2023 was a wild yr for gaming, producing a few of the finest video games of the previous decade, which all occurred to launch on prime of one another. Video games like Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Alan Wake 2 have been launched inside months of one another, with a number of different unbelievable video games sandwiched in between. A type of video games was Remaining Fantasy 16, which, whereas nice in its personal proper, appeared to overlook the mark a bit in terms of what followers of the collection needed from a Remaining Fantasy title.
Fortunately, 2024 is right here, and with it comes what shall be remembered because the yr the JRPG returned to prominence. The lineup is stacked on this style, with a number of titles prepped to make a robust case for Recreation of the 12 months. Granblue Fantasy: Relink has already gotten us off to a quick begin, and it contains a lot of what we thought the following title within the Remaining Fantasy franchise was going to provide us. Let’s try why this feels just like the true Remaining Fantasy 16 in some ways.
The Get together
One side that has at all times been true to each mainline entry within the Remaining Fantasy collection has been the presence of a celebration. Whereas not each sport knocks it out of the park on this regard, all of them embrace no less than 4 playable characters that may often be interchanged all through the sport to maintain the gameplay contemporary throughout your journey. Remaining Fantasy 16 eschewed this pattern and determined to make Clive Rosfield the primary occasion of the story, which, whereas high quality, precipitated a handful of points to pop up.
To begin with, Clive has one single weapon all through the sport: a sword. Now, you should buy different swords all through the sport, however all of them have the very same assaults, and the one factor that modifications is the look. You’ll be able to unlock new talents, however all the new assaults with the sword might be unlocked within the first 2 hours of the sport, leaving the remainder of the 58 hours you’ll probably be spending in right here feeling awfully samey. In the meantime, all through the sport, you’ll be accompanied by numerous characters like Jill, Joshua, and Dion, and whereas they’ll be preventing alongside you, they’re fully unplayable, and you may’t even give them instructions in battle like one thing akin to what the Mass Impact franchise did.
This makes Clive really feel like a boring character to play as after some time, and sadly, you’re caught with him. With Granblue Fantasy: Relink, the celebration is the star of the present, and Cygames needs you to really feel that proper off the bat as we’re thrust into an already in-progress story that includes this group of vacationers. The sport itself feels as if early-era Remaining Fantasy was transferred into the trendy period of gaming, and I’m fully into that. Every celebration member performs fully otherwise, and even should you get fed up with the bottom group, crewmate playing cards let you take extra celebration members alongside all through the sport, who, whereas thrown in considerably haphazardly, all have their very own distinctive playstyles and even touch upon story beats throughout battles, even when they’re ignored within the chilly in terms of cutscenes.
You can not swap celebration members mid-battle, which is a little bit of a bummer, however you’re capable of create tandem assaults with Hyperlink Assaults and Skybound Arts, which create some unbelievable visible spectacle and make it really feel such as you’re actively preventing collectively. In Remaining Fantasy 16, Jill is your companion for many of the sport, however you possibly can’t work together together with her in any respect on the battlefield. For those who fall in battle, she will not be there to select you up, and though you’ll often see her hearth off some magic, you possibly can’t mix forces in any means, and it feels oddly restrictive. With Granblue Fantasy: Relink, should you fall in battle, your celebration is there that will help you up. Your enemies don’t simply deal with you; there’s an all-out cacophony of chaos occurring round you always, making the fight appear much more team-based.
Exploration of the World
It’s true that Yoshi P had his team watch Game of Thrones season 1 earlier than writing Remaining Fantasy 16’s story, nevertheless it resulted in a world that was extremely darkish and, truthfully, not a lot enjoyable to discover. The pseudo-open-world nature of the sport had nothing to supply in the best way of rewarding exploration. You possibly can go off the overwhelmed path, certain, however should you did, there was nothing to reward you in your endeavors. Surprisingly, a collection that was identified for hiding trinkets everywhere should you cared to look had nothing to supply. You’d discover such amazing treasures like 3 gold after wandering round a considerably hidden path. It was flat-out weird, and there have been no secret bosses to seek out both, one other collection hallmark.
It led to areas feeling ineffective to discover and actually made what was speculated to be an open-world expertise really feel very linear. Virtually the precise reverse is true with Granblue Fantasy: Relink. The sport is damaged down into completely different major quests which can be, by their nature, very linear. Nonetheless, all through every space, there are hidden chests to gather, alternate paths that reward gamers with helpful loot, and even hidden equipment to seek out. The areas you get to discover are admittedly small, however they pack a lot into these areas that they’re in the end much more rewarding.
Each of those video games are straightforward; let’s get that out of the best way. Nonetheless, Remaining Fantasy 16 is among the best video games of all time. The loopy boss battles are actually one thing to be impressed by, however when these bosses provide little to no solution to truly defeat you, what’s the purpose of creating these clashes so cinematic? Even should you handle to be defeated in battle, you begin the battle midway by way of with your entire sources replenished. Outdoors of the boss fights, regular fight is equally a breeze, with you having the ability to stand in entrance of enemies for an excellent 3 seconds earlier than they even take a hack at you. The one factor providing any problem is the hunts, however they’re simply reskins of bosses you’ve already fought more often than not, and that will get outdated quick. This collection has at all times been identified for having terrifyingly tough tremendous bosses to cope with, and sadly, they have been nowhere to be discovered right here. The place is the the Ultima Weapon, the Ruby Weapon, Ozma, and many others? Positive, it’s within the DLC now, and sure extra when the true DLC releases this summer time, nevertheless it ought to’ve been there to start with, and it wasn’t.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink is much from a tough sport, as your staff is ready to crawl round after being knocked out, permitting you to both self-revive or get picked up by one other teammate, which makes fight a little bit of a breeze as properly. Nonetheless, what Granblue Fantasy: Relink has is an endgame that is filled with challenges. Many have mentioned the true sport doesn’t begin till you end the story, and right here, that appears to be very true. You may not want to consider celebration composition throughout the primary sport, however as soon as the credit roll, you should have problem after problem ready for you within the type of optionally available quests. These have you ever preventing some extremely powerful monsters and successfully flip the sport right into a Monster Hunter lite of types, nevertheless it’s all the higher for it because it makes all that upgrading you have been doing all through the sport appear very a lot price it.
The True Remaining Fantasy
It won’t get the eye that Remaining Fantasy 16 bought, however Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a large achievement within the JRPG style and ought to be a title that many builders take a look at and go, “That’s what a JRPG ought to appear like.” It’s not the deepest sport ever, and the story is a bit on the predictable facet, however that doesn’t cease it from fulfilling the whole lot we have been on the lookout for from Remaining Fantasy 16 whereas doing one thing distinctive within the course of. The one factor Remaining Fantasy 16 does higher is that it doesn’t have a personality like Vyrn, who’s within the working for worst character within the historical past of fiction. Small negatives, massive positives, it’s time for a brand new fantasy to take the crown.