An unapologetic love letter to the classic JRPG genre, Bravely Default II doubles down on series staples to create every traditional JRPG lover’s dream.
The Beloved Job System Taken to Its Logical Conclusion
Released as the third installment in the Bravely Default series and the stand-alone sequel to the first title, Bravely Default II brings the classic RPG experience to the current-gen for the first time.
Bravely Default II launched worldwide on the Nintendo Switch on February 26, 2021.
The third installment in the series trades in its overarching story for one more focused on the combat and development of the characters in your party. Bravely Default II features over 20 jobs to acquire, 15 levels within each of the jobs to grind out, 99 levels to hit independently of that for each character.
Despite the story playing second fiddle to the breadth of combat-based content, that’s not to say it’s anything to scoff at, at least in terms of scope, as this tale will span dozens of hours before its completion. That said, it is quite clear from the get-go that this tale is more about the four heroes and their interactions with each other, the world, and the enemies than it is about the impending doom that needs to be stopped. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as RPGs that take this route are quite enjoyable in their own right and feel more organic at times than their predecessors.
Nintendo’s launch trailer is below.
You play as the rag-tag four heroes of light, and players need to collect the crystals from different regions and save the world from darkness. A story we’ve all heard, by this point, but where the game shines in the combat.
Players are free to change classes as they see fit, equip whatever weapons and armor they wish and use spells and abilities of their choosing. The heart of the game is coming up with different class combinations and using the brave and default systems to thwart enemy encounters as quickly as possible.
Early on, I found the combat to be a bit clunky, especially compared to earlier entries in the series. Also, stacking the ATB, time-based system on top of the Brave and Default system seems to be counterintuitive. The systems simply don’t get along well, and it becomes more cumbersome than enjoyable. Nevertheless, I see what they were trying to do. They cater to hardcore JRPG enthusiasts by combining the popular Brave and Default system with another classically beloved JRPG combat system, but they don’t mesh.
The only other complaint I have with this title is the jarring art design. The first two entries in the series were absolutely beautiful, and they captured that chibi art style perfectly, but using the overly HD look in the current title just doesn’t seem to work with the general art style in the same way that the two separate combat styles don’t seem to mesh. Luckily, after playing for a handful of hours, I got used to it, and it just was what it was.
Bravely Default II is a great JRPG, and it is clearly designed for fans of both the Bravely Default series and the hard-core JRPG enthusiast. That said, it’s still works on its own two feet, so newcomers will be able to jump into this title with no issues. Top that off with a forgiving and customizable difficulty, and you have a game that most can pick up and enjoy.
If you’re a fan of the Bravely Default series, then I think you will enjoy this title, and if you’re a fan of JRPGs, I think this is definitely a game worth playing. For everyone else, I would recommend checking out the Bravely Default II demo on the Nintendo eShop before making any purchasing decisions.
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