Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review – Soaring Beyond Struggles, Marking a New Era in Fighting Games

    A new era of Granblue is here!

    Before delving into the meat of this review of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, I’d like to discuss my background in the series briefly. I am a longtime Granblue Fantasy Versus player, competing in various tournaments and engaging with the community. GBVS has been a massive part of my life for three years and helped structure who I am today. However, it was rough for me before I got into the game.

    Before being introduced to Granblue Fantasy Versus, I was on the verge of quitting fighting games altogether. I tried getting into many of them but never felt like I improved at the genre whatsoever. I became too dangerously focused on wanting to win matches rather than improve. This made my losses feel awful, and I thought it was useless to move forward with fighting games. But that all changed when I got into GBVS. Its combat, tutorial, presentation, and content-rich story mode quickly hooked me. The game blew my mind entirely and rekindled my fire for fighting games. Most importantly, it reminded me that there is a lot you can enjoy about fighting games other than the competitive aspect.

    Three years later, I find myself writing a review for Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising. GBVSR aims to evolve the original GBVS in many ways. As someone still playing Granblue Fantasy Versus, I highly anticipated this title. I needed to see what more the game could do to help new players keep the drive to play the game. After playing this game for many hours, I can already tell you that this is an experience you won’t want to miss. But what makes this game live up to fans’ high expectations? Find out in this Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising review!

    A Beautifully Written Narrative Meets Simplified RPG Elements

    Gran, Djeeta, and Vyrn coming across Nier in the story mode of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, which I delve more on into my review.

    Getting started with the story, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising has much to unpack. The cool thing is that the narrative spans three parts, with the first two being from the original GBVS. Those who haven’t played the original can use this opportunity to catch up on past events. Once caught up, you can finally experience the third part of the story. The final act goes through the events that happened after Beelzebub and Belial wreaked havoc across the sky realm. I won’t get into spoilers, but the third part of the story involves many characters, including fan favorites. Gran and his friends encounter a new dangerous foe and work with many allies to save the realm.

    I felt a range of emotions playing the Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising story, from pure excitement to having tears in my eyes. Cygames created something special here with a plot that makes you feel invested in its characters. Considering the Granblue Fantasy mobile game’s reputation for its rich storytelling, the story’s quality doesn’t surprise me. If you are looking for a fighting game that takes its story seriously, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is a great option.

    Unfortunately, the weapon grid from the previous GBVS is nonexistent in GBVSR‘s story mode. The weapon grid was a system in GBVS‘s story mode that allowed you to strengthen your character in multiple ways. You could grind for powerful weapons and feel the satisfaction of being able to grow stronger. However, this system has been removed from GBVSR and replaced with skills you can equip before battle. While this makes strategizing easier for players, I will miss grinding for powerful weapons. All this does is simplify the RPG elements, therefore removing the depth it once had. Regardless, I am glad that Cygames still wanted to keep some RPG elements in the game.

    Engaging Offline Modes

    A player playing around with Seox in the figure studio mode of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, which I delve more on into my review.

    Fighting games are currently more popular than ever. With many successful launches and exciting collaborations, there is no better time to pick up and play a new fighter. While it is exciting to see new players entering fighting games, it’s worrying if they will stay in the genre for long. To numerous newcomers, these games can seem very frightening from the outside. Losing a match against an opponent can feel stressful, prompting players to question their interest in the genre. Developers and the community engage in daily discussions about how fighting games can become more accessible for new players. With that said, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising seeks to achieve this great accessibility with lots of offline content for new players to experience.

    Arcade modes are always an excellent addition to any fighting game title. You can play in a series of battles, aiming for a high score or potential rewards. After finishing a character’s Arcade Mode in GBVSR, you will be rewarded with art that displays the character majestically. While this is cute, I wish we were met with 3D-rendered cutscenes that add to the character’s story. As it stands, there isn’t much drive to complete each character’s Arcade Mode since the rewards aren’t necessarily adding context or depth to said character. It would help to reveal the character’s lore, thus making players feel more connected to them and making the arcade mode feel impactful. 

