I spent about 40 hours on the latest Arc System Works effort - and many more will follow - passionately like never before to a 2D fighting game. I think I can safely say that I am in front of a well-finished and finished product, with some flaws, of course, but which on balance seems to be tailor-made for that type of player, including re-entry, which despite loving the genre has always had difficulties to delve into its intricate ecosystem. Because, as specified already in the review of the excellent Street Fighter V Championship Edition, beat'em ups are an extremely complex type of game, on which it is necessary to spend tens - if not hundreds - of hours of play and study before being "tamed", and the obstacle of initial difficulty often frightens, understandably , the public. Granblue Fantasy Versus comes to the rescue of all newbies passionate and takes them by the hand, with a title that like never before is able to explain in a clear and simple way all its mechanics and to provide the game with all the tools necessary to learn better. If the aforementioned Street Fighter V is a preparatory title for learning, this Granblue Fantasy Versus proves even more effective and complete in this sense.
Don't call it Anime Fighter
Arc System Works has accustomed us to productions of the caliber of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, then reaching the general public thanks to that little gem of Dragonball FighterZ, perhaps the best licensed fighting game ever developed. Granblue Fantasy Versus is distinguished by these titles, if not so much in the amazing graphics, in the essence of its gameplay, which closely follows the footsteps of the most classic two-dimensional fighting games, and therefore yes: it is again necessary to mention Street Fighter. Brutally, one could say that Granblue is one simplified version of the Capcom title: fewer buttons available, simpler and more simplified mechanics and no type of EX bar for specials. How then can you appreciate this production and how, despite these "synthetisms", can it be a more than valid game? First of all, precisely because this simplification - which could lead the most skilled players to a tired phase - is exploited in that perspective propaedeutics that was mentioned at the beginning. In addition, Granblue Fantasy Versus presents a mechanism almost unprecedented for the genre, which hides in its immediacy a real flash of genius. Just as regards the mechanics of the Specials, Ark System Works has created a system of "Shortcut" to make it easier to input those moves. However, the technical controls are present, which allow us to perform the correct movement for the moves - quarter turns, double quarter turns, full turns, dragon punch, winding moves and so on - but both the special and the super can be performed with the simple press of a directional button combined with a frontal one, as happens in the Smash Bros series, to give an example. Using the simplified input we therefore perform in the special linked to it, but we are doubly penalized since the move will inflict less damage and will be subject to cooldown, the latter also activates for all EX specials, preventing us from abusing them, given the lack of a special bar to be used. This system not only meets less accustomed players but allows a progressive sense of growth. Initially you could be led to use the shortcuts, and then train yourself to insert the technical commands little by little, continuing to use quick input on the most difficult specials or to ensure the insertion of the same in a combo. This is how it is created a modular game system which can satisfy both those who are already experts and those who are beginners, but giving precedence to the latter. As already pointed out in fact, one of the - few - defects the title is that of being, although well structured, not complex enough to completely convince the most capable and competent buyer, although able to give satisfactions even to those who fall into this category.
The most striking thing about the game is his intelligibility. The cleanliness of the animations, the sustained but never confusing rhythm and the clarity of what happens on the screen, outweighs almost any other production, even those already renowned for this aspect of clarity of action. Thanks to these precautions and to the very detailed tutorial that outlines each fighter's skills and characteristics, diving into the study of a character is immediate and painless even for the least capable or the most diffident. You should not even make the mistake of thinking of being in front of a skinny or simplistic game: the heart of the experience of the best fighting games remains, albeit streamlined, and it is therefore necessary to know the peculiarities of each opponent - and of course of his own character - if you don't want to run into a string of sensational defeats. In short, entering the world of Granblue Fantasy Versus, in any case, you are forced to engage and know the world of fighting games, discovering or re-discovering it for the first time, learning its terminology, its times and in fact the overwhelming amount of information that they achieve, but without being overwhelmed or stunned, and it is precisely for this reason that it is so easy to fall in love with this atypical work.
A cast from Favola tale
Entering the selection menu of the challengers, the scarce amplitude of the roster stands out immediately: only 11 characters. 12, if we count Belzeebub, obtainable by completing the story mode, in a similar way to Dragonball FighterZ Android 21. The first season pass is however already "active" and the lethal Narmaya has already entered the Granblue family, three more characters will join in the coming months, which will therefore bring the number of fighters to 16. However, they are not very many and yes, given that the game is sold at full price and the season pass aligns with the canonical costs of the DLC packages, the bill to be paid to enjoy the ASW banquet in its entirety is certainly salty. Fortunately, each character is splendidly characterized and plays a specific role in the production economy, managing to satisfy the preferences of each type of player. For example, The diva - that I could not help but elect instantly as my main - is a grappler able to maximize damage to the corner and perform a series of sockets and command grabs that push the opponent under pressure and that will make the happiness of all those raised on bread and Zangief. Do you love charge characters? Then you cannot fail to become faithful knights in the service of the small but great Charlotta, which moreover is currently recognized as one of the strongest characters in the game. Anyone accustomed to using Ken and Ryu or Shoto-kan characters anyway can have fun with Great e Katalina, while those who love zoners will be spoiled for choice between Ferry, Metera e Percival. Impossible not to mention Vaseraga then, which thanks to its mammoth size and the vast range, combined with the ability to protect itself with armor, will literally go crazy anyone who loves such personalities. In short, Granblue Fantasy Versus while not being able to count on a huge amount of wrestlers, manages to yield unique and intriguing each "piece of the board", making it really difficult to choose the character to use.
