Publisher: Xseed, Cygames
Developer: Arc System Works, Cygames
Platform: PS4, PC
Genre: 2.5D Fighting game
Preface: I played this game at a friend's place, so some of the footage you see is borrowed and aren't many. I played the game long enough to gather information needed for this review
What happens when a gacha IP and the king of fighting games merge together? You get Versus. Based on the popular Granblue Fantasy mobile gacha game itself, Cygames has opted to release two different games based on their popular franchise, one is Granblue Fantasy Re:Link which is currently in development and this; Granblue Fantasy Versus. A fighting game made by Arc System Works.
The easily accessible yet deep fighting metagame is all present here, Arc don't slouch around when it comes to combat rosters with depth in them. But even with their stupendous pedigree, the game is light on the package details. There's a bevy of modes, some feel tacked on while others play as perfectly as you'd want. While the roster is great, in terms of sheer numbers, maybe just a tad bit short.
But nonetheless, you won't be left disappointed once you start playing as it's easy to learn yet takes time to master. It's a pretty good entry into the fighting genre for the Granblue Fantasy series.
This story revolves around the RPG mode only, with a barebones story that doesn't have anything much in terms of narrative that really compels people to play it.
The tale starts off with Gran, a by-the-numbers, goody-two-shoes of a knight in shining armor who saves all the characters locked by evil-doers. After 6-8hrs of playthrough of the entire campaign, you unlock all the rosters including a hidden unlockable 12th character. With very few boss battles in-between the RPG mode.
The story will be confusing as it'll require a compendium of knowledge around the characters to fully understand the story even if it is lackluster. Thankfully an index full of details about the characters and an anime series is stored within the game for your viewable pleasure.
The main plot, as well as the mode, feels tacked on without anything really substantial to provide for the game other than just being sandbagged as content.
Your first start with the game is with the RPG mode, which to say the least is the one convoluted aspect of the game. With little interesting going on thanks to repetitive levels that involves you, pummelling enemy NPCs easily with just one move. Even though the mode has various difficulties which requires that you strategize, there's little variation to keep you enticed. Of course, the boss battles are the only one that sets itself apart from the rest, it still comes off a bit short once everything is said and done. Then again, it has co-op which gives it some better incentive.
GFV has basic moves, you have your light(Square), medium(Triangle), and heavy(Circle) attacks with unique action(X). Each character has 4 different skills(R1), with the other 3 selected from 3 directional keys. You can guard by pressing the opposite direction or guard button(R2). You can even grab enemies(L2). Alongside a big list of supers and ultimates for each fighter. You can even break guards and unleash hell or cancel out attacks.
The game has a total of 11 character rosters to choose from, 12 once you've finished the RPG mode and 13th purchased from day one DLC. While yes, for fighting games standard this roster is short, however, each of them still has in-depth fighting techniques that are easier to learn with several rounds of practice and match. You can button smash all you want, a better player will still pummel you.
The DLC Narmaya, despite her bodacious appearance, is a great addition to the roster(provided you forked over extra cash). She has interesting supers, combos that showcase her as the quintessential fighter to the entire metagame.
The learning curve for this game is easy thanks to the available training modes that get you started right off providing every lessons that are concise and gets you prepped for the other modes. RPG mode fails to do that however, so you can rather skip it and just continue playing the campaign without the tedium.
Versus is a mode used for practice spar against CPU or dueling with your friend as a second player. This is a local mode as you'll play only against your friends in split-screen or online from friendslist, compared to the online mode where you participate in battles against all the other players in the world.
Playing GFV was refreshing, this is coming from a Dragon Ball FighterZ and Guilty Gears vet who has played those non-stop knowing how good they were. But, as it stands this game doesn't fully stand out against the finer titles that Arc has released before. The game is also short on content and rosters, emphasize on 'content' because the RPG mode has nothing incredible to offer. Though, at least it has bonus features and an anime at its disposal.
I got bad news for the players in the U.S region, apparently the NAT code there has problems like hitches and lags, although for Asian countries this is barely present.
Online play requires good practice, understanding the class of your fighter as well as their strengths and weaknesses. There's a rank ladder to climb, where you compete against all the players within the online infrastructure. If you lose a match, you can ask for rematch from which you get a second chance to fight against your opinion provided they concur on their side. Though you'll only get one rematch per opponent unless you win in turn, which then turns into a 2 out of 3 match.
There's nothing short of delivery when it comes to the visuals, sure it's in 2D presentation mostly, but with the 3D animations, you can bet that it's nudged somewhere between. Hence the appropriate term being 2.5D. For Arc System works, this is a fine presentation.
For audio and music, as a Japanese game, it does not disappoint. Especially in the audio department from quaint voice acting to the testosterone pumping sound effects. All of it keeps the action going.
While it's a little short on content, make no mistake, this is one of the best fighting game provided thus far that pushes the envelope for accessibility as well as its presentation. Small roster that would have been rectified with few more characters and the subpar RPG mode needs some quality of life improvements(or replaced with something else instead) and you can surely bet that am looking forward to the sequel that's coming out in the near future.