Granblue Fantasy: ReLink review

Granblue Fantasy: ReLink review

An insanely deep RPG with a cast and game loop that can keep us coming back

Granblue Fantasy: ReLink‘s development goes back a long while. It’s made by a who’s who of Japanese RPG game devs, from companies like PlatinumGames, who spent something like 6 years on it, to CyGames, who finished it off. It’s a deep game, with a lot of canon, but an equal amount of gameplay mechanics.

Based on a popular gacha series, the game expects us to know all of these characters going in. It may seem off-putting, but it remedies the lack of background knowledge for new players pretty well through in-game details and things called “fate” episodes that fill in the background info that we need. There’s even a built-in mechanic (carried over from the gacha) where skipping a cutscene explains what’s happened — I never watched a full cutscene but I know the story, which is a really intuitive way to bring players up to speed.

Series lore aside, it’s the gameplay that stands out. It’s genuinely fun to play, incorporating things like PlatinumGames set pieces mixed with a really intricate RPG system common to gachas. Skills, leveling, stats, crafting; all of those layers are there and built for a remarkably fun grinding aspect. Each of the 20+ characters that can be added to our teams are wildly different, bringing unique skillsets and tools to the experience. When we build up our team of four we can have a broad range of effects and paths within the game, and even when we acquire some that become our favorites, each playthrough becomes just as unique as the last.

Though the game can be experienced fully in single player, what’s really cool is that we can play online with friends. Together we we can go on raids and quests and battle difficult raid bosses, level up and collect treasure — but with none of the MMO trappings. And with that large of a acquirable cast, the battle parties with our group of friends can become better tuned for certain bosses or quests. The multiplayer gameplay even extends to battles, with things like handling dodges and parries together, creating some really united group play.

The gacha aspects in Granblue are front and center, but because don’t have to spend any money to accomplish our build varieties it feels like there’s a lot more personalization possible, right down to orbs we can use to define certain traits.

Granblue Fantasy: ReLink is an extensive RPG with any number of ways to approach it, and it does so without being overly long — a full run of the game is only around 10 or so hours. All of that means that there’s more focus on building up our collection of characters and builds and heading into multiple playthroughs to see what our latest can achieve.

This review is based on a Steam code sent to SideQuesting by the publisher. It originally appeared onĀ The SideQuest Live for February 20, 2024. All images and video courtesy Cygames.