My memory from EGX last year is a little hazy, partly due to being lost in an endless sea of hype boners and bright colours, a little because instead of water I subsisted on free cola and Monster and possibly because each night after the event I was drunker than I normally allow myself to be in any given situation. That’s by the by though, my point is, besides the bigger boys like DOOM and Final Fantasy, nothing really stuck in my brain, besides one game, that only had a few screens running and a small section of the immense hall assigned to it. Granblue Fantasy Versus!
Coming from the minds at Arc System Works who made the stellar Dragonball FighterZ, GFV is a similar 2.5D fighting game with anime visuals, though overall slower and arguably more detailed than its Shonen predecessor, Granblue has more in common with the BlazBlue series. With a cast of interesting anime style characters filling the admittedly small roster, it’s a ton of fun from the start to decide who’s your go to. I personally went big immediately and chose hench, beard rocking wrestler Ladiva, I was getting strong Hulk Hogan vibes from the start and was then immediately shocked when the giant gent came strutting out chatting about love and pulling some incredible Sailor Moon poses. After a brief flash of confusion, I realised I’d made the right call and I now love this gentle romantic giant as he beats the other players down with flair and adorable pink hearts!
I’m a fan of 2.5D fighting games, no surprises there, not exactly breaking news but is there anything in Granblue new or all that exciting? Short answer is no, there isn’t anything thrown into the pot here that sets it apart from games that came before it. In fact, an awful look of the style seems to have been directly lifted. I mentioned Blazblue before and this…new blue? Just seems to directly copy the art style of many characters, and the intros and outros, plus command inputs to execute specials are a near perfect rip of FighterZ at times.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a ton of charm here, just the nature of its creation is worth a look. Based around the MASSIVELY popular Granblue mobile game there is no shortage of world building and available content since this series has been on going for the last 6 years with a peak of around 25 million players! So, there is an audience out there, and it must be said, after my experience here, I’ll be one of those joining in soon I imagine! While each character may give me vibes of other fandoms there is no arguing each has a great little personality of their own, from leading man Gran all the way to unapologetic bastard Beelzebub. The story helps to flesh out these assorted peeps, though is hard to grasp for someone who has no previous experience with the franchise! Safe to say that Arc System Works assumed a decent amount of experience here!
Really if you’re looking for your first foray into the world of fighting games, this probably shouldn’t be it. Most fighting games run on a system whereby you must EARN you skills, while in other genres you can blame your losses on various factors and issues, in a fighting game, it all comes down to you making a mistake. And Granblue Fantasy Versus pushes that boundary by being quite tricky from the get go, and with a story line that is hard to pick up and understand at times, it might be a safer bet to start with something a little bit more forgiving and less intense with its fandom! So go out and give the geniuses at Arc their money anyway with DB FighterZ, but once you’ve picked things up there? This game is worth a shout! If just for the gorgeous visuals alone!
I’m giving Granblue Fantasy Versus 7/10