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Review | Granblue Fantasy: Relink

"It's like they want to make even simpler button mashers without any satisfaction nor exploration. And when was it popular to grind for an eternity to finish the story? Welcome to the beautiful sky kingdom of grind and questionable decisions."

by Foggy, 04-02-2024, Edited by: No one (yet!)

Another day, another game. This one took only 8 years of development. 8 long years. Remember Infinite Undiscovery? That game sucked for most of the players out there, but I loved it! I though Granblue will be like that, but boy I was wrong. Granblue Fantasy ReLink is an action RPG that features mighty Nobuo Uematsu as a composer, and Platinum Games as an early developer team, which then Cygames finished.

You can play the game on PS4, PS5 and Steam (PC), but before that, let’s go through some things first.

A game so pretty. Exploring the sky kingdom to find the long-lost legendary island of Estalucia. You even have a ship from the very start. Plus, when the game starts with Behemoth and such a promising intro, what could possibly go wrong? 

If you thought the game is all about the story and the characters, you might be just a bit wrong. It has the story, it has a lot of characters – but the story is like a placeholder for the core gameplay this one has for us. The core gameplay is actually a four person co-operative multiplayer, or, single person play with three AI characters. How that even works? It doesn’t, but I want to go through the story first.

You can choose to be a male or a female protagonist. This time around it comes as a dubbed character (which is rare for such protagonists) – still, you can count the voice lines with your 2 hands. I never had any connection with the protagonist, nor basically with any character presented in this game due to the weird structure of how everything connects (which is weird considering the fate arcs each character has – the skits that gives a lot of their background stories). The plot is basic, seen so many times (save the special lady, do not let the bad guys bring the apocalypse to the beautiful skydome of Estalucia). It consists of 10 chapters that last for up to 20 hours if you’re really thorough. It looks so pretty, but that is all there is, really. If you just follow the story you will go through chapters and different sceneries. I kind of liked that. The problem is, it’s just too linear. You can find treasure chests, some challenges and crab collectibles (I have no idea why crabs and what they represent). That’s it. That took 8 years – a linear game with pretty graphics and almost nothing to explore along the way. Kudos for the presentation – the animations and special effects are tier 1 quality, it gives a lot to the impression.

I wouldn’t have issues with the game if it weren’t for the post-game, which is actually a last chapter of the game where I expected to get some closure, but all I’ve got is the endless grind-fest which made me delete the game. Epilogues can be cool, just not in this game.

Even though the story is simplistic, its presentation is what shines the most. This is a top-tier game when it comes to animations and even voice acting. I love the english dubs, they are well-done and engaging. I just wish there is more to the game apart from the post-game grind and the graphics. I mean, there is - music.

If we take out the linearity, there are pretty environments and neat combat. Yeah, combat is actually great! You can have 4 characters in your party, but you can unlock a lot of new comrades through different means (through side/mission challenges). Each character has a unique fighting style and skills. I was so impressed with the combat, I though this will be a lot of fun. And it was, until the post-game. Using the skills looks awesome, using the link-skills with your allies is super fun. The combat is really decent, especially the boss fights which are unique and awesome.

The side content comes in a form of side-quest and side challenges. There are 2 towns in the game, pretty bland, although really cosy. Talking to quest-givers means that you can take over the quest, collect some items or kill some enemies, and report back. I’ve literally explained this part of the side-content. It’s just one pile of fetch garbage. The only real reward here are the keys which unlocks special chests in towns.

The rest of the content is what this game is all about – the missions. As you progress the story, you unlock additional challenges. They are basically killing hordes of enemies as fast as possible, killing bosses, or killing something else. You need to be fast and efficient to score higher, and that rewards you with resources that you can spend for levelling up your characters or weapons. You can play online or just use CPU-controller allies to help you out. I’ve heard this game is like Monster Hunter. Man, the people that are saying that have no idea what Monster Hunter is. Sure, you accept missions from the hub and play with your friends, but man, that’s it. Monster Hunter games are a masterpiece for this piece of crap. Let’s dive deeper.

I think most of you out there will find the combat fun and engaging. Also, playing with different characters is a advised flow of the game - they all come with their own unique play style. That is just plain awesome, but considering you will repeat challenges in post-game and kill the same boss 20 times... Not much to say.

Yeah, missions. Defeat the game boss on Normal, Hard, Very Hard, Extreme, Maniac… What the hell?! I had fun when I started the missions. They are just challenges, they give items, you craft some weapons… But the post-game is all about that. To push the story further you need to complete so many missions in the last chapter, it killed my will to play. No, I don’t want to mash buttons for 15 minutes to defeat the same boss all over again, just on higher difficulties. There is no real challenge here, it’s just bosses and enemies with more HP, and challenges that take longer and longer to beat, until you grind for 50 hours and upgrade everything so you can do it faster. Is that fun? In Monster Hunter it is. Here? No, a big fat no!

Seriously, 8 years? The post-game ruined it for me. I enjoyed the skits of each character (fate arcs – that is done quite awesome), I wanted to learn about the world, I wanted something… But instead, the core gameplay is playing the same missions with your friends for 50 hours, killing blue, yellow or red variant of bosses? Man, 8 years… I don’t mind the grind (usually). But in here… The grind is just that – a grind. Each character has 4-5 weapons, so maybe you want to forge all of them and level them up? I don’t.

The core of the RPG management is levelling up your weapons, fitting gems in slots (gems are like attack enhance, stun, different stuff…), and spending point to level up your characters (learning skills, levelling them up, raising base stats etc.). Sure, it can be fun, but for me, this is a hard no. It really is a multiplayer wannabe game with no sense of direction or inspiration. It’s a game that uninspires. It made me hate action RPG’s, and my hand hurts from mashing buttons on higher difficulty challenges. Man, what happened to good games…

It breaks my heart that 8 years of development lead to an average, even below-average game. Maybe some of you out there love the midnless grind and mashing in later stages of the game, but for me, I will memory only the things I've liked, and try to forget everything that made me delete the game.

If you just play the story and enjoy what you can access on that journey – you might enjoy your time. The problem is, that is too short. I loved the arcs of each character, but I think the connection with the characters outside the main 4 of your crew is just plain confusing. They talk about some timelines that apparently happened while you played some chapters without them at that point. I just couldn’t place anyone in the story. I love Id though – that guy *ucks. Such a cool dude.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it – yeah, the music kicks ass! Beautiful melodies, it gives some meaning to the time you spend playing. Too bad the rest of the content shines like nothing, a big fat nothing.

Don’t get confused, this game is all about the coop and playing the missions while grinding like crazy. The post-game is awful, repetitive and plain stupid. Everything up to that point was even cool at times, but after 15 hours in post-game I deleted the game. No, a big fat no, and up to Persona 3 now. Save your money, don’t pay for this. I wish this trend of grindy games ends.

"A (too short) beautiful action RPG with fun and engaging combat, featuring an awesome soundtrack. It also comes with a post-game grind that will possibly make you hate the game. "
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