GranBlue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review – Awesome, Accessible Action

GranBlue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review

Arc System Works are pioneers of the fighting genre. Not only have they created an iconic art style that perfectly transitions perspectives, but they also continue to innovate with every release. As games like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue can be daunting to newcomers due to nuances that imbue the combat system, the Japanese developers look to make GranBlue Fantasy Versus: Rising accessible for everyone. With their reputation for pushing boundaries, will the game manage to strike the balance to create a truly inclusive experience?

Sequels in the fighting genre can vary drastically. Some take the opportunity to completely overhaul the game with a new art style and new mechanics such as Street Fighter 4, whereas others refine elements to improve on its predecessor. GranBlue Fantasy Versus: Rising sits in the latter section with an array of improvements that enhance the game.

A New Strike

A new mechanic that opens up a variety of options is the Raging Strike. This unblockable attack uses 25 percent of your gauge and can be used in a range of different situations. If you are overwhelmed, you can use this to quickly swing the momentum of the fight in your favor. However, this can also be used to increase your offense too. If you need to break your opponent’s guard, this can smash through and allow you to finish the fight. You can also transition this into a Raging Chain by pressing the input again and unleashing an extra visceral blow. The versatile maneuver is an excellent addition to the already solid foundation and helps to elevate the title over its predecessor.

Another new feature is the Brave Counter. At the start of a round, you have three Bravery Points. These have multiple uses, however, if you have half of your super meter you can use one to perform a strong reversal. Upon initiating, your opponent will be knocked back, giving you plenty of recovery time to get back into the fight. In a game that has simple input methods to perform combos and supers, it is vital to have a suitable counter. The inclusion of this improves fights adding a deeper tactical edge to matches.

Combos in fighting games can get quite complex. The array of button inputs, frame-based timing and positioning can make it difficult to pull off impressive maneuvers. GranBlue Fantasy Versus: Rising’s approach is much more simplistic. Get in close and smash the button three times to perform an auto-combo. This has been expanded on with the sequel as you can change the third button press to alter the combo. While only a small alteration, it gives more options to vary your offense.

A Colorful Cast

Four new characters are added to the roster to expand the already diverse cast of characters. Each fighter feels distinct with specific traits and moves that alter your approach in battles. This makes each matchup feel different as you have to consider your opponent’s strengths and counter these in order to claim victory. The combination of the plethora of new additions improves the combat to make this both accessible and deep.

The campaign mode includes an overly complex narrative delivered in both a compelling and sometimes disappointing manner. The anime-style cutscenes are jaw-dropping and will instantly immerse you in the story, however, these are then countered with traditional text-based segments which are accompanied by a basic still image. Despite this, the gameplay offers some variety within the mode as you’ll have some simple missions that teach you the basics while progressing the story. In addition to this, there is also a deep tutorial system that explores every facet of the mechanics. It’s intuitive and allows you to customize aspects so that you can engage with the mode. It is extremely easy to get to grips with but also captures the depth of the system making it a viable mode for newcomers and veterans.

Fighting Fall Guys?

A rollback code has been introduced to ensure online battles are secure, however, this was not available to test during the review period. In addition to the traditional online modes, there is also the Grand Bruise Legends mode. In this, you can participate in fun party games that are a nice deviation from the main game. The inclusion of this is important as newcomers rarely engage with this portion of the game. Having more modes that differ from fighting will therefore give players more incentive to jump online.

GranBlue Fantasy Versus: Rising is an accessible and deep fighter. You can easily combine moves and unleash cinematic super moves which allows newcomers to pick up and play instantly. However, nuances permeate the combat which allows veterans of the genre to delve into the mechanics to hone their skills. While at a glance, the game looks similar to its predecessor, new combat and online options flesh out the game to make this a superior fighter.

***A PlayStation 5 key was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Deep Combat Options
  • Accessible Yet Deep
  • A Lot of Content

The Bad

  • Mixed Structure With the Story
  • The Story is Over the Top
  • Too Easy to do Combos