Square Enix returns to its roots with a traditional JRPG via Bravely Second. Growing up with the likes of the original Final Fantasy games, especially IV and VI, I’ve been longing for a return to the classic JRPG turn-based formula. Bravely Second is that game. There have been very few turn-based RGPs this generation, so fans like myself have been feeling neglected. Does Bravely Second scratch that itch? Or do we need to keep scratching?
As first seen in Bravely Default, Bravely Second is a RPG with the unique twist of being able to store up extra actions. During battle, players can default (which is defend) to store up an extra action, of which up to four can be stored. They can also use four extra actions without storing them. If they do, the character that used the extra actions must wait the number of rounds equal the number of extra turns taken during the round. If players defeat their enemies in the first round, they can choose to start another fight and gain an extra 20% experience and money. These fights continue until either a player cannot defeat enemies in the first round, or until they choose to quit. Knowing when to default and brave (take an extra action) are the cornerstone to all fights, especially boss encounters.
Also making a return is the Job system. Characters can take on different occupations in the game like Bishop, Wizard, or Charioteer. Bishop and Wizard are not replacements for White and Black Mages. They use magic similar to them, but there are differences. For example, the Wizard gets elemental attacks that hit all enemies, and they can use an extra turn and magic points to change the spell to something different. Normally all Wizard spells hit all targets, however when the dart ability is added it only hits one target and does extra damage. Bravely Second features some of the same Jobs that the first game had, but the new ones are equally fun to explore. There is also the ability to download special attacks from friends, which players can upload to their friends as well.
This game is a direct continuation of Bravely Default. It takes place two and a half years after the first game. This being said, you do not have to play the first game to make sense of what is happening in this one. However, be very careful as the very first cinematic before the title screen completely spoils the ending of the first game. If you would like to play through the first game (which I have made it about half way through), I would skip the cinema as it shows EVERYTHING that happens in the first game. Yes, it does help to understand where the current characters are in their lives and how they got here. However, the vital information players really need to know could have been explained in the first few moments of this game without completely ruining the first game. If you’re not worried about spoilers, then by all mean enjoy the opening cinema.
As in the last game there is a destroyed city that needs rebuilding. Once players save their games and upload special attacks they receive citizens in the city that can be tasked to rebuild. A timer is started and depending on the level of the building and how many people are tasked, the build time can vary. Not to worry though, since the timer continues even when the 3DS is in sleep mode, assuming of course you don’t quit out of the game. As the city gets rebuilt and resources are spent to level up weapon and item stores, the items that they create become available for sale in the game. Some of these are extremely powerful and should not be overlooked.
Graphically Bravely Second is very similar to the first game. Character models are highly detailed. Animations for the abilities and spells are pleasing as well. One nice detail is that the character models change depending on the Job they currently have equipped. The world is large and vibrant, with many secrets to discover along the way. The Divining Rod ability is awesome as it notifies players how many treasure chests are located in the area currently being explored.
Battles are fun and challenging, even after you become over leveled for the area. It is fun to see how far the party can get before they fail to defeat enemies in the first round. Not to mention the rewards for successfully accomplishing it are great. The story is good, although somewhat predictable, which isn’t a detriment as it’s still very fun to play.
Square Enix has done a fantastic job of bringing a solid turn-based RPG to the handheld market. The game is fun and the characters, especially Edea, are colorful and memorable, if not a little stereotypical for a JRPG. Overall, the game is great and I would not pass it up if you are a fan of classic Japanese RPGs, especially since there aren’t a lot to choose from right now. Consider that turn-based itch properly scratched.
Bravely Second: End Layer Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 8.5/108.5/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
SquareEnix has done a great job with the Bravely series thus far. I am excited to see where it goes from here. The fun from the first game is captured and expanded upon in the sequel. I hope to see many more Bravely Default games in the future!
Chris is an avid fan of video games as well as board games. He has a special place in his heart for JRPGs and enjoys listening to quality game soundtracks!