Beta Impressions: Granblue Fantasy Versus

Jun 04 2019 6 min read

Beta Impressions: Granblue Fantasy Versus ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!

The Granblue Fantasy Versus closed beta ended over the weekend after three 5 hour sessions between Friday and Saturday. Here's my verdict for those of you that missed out.


Booting up the game, I wasn't met with any flashy cutscenes or intros. After accepting user agreements, the title screen hits you with a view of a plain landscape. The game's heroine Lyria and its mascot Vyrn both stare across the horizon with their backs turned to the screen. Lyria’s hair blows in the wind, her dress ripples, blades of grass fly all around them and airships race the clouds.

The menu had only three entries: online, survey and options. Jumping right in you pick a server location then lobby. I went with Europe.

Keeping to the game's theme, the main hub is aboard a large airship with 32 arcade cabinets from which two players can face off in a single best of 3 match. To navigate the space, we get to pick one out of five avatars that are super deformed (chibi) versions of the five playable characters of the demo. Other things available in the lobby include a chat box, communication stickers and custom phrases.

The lobby was your standard affair from any other recent Arc System Works game.

Granblue Fantasy Versus: Graphics

Let me just say that this game is gorgeous.

Taking its cue from the RPG it is based on, the art direction takes on a soft watercolor effect very much like a painting. The special effects are bright and shiny but don't feel out of place as you execute special moves. The arcade cabinets carefully scattered around the 3D lobby fit in with the ship's deck like they belong there. Their screens alternate between the title logo, flashing effects and Vryn.

Only two stages seemed available, and they looked just as good as the rest of the game. One, in particular looks, really nice. Similar to the plain from the title screen, this stage has an airship occasionally flying past in the background. It also happens to be the same stage heavily featured in the game trailers shared so far.

The best graphical component in the game, though is the character models. They look sharp and clean in their 2.5D glory, whizzing across the screen in fluid animation (depending on you and your opponent's connection of course).


The music in this game is very reminiscent of the original. It is even possible that some of them might be remixes from GBF songs, but I never played that game long enough to say for sure. The tunes are as soft as the art style, complementing it perfectly.

Characters were voiced in Japanese, and each seemed to fit just right, but I did have a problem with the announcer’s voice. It wasn't that he spoke in English but that he didn't seem to conform with the game's theme, which it had managed to maintain until I heard him. It's far from horrible but just another thing I noticed.

Sounds also seemed to be OK, making you really feel the impact of blows, swipes and dashes. Sound options were pretty basic but available to allow a little tweaking with volume levels.

Granblue Fantasy Versus: Gameplay

A fighting game is only as good as its mechanics. Yes we make sure the characters look good, the music flows and the sounds fit but if it doesn't play right, the experience sours. With Granblue Fantasy Versus, Cygames wanted combat to be simple enough for players of the original to get into but also to attract new fans that are more comfortable with fighting games. It sort of works.

Combos can be performed by pressing a single button repeatedly, and special moves can be executed by pressing R1 alone or in combination with forward, back or down. However, fighting game aficionados can instead chain these moves themselves without the auto-combo assists. Each special move is indicated at the bottom of a player's lifebar. On use, it greys out and gradually fills up again to be used once more. The game rewards those that choose to do things the hard way through full motions with faster recharge times.

Characters also possess 2 big special moves with one flashier and dealing more damage than the other. Its use is regulated by a secondary bar underneath the life bar which fills up as you fight. Once it gets to 100%, you can use it but which one you get is determined by how low your character’s health is. The most significant moves activate when your health is below 30%.

The controls allow light, medium and heavy attacks. Holding back blocks and there're also the abilities to grab or dodge enemy attacks. Another ability is dash that takes your character behind your opponent, opening up all sorts of tactical advantages if used properly. Here's a video from LordKnight, going over the game's mechanics.

Fun 2factor

So, because I like to be thorough, I made sure I played during every session.

Okay, maybe it's less about being thorough and more because I had fun playing it — a lot of fun.

It just felt right, though I experienced lag more than a few matches, I kept playing as much as I could.

The characters were all unique, no two felt the same. Take Charlotta for example —her height made it hard to grab her or get in high hits. Or Lancelot with his Ninja-like dashes into positions above or behind you. Most of my matches were played in the same lobby, and during every session, I found the majority of player's had preferred characters that changed each session. The first session was Katalina, second Ferry and last Lancelot. Some players stuck to one character while others like me tried each of them several times but Lancelot was my favourite.


If you've ever played the original Granblue Fantasy game, then you will be very familiar with most of the title and caption fonts used. This isn't a bad thing, but I did feel that the font used for subtitles as characters spoke was sometimes hard to make out. Considering that I watch a lot of anime and foreign language films, the subtitles shouldn't have been an issue for me.

The depth of field between the background and foreground didn't feel like it was properly set them apart, but that was only an issue for me in my first match. By my second match, I forgot all about it, but it's still worth mentioning.

All my matches had input lag, and my friends experienced the same too. The game has a delay display under your character name, and mine often sat at six, but some had it go up to 19. It's most likely a problem with ping since the community isn't saying much about it.


I would love to add to the issues above that the beta was too short and sparse, but that would just be me being greedy. Going in, I was hopeful that this would be a good game and now that the closed beta is over, I can't wait for the release. There could be another beta in the future, but Arc System Works might decide to restrict it to only those that pre-order the game. Whatever the case, I think I'm sold on the game already and say to those of you that missed the closed beta, ‘give it a try when it comes out’.

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