set you off with a pretty decent roster — I took Io with me well into the post-game — with each member filling the slot of each element which becomes important later. Taking advantage of these elemental weaknesses helps make bosses encounters somewhat easier on higher difficulties. It is strongly encouraged for certain post-game bosses.

Combat in Granblue Fantasy Relink is absolutely stellar. While characters can only equip a total of four skills at a time, you can swap them out while not in combat or before undertaking optional quests at the Quest Counter, which I’ll get to in a bit. Each character has a unique feel and weight to them. Siegfried, a once disgraced knight that wields a great sword and jumps around like Artorias from Dark Souls, feels heavier in comparison to faster characters like Lancelot ,who dashes around the field while laying waste to enemies with his dual blades. Caster character can send out barrages of magic or concentrate that power for charging skills to deal bursts of damage. No character really feels the same, even if they encompass a similar role. Both Rackam and Eugen are ranged attackers, but Rackam rains bullets on foes and Eugen can snipe from a distance. This is what really impressed me with Granblue Fantasy Relink, as it adds a bit of variety to each character plays. Especially since you cannot swap characters mid-battle.

Image via Cygames

Outside of the main story, which took me about 10 or so hours to complete, the game is filled with optional content, even if it some it is recycled. The Quest Counter is a great way to grind out materials to forge and level up new weapons or upgrade your Sigils, which are passives you can assign each character outside of their individual skill trees. These missions are divided into a few types: boss encounters, clearing waves of enemies, or protecting an object. This is also where the online multiplayer function kicks in, as you can undertake these missions with friends or randoms who hop into your online lobby. You are scored based on sub-objectives and given a rank after the mission is completed that can grant more rewards.

Outside of obtaining useful upgrade or crafting items, grinding these missions also rewards the player with more Sigils and helps grind Mastery Points. These are used to unlock character passives, new skills, and even increase how quickly your “limit break” charges when attacking enemies. Passives are extremely important and upgrading weapons also net you some passives, so it’s all about the grind to increase the power of your team to make sure they can make it through some of the hardest fights the post-game has to offer.

While the post-game does offer more content for the player to sink their teeth into, most of it involves recycled boss fights from the main scenario. However, it does allow players to explore the islands discovered through the main story, so they can find any secrets they might have missed. What I enjoyed most were those boss fights, which can be done solo in some instances if you really want to test your skill. These are interesting because not only are there phase changes, but bosses can go into an overdrive to deal more damage, become faster, and be more aggressive. The game does reward you for going in during these instances, as you can break them out of this to deal massive amounts of damage.

Image via Cygames

Outside of this, Granblue Fantasy Relink offers a few ways to play the game. Two options are assist modes. One assist mode effectively allows the game to play itself as you move the thumbstick towards enemies to attack them if you are a melee character or move your ranged characters close enough to get some shots off. This cannot be used for higher difficulty quests obtained at the Quest Counter, as you’ll need to rely on your skill for that. But if you just want to enjoy the story, you can turn this mode on, adjust the difficulty to your preference, and blast through the narrative with no problem. I did this to get through the segments I had already experienced during the preview event, and it honestly worked fine. The character was dodging appropriately, using Link Attacks (which slow down time similar to Bayonetta‘s Witch Time once you get a 100% Link with your party), and would save the more powerful group attacks until I triggered them myself.

Ultimately, while Granblue Fantasy Relink may not have the most interesting story, the narrative serves it’s purpose, with the best bits being the combat and post-game. It’s a more than sufficient action RPG that will give players enough to chew on to keep them entertained for at least upwards of 40 hours if they choose to really engage with everything the game has to offer. I know I’m going to keep playing it on and off for at least the next few months.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink will come out worldwide for the PS4, PS5, and PC on February 1, 2024. A Deluxe Edition is available to purchase.

Granblue Fantasy Re:Link

A grand adventure in the skies awaits! Form a party of four from a diverse roster of skyfarers and slash—or shoot or hex—your way to victory against treacherous foes in this action RPG. Take on quests solo or with the help of others in up to 4-player co-op play! Reviewed on PC. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Granblue Fantasy Relink is a game that wears its heart on its sleeve with its sincere narrative and engrossing combat.

Food for Thought
  • The game is absolutely gorgeous and is a perfect realization of the character designs from the mobile game.
  • Combat is stellar, with each character having a unique weight and feel to them.
  • Nothing feels better than mowing through enemies and bosses after grinding levels and weapon upgrades.

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Image of Kazuma Hashimoto
Kazuma Hashimoto
Senior staff writer, translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs. Having spent upwards of 6 years in the industry, he has written reviews, features, guides, with work extending within the industry itself. In his spare time he speedruns games from the Resident Evil series, and raids in Final Fantasy XIV. His work, which has included in-depth features focusing on cultural analysis, has been seen on other websites such as Polygon and IGN.