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Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review

Billed as a sequel, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising actually feels like a souped-up version of the original release.

Jump into this anime-themed fighting game and the experience will be very familiar if you’ve already played its predecessor – to the point where you might have a hard time telling them apart. But there are some notable differences if you dig deep enough; not all good, but mostly.

For start, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising includes all characters that were released as DLC for the original game. That means you get to play as the likes of Yuel and Beelzebub right from the off. Additional stages and other extras are included, too. In fact, you could consider this to be the complete, or ‘Game of the Year’ edition of Granblue Fantasy: Versus. And there’s more. Four brand new characters also grace the roster, with more to be added via a season pass.

It’s in the multiplayer department that Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising has benefitted from the most work, however. There’s a new lobby system, for example, that allows players to engage in a wide range of activities as well as find other players to jump into a fight with. Also providing a break from brawling is a new fun-filled party mode called Grand Bruise. Think Fall Guys with Chibi-lile versions of Granblue characters and you’re nearly there.

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Image: Cygames, Arc System Works

For those who are all about the fighting, the incorporation of rollback netcode will be welcomed with open arms. It means the huge majority of matches play out without so much as a hitch, making playing online more attractive and rewarding than ever before. There’s crossplay between all three versions of the game as well, giving players more of a chance of finding a match long into the future.

Related: The Best Fighting Games on PS5

Alongside numerous tweaks to the game’s mechanics, including new dash attacks, optional simple inputs and expanded autocombo options, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is a great deal more expansive and accessible than its predecessor for sure. In fact, for those who love to fight against others online, it’s perhaps one the best fighting games available. When it comes to its single-player offerings, however, there are some disappointments.

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Image: Cygames, Arc System Works

While there are the obligatory Arcade and Versus modes, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is missing other popular modes such as Survival and Time Attack. The Story mode brought over from Granblue Fantasy: Versus has also had its RPG elements substantially reduced. It’s now much more of a standard fighting game story mode affair, offerings fights between bouts of dialogue. And unless you’re already familiar with the world and characters, you might find it hard to follow.

Whether you should pick up Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising ultimately depends on how you plan to play it. While there is enough content and modes here to keep single-player focused gamers entertained for a good number of hours, it’s those who are unafraid to go up against others online that will no doubt get the most out of it. From its rollback netcode to its new lobby system and Grand Bruise mode, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising’s online offerings are comprehensive, making this an attractive package for those with a competitive streak.

Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5 and PC.

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