Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising

Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising

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Review game Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, A grand slam has occurred.

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Granblue Fantasy Versus, which I reviewed back in February 2020, impressed me as a fantastic, fundamentally sound, and distinctly approachable anime fighter with only a few significant issues. There are only 11 playable characters, an antiquated delay-based netcode, and an unduly complex and boring RPG mode. I’m not sure if the creators of Granblue Fantasy Versus Rising used that as a checklist of things to get better, but they might as well have given me great satisfaction in seeing that all of those problems have been fixed, and then some.

Let’s summarize the updates and additions: With a new chapter and a complete overhaul of the fighting system, Story Mode is now a much better version of the base game’s campaign, complete with several exciting new mechanics. Other features include improved learning tools, rollback netcode, and an online lobby featuring a Granblue-themed Fall Guys-esque mode. All things considered, this is one of the most feature-rich “definitive edition”-style fighting game updates I’ve ever seen, and it’s a wonderful way to re-enter the expansive Granblue Fantasy Versus universe.

I won’t go into detail about every mechanical change that has been made to Rising’s core fighting style because there are a lot of them. However, the most significant ones are the elimination of universal techniques like Overdrive and Tactical Move that were added after launch, the addition of a new type of special move called Ultimate Skills, the use of Bravery Points as a resource, and a few potent abilities that utilize Bravery Points.

Every character gains a great deal of utility from Ultimate Skills, which adds even more depth to the meter management game.

I can’t really speak to how Overdrive and Tactical Move feel absent because I wasn’t following Granblue at the time, but I can say that the new features all feel fantastic. Ultimate Skills are new versions of special moves that grant existing moves a variety of potent new properties at the expense of 50% of your special meter, with 25% of the meter being returned if the skill succeeds. For instance, Katalina’s Frozen Blade Ultimate version fires a massive blade from full screen range that can pierce most projectiles, crumple the opponent, and allow her to get a combo if she is positioned correctly. This makes you hesitate to aim a projectile at her when she is 50 meters away. Some characters, such as Siegfried, are able to simply carry their opponent from one end of the stage to the other using the most advanced version of their down special. Furthermore, these moves have the unique ability to be used even when they are on cooldown. Every character now has an enormous amount of additional utility, and you have a great deal of freedom to design new combo routes based on your preferences for heavy damage, hard knockdowns, or extra corner carry. It also adds another level of complexity to the meter management game, which enhances the careful decision-making that is essential to any excellent fighting game.

On the other hand, Bravery Points are a resource that is only associated with the two new abilities, Brave Counters and Raging Strikes. Simple is the Brave Counter: At the expense of one BP, you can push an opponent off of you by pressing two buttons at once while blocking. Nonetheless, if an opponent simply sits there blocking, you can use the incredibly potent Raging Strikes attack to break through their defenses during a blockstring. Even though your opponent blocked the attack, you can still use that to your advantage by using a Raging Chain attack to finish the combo. Additionally, Raging Strike can be used to carry on combos from long-range attacks that aren’t usually combo-able.

That might sound ridiculous on paper, but Raging Strikes are incredibly well-balanced, much like Drive Impacts in Street Fighter 6. They are incredibly slow, so if you use them predictably, you can interrupt them with a jab or use a spot dodge, which looks cool and slows them down. This will give you plenty of time to punish them severely. The other crucial aspect of this whole situation is that, should you bank Bravery Points, they also significantly boost your defense, meaning that each point you use will result in additional damage from your opponent moving forward. Thus, you really need to be careful not to use those points carelessly but rather to close out rounds.

The Sky Scrappers

Everything else that I recall from my Granblue gameplay back in 2020 is pretty much this. That is to say, because of features like auto combos, simple one-button special move inputs (which also no longer result in additional skill-cooldown penalties), and a very measured pace of action that is far more akin to Street Fighter than most other ArcSys anime games, it’s a very beginner-friendly fighting game. Since I only played Granblue at launch, the bulk of the cast has increased significantly—from a meager 11 to a very respectable 28—thanks to Rising, which includes every DLC release from the previous three years as well as four brand-new characters.

In the end, Story Mode is superior to RPG Mode in GBFV, primarily because it’s much quicker and easier to navigate.

The story itself takes precedence over the fighting, and as far as it goes, it’s okay. While the overall plot is largely uninteresting and doesn’t quite have the big satisfying payoff that I was hoping for, given the buildup to the final few chapters, there are definitely some funny moments, most of which involve the Lowain trio. In the end, it’s better than the RPG mode in the original GBFV, mainly because it’s much faster and easier to complete. I felt like I spent exactly the right amount of time with the new chapter—two or three hours—in its completion.

Getting to the Top

Almost every other aspect of Granblue Fantasy Versus is enhanced by Rising. With a more comprehensive frame data display, rapid character guides that provide an overview of a character’s strengths and recommended button presses at various ranges, and useful combo trials that offer combos for every scenario—from anti-airs to counter-hit anti-airs, corners, and combos for when you hit your opponent with a furious strike—its training mode and learning tools are far more feature-rich. This is how a modern fighting game should be: I never felt like I had to look elsewhere to obtain a basic level of competency with a new character.


Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising isn’t just an easy way to play the original game “version-up.” It systematically fixes almost every problem I had with it when it first launched in 2020. These include adding a number of quality-of-life enhancements, such as better training tools, character-specific tutorials, and more, and replacing the outdated, delay-based netcode with an excellent rollback. The game’s original roster of 11 characters was expanded to an excellent collection of 28 highly unique and varied characters. Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising stands out as one of the best fighting games of the year, even in a crowded field of excellent titles.


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