If you’re a fan of anime-style RPGs overflowing with colorful characters, outrageous outfits, and inventive worlds, listen up. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is the latest entry in Cygames’ popular mobile franchise that finally brings the series’ epic skyfaring adventures into gorgeous 3D life. Whether you’re already invested in Gran and the gang’s endless escapades across the skies or you just want a delightful action-RPG romp, Relink has got you covered.
See, Granblue Fantasy started out years ago as a free-to-play mobile game with a traditional turn-based combat system, amassing over 35 million players with its expansive roster and low-pressure daily quests. It’s the kind of game people play on their commute or during slow days at the office. But Relink rips that modest charm right out of your pocket and plants it firmly into the big leagues on consoles and PC, converting the entire thing into a fully-fledged action RPG bursting with real-time battles.
That means combo-chaining, projectile-dodging, screen-filling shenanigans in lush fantasy locals, taking control of a motley crew of 19 unique fighters like the bomb-slinging gunner Eugen or spectral bunny lady Ferry and her ghostly whip attacks. Between sailing across open skies on the Grandcypher airship and befriending all manner of quirky characters, Relink delivers an addictive gameplay loop fans will adore and curious newcomers can easily dive right into.
While its breezy 15 hour campaign may feel like an appetizer for the meaty post-game Monster Hunter-esque grind, Relink’s flashy combat and charm to spare has kept this would-be mobile title sailing smoothly on consoles. So batten down the hatches and prepare to take flight with Gran and friends on their most ambitious journey yet.
A Skyfaring Slice of Life With Plenty of Heart
Don’t let Relink’s mobile DNA fool you – what this breezy RPG lacks in plot ambition it makes up for with tons of charm. The story follows the crew of the Grandcypher airship on their usual fantasy antics, searching for a fabled island called Estalucia that can grant wishes. It’s a familiar premise centered around a mysterious young girl named Lyria whose incredible summoning powers drive much of the plot.
While you won’t find any genre-defining twists or heavy themes here, Relink’s concise pacing fits perfectly for on-the-go gaming origins. The campaign’s 10 chapters all follow a similar mobile-friendly structure: get an objective, visit a cool location, fight a boss, wrap things up, and move on to the next chapter. It’s like grabbing bite-sized morsels of adventure. This focused momentum means no filler or bloat, letting you finish the story in a tight 15-20 hours.
Don’t assume Relink skimps on memorable moments though. Highlights include piloting the summon Bahamut Dragoon-style against invading monsters or scaling stone giants straight out of Shadow of the Colossus. And while the plot stays simple, it still delivers emotional, human beats thanks to the charming cast. From Rackam’s unwavering confidence to Io’s anxious energy, the varied crew bounces off each other with plenty of natural interactions.
Beyond the central gang, a deep bench of quirky characters can also be collected using tickets earned from side activities. Fan favorites like metallic angel Haluel or eternal idol Tien add flavor through light visual novel-esque Fate Episodes expanding on their backstories. These vignettes range from poignant personal tales to even occasional playable mini adventures. They’re the meaty marrow complementing Relink’s mobile-sized story bones.
So if you’re craving sophisticated, cerebral sci-fi, look elsewhere. But players hungry for a Saturday morning cartoon brought to fanciful life will find Relink’s breezy pacing and lovable band of misfits plenty endearing. Like an ideal mobile experience, it delivers small delicious bites of fantasy between stops on the subway or waits at the DMV. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Action-Packed Battles Pack Plenty of Punch
When it comes to moment-to-moment action, Granblue Fantasy: Relink delivers some of the most satisfying real-time combat in recent RPG memory. There’s a kinetic flow to chaining together combos and unleashing screen-filling special attacks that scratched an itch I didn’t know I had.
Each encounter feels like barely controlled chaos, dodging and weaving while your fingers dance across buttons, proccing combo finishers and building towards ultimate abilities. It embraces a simplistic pick-up-and-play approachability under the hood but with plenty of nuance for veterans to master.
A key feature is the Arts Level mechanic, a risk vs reward system governing the potency of your special attacks. The more you hack away at foes and postpone using skills, the more juice gets stored up, ultimately empowering said skills once deployed. This creates interesting decisions – do you play it safe with weak but spammable attacks or go for broke maxing your gauge? Finding the right balance between offense and defense becomes almost a mini-game in itself.
And the roster provides even more variety to the combat equation. With 19 wildly unique fighters to swap between, there’s a playstyle for everyone, evoking Genshin Impact’s elemental diversity. Sword-wielding protagonists Gran and Djeeta will delight hack-and-slash fans while Eugene’s gunner toolkit offers ranged shooting and bomb tosses for the trigger happy. One personal favorite is Ferry the spectral bunny and her ghostly whip attacks, but transforming knights, vampiric sorcerers, and more await.
Each character not only feels distinct mechanically but also synergizes beautifully with others, creating almost pseudo fighting game-esque team compositions. When special meters max out, you can chain everyone’s ultimate attacks together for devastating combo sequences. This means constantly experimenting with new party mixes to hunt for those perfect ability overlaps.
Online co-op quests then become the real playground for combat creativity, letting these disparate abilities complement each other versus hulking bosses. Sadly, the lack of cross-play does limit the matchmaking pool. But when everything clicks running dungeons with friends, it captures that addictive Monster Hunter grind of repeatedly hunting down spectacular beasts.
So if you want strategic, slow-paced turn taking, Relink likely won’t satisfy. But anyone eager for visceral, white-knuckle battles overflowing with colorful powers and big numbers will fall hard for this mobile title’s signature combat. It marries simple pick-up-and-play controls with underlying depth that continues compelling long after the credits.
