There’s a widely held belief that fighting games are hard to get into. That their steep learning curve, niche appeal and high skill ceiling are just too much to swallow. Arc System Works, developer of both the hardcore Guilty Gear and the more accessible Dragon Ball Fighterz, has come up with a sweetener with Granblue Fantasy Vs. As an adaptation of a super popular mobile JRPG and created by arguably the best producers of fighting games today, Granblue has the potential to be truly stellar. Is this the fighting game for those who struggle to find enjoyment in the genre – or is it simply more of the same?
Starting with the roster, Granblue Fantasy Vs has a pretty shallow pool of 12 characters to pick from. If there’s a silver lining to that slim selection, though, it’s that the diversity of fighting game archetypes is surprisingly large. You’ve got everything from your classic fireball and uppercut fighters, long distance oppressors, and grapplers, alongside a myriad of others with vastly different play-styles. This character diversity comes hand in hand with the appearance of each character, as all of them seem to fill a wide range of tastes. Are you a tad edgy? Vaseraga is for you! You like things basic and simple? Gran is the most vanilla of protagonists you’ll find all year. This lack of overlapping looks and fighting styles should ensure you’ll find someone you enjoy.
If there’s one aspect that the characters – and everything else for that matter – have in common, it’s that they’re all damn gorgeous. I can’t imagine how much work it must have taken the artists at Arc System Works to achieve the aesthetic of Granblue, but all that effort shows. The beautifully animated 3D fighters pop out from the background and rarely get lost regardless of how detailed the stage is, their movements are smooth, and every attack looks as though it has some serious force to it, while stages range from high-fantasy villages with castles jutting upwards behind the buildings, to sweeping wildernesses. Granblue Fantasy Vs is eye candy of the highest calibre.