Granblue Fantasy: Versus Closed Beta Preview – A Well-Balanced Anime Fighter
As far as fighters go, I usually stick closer to the 2D anime variety. I find more of a liking to the stylistic and flashy nature of the characters and world. However, after seeing Granblue Fantasy: Versus when it was first revealed, my preferences didn’t really matter, I just knew I had to play it.
Thankfully, Cygames launched a closed beta weekend for the game and I could finally get my hands on it. After playing hours of the game, I found so many things that I enjoyed about its visual presentation and fighting mechanics. However, speed might be something that players who are used to the fast systems of games like Dragonball FighterZ might need to get a little used to.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus introduces some interesting fighting mechanics where each character has a set of skills that can be used in combination of light and heavy attacks. The four skills are unique to each fighter and are tied to the R1 button. Each time a skill is used it has a cooldown phase so spamming skills isn’t the best way to get through battles. Also, timing is pretty crucial and skills can be canceled or countered by the opponent, which makes for some pretty interesting fights.
Additionally, each character has a couple of specials that are blockable, but when they land, they sure are flashy. Unblockable skills and projectiles can also be countered and players can utilize a Cross Over that can dodge projectiles but can be caught in a throw or low attack.
What took me some time to get used to was the speed at which the battles take place. Developer Arc System Works is known for its fast anime-fighters, but Granblue Fantasy: Versus doesn’t really have the same speed of the developer’s previous line-up of fighters. The game takes things a little slower and requires strategic inputs to chain together combos. However, this doesn’t make it too complicated thanks to the game’s simplistic button scheme and mechanics.
The visual appeal of the game is gorgeous and I don’t know how the developers were able to put together something so beautiful. The environment comes alive and changes throughout the battle, which can even be distracting for me because I just wanted to stop fighting and enjoy the foreground animations. Before and after a fight the characters will interact with each other differently depending on the matchup which, for fans, creates some pretty funny moments. What’s interesting is how the characters know they are friends and after a fight with a peer, they’ll smile or reach out their hand to help the character up.
The Granblue Fantasy IP is a precious one with plenty of stories to tell between a lively cast of characters. What’s great about Granblue Fantasy: Versus is how it preserves these stories and relationships within a fighting game experience. With balance being the key factor in a fighting game, Granblue Fantasy: Versus offers a nice roster of characters who each have a decent moveset to make each match up a fair experience. I found the most fun playing as Ferras or Katalina, but I could see myself playing as Charlotta as well in the future.
After playing around six hours of the game’s closed beta, Granblue Fantasy: Versus is looking to be a solid anime-fighting experience. While the speed of the game might be something that players will need to get used to, I believe that the strategic nature of when and when not to burn skills will create some of the most fun to watch fights that the community has ever seen. I can’t wait to see more environments and dive deeper into the roster of playable characters.
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