Satisfying Growth With a Grindy End Game
Once the short-but-sweet story wraps, Granblue Fantasy: Relink gracefully transitions into a decidedly different, but equally compelling, endgame built around repeatable co-op quests. If you’ve sunk hours into Monster Hunter or Destiny, this structure will feel quite familiar – pick missions, grind loot, grow stronger, take on harder challenges. It becomes almost therapeutic.
Everything revolves around a quest counter hub in town, with new objectives unlocking as you check tasks off a broad list. Whether battling screen-filling bosses, defending points from waves of foes, or surviving timed onslaughts, objectives run the gamut from quick jaunts to hefty slogs. Loot Rewards then fuel growth systems to drive that delicious sense of consistent progress.
Characters all have branching skill trees and gear piece meal sets that fundamentally alter playstyles. Gran’s support focus gets enhanced bycooldown reductions for team buffs. Powerful Sigil charms can be slotted into weapons using materials from slain beasts. It creates almost a custom class RPG feel where everyone carves unique builds to master.
So that core loop becomes two fold – experimenting with fun ability combinations while strengthening your favorites to conquer the next difficulty tier. It’s easy to lose hours fine tuning particular fighters you bond with, creating bespoke destruction machines tailored to your preferences.
But while that power climb stays engaging for a while, the lack of variety in objectives does dull proceedings the higher you go. Environments start recycling as do mission structures without much innovation, essentially just pitting you against beefier variants of familiar foes. And with no real story or meta progression driving things forward post-campaign, the motive to grind starts to waver the deeper you delve.
Still, fans of daily checklists and power spikes will enjoy the streamlined progression, even if the endgame doesn’t quite stick the landing. It just depends how muchyou enjoy replaying similar hunts. At the very least, trying new ability combinations and socializing online keep late game grinds lively for a good while. Granblue Fantasy: Relink certainly nails the incremental growth that mobile gamers crave.
A Picturesque Fantasy Brought to Life
While Granblue Fantasy: Relink makes some visual compromises translating to 3D, its whimsical art direction bursting with color immediately charms. The painterly environments practically leap off the screen, from the Canal-esque waterways of Auguste Isles to mineral rich caverns underneath Mount Karm. It nails the vibrant storybook aesthetic.
NPCs milling about town hubs also showcase incredible detail in their outfits and accessories that must be seen to be believed. The sheer artisan craft from Cygames’ Army of artists astounds at every corner. You can feel the years of mobile game development expertise on full display.
Of course, such a massive roster means visual consistency occasionally suffers between characters. Some models shine brighter than others, struggling to capture intricate details. But taken as a whole, the game still stuns. Sailing across breathtaking vistas while your party banters below makes for many Kodak moment encounters.
The epic orchestral soundtrack also soars, from rousing combat anthems to emotional piano suites. And the star-studded Japanese voice cast, including Yui Ishikawa (Violet Evergarden) as Zeta and Yuichi Nakamura (Bungo Stray Dogs) as Lowain, breathe life into beloved heroes. Their dynamic deliveries will delight fans.
So is Relink the most technically impressive graphical showcase ever? Not quite. But its unrivaled creative vision studying every artistic detail possible overflows with heart and soul. You feel their passion seep from each expertly stitched glove to meticulously rendered cobblestone. For a world rich with imagination, Relink delivers handsomely.
The Sky’s the Limit for Granblue Fantasy
At the end of the day, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a rare mobile translate that beautifully balances bite-sized storytelling with wildly fun console-sized spectacle. Despite some rough edges, its charming cast and versatile action combat make for an easy recommendation to RPG fans.
For all its highs, Relink’s cons are noticeable but never deal breakers. The campaign runs short and sweet rather than truly epic, visuals show cracks straining under upgraded hardware demands, and mission variety really dips in repetitive end game grinds. But these nitpicks fade before the vibrant art direction, lovable character interactions, and downright addictive battles.
Having also played blockbusters like Final Fantasy 16, Star Ocean 6, and Persona 3 Reload recently, Relink manages to carve its own identity rather than follow trends. It side steps bloated padding and embraces the simplistic charms of its mobile heritage. The result feels distinctly refreshing, even when upscaled to flashy AAA heights.
And while Granblue Fantasy’s notoriously slow burn gacha gameplay may still appeal to some, Relink allows anyone to immediately dive into the action and take the journey at their own pace. No strings attached. With a wonderful starter cast to take into fast-paced fights, it welcomes newcomers and veterans alike to take to the open skies however they want.
So if you don’t expect gran sweeping epics or layered RPG complexity, Granblue Fantasy: Relink delivers huge heart throughout its 25+ hour adventure however you play. It marries bite-sized storytelling with white-knuckle battles to craft a rewarding trip celebrating all things skyfaring fantasy. The journey carries slightly more impact for existing fans, but everyone can find joy in this unlikely mobile translation. Wherever the winds may take you next, Relink will have an airship ready for the ride.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink
With vibrant visuals and versatile real-time combat reimagining its modest mobile roots into AAA grandeur, Granblue Fantasy: Relink brings this beloved franchise soaring smoothly onto consoles. A few rough edges can’t cloud the colorful charm throughout its fantasy-fueled flight.
- Satisfying real-time combat system
- Charming anime visual style
- Great character variety and customization
- Addictive progression/growth loop
- Engaging co-op multiplayer quests
- Short main story campaign
- Repetitive end-game content
- Uneven graphical quality
- Lack of mission variety post-game