Erre Pi Gì
As is well known, Granblue Fantasy is a very famous brand in Japan - but semi-unknown here - that has routed the market and conquered millions of people with a "simple" game for Android and iOS developed by Cygames, which together with the The excellence of Arc System Works has decided to further expand the brand by creating a fighting game that can be appreciated by fans of the mobile counterpart. It follows that most Westerners who start the RPG mode of the title - including who writes you - is not the least familiar with the events or characters narrated in the story. Not bad: it's easy to become attached to a cast so well styled, and this atypical Story Mode it can also be appreciated by those who discover Gran and his clique only thanks to this fighting game. The premises of this modality are very intriguing, since they mix mechanics from scroll beat'em up with the growth and personalization of a role-playing game. You can level up, equip and upgrade different weapons and even use items in the midst of confrontations. This mode also offers us the opportunity to get familiar with all the basic mechanics of the title and also to fully test the cast, all supported by a unpublished written plot ad hoc. While appreciating the intentions of the team and the care taken in this full-bodied single player mode, you can immediately notice a certain flatness due to a strong sense of repetitiveness, excessive simplicity clashes and a not too pressing pace, supported by a functional but not very interesting narrative. To remove the chestnuts from the fire we think unlockable. By completing the RPG Mode you can get it Beelzebub as previously said, but not only. In fact, new colors and new skins for weapons await the completists, managing to give that pinch of customization more and more appreciated in this type of production. Although not fully successful, the single player offer is still a point in favor of Granblue Fantasy Versus, despite a shaky RPG mode you have available one of the best sparring fashions ever, complete with guides, challenges and interesting lessons to learn to better master the combat system.
The online infrastructure of Granblue Fantasy Versus is based on a delay-based netcode. This may already be enough to move you on to the next paragraph, but it is good to spend a few words on the work done anyway. Following the tradition of the latest Guilty Gear, Arc System Works offers a lobby system where you can move with your avatar - obviously customizable - and sit in one of the cabinets available to wait for another player and start giving them right. This system takes the place of casual matches and joins a simple ranked system. Selecting the classified mode you notice the great speed with which you can find opponents, not always with an excellent connection unfortunately, but normally you play without problems with 2 or 3 scrap frames, more than acceptable considering the delay-based nature of the netcode. Of course, after the surprising announcement by Arc System Works regarding the choice of a rollback-based netcode, one wonders why they have not chosen to adopt the same mechanism also for Granblue, but who knows if they will not reserve us surprises in the future, in case the title should continue to be successful. For anyone who prefers to play with friends, no problem: a simple system of rooms allows us to create exclusive environments for our fist fights, inserting ourselves in an exclusive mini-lobby for our group up to a maximum of eight players.
Mirror of my cravings
The Unreal Engine 4 is polished by the visual mastery of the Gilty Gear team, creating characters rich in detail and excellently designed, especially when they burst into the spectacular Skybound Art. The impression is that Arc System Works constantly improves, with every new game or character shown it is impossible not to be amazed and notice how they are able to make even a licensed title. The delightful pastel effect that frames the experience gives us arenas less rich than what we are used to seeing as scenarios for Sol Badguy's raids, but equally well cared for in their staging. There is some tearing problem on PC, which however you can dispel by deactivating the game's v-sync and activating it from the panel of your graphics card, for the rest the experience is smooth and bewitching for as long as you decide to spend in the company of Granblue Fantasy Versus. The sound component stands out thanks to a first level dubbing, especially the one in Japanese, and one exceptional soundtrack with some truly unforgettable tracks.
Charismatic, intuitive, addictive, sparkling and above all fun. Cygames and Arc System Works package one cross fighting game, suitable for all players. Although considered a quantity / price ratio that oscillates on the abyss of insufficiency, the quality of the product cannot be questioned. Perhaps the most savvy "fighting game" will not be completely satisfied with this production but all the others, especially the skeptics, should give the product a chance at Granblue Fantasy Versus, because it could sanction the beginning of a splendid love story with the genre. beat'em up.