Bravely Second review.
Welcome to this edition of our “Look Back” series. This month’s edition features our Bravely Second review. Released, on 3DS, in spring of 2016, Bravely Second is the sequel to Bravely Default.
Originally a successor to the Nintendo DS’ Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light, Bravely Default introduced the world of Luxendarc and a whole new cast of characters. With the accompanying Job system, it paid tribute to the legacy built in 1992’s Final Fantasy V.
Bravely Second takes place several years after the events of Bravely Default. Featuring a new main protagonist – Yew Geneolgia – the story involves saving Agnes Oblige, the Crystal Orthodoxy’s Pope, from her kidnapping by the hands of the mysterious Kaiser Oblivion. Hellbent on changing the world in his image, Kaiser Oblivion sends out the Asterisk users to stop Yew and his friends. Accompanied by three party members, including Edea and Tiz from Bravely Default, and Magnolia Arch, a warrior from the moon, the four embark on an epic journey across Luxendarc to save their dear friend.
Bravely Second succeeds its predecessor using the same art style and animations from the original game. You’ll see the same map of Luxendarc and many familiar enemies as well. It features beautiful, CGI cinematics in a music video opening. In-game, the characters all have a defined, anime chibi look. The art style shines especially in the in the towns. The beautifully designed towns stand out as a hallmark of the game’s visual design.
Unlike Bravely Default, however, the music wasn’t composed by REVO/Linked Horizon. Known for anime music, such as the openings of Sailor Moon Crystal and Attack on Titan, REVO’s soundtrack for Bravely Default was among one of the greatest of any RPG in existence. It carried a beautiful, haunting, and emotional feel to it. Bravely Second captures some of that energy with its pace and use of electric guitar in its battle themes.
However, the few original area themes in the game are fairly lackluster. Some of the common themes, like the standard dungeon theme, doesn’t capture the emotion of Bravely Default. Ryo, the composer, does a magnificent job with the J-Pop opening and ending themes, however. Most of the best background music comes recycled from Bravely Default. However, some of the most engaging original themes come in the form of several major boss battles as well as the final dungeon theme.
Bravely Default’s story was quite lighthearted. However, certain scenarios in the game lead to some surprisingly dark twists. If you’re familiar with the Summoner sidequest, I’m using that as a prime example of haunting storytelling. Both Bravely titles feature writing that are lighthearted. One character, Minette, speaks entirely in cat puns. You can decide if this is cute or annoying.
Bravely Second doesn’t feature as many dark scenarios. Much of the story is standard JRPG fanfare, which includes saving the world and making friends. Optional party skits will add humor and some character development. Meanwhile the Asterisk (Job) side-quests involve decisions of moral choice. Two sides believe in a cause, and you must pick them. Weigh your morals carefully or simply choose the class you want. But fear not. Whichever Job you miss you can obtain later in the game after Chapter V.
Much of the game’s story involves battles against the Kaiser’s minions. As you’re pursuing his Skyhold in search of Agnes, you’ll run into battles against these enemies and take them down. Once Chapter V hits, however, a major plot twist occurs. Despite the slow pace of the storyline early on, this is where the story truly picks up.
Bravely Second is your standard JRPG. Spun-off from the Final Fantasy series, you have 4 party members. Similar to Final Fantasy V, you can choose their Jobs and customize their abilities. You travel to various towns, explore dungeons, and fight enemies in turn-based combat.
The “Brave” and “Default” system allow you to expend turns to attack more or to build turns by blocking, respectively. The “Bravely Second” system also allows you to freeze time, allowing you to heal up or attack more. You can use Special attacks to deal major damage or heal your team. Finally, the Summon system allows you to connect to the internet to find generous players who will help you. Their damage can do HP attacks past the 10,000s.
One of the major story elements includes the Ba’als. You hunt these fiendish creatures who threaten Luxendarc. Among the many boss battles you’ll face in this game, these are by far the creepiest. While they play an integral role in the storyline, you’re also able to fight them at any time via the moon rebuilding side-mission.
The best part about Bravely Second is, by far, its gameplay. It’s an evolution of Final Fantasy V’s job system and an improvement from Bravely Default. Pick your Job, your secondary Job ability, and four passive abilities. For instance, you’re a Wizard. You can pick Summoner as a secondary Job ability. Your Wizard’s Spellcraft ability allows you to attack different targets or augment your spells’ strengths. But your passive is Good Measure, from the Bishop Job. This allows you to cast a spell twice and let it dole out more than double damage!
With the improvements from Bravely Default, classes, like Summoner, are more viable. Their MP recovery is much better. Furthermore, you can stack battle chains, allowing you to earn more EXP and Job Points with multipliers. This makes leveling up a cinch! Grinding is never required, either. And you can adjust the random encounter rate of the game. I am a huge fan of the quality of life improvements and battle system in this game.
The game initially featured a demo separate from the main story. Clearing it could unlock several costumes. You can buy these costumes later in the game as well, wearing them separate from your body armor. Also, you can continue building Fort Lune, fighting the massive, powerful Ba’al enemies along the way.
This game features tons of side-quests, as well as postgame dungeons. You can clear three postgame dungeons, allowing you to gain better weapons and fight powerful enemies. Also, there is a powerful superboss at the end for those who want the ultimate challenge. Finally, you can unlock New Game+ as well.
I started this game knowing the music wouldn’t be as strong as in Bravely Default. Initially, I wasn’t impressed. Outside of the Bravely Default tracks, it was passable at best. It wasn’t until later in the game that I started to really appreciate some of the later themes. Until then, the only noteworthy theme I enjoyed was the new Asterisk boss battle theme.
I felt the same way about the story. Even though I heavily enjoyed the gameplay, the story didn’t impress me much. The plot involved saving Agnes from Kaiser Oblivion, meeting your friends, being betrayed by your initial team, and battling the Asterisk holders. It isn’t until later in the game that the plot travels through depths. You learn about the losses that everyone faced and why they chose their path of life. It becomes an amazing tale that should have started sooner.
Some of the dialogue is pretty cheesy. It’s an otherwise lighthearted tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously. While I appreciate the humor, I still don’t think it’s as well-written as some of the hallmark JRPGs. But for what it’s worth, the character development is strong. Everyone has something worth fighting for, and you become attached to their struggle. When everything wraps itself around come the endgame, you may leave with a profound feeling for the characters in the game.
I think Bravely Second is a great game that’s worth the ownership of any JRPG fan with a 3DS. Despite not achieving the popularity of Bravely Default, I found it to be better than its predecessor. If you enjoy charming characters, don’t mind a slower paced storyline, and enjoy strong gameplay, I strongly recommend Bravely Second!
Thank you for reading our Bravely Second review! Have you played Bravely Default? Let us know in the comments!