By Jenae R / January 28th, 2021
The original Bravely Default was a game I absolutely adored. The characters had these huge and wacky, yet charming, personalities. There were all of these different jobs/classes to switch between which had different outfits to enjoy. Overall, it was a really cute and lovely JRPG, with fantastic characters. Honestly, it’s no surprise a JRPG fan, such as myself, fell so in love with the game. Unfortunately, the series didn’t continue on to bigger and better things. What should’ve been an exciting and fun new sequel came out at the worst time it could, 2016, a year when basically every localized JRPG that got published by Nintendo in the west, was censored. Bravely Second was one of the heaviest hit titles that year (alternate endings cut out, numerous outfits censored, a censored art book, etc.) and it completely turned me off. Which leads us to today. As I’m writing this, we’re a month out from Bravely Default II’s release. Knowing that we’re long past that brief period of censorship and that this will be a completely brand new, stand-alone Bravely Default game, has got me quite excited.
Before we move on to my actual thoughts about the game, having just tried out the latest demo and a little bit of the first one, let’s discuss what my hopes and worries are for Bravely Default II. Now, I should’ve tried out the first demo a long time ago. However, knowing that it was a new stand-alone entry to get excited about, I didn’t want to play it too soon. It’s always agonizing getting super into an awesome demo and then having the reality hit you that you don’t even get to play the full game until months, or possibly a year, later. Thus, I waited until this week to hop into Bravely Default II and I only played enough to give myself a small taste, see all the changes, get an introduction to the characters and find out how everything works. My most significant worry about BD2, is that it won’t live up to the original 3DS title. Sure, I’m relieved they’re starting fresh and there’s no connection to a certain sequel that was ruined in the west. But, that doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be comparing these characters to Tiz, Agnès, Edea and Ringabel. Like I said earlier, they had huge personalities, and not living up to that could be seen as, “Unacceptable!” as Agnès would say. Obviously, I don’t want the game to be identical, I want a new story and characters who shine in their own unique ways. Nonetheless, I worry they’ll pale in comparison. The only other worry I have, honestly, is that despite being past 2016, a dark year for localized JRPGs, perhaps some alterations will still be snuck into Bravely Default II. With any luck, that worry will be groundless and not come to pass.
Anyways, let’s discuss what I actually experienced playing the demo and what I thought about it after giving it a shot. Bravely Default II plays very much like the original. It’s yet again a turn-based affair, with four party members, various jobs with different outfits and an upgraded, but very similar, art style. What is different, though, are some of the smaller mechanics and things. First of all, you can no longer decide your whole party’s actions at once and have them all immediately act after you confirm everything. I seem to remember being able to use the Default command and be protected from enemy attacks right away. That’s one aspect I can see making this new entry a little tougher than before. See, now things run on speed stats, and you don’t get to protect anyone until it’s their turn. Not to mention, you now have to attack enemies out in the field first (enemies can be seen, there aren’t random encounters in BD2) which can be tricky to do without them spotting and running into you before you can attack. It was somewhat annoying having my party’s HP dwindled down before I could do anything.
My second complaint is that something as important as the details on/off switch, is attached to L3, as of the most recent “Final Demo.” With how many different skills there are, far too many to memorize the effects of, as well as stats to check when you’re setting up your party’s equipment, I find that I need to turn the details on and off all the time. I mean, the details box is extremely annoying if you just leave it on constantly. I don’t like such an important function being attached to L3. In Octopath Traveler, another similarly styled SQUARE ENIX title, in addition to the first Bravely Default II demo, this function was attached to Y, not L3. It’s so much easier to turn on and off when it’s attached to Y. L3 is arguably a tougher button to press, I prefer commands that I won’t be using half as often attached to it, if something must be attached to it. I noticed that a few buttons don’t do anything in certain situations, so I feel like it was unnecessary to move this function to L3.
Complaints aside, I think Bravely Default II will be a very fun, new adventure. It’s got that traditional JRPG style I love and looks like it will be an immense journey. There’s a larger overworld that you can turn the camera around to look at from all angles. Plus, there’s even grass you can cut to find a bit of extra money when you’re out in the field adventuring. The demo takes place a little further into Bravely Default II’s story than the actual start. It takes place a couple of years after the four elemental crystals were stolen from Musa, Gloria’s hometown. It seems Musa has since been destroyed after the crystals were stolen, and Gloria has arrived in Savalon with her companions, Seth, Elvis and Adelle, to locate the water crystal. Savalon, a desert city, has slowly been flooding and thus the group of heroes have surmised it must be the work of the water crystal. During my time spent on the demo, I talked to some people around town, picked up Prince Castor (a party guest) to go searching for the water crystal, and traversed through a dungeon near town. Ultimately, I went through the full dungeon and defeated an Asterisk (stones that provide you with new jobs) holder at the end. I don’t want to say too much because some of you reading this might want to play Bravely Default II without any prior knowledge of the story. As I said before, the demo does seem to take place a little further into the story than the full game.
In the end, the demo didn’t give me enough insight into whether or not this new story, or these characters, will live up to that of the initial series’ release on 3DS, but it does look promising. It’s a large, brand new Nintendo Switch exclusive JRPG, which looks like it will be a good time and definitely worth owning. So long as nothing worrying comes out about the game, I plan to get myself a copy. Although, I do hope the full thing has the option to change my walk around character, I couldn’t locate a way to do that in the demo. That aside, what about you? Let us know down in the comments what your thoughts on Bravely Default II are. Or, if you’re interested, you can check out Josh’s impressions article from last year and get another perspective.
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