Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is essentially an enhanced re-release of the ill-fated Granblue Fantasy Versus — a really good fighting game that had its competitive scene smothered by the coronavirus pandemic, while shoddy netcode meant its online community was all but dead on arrival. Rising, then, feels like a deserved second chance for the 2D fighter, flaunting an overhauled combat system, loads of new features, and, perhaps most importantly, rollback netcode.

Rising's character roster is made up of 28 distinct combatants, each one of them defined by their weapon of choice and unique fighting style. However, because of the game's incredibly accessible control scheme, jumping from character to character is impressively easy. All fighters come with the same number of special moves, and they can be unleashed with a simple combination of R1 and the corresponding face buttons.

It's beyond cliche to say so, but Rising is the epitome of easy to learn, hard to master. On a mechanical level, it's difficult to think of another fighting game that's this beginner-friendly, and yet once you're through that initial gateway, there are fresh additions like guard breaks and defensive counters to consider.

In truth, this is a much more aggressive game than the original Versus. Being stuck in the corner, for example, can be an absolute death sentence because of the aforementioned guard breaker that every character has access to. Meanwhile, running out of brave points — a limited resource that you spend on extra techniques — makes you susceptible to bonus damage, and it racks up quickly. The title's increased pace might not be for everyone, but we think it results in a more impactful, satisfying game overall.

And of course, this gameplay's much easier to enjoy when the online netcode is up to snuff. Although we did encounter a few spotty connections during our testing, it's abundantly clear that Rising's online functionality is far better than its predecessor's offering — which should be enough to ensure a relatively healthy playerbase. Full crossplay is also available from launch.

Rising is the game that the original Granblue Fantasy Versus should have been, and while it's a bit cheeky that players are being asked to pay for it all over again — with yet more DLC characters incoming — it's hard to argue with the overall package. This is a gorgeous fighter that feels great to play.