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Granblue Fantasy Versus: The Kotaku Review

It seems like everything is getting a fighting game adaptation these days. Dragon Ball Z, RWBY, Power Rangers, League of Legends, you name it. Granblue Fantasy, one of many mobile role-playing gacha games that asks players to spend real money on virtual slot machines, is the latest to jump aboard the train. While I have literally zero experience spending my life savings on a chance at winning a JPG of my waifu, I do know fighting games, and Granblue Fantasy Versus, out March 3 on PlayStation 4 and March 13 on PC, is an excellent new entry in the genre.

Granblue Fantasy Versus is wholly invested in teaching players despite being developed by Arc System Works, the same studio behind unforgiving fighting games like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. No tutorial is going to turn someone into Daigo Umehara overnight, but Versus feels uniquely capable of guiding beginners organically without needing to stuff their heads full of jargon. While there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how lessons are arranged, they generally teach the player how to do something and then how to defend against it, from surface-level techniques like using auto-combos (simple one-button combos) to more advanced concepts like cross-ups. I was surprised to see that Versus also has tips about specific techniques fighting game tutorials don’t often touch on, like defending against tick throws—setups where a throw is used immediately after a safe move like a light punch is blocked.

In addition to combo trials that teach the player useful attack strings for the entire cast, Granblue Fantasy Versus offers character-specific matchup instructions. These include tips for punishing certain attacks as well as more technical knowledge, like how to get around a zoning character’s various projectiles. Again, these aren’t going to propel someone to an Evo championship, but the Versus tutorial does an impressive job teaching how to think about playing a fighting game situationally rather than just providing a basic run-through of inputs and combos.

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