Review: Bravely Default II

What would you do if you thought your life ended at sea, only to find yourself alive but in a world of impending calamity? As fate draws you to save this world, maybe there’s more than you originally thought. Travel through the lands of Excillant and venture into new territories to free the world of calamity. 

Bravely Default II, a game for the Nintendo Switch, follows the journey of Seth, a sailor who washes up onto the shores of Excillant, who then later meets Gloria, a princess of the fallen kingdom, Musa, who is on her own journey to reunite the four crystals of the world to end the incoming chaos in the absence of the crystals. On your journey you meet the traveling scholar Elvis who is accompanied by Adelle, a mercenary who is in search of her missing sister. With the merry crew you travel across the various kingdoms around the continent to prevent the impending doom. 

Bravely Default II is nothing short of a classic JRPG with turn based combat, combined with the beautiful 3D backgrounds and scenery. Published by Square Enix, the company makes a nod to classic JRPG’s like the first Final Fantasy games through the brand new entry in the Bravely series. The characters themselves seem enticing, each from their own walks of life and history, and throughout the story we see more into the main characters’ backgrounds and their intentions of venturing into the world. The game utilizes a job system where you, the player, can assign certain roles to characters, and with 14 jobs there is no end the possibilities during combat. 

The battles of Bravely Default II are simple with only six options during a fight, Attack to deal regular damage, Brave to use a Brave Point to make one extra move during combat, the two job occupations set on the character with each of their own unique skills, Default to defend a turn and gain a Brave Point, and the Items option to use an item in your inventory. Accumulating Brave Points allows for the characters to make up to 4 moves in total in rapid succession in one turn. 

The games soundtrack is composed by Revo, who also composed the soundtrack for the first entry in the Bravely series, Bravely Default. The masterful compositions throughout the game fit each scenario in the game perfectly, from the upbeat battle themes hyping the player to beat the enemy to progress, to the relaxing theme’s of the plains whilst searching for treasure nearby.

Albeit a beautiful game, it is not without it’s faults. While still hailing as a JRPG, it also includes the tedious experience grinding for not only characters and their jobs they have taken up. The cycle of defeating mobs of enemies just to get that certain job skill becomes tiring which normally throws people off from playing JRPG’s in the first place. Another flaw would be the inclusion of the weight stats for characters, each character is limited to what they are able to carry and as a result it bars them from being able to use every piece of equipment to be stronger. The system has the player juggling what armor or weapons would be best while also staying below the character’s weight limit of what they can or can’t carry. 

The game does its best to try and distinguish itself from its predecessors, and it does a great job in being it’s own game. And while the JRPG genre is not suited for everyone to try, this game is worth the time and is a well introduction to the series in general. 

— by Sean Ein ’21