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Granblue Fantasy Versus : my video review and guide is available !

Hey everyone !

Last week, I got the chance to try Granblue Fantasy Versus out ! I played a ton of Arc System Works and CyGames’ newest pet project and so I got to work on a new video, explaining the basics and the concept of this unique fighting game ! Under the video is its script, as I think it’s also useful to have that !

(Don’t forget to activate the subtitles in YouTube’s options !)

 

But first, a little context surrounding Granblue Fantasy and what it actually is !

Before it became a fighting game, the Granblue Fantasy series began as a mobile game developped by Cygames. It came out in 2014 and got more than 24 million players playing by 2018 !

CyGames is mainly a mobile game developper and Granblue Fantasy is their main series. Shadowverse got a fair bit of traction, but they really struck gold by collaborating with Nintendo on Dragalia Lost in 2018 !

They garnered quite a fanbase with Granblue Fantasy and so they went on a multimedia romp to make it grow. There’s a 25 episodes-long anime, a manga in 7 volumes and an Action-RPG named Granblue Fantasy RELink coming out this year !

Since 2017, CyGames has been preparing its entry into the fighting game eSports arena. They sponsored their own team BEAST headed by champion Daigo Umehara and a couple of great international player Buuut they ended it on March 1st of this year following Granblue Fantasy Versus’ launch to avoid conflict of interest. Indeed, they’d be in hot waters if they sponsored a fighting game’s team they themselves had a hand in creating.

The game also managed to nab a spot in EVO’s main line-up this year, at the same time Mortal Kombat 11 got out, barely a year after release ! Basically, CyGames intends to get into the eSports scene, while also making a game for those not accustomed to their series. And this all the while getting non VS fighting players to play the game.

They had to have a game that’s faithful to the series, that’s accessible and that’s also pretty technical… And to that end, they called for Arc System Works, also known for their incredible work on Guilty Gear, Blazblue and Dragon Ball FighterZ…

Let’s now focus on the star of today’s video : Granblue Fantasy Versus ! 

The game only has 11 characters on the base roster, with much more waiting in the DLC section. Despite the small roser, each character has a unique design and gameplay. You’ll most certainly find someone to fit your needs !

You can choose characters with a simpler gameplay, that’s to the point with Gran or Katalina, characters that keep their distance, like Ferry and Metera, strong characters like Ladiva and Vaseraga (who’s really a fusion beween Soul Calibur’s Zasalamel and Nightmare), or even Lowain, who’s the game’s biggest goofball ! If you like charismatic pretty boys, there’s Lancelot and Percival ! They stole my heart !

Let’s focus now on the game’s interface !

  • The green bar’s the health bar. Underneath, there’s the Super gauge, also known as the Skybound gauge. It fills up when you attack or get attacked, move closer towards the opponent and use special attacks. It allows you to use your Super attack.
  • The ability icons. Like in MMORPGs or some mobile games, your special attacks have cooldowns. Basically, you need to wait before ou can reuse them. Herein lies the difference between GB VS and other 2D fighting games ! Usually, you tend to use part of the Super gauge to do special attacks. Here, no need for that gauge. Just wait for the ability to cool down to reuse them. As you’d expect, the length of the cooldown depends on the attacks’ power. It makes fights feel unique and technical, as you need to know when to use them and optimize your combos.

Let’s focus on the game’s controls :

L for light attacks, M for medium attacks, H for heavy attacks, U for Unique Attacks, AB for Attack Button, which allows for special attacks, and there’s also a Guard button.

To delve even further :

  • The attack button is used for abilities. It’s a shortcut allowing you to use your special attacks. The attack varies depending on the direction you used combined with AB. As you can see, there are arrows on the bottom of the icons. They indicate which direction to imput to use the ability. Basically, you have Forward + AB, Back + AB, etc. Keep in mind its a shortcut easing the players who aren’t familiar with quarter-circle motions into using the abilities. If you use these shortcuts, the cooldown will last longer than by doing the advanced imputs.
  • If you’re new to the genre, don’t worry, there’s also an auto-combo system : you can use it by being close to your opponent and mash the same button. For example, light, light, light, then do a special attack with AB to cap it off.
  • By the way, don’t forget to check your combos are guaranteed in training mode by toggling the following option : Options, then Adversary, then Adversary Guard and toggle « After the first attack ».
  • And so the CPU will guard after the first attack landed. If he doesn’t guard during your combo, then it means it’s guaranteed.
  • Let’s now talk Overhead, an attack that goes over the opponent’s head and hits them if they’re in lower guard. Either you’re doing it by pressing M+H, or use the hotkey in the options. It’s useful against the crouchy ones, but also to avoid a grab.
  • The grab : L+U or L+M : you can also do a backward grab by simply pressing back when grabbing to make the opponent fly. Grabs can also be performed while airborne, so use them when the opponent jumps too much !
  • Super Jump : by pressing down and quickly up, you can launch forward or backward.
  • Skybound Arts : Basically your Super attack. You can use it when your gauge reaches 100% and you do 2 quarter-circles forward + H
  • Super SkyBound Arts : The Ultra attack. You can use it when the gauge hits 100% and you’re below 30% health. The bar flashes blue and you can use it. Though stay close to the opponent to see the full animation and do max damage. If you’re too far, there wont be any cutscenes. To use it : 2 quarter-circles forward + U

Let’s now talk defense !

