Fighting games are daunting to get into; it takes practice, dedication, and perseverance to learn the nitty-gritty of each one, but it is incredibly rewarding as the player gets better and learns more. Granblue Fantasy: Versus is set up in a way to help ease newcomers into the genre and add in an RPG mode reminiscent of 2D action RPGs such as Odin Sphere. This time, not only will Arc System Works make a game that helps draw people into the genre, it has created an opportunity for newcomers to get into a franchise that is not well known in North America, giving a new audience to both fighting games and the world of Granblue.
Many fighting games introduce a story by using the arcade mode to give each character their own arc and ending, haphazardly done in some instances such as with Soul Calibur 4. Arc System Works does a phenomenal job incorporating story into their fighting games and has built a full action RPG to keep players involved with stat-boosting and equipment. Using the same controls and inputs as the main staple fighting game mode, the RPG story section will be an all-new tale in the world of Granblue, while providing an opportunity for players to practice the game’s mechanics and combos in a fun, new, and intuitive way. The RPG can be seen as an old-school Tekken Force game mode where players will fight through multiple enemies doing combos and progressing a story rather than just watching cutscenes that lead into a match.
One aspect that makes getting into any fighting game so difficult is directional inputs for attacks. The most famous input is the quarter-circle forward plus punch, to perform a fireball, inputted as down, down-forward, forward, in one fluid motion, plus the punch button. Fireball is easy compared to pretzel motions, double-full circles, and half-circle forwards, which are uncommon inputs but do exist. Arc System has tied special moves to a button plus direction to make it easier to perform otherwise challenging combos with more ease. Furthermore, possibly because inputs are easier, each special move will have a cooldown so players will not be able to spam fireballs but instead have to focus on normal attacks and movement to dominate the neutral game. Of all the modern fighting games on the market, the simplified input mixed with cooldowns makes Granblue Fantasy: Versus look very unique.
Some people believe games that dial back complexity lack depth, but Granblue still has plenty of it as each character plays and feels very different from the next. While the roster may be on the smaller end, the game features a varied assortment of fighters that most players should find satisfying as they wait for more characters to be released in the future.
Arc System Works is known for pushing the barrier of 3D aesthetics of games, making some of the most beautiful titles around with Dragon Ball FighterZ and Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, using 3D assets that look like a hand-drawn anime. Granblue Fantasy: Versus looks to push the boundaries even more with its spectacular visual flair.
As fighting games go through another renaissance, companies like Arc System Works are pushing the envelope and creating games that anyone can easily get into, while also featuring so much depth that they rival the largest competing titles. Granblue Fantasy: Versus is another beautiful fighting game with respectable depth that looks to create a bridge between action and fighting games, while simultaneously proving that titles of a similar ilk can be more than a multiplayer experience.