The original Bravely Default released way back in 2013 and became a rather well-known success in the JRPG genre. As a Nintendo 3DS game that originally wasn’t planned to be released in the West, Bravely Default’s success led to the creation of a sequel and a rethinking of Square Enix’s design philosophy in subsequent years.
Now that we’re in 2021, and it’s been a few years since the sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer (Also a Nintendo 3DS title), Square Enix have decided to revisit the franchise and launch a brand new tale on Nintendo Switch. Bravely Default 2 has been crafted by a different development studio (Claytechworks) to the other two games in the franchise (Silicon Studio) but it still has all the core elements in place.
Newcomers to Bravely Default will be glad to know that Bravely Default 2 is set in an entirely different world to the other two games. Much like how each major numbered title in the Final Fantasy series is a new tale, the same applies to Bravely Default.
Players will take on the role of Seth, a washed up sailor who is rescued from the beach and taken to a castle town known as Halcyona. He is introduced to Princess Gloria of Musa here and eventually meets up with a scholar named Elvis and a mercenary named Adelle.
The plot thickens after a hefty prologue and soon enough players will be adventuring throughout the world of Excillant in search of four crystals which have immense elemental power. Stating anything further ventures into spoiler territory so we’ll hold our tongues here but players are definitely in for a JRPG treat since Bravely Default 2’s characters are all well written despite having some trope-filled qualities based on their assigned core “Jobs”.
Players will be able to procure “Asterisks” throughout the story and these impart specific “Jobs” to characters. For example, Seth starts off as a “Freelancer” but can switch jobs to a “Black Mage” and learn magic skills that way. As you gain more Asterisks, you will gain access to more jobs which are necessary for progressing throughout the game. This is due to the skills they each allow characters to use. There are more than 20 jobs in the game and being able to equip a primary and a secondary “sub-job” adds to the complexity of the job system.
Gameplay in Bravely Default 2 makes use of a slightly tweaked battle system from the previous games. The “Brave” and “Default” commands are essential to winning battles and work well in combat. Using the “Brave” command, players can stack up turns and execute multiple actions in a row.
This, however, comes at the cost of foregoing future turns. Using the “Default” command, players can defend themselves and stack up “Brave Points” which can be used for “Brave” actions later. Essentially, this works a credit system but for turns in combat. It sounds complicated but it works extremely well in action.
The strategy involved with using different jobs is extremely fun in action. Working out specific combinations and using your party’s skills to the best of their ability is something that does take some trial and error though.
However, once you have a system in place, you’ll be defeating enemies quite easily. Enemies in Bravely Default 2 provide enough of a challenge, but there are definitely some encounters which should be completely avoided until you are a much higher level.
Players who sink enough hours into the game while adventuring will encounter some battles with rare monsters which will need the party to grind out exponentially more exp. This feels very reminiscent of old school Final Fantasy games and those who enjoy classic JRPGs will certainly love Bravely Default 2 because of this.
If you’re averse to grinding though, Bravely Default 2 thankfully does include a fast-forward option to speed up battles quite significantly. This is an immense help in the tougher sections of the game when you need a specific job to be levelled up enough to use a useful skill or passive ability.
You can just visit a specific area where monsters spawn and fast forward your way through battles while racking up tonnes of experience and Job points.
Graphically, Bravely Default 2 looks great on Nintendo Switch. The art style used throughout the game is rather pleasant and the visual effects are top notch in battles – Especially when using skills. Some aspects of the game such as the scenes where characters talk to each other could have used a lot more visual polish but alas, this isn’t the case.
The soundtrack is arguably the best part of the game aside from the turn-based battle system. There are plenty of tracks which are extremely catchy and you’ll be humming the overworld tune to yourself in no time flat once you hear it.
Overall, Bravely Default 2 is a solid JRPG in the Bravely Default franchise. The game has a fairly standard story but is well written and will entertain you from start to finish.
The battle system does involve some grindy elements to progress but this is something that happens often across the JRPG genre so can’t be flamed too much. If you’re a fan of classic JRPGs with a modern twist to spice things up, Bravely Default 2 will appeal to you.
This game comes highly recommended from us.
Bravely Default 2
Bravely Default 2 is more of the classic JRPG formula that made Bravely Default 1 a success.