Granblue Fantasy: Relink Preview – My Multiplayer Dreams Come True

Granblue Fantasy: Relink Preview

The Granblue Fantasy lore is deep, and its fanbase is pretty niche, so when I headed into a preview with Cygames ahead of The Game Awards, I was worried I would be completely out of my element. The franchise has not one but two games coming out shortly: Granblue Fantasy: Relink, a JRPG, and Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, a new fighting game

I went hands-on for about four hours with Granblue Fantasy: Relink, experiencing several chapters of the main story and some multiplayer action, and then got an exciting hands-off look at some of the end-game boss battles. To say I was excited afterward was an understatement. Coming to PC and PlayStation winter 2024, I was slightly heartbroken, as I am an Xbox girl at heart, but I may have to switch to triangles and squares to get my time in.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink Preview
Image Credit: Cygames

First up is the main story, which is a single-player experience. You are titled “The Captain,” and though the subtitles will say the name you chose, all characters will refer to you as the Captain during the game, which is fully voiced in both English and Japanese. Heading into just under two hours of playtime, I was happy to see that I wouldn’t be lost entirely, even though I wasn’t well-versed in Granblue Fantasy lore. During any chats with NPCs, there will be prompts for a glossary to catch you up on anything you don’t understand. Lyria’s journal is available to fill in anything else if you are interested in more story details.

Combat in these solo missions feels pretty simple, if I’m honest. You have a few attacks and then come across multiple powers you can use later. With multiple difficulties, I can see it becoming more and more challenging, especially at higher levels. During the end-game Granblue Fantasy: Relink content, using the correct skills at the right time while battling with boss mechanics will be the real challenge.

When you head off with your party during the single-player mode, you can choose your main character and three more to accompany you. This very much reminded me of Dragon Age. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a good fighting composition, but realistically, I just kept choosing the people I thought were the coolest: Katalina, Rackam (so dreamy), and Rosetta. There are a TON of characters in the game, so you will need to play around to see what really works for you.

Image Credit: Cygames

The environments are lush, colorful, and feel full of life in Granblue Fantasy: Relink. There is no reason this game can’t compete with some of the big bad games out there today, like Final Fantasy or Baldur’s Gate. The gameplay felt fluent and fast, sometimes almost too fast, as I dashed past what I was taking on more than once. 

A lot of the multiplayer battle mechanics still take place during solo modes, with your party participating beside you. What is interesting are some of the added touches, like Fate Episodes. You can read or listen to a short blurb about specific party members to buff them before you head out on your journey. There is also a blacksmith to upgrade weapons and sigils, which add traits like offensive buffs, lower cooldowns, etc. You also spend Mastery Points (MSP) to raise your stats, learn skills, and more. Honestly, it feels more like playing World of Warcraft than something like Skyrim.

Image Credit: Cygames

Single-player story mode is fun and will likely take about 20 hours. After that, an additional scenario adds another 20 hours of content. After THAT, you will see the end game content, which is much more difficult and, in total, brings 100 hours of gameplay to Granblue Fantasy: Relink from beginning to end.

What most drew me to Granblue Fantasy: Relink, however, is the available multiplayer options, and I heard that from a few other journalists, too. Outside the main story, you can accept something called Quests. These can be solo’d by yourself and three CPU players, or you can group up with friends or any combination of real players and CPUs. These can be done earlier in the game and are limited to end-game content.

In my playtime, I grouped with three other players, and we took on a couple of different quests. Some were single massive bosses with mechanics; others were wave after wave we needed to fight through. What remained the same, though, was the need to play together. It was like fighting a raid or dungeon in World of Warcraft. Your bosses have mechanics and phases, and your team needs to work together to survive and take them down. There are bonuses as well, like killing a specific kind of enemy or beating it in a certain timeframe for extra rewards.

However, there are a few unique ways to do this in Granblue Fantasy: Relink. You can use Link Attacks and chain together with the other players (CPU or real). If you Link Attack at 100%, party members will gain a buff to combat. This does trigger a small cut scene, which takes a bit to get used to, for me, as it messes with the flow of combat. 

Image Credit: Cygames

There is also a skill called Skybound Art. When your bar is full (below your health bar), it has you click both sticks to unleash an attack. For the Captain, this was called Tempest. You can also chain these with your other players to create Chain Burst for more power. If you’re playing with CPUs, you can head into your menu to tell them to use these attacks or save them for later, but heading into the menu does not pause the fight, so stay safe!

You can play with friends of any level, and rewards and experience remain the same, so higher-level characters can help lower levels. You can also group up with open matchmaking, which will bring people of similar levels together, but there is an option to join lower players if you choose to turn that on. Remember, there is no in-game voice chat, though, only emotes that you can use during battle.

Once you head into end-game content, I suggest creating parties of your own and ensuring you have voice chat. These reminded me more of raid bosses in WoW and required serious coordination. We saw a battle with Whitewyrm, a massive dragon. The team went in with two players and two CPUs; let me tell you, they were decked out! Once you unlock all the slots, you can use up to 12 sigils per character.

Image Credit: Cygames

Another thing I enjoyed was that though the characters are made with specific roles in mind, depending on the kind of skills and traits you assign, you can sort of mold them into different roles. Sigils can force a boss to target them more or less, and you can gain skills for other roles, too. In theory, this can work, but chances are, if you’re playing with pro gamers, they will opt for more traditional roles in the long run.

Because there are so many players, you can test the different combinations to see who pairs well with whom. The example we received was Vane as a tank with defense as his focus and Io based on charge attacks, making for great DPS. They had Vane use skills that would protect Io so she could use Flowery Seven, one of the most damaging skills in the game. 

As you can see in the screenshots, these fights time out at an hour, but there are bonuses for winning in under ten minutes. Bosses have skills like Overdrive, which makes them more powerful, but if you can power through it, you will hit something like Break, where they take more damage, and you want to throw everything you have at the enemy.

Image Credit: Cygames

Granblue Fantasy: Relink feels like so many different genres are packed into one. The multiplayer experience gives me massive MMO vibes, returning fond memories of raiding in World of Warcraft or dungeons in Elder Scrolls Online. Solo story mode, Quest modes, and player customization bring out the best of my favorite RPGs. 

Coming to PC via Steam, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 this winter, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is starting off 2024, and it is looking to be another major year in gaming.


  • Dayna Eileen

    Dayna is an all-Canadian long-time gamer and geek. She absolutely loves introducing the people she knows to her love for gaming and nerd culture. You can often find her writing about tech, gaming and media across the web.

Dayna Eileen

Written by Dayna Eileen

Dayna is an all-Canadian long-time gamer and geek. She absolutely loves introducing the people she knows to her love for gaming and nerd culture. You can often find her writing about tech, gaming and media across the web.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *