(Available for Nintendo Switch only)
The sequel to the Squere-Enix 3DS franchise finally comes to home consoles after a pretty long gap by Nintendo published games standards having been revealed at the 2019 game awards and only just coming out in February. It once again is a turn-based RPG with 4 characters with different jobs based on classes like warrior, monk, white mage, black mage etc. the only difference this time is that the game introduces the brave and default system which adds an extra risk/reward system to combat which I’ll go further into detail about later.
- Jobs and RPG mechanics: the best aspect of this game is how it handles the various jobs. Characters will have access to 2 classes at a time with one acting as the main job and the other acting as a sub job. Each character will have a character level and individual job level for each job which gains that character more abilities when they have access to that job however it will only level up if that’s the main job they’re using after a successful battle. It really is a good idea to find great combos for all 4 of the characters and is one of the most rewarding aspects to the game when you get it right though finding a way to balance the different jobs is something to take into account for most of the game.
- The brave and default system: Battles are pretty typical for most JRPG’s however there’s the new Brave and Default system. It’s very similar to how battle points worked in Octopath Traveller since you can defend yourself by using a default command to build up brave points which can be cashed in for up to 3 extra moves for that character. You can also make those extra moves at any point but if you go into minus brave points, which if you do ,that character must skip their turns until they reach 0. It is a certainly decent risk/reward battle system which will make you think about each battle
- Art style: the backgrounds in this game look amazing especially zoomed out for towns but I’m really not a fan of the chibi doll aesthetic of the characters which oddly makes them feel rather lifeless. The resolution does not hold well either on modern monitors especially if they are large or have a 4K Resolution I think this game could really benefit from a DLSS patch if this is the solution to getting Switch games into 4K for the heavily rumoured Switch Pro
- Story: it’s perfectly fine and serviceable but is pretty much what you’d expect and is very reminiscent of classic Final Fantasy particularly the first 6 games. It’s your typical find the crystals of the 4 elements to prevent the end of the world which is fine but it doesn’t have real character and world depth like other RPG’s on the Switch do have like Octopath Traveller and Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2. I couldn’t tell you much about the characters in Bravely Default 2 which makes following the story feel rather mechanical rather than engaging.
- Grinding is kind of mandatory: this is a problem I’ve noticed with a lot of modern RPG’s but this problem will effect you depending on your propensities to grinding experience for levels but this is another RPG where you will be underleveled if you just follow the main quest. It does feel like a lot of modern RPG’s do have to force you to do the side content so you’re not underlevelled for a boss but even in my playthrough where I did start doing quite a few I seemed to be underlevelled for quite a few bosses and I was not avoiding combat the bosses feel like they have quite a big difficulty spike. If you like to do a lot of grinding in your RPG’s this won’t be an issue but I felt the developers expected you to do way more than you should’ve done.
- The weaknesses don’t mean too much: I hate to keep bringing up Octopath Traveller but this is a system that really brings up the same weakness sytem to certain spell types and weapons except it’s not handled as well. in Octopath there was a real benefit to hitting those weakness as if an enemy was hit a certain number of times you could incapacitate them for a turn where they wouldn’t be able to attack. It added a risk reward to combat in building up characters battle points, do you save them up for multiple hits to incapacitate an enemy or save them up to hit a very strong attack to deal extra damage or even save them up for a stronger heal for your party. In Bravely default 2 enemies weaknesses are way less rewarding for successfully identifying and hitting they only seem to give a slight boosts to attacks and don’t effect much else and I wish they were implemented slightly better. That boost is certainly going to make a difference if you cash in a ton of Brave points for multiple attacks but the point still kind of stands.
Bravely Default 2 is a decent RPG with some cool mechanics and is a decent throwback to those classic RPG’S from the 90’s with a modern flare that can impress in parts particularly in strategizing how you level up both characters and jobs. However it is on a console with Octopath Traveller which did a similar thing but all of them had just a bit more of an effort with very interesting job systems, a great series of storylines, a much better risk reward system of combat and a much better art style. As a result instead it really highlights that Bravely Default 2 is a rather middling RPG which while I do enjoy it isn’t really holding up given the competition on its own console and even its own publisher. I think the delays to the games release kind of hurt the game given that we just heard about Project Triangle Strategy being made by the Octopath Traveller team a week before this came out which looks to really be another innovative RPG to be excited about and really didn’t help since it really highlighted a lot of the games flaws. I want to stress I think Bravely Default 2 is a good game and has brilliant implementation of Job Classes but it’s on a system with great RPG’s and it’s biggest issue is that it’s very set in it’s ways and kind of lacks innovation
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