    The Figure Studio mode is one of my favorite new editions to GBVSR. In this mode, you can craft dioramas showcasing characters, backgrounds, and various set pieces you’ve obtained in the game. You can arrange your characters in specific poses, utilize the camera to frame your screenshot, and enhance it with effects and filters. The Figure Studio mode has even more depth, but you can get lost trying to create a particular scenery. A photo contest will occur soon, so I will be spending time crafting the most incredible pictures possible!

    An Exceptional Combat System

    Katalina using her ultimate fireball skill against Gran in Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, which I will be talking about in my review.

    Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising completely overhauled its mechanics from the previous version, and it’s fantastic! Raging Strike, Raging Chain, Ultimate Skill, and Brave Counter are the three new mechanics that transform the game. Raging Strike can be used as a combo tool into Raging Chain to deal significant damage to the opponent. You can also use Raging Strike to catch someone blocking on defense since it is unblockable. Ultimate Skills are the most potent editions of characters’ usual skills. These are my favorite since you can use them differently, adding character depth. Brave Counters are a great addition because they are a defensive option. You can execute it either while blocking or during a guard crush. Either way, if successful, it will send your opponent a reasonable distance away from you. This helps to get offensive opponents away from you and into a safer position.

    A critical thing to mention is the new feature, Bravery Points. Each round begins with both players having three bravery points. These points can be used to execute Raging Strikes and Brave Counters. Additionally, they are reduced when a Raging Strike leads to a guard crush or when damage is received from a Skybound or Super Skybound Art. As your Bravery Points decrease, you will take more damage from attacks. 

    My favorite thing about this combat system is that resource management is essential. You have to pay attention not only to your bravery points but also to your SBA gauge. Raging Chain and Skybound Arts use the gauge, creating this situation where you have to be smart about when to use specific mechanics. I have wanted resource management to be vital in GBVS for so long, and I’m glad it’s finally happening.

    Player-Friendly Training Mode and A Replay System That Could Use Improvements

    Gran and Katalina in the training mode for Granblue Fantasy Vesus: Rising, which I will be going over more about in this review.

    Trust me when I tell you that this training mode will be the key to your growth as a player. Cygames has done an excellent job of strengthening the training mode this time. Brand new features such as character guides and accessing replays all contribute to answering new players’ questions. 

    The character guide in training mode is absolutely robust with information. Not only does it show your character’s special moves, but it also gives a strategy guide and basic combos for the character. The strategy guide will tell you what tactics to execute up close, at a distance, and on the defensive. Knowing what to do at all ranges in a match is essential to improving your skills with each character. You can also use this to your advantage by looking at other characters’ strategy guides. If a particular character is hard for you to deal with, you can check out what they do at all ranges and learn how to deal with it. Moreover, you can quickly review recent replays in training mode to see what happened in the previous games.

    Speaking of replays, one thing I am disappointed in not seeing is the ability to take control of your character in replays. To clarify, some games, such as Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core Plus R and the upcoming Tekken 8, have a feature where players can rewind the replay and assume control of their character at any specific moment. This feature allows players to put themselves in the match again and discover better ways to respond to different things that they lost to in that match. I want Cygames to consider adding this feature in the future, as it will absolutely help new players improve at the game.

    Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Elevates the Online Fighting Game Experience to Remarkable Heights

    Lobby avatars engaging in the lobby of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, which is one of the things I will talk about in this review.

    One of the biggest complaints behind GBVS was that the online was utilizing a delay-based netcode. This type of online connectivity introduces a delay in online games to synchronize players, often causing a laggy experience. For so long, fighting game players have begged developers to implement rollback netcodes into their games, which is a better alternative. With rollback netcode, it predicts players’ inputs, reducing lag and providing smoother gameplay. Rollback netcode is better because it maintains a more responsive feel, especially in fast-paced games, improving the online experience.

    I’m proud to say that GBVSR uses rollback netcode, and it is spectacular. To give you some perspective, I am from Chicago, Illinois, and played against someone residing in Japan. The experience felt so flawless that it felt like I was playing against someone next to me. I have zero complaints whatsoever, as all the matches I’ve played against players across the globe felt comfortable. Also, this game has crossplay between both PC via Steam and PlayStation!

