Bravely Second: End Layer Preview
[Updated 4/13/16 with Nintendo Official Press Release]:
In 2014, the Bravely Default game introduced a new take on turn-based RPG combat with a one-of-a-kind risk-and-reward system. The unique battle system, acclaimed by critics and loved by fans, returns deeper than ever in Bravely Second: End Layer, the direct sequel to Bravely Default. Developed by SQUARE ENIX, the masters of the role-playing genre, Bravely Second: End Layer launches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on April 15.
Players who want to try out the game before they buy it can head to Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS right now and download the free demo, titled Bravely Second: End Layer – The Ballad of the Three Cavaliers. The free demo lets players embark on a bonus adventure that is not featured in the main game. Playing the demo will net players bonuses that can transfer to the full version of the game once purchased.
Picking up a few years after the events of the last game, Bravely Second: End Layer finds returning fan-favorite characters Tiz and Edea joining up with newcomers Yew and Magnolia to rescue an old friend. Despite the return of some familiar faces, the story is completely new, thrusting players into a sprawling adventure full of dangerous enemies, gorgeous locales and 30 job classes to master.
“Fans of classic role-playing games like Fire Emblem and SQUARE ENIX’s FINAL FANTASY series will love Bravely Second: End Layer,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “And while fans of the first game will appreciate the returning characters and continuing story, newcomers can just as easily dive into this memorable RPG experience.”
When battling in Bravely Second: End Layer, players can perform actions such as attacking with a weapon, casting a spell or using an item, as well as choose between one of two distinct commands: “Brave” or “Default.” By selecting Brave, players can spend one or more Brave Points (BP) to perform an extra action. Choosing Default skips a turn, but stocks 1 BP. Characters will also take less damage while in the Default state. By stocking BP, characters can use more powerful moves and abilities on their respective turns. BP can also be “borrowed” from future turns, but if the value drops below zero, players will be at the mercy of their foes. This risk-and-reward system encourages a deeper level of strategic thinking when battling the various enemies in the game.
In addition to the fast-paced battle mechanics, the job system found in the original Bravely Default also returns, but is now more expanded and robust. In Bravely Second: End Layer, players can choose from 30 different job classes that can be assigned to and mastered by the characters in the game. These include some returning jobs like Knight, Monk and Black Mage, as well as many new job classes like Wizard and Fencer. Bravely Second: End Layer even includes jobs like Catmancer, which finds players training cats to perform abilities learned from enemies. When mastering each of the classes in the game, characters will learn special abilities that can be unleashed in battle. And by using the “Favorites” feature new to Bravely Second: End Layer, players can now save their favorite job, ability and equipment configurations for their party to easily switch between whenever they are needed.
Another new feature in Bravely Second: End Layer is the ability to chain together consecutive battles for bonus experience points. By winning a battle in a single turn, another wave of enemies will appear, giving players the chance to defeat them for more rewards. By chaining together these battles, players can earn tons of extra experience points and level up much faster.
Although the game is primarily a single-player experience, Bravely Second: End Layer takes advantage of wireless features like StreetPass to bring friends around the world into the adventure. With StreetPass or a wireless Internet connection, players can borrow job levels and abilities from friends who also own the game. They can also invite a friend into battle to attack for one move. By summoning a powerful friend, the tide of battle can quickly turn, maybe even deciding the difference between victory and defeat.
In addition to Bravely Second: End Layer, role-playing fans are in for an absolute treat this year with a wide variety of RPGs now available and coming soon for Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Games now available for Nintendo 3DS include FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS from SQUARE ENIX, Project X Zone 2 from BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America, Inc. and the original Pokémon games (Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version, as well as Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition) in the Nintendo eShop. Launching June 24 for Wii U, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE lets players slay monsters – and slay like a pop star – all at the same time in a new RPG from acclaimed developer ATLUS. Also, the newest Nintendo 3DS installment in the popular Monster Hunter action RPG series from Capcom is making its way to the West this summer in Monster Hunter Generations. Finally, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS later this year.
Bravely Second: End Layer launches on April 15 and can be purchased in stores, in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS and at Nintendo.com at a suggested retail price of $39.99. For more information about the game, visit http://bravelysecond.nintendo.com/.
[Updated 4/8/16 with Battle Mechanics Trailer]:
[Updated 4/4/16 with Overview Trailer]:
[Updated 3/3/16 with Story Trailer & Screens]:
Bravely Second: End Layer will be hitting the Nintendo 3DS on April 15. We’ve got updated video and screenshots from today’s Nintendo Direct.
Keep in mind that you will be able to download a free demo, which is a completely different scenario from the main game, on March 10. The progress you make will allow you carry over some items to the final game. If you’re a Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked member, you will receive a 16-digit access code to snag the demo early, on March 7.
[Updated on 2/26/16 with European Launch Trailer]:
Japanese RPGs have tried to evolve and come up with unique and stylized battle systems over the past fifteen years or so. While some series have come up with solid efforts (Xenoblade Chronicles), many have tried to fix something that wasn’t in need of fixing (Final Fantasy XIII). Part of what made RPGs so appealing to me back in the late ‘80s and throughout the ‘90s was that they didn’t rely on fast twitchy game play. However, somewhere along the way many developers decided that turn-based battle systems had to go to make way for new and flashier combat scenarios that required the player to constantly maneuver around and press buttons. While this approach appeals to some gamers out there, it only alienated many of the original fans of the series. Final Fantasy used to be a beloved franchise of mine that I would eagerly anticipate. It now has morphed into something I barely recognize.
That’s why it was so refreshing when Bravely Default released on the 3DS. It was a throwback to RPGs of old with turn-based combat that reminded me so much of the earlier days of Final Fantasy. By allowing me to take my time to make decisions, I feel that I can be more strategic and really plan out my attacks. The game had fantastic visuals and music and was a great package overall. It did suffer from some end-game issues that I wasn’t fond of, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a worthwhile experience. Thankfully it sold enough units to garner a sequel and Nintendo has taken it upon themselves to publish it in the States.
Utilizing a similar battle system to the original, Bravely Second: End Layer allows users to pass on attacking by defaulting, which saves your action for the next round. Selecting the brave command will unleash all of the power you’ve saved up over the turns. This often leads to strategic decisions on whether to attack now or build up and unleash on the enemies later on. This worked extremely well in the first game and I expect it to hold up here.
The story picks up right after the first game. Those that have had a chance to beat the original will be right at home. If you’re jumping straight into this one, I think you’ll be just fine. Some of the characters will be unfamiliar, but the story will eventually fall into place.
A demo will be released ahead of its April 15, 2016 release date. It will be called Bravely Second: End Layer – The Ballad of the Three Cavaliers and will be downloadable via the 3DS eShop. The story will be wholly original with different jobs and areas to explore. StreetPass tags and bonuses you collect in the demo will carry over to the main game.
Below are some videos from Nintendo of Europe. The game comes out over there in a couple of weeks so they’re showing off the new job classes and characters. We’ll have more as it approaches launch here in the U.S. What a great year to own a 3DS!
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He’s currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.