granblue fantasy relink review featured image
Screenshot by Gamepur

Granblue Fantasy: Relink Review – An Epic Odyssey That Keeps on Giving Long After the Story is Done

Granblue Fantasy: Relink manages to stay true to its roots and complex world without overcomplicaing the impeccable experience for newcomers.

You should never judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to video games, it’s so easy to do. The slew of RPGs releasing every month with a new set of characters beautifully displayed on the box with gorgeous anime art is enough to create a sense of fatigue even in those like me who rarely play the games. I have to say, though, every time I play one of these games with artwork on their covers that goes harder than it has any right to, they outshine every expectation I had for them and provide me with a memorable experience I take with me and tell my friends about. Granblue Fantasy: Relink more than fits this bill, it transcends what an action RPG should be and offers players reason after reason to spend one hundred hours with it and then some.

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A Grand Start and a Globe-Spanning Adventure

ship in granblue fantasay relink
Screenshot by Gamepur

The introduction to Granblue Fantasy: Relink sets the bar for epic tutorials that throw players into the heart of the action. Not 30 seconds in are players already holding their own against continent-sized dragons while floating on a ship that’s transporting them precariously through the sky and dodging bright beams of energy from the aforementioned flying lizard.

Following that epic beginning, I could not put this game down. The controls are simple to learn and take very little time to master. That’s not what most players will care about right away, though, because the story keeps the intrigue going for every hour it can.

After falling from the skyfaring ship in the introduction, players make their way to a town and embark on a fantastic adventure in every sense of the word. The world of Granblue is made up of floating islands where various factions and societies have carved out an existence. It’s a wonderful concept and one that I immediately found myself lost in.

Of course, a world is nothing if it’s empty, but the game pours on flavoring in the form of fleshed-out characters and sandbox locations that are fully realized. Even the main hubs, major locations within the world, are packed with citizens going about their business chatting about other locals, having a coffee, or staring off into the distance at an impossible castle that’s somehow held up against the strong winds each sky island must be battered by.

As the story progresses, players will explore every corner of the world and encounter many of its inhabitants, all of whom vary wildly depending on their loyalties and origins. Considering this is the first major action RPG in the series, with the previous games having been a premium mobile RPG with gacha mechanics and a fighter title, Granblue Fantasy: Relink shows an unprecedented level of polish, world-building, and immersion that the likes of Final Fantasy XVI or Elden Ring can only compete with.

Growing From its Roots

Granblue Fantasy Gold Key Chests (1)
Screenshot by Gamepur

As I’ve mentioned, the Granblue series began with a gacha title similar to Genshin Impact. The initial draw of the massive world filled with a great story and various side activities is only heightened by the chance to purchase new characters to explore and fight with.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink takes what matters from that concept, the characters, and makes them available for players to earn as they play. There are only a couple of characters, the player’s own and one other within the party, who are absolutely essential to the story. The rest are interchangeable, and all have their own backstories that can be steadily explored as players level up and complete certain chapters.

We thought this was a nice nod to the series’ origins, and can’t help but love the idea that the being that invented Granblue’s version of magic is currently in our party and presenting as a young girl who wields a book that generates massive ring weapons to slice foes with. They’re not even the largest of larger than life characters it’s possible to earn, and more will be added over time.

Each character, including the player’s, must be leveled up if they’re going to be able to compete with late game enemies, and this title doesn’t hold back when it comes to difficulty. It’s essential to upgrade every character to unlock small buffs to health, mana, and damage, whilst also unlocking new skills for them to use.

Farm Dragon Scale Granblue Fantasy Relink
Screenshot by Gamepur

As players get deeper into the story, it’ll become necessary to analyze the party between missions and boss battles to figure out what the best setup and loadout is to take advantage of the upcoming fights. One skill, weapon, or character swap could be all that’s standing between a victory or crushing defeat after an hour-long fight.

I really enjoyed this level of depth to the game. At first, it doesn’t seem like it’s needed, but once the party begins dealing almost no damage to a boss, it becomes pretty obvious that something’s got to change. I made it a habit to complete side missions between every major one to ensure I could easily grind out as many levels as possible and give myself a better chance moving forward, but even then, the challenge didn’t truly let up.

This is the action part of the action RPG that Granblue Fantasy: Relink is. It pushes players just far enough that they could fail if they aren’t paying attention. It requires a certain amount of skill to conquer, but it’s not reactionary, it’s analytical. Knowing when the best time to use healing or attacks is or which skills a certain character must have in their arsenal to ensure everyone stays alive and fighting is far more important than hits landed. Plus, it’s all done in a beautiful art style that I wish I had more excuses to come back and play around in.

