“♪ I’ll shatter this sky when the last chain breaks ♪”
[Team gets wiped]
[Proceed to cry]
[Watch your friends or strangers carry you to victory]
At first sight, Grindblue Farmtasy Granblue Fantasy looks very similar to your typical mobile games. You roll for ”Rare” SSR characters and weapons, you beat enemies for loots, add friends for bonuses, and you repeat until you become stronger. Its gameplay is also very simple and straightforward. You and your enemies take turns using skills and attacking one another until one of you gets wiped.
However, there are a couple of things that makes Granblue stand out from other mobile games. Unlike other Japanese mobile games, Granblue Fantasy can be played in English. You can also play it in a web browser through the official website. I will try to summarize the 5 basic elements of the game that made this seemingly simple game into something more complicated, addictive, and very much enjoyable.
Mobages usually have their wide range and variety of characters, whether in personality or in game utility. Granblue gives their character personalities through events called Fate Episodes, wherein you can know more about the character’s backstory. Some characters have interconnected backstories and have special lines and quests with one another. Lastly, the character designs look really good~
Characters are classified into many different categories. One of which is the character’s race. There are 4 races in Granblue. They are humans, /big oppai/ draphs ,/nekomimi/ erunes, and dwarf harvins. Each character also falls under an element, which is strong against a specific element, and weak against a different one (ex. Wind is strong against Earth but weak against Fire). They also have different weapon proficiencies (ex. Sword, dagger, etc.). Lastly, they also have various roles and skills. All these factors make it difficult to have a “universal team”, which means you’ll need to roll for more characters. Don’t worry though, Granblue is pretty generous when it comes to rolls, with a 3% chance for an SSR per roll (6% if you roll in the right time of the month).
The story is set in a medieval-like setting. In this world, the people live on floating islands in the sky. The story is mainly about Gran/Djeeta trying to find his/her father, who is in the fabled Land of the Astrals (for the rest of the review, I will just use Gran to make it easier to read). One day, Gran and with his trusty lizarddragon? companion named, Vyrn, encountered a mysterious girl named Lyria and a soldier named Katalina, who were being chased by soldiers. After helping them out, Lyria and Katalina decided to join Gran in a journey to find his/her father. Eventually, more characters join for various reasons until the crew was complete and they head out for the path of adventure and danger.
Personally, the story felt slow and repetitive in the initial chapters. However, as soon as the crew is formed, the story starts moving towards the bigger picture. The story began focusing more on the secrets of their world and the forgotten pasts of the main characters. The story becomes intense – leaving you wanting to know what happens next, as your characters will probably find it difficult to defeat the strong enemies.
There are also a lot of interesting side stories. Some are serious, some are humorous, and some are indescribable. They usually involve other characters not necessarily part of the main cast.
For a mobile game, Granblue has a surprisingly good list of soundtracks.“Dark Silver Wings” will make you feel the intensity of fighting Bahamut, one of the strongest bosses in the game. Other themes capture the essence of the bosses such as “Rose Queen’s Theme”, which gives off a mysterious elegant feel, while “Tiamat Magna Theme” will make you feel as if you are fighting an ancient boss. Other than battle music, there are also the home screen soundtracks. “Auguste Isles” is a very relaxing piece with a hint of longing. Likewise, “Evergreen Wind” captures the festive nature of the merchants.
There is a large variety of soundtracks. Each of them is excellently made and you will surely enjoy it, especially if you enjoy orchestral soundtracks, and if you know the context behind each soundtrack.
4. Crews and Raids
Crews are similar to guilds in other games. They are optional but there are a lot of benefits in being part of one. You can make or join a crew with other players. Some crews also develop a community to participate in “guild wars”, help each other out, and organize difficult raids.
Raids are usually boss fights wherein you can invite other players to help you out. You can filter those who can see the invite to your friends, your crewmates, or any random player. Raids are usually strong bosses that are too difficult to fight alone. Although low-level raids can often be finished by one strong player, high level raids (unlockable at Level 100+) often needs a group of strong players. Usually, you can invite up to 30 people in a raid.
The strongest raids in the game would usually need a well-organized group of very strong players, and usually involve a lot of strategy, such as when to use certain skills, when to attack, and when to ask for buffs/debuffs. The most difficult raids also allow only 6 players at most, making it very difficult to clear if one player accidentally screws up and dies. Nonetheless, these raids are what makes the game extremely fun and challenging. Finishing these raids will definitely give you that incredible sense of accomplishment.
5. Game Strategy
Although the gameplay looks simple, there are a lot of strategizing needed to have the optimal setup. I won’t go to the details as they are difficult to explain simply, but basically, you will need the right combination of characters, weapons, and summons. You might also need to vary these depending on your enemies and objective (whether you want to place #1 in a raid, whether you are just aiming to survive, etc.). If you are someone who enjoys being the strongest, there are a lot of optimization guide in the internet for different scenarios.
If you are someone who enjoys watching big numbers, seeing progression over a long period of time, or someone who is just interested to see what the game is about, then the game is for you. One of the notable features of the game is the amount of time and effort it takes to be properly geared. It might not be the grindiest game ever, but you will still need to do a considerable amount of grinding (if you aren’t a gamer, grinding means repetitively doing something, like killing enemies, farming loots, etc.). Even if you are a hardcore player, it will probably take a few months to be able to clear the hardest game contents.
If there is one major advice I can give you if you wish to play the game it would be this:
Don’t play Granblue
Enjoy the game; play the game the way you want to play it.
The game will definitely seem overwhelming at first, but don’t despair! You can take your time experiencing and experimenting things. Whether it is for the characters, the competition, the friendships, or whatever motivating you, never forget to play the game for your own satisfaction. Otherwise, why else would you play a game?