To protect yourself, you can hold back like in any 2D fighter, but there’s also a Guard button !

The choice is yours, but using the Guard button also allows to protect yourself from cross-ups, where the character jumps, attacks and can impose a mix-up by attacking either front or back.

Usually in 2D fighters, you have to adapt your guard and invert it if there’s a cross-up, but thanks to this button, you don’t need to anymore !

Don’t forget that you also have an aerial guard here too ! If you’re in the air, you can protect yourself by pressing G.

Just Guard : if you guard right before an attack lands, you’ll do a Just Guard. Your character will glow and your Super gauge fills up significantly.

You can dodge projectiles, pressing Back + G, though it’s also vulnerable against projections and using it unwisely will get you punished.

You can avoid a grab by also pressing grab ( L+U or L+M)

Special dash : by pressing Forward + G, you can advance while avoiding attacks. It’s weak against low attacks and projections, though. It can be used to avoid projectiles and to get out of the corner.

To recover, basically immediately get back up after going down, press down or back + L before touching the ground.

I won’t go into detail into combos, punishes and the rest, as the game’s tutorials are really good and are a real help ! Arc System Works excells at tutorials and I really appreciated this aspect, as it also helps understading fighting games in general !

You learn everything, from attacks, the guards, grabs and ungrabs, punishes, and there’s even challenges to perform special attacks for each character and punish every type of attack.

Also, the French translation is spot-on ! It doesn’t overtranslate things and keeps with the international vocabulary. Basically, the zoning, the whiff, counter, overhead, recovery, mix up, cancel, recovery frame, hitstun are kept as-is in-game and it’s so satisfying ! The translators even got a French streamer joke in by naming a lesson on guarding « la garde, c’est arrière » referencing his show’s name !

About the game’s notations, especially in challenge mode. You can change in the options the buttons’ display. Either with imputs adapted to your console (Square, Circle, X, etc for PS4 players), or the in-game imputs (L, M, H, U etc) You can also change the way the attacks are displayed, either simplified, advanced, with the attacks’ names, etc.

Once you’re used to these commands, I really advise you to switch to advanced commands. If you can, get rid of the simplified ones as soon as possible to be as efficient as possible.

Let’s talk solo content, as it’s still important for those who just want a laid-back experience ! The game’s quite rich with content for solo players !

The RPG mode lets you go through the game’s story with multiple chapters and 5 islands to explore, many quests netting you rewards like illustrations for the Gallery or items to upgrade your weapons in the mode. There are also missions to accomplish to net items. The RPG mode also serves as a neat tutorial, making you learn the ropes throughout the adventure. Everyhting’s done to make the learning process fun all the while making you discover Granblue Fantasy’s story and lore !

Another solo mode I really liked is the Encyclopedia. You can learn more about the characters, the stages, weapons, special attacks… And also the many terms used in fighting games in general ! You can learn about tick throw, le fuzzy guard, meaty, tech trap… It’s a blessing for those wanting to know more about the community !

And finally, there’s the Gallery that can be filled with illustrations, music and cutscenes by playing RPG and Arcade mode. And you can buy some with in-game achievements ! The artworks also have fun sidenotes from the CyGames staff, with impressions on the characters and their work in the studio.

As for the music… They are godly ! A lot of people worked on the soundtrack, including two of my favorite composers : Nobuo Uematsu, who you all know thanks to his work on the Final Fantasy series, and Yasunori Nishiki the composer behind Octopath Traveler … CyGames really went all-out on this game !

And there you have it ! I hope you found the overview useful, as I had a lot of fun doing it and discovering Granblue Fantasy Versus !

The one thing I’m miffed about and got the community riled up is the lack of playable characters and the overabundance of Season Passes despite the game barely coming out ! We’re already talking 2 Season Passes, with one having already two characters out ! I think the game should’ve come out a month later and put Belzeebub and Narmaya into the base roster.

The game’s really pretty, the soundtrack’s filled with bangers, the characters are overly cool… And yet it’s a shame it’ll probably drive players away because of these Season Passes. The game’s already turning out to be expensive in the long run !

Happy training !

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