Granblue Fantasy: Relink | Store Key Art
Title Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Developer Cygames, Inc.
Publisher Cygames, Inc.
Release Date February 1st, 2024
Genre Action RPG
Platforms PS5, PS4, PC (Steam)
Age Rating ESRB: T for Teen
Official Website

Author’s Note: This review may contain minor spoilers pertaining to the story. The main character will be referred to as the Captain throughout this review.

I must admit, even though I love Action RPGs, I was very hesitant in reviewing Granblue Fantasy: Relink. For those who don’t know, Relink takes place in the same world as the RPG browser game, Granblue Fantasy. While I have played the browser game before, the most I’ve done is complete the prologue and roll for characters whenever I get the chance, I haven’t even finished chapter 1 of its story. So, my knowledge of the story and characters is minimal, at best. Granblue Fantasy has been around for almost a decade now, so I feared my lack of knowledge of the game’s lore and world would negatively affect not only my enjoyment, but my understanding of the events that occur in the game. So, after playing through the game’s story, was this Granblue newcomer able to enjoy Relink, or is it only for true veterans of the series?

Granblue Fantasy: Relink follows the Captain and the Grandcypher crew as they enter a brand new area, the Zegagrande Skydom. After a tumultuous entry, the Grandcyper crew finds themselves in the small town of Folca where they meet the local Mr. Fix It, Rolan. Rolan is trusted throughout the Skydom, so of course when a dangerous situation arises in the neighboring town of Tempeal, Rolan is asked to help the citizens. The Captain, the good-natured individual that they are, volunteers to assist Rolan in his efforts. However, what seems to be a straightforward mission quickly devolves into chaos as the Grandcypher runs into a group known as the Church of Avia. The Church of Avia runs off with the Captain’s friend, Lyria. Now, the Captain and crew must work to save Lyria from Avia’s clutches, and perhaps save the entire Sky Realm during the process.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink’s story is pretty straightforward; you could guess what direction the story is heading as you play it. That wasn’t a bad thing, though, as it was written well enough to keep me engaged and interested throughout my playthrough. The characters’ chemistry, especially that of the Grandcypher crew, helped keep me engaged as well. What I especially liked about Relink’s story is how welcoming it was to newcomers of the Granblue Fantasy franchise. They didn’t rely too heavily on past events, only referencing them sparsely throughout the game. And even if there were terms that I didn’t understand, I could read up on them in Lyria’s Journal. Lyria’s Journal is fantastic and can be easily accessed from the pause menu. It includes a glossary of terms used throughout the game (such as Astral and Primal Beast), information on the characters you meet throughout the game, and even gives a summary of the events that occurred before Relink. Not only that, you can rewatch past story cutscenes from Lyria’s journal whenever you want, provided you’re in town. This is great for those who want to rewatch a cutscene with a different gender Captain. And yes, you can change the Captain’s gender and name whenever you want from the pause menu, and this will automatically be reflected in Lyria’s Journal. So, you can rewatch the entire game’s story with a different gender Captain without having to replay the game, and I find that to be a fantastic addition. Cygames did not have to go out of their way to implement this feature, but I very much appreciate it.

But, you’re probably asking yourself if there’s a way to get to know the Grandcypher crew even more, outside of the Main Story and Lyria’s Journal. Well, I’m happy to say there is. Relink has a nice mechanic called Fate Episodes, and these can be accessed through the Quest Counter in town. Every recruitable character in Relink has a Fate Episode, and these tell players each of their backstories, what they did before the events of the game, and also what they get up to during Relink. Each chapter of the Fate Episode is unlocked based on Main Story progression, which Fate Episode chapters you’ve read, and what level the indicated character is. So, if there’s a character you’re really interested in, I’d suggest you focus on leveling them up first to fully read their Fate Episode. Not only do Fate Episodes develop your favorite characters, they even give you incentive to read them. Every time you read a Fate Episode chapter, it increases the character’s stats, and some chapters will increase the character’s Sigil slots. You’ll get to learn more about the character, plus they’ll get stronger too! The only negative thing I’d say about Fate Episodes is I wish there were in-game cutscenes instead of walls of text, this would’ve gotten me more invested. However, I appreciate that these were fully voiced by the character.