Never a Dull Moment

chapter 2 omen stone granblue fantasy relink
Screenshot by Gamepur

To a degree, Granblue Fantasy: Relink reminds me a lot of a Monster Hunter game. Gear can be upgraded to a point, but resources are required at various level checkpoints to take it further. With 150 levels per weapon, it’s no easy feat getting one fully upgraded, but the benefits are instantly noticeable with each milestone.

To get these resources, players can replay main missions or tackle the dozens of side quests out there. These range a little in objectives but mostly consist of killing lots of enemies and bosses. The boss fights are a great distraction and offer a nice way to toy around with party setups between story beats.

The islands players explore also have a lot more to offer than mere objectives. Challenges lie hidden in Omen Stones, some of which are way above the payer’s expected level and throttle them mercilessly until they relent and head off to level up some more.

There’s always a new path to take and somewhere else to explore. The level design in Granblue Fantasy: Relink is amazing, allowing for almost endless exploration because so much is hidden by perspective. It’s intentional but not forced, meaning careful players will find everything in a single playthrough, while others will be pleasantly surprised in repeat visits to locations.

Locating the right enemies to get the resources needed so that weapons and characters can finally move forward in the story is a greatly gratifying experience. This grind isn’t for everyone, and whole it’s not as bad as the grind a free-to-play game would shove down the player’s throat, it is present and not something everyone will be into.

A Reason for Everything

Granblue Fantasy Relink Party Composition
Screenshot by Gamepur

Everything that’s in Granblue Fantasy: Relink is just the beginning. While I couldn’t play any of it for this review, more endgame content in the form of bosses and characters are on the way. The game already has way more than required to necessitate one hundred plus hours in a single save file, and soon there will be so much more to get stuck into.

The toughest content the game throws at players sees bosses take hits for a good five minutes from a fully leveled-up party using maxxed out weapons without taking a single point of damage. It’s these sorts of seemingly insurmountable fights that could drive someone mad, but here they’re just epic.

When I played Final Fantasy games as a child, the graphics were terrible, but my mind filled in the images and acrobatics that the characters were clearly pulling off in the turn-based combat. Granblue Fantasy: Relink is that mental projection of those fights, and it’s unrivaled in how it transforms the hardcore JRPG experience into something a little more approachable but way more challenging simultaneously.

There are so many things about this game that I’d usually avoid, be it being inspired by a gacha title, the anime art style that I don’t always gel with, the rich yet hefty amount of lore understanding it looks like it takes to get to grips with the world, and the astoundingly large bosses that move like lightning. Yet still, somehow, I’m gripped by it and can’t wait to get even more out of the Granblue universe.

All of this makes for a fabulous package, but Granblue Fantasy: Relink throws in one more bonus in the form of multiplayer. Each party must contain four characters, and players can team up online to play together with their own characters from their own save files. So if each player has a fully-leveled character with top level weapons, they stand a much better chance of taking down a colossal boss than any of them do alone.


Id and Lyria Romance Granblue Fantasy Relink
Image via CyGames

I am nothing short of blown away by Granblue Fantasy: Relink. It blends the action RPG elements of soulsborne titles with exactly what’s desired from JRPGs and throws in a dash of gacha fun to create a game that’s filling and always flavorful. Just when I think it’s going to get tired and boring, it surprises me and holds my gaze all the more fiercely. Best of all, the game can be played entirely offline, meaning long-time fans of the series who have suffered through server outages no longer need to worry with this well-rounded Granblue-shaped package that can be played anywhere with a terrible internet connection.

Final Score:

8 / 10

+ Fully realized world players can get lost in.
+ Endless replayability in side missions, bosses, and post-launch content.
+ Fleshed out characters that make players want to get to know them and bond with.
Progress can feel stunted when insurmountable enemies rear their heads, even if it’s by design.
The game can feel overwhelming if players don’t take the time to learn about the world and read a few lore entries.
This is very much an action RPG for JRPG fans, and that won’t gel with everyone.

The Gamepur team received a PlayStation 5 for the purpose of this review.

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Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp
Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp is a Staff Writer at Gamepur. He's been writing about games for ten years and has been featured in Switch Player Magazine, Lock-On, and For Gamers Magazine. He's particularly keen on working out when he isn't playing games or writing or trying to be the best dad in the world.