Granblue Fantasy Versus is an upcoming 2.5D fighting game being developed by Arc System Works and published by Cygames for the Playstation 4. Set to release sometime in 2019, it aims to deliver the fun fast-paced action-packed battles that are both accessible by newcomers of the genre while still keeping the layer of complexity for the hardcore veterans.
The game achieves this by incorporating simple button inputs with your skill button and a directional input to activate skills which will then enter a cooldown phase before being allowed to activate them again. This makes initiating combos fairly simple and easy without having to learn much of the intricacies that comes from a fighting game. However the game itself adds in more layers to the mind games with evades and cross overs. Evading an attack using left + R2 (Block Button) avoids incoming projectiles and melee attacks when timed right but doesn’t work against throws. Meanwhile, cross overs lets you advance forward while avoiding damage but is also vulnerable to a throw or low attack. Throws on other hand is a simple counter to blocks but can be escaped by initiating a throw at the same time. While Skybound Arts or Super Skybound Arts have their universal inputs for both simple and technical which makes it easy enough to remember for every character unlike learning Fatalities in Mortal Kombat. These can be used when your SB meter is at 100% but the latter requires you to be at 30% HP or lower.
But this is where the game puts away its safety gloves. While the game has a limited amount of move sets, it makes up for its simple and advanced ways to initiate active skills. This is where the dedicated players are rewarded for pulling off more advanced moves than using the inputs with a skill button. One such advantage is having a faster refresh rate on skills which lets you use it more often than what a beginner would experience. There’s also the stronger versions of skills which makes them deal more damage at the cost of a longer cooldown which is accompanied by the characters glowing yellow. The idea here is plain and simple, but offers the complexities of managing your cooldowns and combos to get the advantage on fights. One other advantage of using the technical inputs is for escape throws, when a player uses the simple throw button while another initiates a technical input the other would instead fall down and puts himself/herself into a disadvantage and some bit of damage.
And all of that goes into play with the diverse play styles of each character from Granblue Fantasy’s male main protagonist Gran that is more of a balanced fighter which focuses on close range combat while still having access to a long range fireball attack. The knight Katalina on the other hand is more of an all-rounded character with a longer reach. The miniature Holy Knight Charlotta with her oversized weapon and even more sizeable crown boasts speed and power and despite her lack of ranged moves has access to a gap closing spin attack. Lancelot the dual blade user acts fast and offer mix ups to keep the enemies guessing while the ghost girl Ferry and her ectoplasmal friends offer long ranged moves with her whip and zoning tactics with her pets. Two additional characters, Lowain and Ladiva, were also confirmed but not included in the BETA.
Content-wise, there’s really nothing much other than the 64-player lobbies for every region. While the guides are neatly tucked away in the announcements screen which can be easily missed if you’re not paying attention. This jumps you into the web browser to view every detail of the combat mechanics and to each character’s move set. But once you do get into the lobbies, you’ll be greeted by choosing your character to use in matches (which can be easily swapped with L1 when sitting in an arcade station or from the options when not) as well as a lobby avatar to use when moving around the many arcade stations placed within the airship. It has its moments but at times can be a painstakingly annoying experience when it fails to connect a match. Although the takeaway here is that most fights are lag-free and at best just a millisecond of pause before the match resumes.
Granblue Fantasy Versus aims for a new era of anime fighting games, featuring the “anime-sthetics” and the flashy lights and visual effects that is sure to keep your eyes glued and your jaws dropped when the heroes of the sky drops in at stores near you!