Most of the characters in the game did not develop much throughout the game’s Main Story, most of their development was locked behind the Fate Episodes. So again, if you really care about the Grandcypher crew, read the Fate Episodes. The one with the most development in the actual Main Story was the Church of Avia member, Id, and I did enjoy seeing his motivations and demeanor evolve throughout the story. I wish the other two big members of the Church of Avia had more screen time to develop, so I’m hoping they’ll revisit them sometime down the road. Another issue I had with the game’s story is that recruited characters don’t have much presence, if any, in the Main Story. Sure, they’ll have special dialog during certain Main Story areas, but they don’t show up in Main Story cutscenes nor are they really addressed at all throughout the Story Chapters. They’re just sorta there, and I wish they had more interaction with the main Grandcypher crew throughout the story.

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The gameplay of Granblue Fantasy: Relink is very solid. I will admit, when I read PlatinumGames was no longer working on the game, I feared the gameplay would take a massive hit. Thankfully, Cygames proved me wrong. In combat, you take control of one character and have three additional party members. Normal attacks are performed using the X button, A button is jump, Y button is a special action that changes depending on the character you control, the B button allows you to initiate a Link Attack if the enemy’s stun gauge is maxed, and holding the RB button and pressing X, A, B, or Y allows you to perform Skills. I’ll use Narmaya as an example for the special action. If you press the Y button while using her, she changes stances between Dawnfly or Freeflutter. Dawnfly is great for taking on hordes of enemies while Freeflutter can be used to wail on single enemies. Other than these, you can hold the directional buttons to use items or click both the right stick and left stick at the same time to activate your Skybound Art (SBA). SBAs can only be used once the SBA gauge is at 100%, and these are super special attacks with nice animations. If you use the SBA while your party member’s SBA gauges are at 100%, they will also perform an SBA which causes a Chain Burst. The Chain Burst’s damage increases depending on how many members perform their SBA. You can change your party member’s SBA behavior in the Options menu to match your combat preferences. Once you get used to all of these options, you can string together beautiful chaos to decimate foes. I had a ton of fun fighting in Relink, especially against bosses, since each one has their own unique patterns that you have to learn if you want to be effective against them. Another great thing about the combat is, surprisingly, the party AI. CPU party members are actually very helpful in combat, using their skills at the right time and are great at staying alive. In fact, there were times when I died more than the CPU members and they had to keep saving me. It’s refreshing having CPU party members that don’t hold you back.

While I do love the combat, I did have some minor issues. First, they don’t tell you what each directional button item does. These aren’t even in the Inventory menu, so you can’t even read what they do, it’s a lot of guesswork. Next is the camera. While it is good most of the time, if you get too close to a wall or corner, the camera can get a bit crazy. Finally, I would’ve liked to have an option to change your playable character mid-combat. I do understand why that isn’t an option, since there is a multiplayer portion to this game and you shouldn’t be able to take over someone else’s character. But, it would’ve been a cool option to have if the game knows you’re playing Offline and with CPU party members.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink | Character Status

You can strengthen characters by leveling up, using Mastery Points, equipping Sigils, and upgrading weapons. You level up through the usual methods: defeating enemies, completing Counter Quests, and completing Side Quests. Characters that aren’t in your party will still gain experience points during Main Story missions, but not during Counter Quests, so keep that in mind. Mastery Points are used to unlock nodes in a character’s Mastery Tree. These nodes can range from increasing stats to increasing a character’s resistances, and can even unlock more skills or Sigil slots for them. Mastery Points are gained through leveling up, completing Counter Quests and Side Quests, opening treasure chests, etc. The great thing about Mastery Points is that they aren’t limited to one character; they’re shared across all characters. So, if another character levels up and you don’t particularly like using them, you can use those Mastery Points to strengthen one you do like controlling. I do appreciate the development team doing this because it makes it easier to strengthen your favorite characters. Sigils are like accessories that give different benefits to your characters, such as increasing stats, increasing your critical hit rate, strengthening your combo attacks, etc. These can really give your character the extra edge they need to dominate foes. You can upgrade your weapon at the Blacksmith and even forge new ones there. Each weapon has its own special trait, such as increasing a character’s HP or increasing their effectiveness against an enemy’s weak point. So it’s beneficial to upgrade a certain weapon based on your playstyle. Additionally, you can change a weapon’s traits by imbuing it with Wrightstones. This can be done at the Blacksmith, but I didn’t find any need for Imbuing throughout the Main Story. Increasing your weapon’s max level requires materials, and most of these can be found by doing Counter Quests, and that is where most of the grinding is performed.