    The online lobby in GBVSR stands out as a captivating social environment that surpasses the original GBVS. Its expansive design, featuring numerous islands and diverse gaming stations, provides a rich and immersive experience. To explore and access different islands, you can utilize a glider to soar between them. Notably, there’s an arcade zone with a jukebox where you can change the lobby’s songs! I particularly enjoyed the soccer field in the online lobby, as it lets players kick the soccer ball around and engage in friendly competition. This multi-faceted online lobby serves as a space for intense battles and offers a variety of activities for relaxation. This lobby marks a significant improvement from other fighting game lobbies – it sets a standard that future games should consider following.

    Grand Bruise Legends! (a.k.a Fall Guys)

    One of the most important things you can do in a fighting game is give people a reason to play it outside of the actual fighting. The SoulCalibur series does this with its robust character customization and Tekken 7 with its bowling mode. With Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, the developers took a lengthy review of what they could do to add their own take on this kind of feature. Soon enough, they had something else in mind–a battle royale mode.

    Painfully similar to Fall Guys, Grand Bruise Legends! offers multiple party minigames that you can play with your friends and others online. You can race against each other, team up to defeat threats, survive against deadly obstacles, and many more. You can pick any avatar you want to play as and your weapon of choice. From there, you can set sail and have fun!

    As I played this mode, I couldn’t help but laugh, be on the edge of my seat, and have so much fun. It’s such a great feeling to be able to unwind from ranked matches and casuals. Cygames went the extra mile to make GBVSR even more fun with such a creative and unique mode I didn’t expect to see in a fighting game.

    Carefully Crafted and Outstanding Presentation

    Presentation is a huge part of why I love fighting games. From the visuals to the music, it creates a vibrant atmosphere for the player. The graphics Arc System Works created for GBVSR are remarkable examples. The company is well known for its beautiful 3D models that capture a sharp anime look. With GBVSR, the developers wanted to elevate the visuals. The game uses an Unreal Engine plug-in called Kawaii Physics. Primarily designed for applying physics to rigged clothing, this plug-in can also be utilized for character physics. This plug-in enhances the realistic movement of objects, such as clothes and hair, creating a visually appealing appearance for the character. Seeing characters’ clothes and hair move so swiftly is such a satisfying feeling.

    Speaking of characters looking cool, the rupie shop in GBVSR offers character colors, weapon skins, and much more. The character colors stand out to me the most out of all the options. This time around, you can purchase 14 colors from the shop, including new additions you have never seen before. You can also buy the new Gran and Djeeta eternals costume with Siegfried’s helmet. I hope Cygames seeks to release more colors and costumes because I could use more fashion! For those wondering, you can gain rupies by doing daily missions and leveling up your character.

    The music in Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is so awesome. You will experience different genres of melodies, from rock all the way to orchestras. The composers of GBVSR consist of many industry giants, some of whom have worked on the Castlevania series, Final Fantasy, and Xenoblade Chronicles. There are also cute references to certain Final Fantasy songs with some characters’ themes.  

    Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Is A Masterpiece

    I hope you’ve enjoyed the depths of this extensive Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising review; there is so much about this game that is fantastic. This feels like a proper evolution of the original GBVS, and a thank-you letter to all the players who stuck around. Players can now finally play against each other worldwide, engage in fun mini-games, and get lost in the offline modes. While I think the RPG mode and replay system could be considerably better, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising pierces through the skies ever so swiftly, for a new era of fighting games has dawned upon us.


    Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is an awesome game! It has everything GBVS and fighting game players have been asking for. It has a great story, a huge amount of fun online/offline content, a fantastic online experience with rollback netcode, and excellent presentation. While the RPG mode lacks the gameplay depth the original GBVS used to have, and the replay system does not make innovations, this is a great step in the right direction. If you are looking for a terrific fighting game experience, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is the one for you!

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    Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is an awesome game! It has everything GBVS and fighting game players have been asking for. It has a great story, a huge amount of fun online/offline content, a fantastic online experience with rollback netcode, and excellent presentation. While the RPG mode lacks the gameplay depth the original GBVS used to have, and the replay system does not make innovations, this is a great step in the right direction. If you are looking for a terrific fighting game experience, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is the one for you!Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review - Soaring Beyond Struggles, Marking a New Era in Fighting Games