Something I did not care for right off of the back was the fact that the Granblue Fantasy: Versus (Closed Beta) was only open during limited times, though I suppose that’s so they can see how much server stress they might undergo (which is the whole point).  However, I did manage to get into 2 out of the 3 sessions that they had despite working a 12-hour graveyard shift after the first test.

 Closed Beta Guide 
A guide was given to players to help them out during the Granblue Fantasy: Versus Closed Beta.  This guide has basics of the game, character’s command lists, and information on everything available to do within the Closed Beta.  Anime Review 
Granblue Fantasy: The Animation is an anime created for the mobile game of the same name, and now fighting game.  Check out my review of it if you are interested!
 Closed BetaImpressions 

Me fighting against my friend, RaS.

After all the articles were saying that this was going to be Arc System Works’ most simplified system for fighting, I was very concerned when it came to Granblue Fantasy: Versus.  Cygames knew that people who picked up this game were probably going to be fans of their mobile game, Granblue Fantasy, and some of them probably never touched a fighting game before.  Many people saw the results of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle and were not happy at first with the simplified mechanics, but the game found depth in other ways.  I was trying to figure out how they could add depth and a sense of fun into a one-vs-one fighter with reduced skill gap.

To begin with, Granblue Fantasy Versus looks absolutely beautiful.  I knew the game was going to be great looking from the initial trailer, but it even better once you begin to play.  The system of making 3D graphics look incredibly similar to their 2D anime counterparts is unrivaled at this point; Guilty Gear XrdDragon Ball FighterZ, and now Granblue Fantasy: Versus all look great in this beautiful style.

The online is very similar to Dragon Ball FighterZ in the way that you pick servers and different rooms within it.  However, it is more similar to the Guilty Gear Xrd franchise from the way you can play casual matches with arcade machines scattered across the airship acting as the online lobby.  You were able to select avatars in the form of chibi characters from the game (each with 2 alternate colors), stickers that would appear on the arcade console before and after matches, and even write in a little book that everyone could read whenever they wished.

The online connection was fine for the most part, but it did have some hiccups during the beginning of the beta and even had to be taken down for 15 minutes unexpectedly for maintenance (which is the exact time they extended this testing period for).  Moreover, me and my friend RaS had a tough time continually connecting with each other; we would have to get off of a machine for a few moments before trying to sit down and reconnect again.  Also, we sometimes had to move to an entirely different arcade machine setup within the lobby to be able to get our connection to each other to work.  However, by the final stretch of the beta I did not have any issues connecting to anyone and the load times seemed much quicker; the only problem was not having a rematch option after fights.

The fighting in Granblue Fantasy: Versus was more fun than I gave it credit for.  Originally I believed it was going to be incredibly simplified, which it is, but you have access to a few advanced options.

The main point of Granblue Fantasy: Versus is the neutral; it is not a combo heavy game, but one that relies on how well you can read your opponent and gain an opening to attack.  Throwing out pokes, making the most of confirms, and using the evasion mechanics will help you out.  Also, things like staggering your pressure and tick-throwing will definitely set you up for breaking down your opponent’s defenses.

Next, the normals within this game work very closely to Street Fighter’s; as in you have proximity normals, two versions of each attack (Light, Medium, and Heavy) dependent on how close or far you are from your opponent.  Also, not only do you have chains, but links.  Links make this game seem closer to the Street Fighter series, as you are able to connect crouching light into standing light, and you are able to connect standing medium into crouching light.  There may be more links, but this allows me to know that there is more than simply mashing buttons.

I found the game to be incredibly simply, but also fun with the complexity that a neutral-based game gives as opposed to one that is heavily rushdown.  The unique cooldown system for your skills means that you will have to manage them as if you are inside an actual Role-Playing Game.  I think the simple commands will allow beginner’s to get into the game, and adding faster cooldown for the use of “Technical” commands means skilled fighting games do not feel as if they are at a disadvantage for wanting to know traditional inputs for skills.

Being on the fence about this game, but I definitely feel that Granblue Fantasy: Versus holding a Closed Beta was the right thing to do.  I am sold and consider this to be a day one purchase, more so than that, I am interested in the mobile game to find out some more about the characters since I am already finished with the anime.  Street Fighter V disappointed me and I wanted something fun that resembled that to a degree, I believe that Granblue Fantasy: Versus will remedy that in a way that only Arc System Works could provide!