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There are four types of areas you can explore in Relink: the towns, the Grandcypher, Main Story areas, and Counter Quest areas. Towns act as the hub area. Here, you can upgrade your equipment, purchase materials, sell any loot, accept Side Quests from citizens, recruit new characters, and even find treasure. Recruiting new characters requires a Crewmate Card, and you get more of these as you progress the Main Story or complete certain Counter Quests. There are 15-plus playable characters to choose from, and you start the game off with six of them available. An issue with the recruitment system is that you can’t try out the character before choosing them. You can only access the practice menu after recruiting them, which is rough if you end up choosing a character whose gameplay doesn’t gel with you. A way to get around this is saving before you recruit, turn off Autosave in the Options menu, recruit the character, practice with them, and then reload your save. This way, you can try out every recruitable character before permanently using your voucher. It’s a very roundabout way, which could’ve been circumvented if there was an option to try out the character before recruiting. The Grandcypher allows you to practice with your current character to tackle Time Attack and Score Attack modes. Time Attack involves destroying Sir Barrold as quickly as you can, while Score Attack calculates how much damage you can inflict on Sir Barrold before time runs out. Very simple minigames, but I appreciate them adding these options. Speaking of minigames, I do wish they had some available in the towns of Folca and Seedhollow. Give me a reason to stay in town a bit longer. There’s literally a fishing pond in Folca, let me go fishing! It just would’ve been a nice break from all of the fast paced action.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink | Fishing Pond
Look at all of those fish, if only you could CATCH THEM!

Main Story areas are the bulk of where the gameplay takes place. These are semi-open maps full of enemies, treasure chests, and other collectibles such as Archive entries and Wee Pincers. I call these semi-open since there is an obvious path to get to your goal, but you have the freedom to explore the map as much as you want before reaching the set goal. There are special monuments called Hallowed Ground scattered throughout the map, and these act as checkpoints and areas where you can save and heal. Siero, our resident adorable merchant, also magically appears at these monuments, giving you the options to purchase goods and access the Blacksmith. You can also return to town whenever you want during these stages, in case things get too rough for you. Once you return to the stage, Archive entries are pieces of information that give you some lore, and these are relatively easy to spot due to how they shine. These are saved in Lyria’s Journal after you find them. Wee Pincers are collectible little crabs you can find throughout the Main Story. Unlike Archive entries and materials, these do not shine or have a different color at all, so you really have to search the map thoroughly to find them – which comes to my one big issue with these Main Story areas: there’s no minimap. The most the game gives you is a compass at the top of the screen with a marker telling you where the story destination is. It doesn’t even mark where collectibles you’ve found are. So, if you find a treasure chest and forget to open it, you’re gonna have to search for it all over again. I do appreciate the lack of a minimap slightly, since it makes me actually look at the environment when exploring, and it does give a big sense of accomplishment once you find a collectible. However, if you’re trying to find 100% of collectibles in the game, having no minimap becomes more of a nuisance.

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Counter Quests are quests you accept through the Quest Counter. These have specific goals you need to finish to complete missions, and they are also side goals which will increase your quest rating and rewards. Counter Quests can range from defeating bosses to defending Hallowed Ground to defeating all enemies. These are where you can play online multiplayer with your friends, but I didn’t try this function out since I tend to play solo. Counter Quests take place in specific areas of Main Story maps you’ve previously visited. There’s not much room for exploring in these quests, these are mostly a combat affair, which I do like, cause I do love the game’s combat. Most of the postgame content involves these Counter Quests, especially if you want to fight even tougher enemies and completely max out your characters and weapons.

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Patrick Aguda
Patrick is an avid fan of both video games and anime. He has been a fan of anime since his older sister introduced him to the genre when he was younger. He grew up watching shows such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon Adventure, Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi Muyo and Yu Yu Hakusho. His favorite games include Persona 3 Portable, Steambot Chronicles and the .hack//G.U. trilogy. He strongly believes that Sinon, Maki and Mash are best girls.