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Bravely Default 2 Review (Nintendo Switch)

Genre: Adventure, RPG, Action
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer | Publisher: Square-Enix | Nintendo
Age Rating: PEGI 12 | ESRB Teen+
Price: UK £49.99 | US $59.99 | EU €59.99
Release Date: 26th February 2021

No review code was provided, and all opinions contained below are my own.

Story/Characters

After a small introduction within which you get to choose the difficulty setting and your characters name, you, the MC, wake up on a beach after being shipwrecked. While trying to orientate yourself, you are found by a couple of random people, a young girl and an old man. They discuss ideas that don’t quite mean a whole lot to you just yet, but they proceed to take you to the nearest town, Halcyonia, so you can rest.

The MC will introduce himself as just a sailor, and about the shipwreck to the girl, with her muttering that it might be the Crystal’s will after all. The old man is introduced as Sir Sloan, a royal man-at-arms, an older gentleman who speaks in an archaic style. Princess Gloria is then introduced as well, firstly as just Gloria of Musa, then her full title and her uncertainty of whether she still is a Princess or not, since Musa has been destroyed.

Adelle, Elvis, MC, Gloria and Sir Sloan.

The Innkeeper will show you a map as you try to figure out where you are, but the map confuses the MC even more. The kind Innkeeper still gives you the map so you don’t get lost in future. As you continue following the course laid out in front of you, you’ll acquire a ship you can send out for up to 12 hours, whilst your Switch is in sleep mode, after saving the boat’s owner.

During the fight to save the boat owner, you’ll be lent a helping hand by a new couple of people. This man and woman will join you after the man attacks the creatures with fire and a small discourse between the two. The woman introduces them as a wandering scholar and his bodyguard/babysitter, her name being Adelle and his, Elvis. Elvis insists on dragging you to the tavern in Halcyonia, but not before they show you what they call an Asterisk, a special item that the pair are searching for across the world.

As you pull the whole group together, you learn that Gloria and Sloan are trying to recover the Crystals that have been scattered across the lands, with trouble coming along wherever they seem to settle. Elvis and Adelle are quite happy to come along as it will give them more direction than they had before. And it seems wherever there’s a Crystal, there are Asterisk users flocking around the place.

Gameplay

Big fight!

Bravely Default 2 is a turn-based RPG, but with it’s own twist. You can also use Brave or Default in a battle, Default is basically defend but allows you to gain a BP each time you use it, whereas Brave lets you take extra actions in your turn, up to 4 actions can be used in one go, and each extra action will use 1 BP each. You can go down to -3 BP but that’ll mean you have to wait 3 turns to be able to use that character again, so it’s recommended to Default then Brave as you see fit.

The Asterisks are what allow you to change Jobs in BD2, for example, Elvis first appears as a Black Mage, using fire, thunder, water etc as he gains levels in it. You’ll start with Freelancer and Black Mage, but you will gain up to 23 different Asterisks throughout the game. Personally, I really like Thief and Spiritmaster jobs, they seem pretty powerful with certain moves and support spells.

The world will open up to you as needed to progress, but anywhere you’ve opened is free to explore as you can, there are plenty of side quests to get done too, so you’ll be running around exploring and gaining extra items/exp/knowledge. There are five main cities that the world will open up around, Halcyonia being the first area, and even that has 2 or 3 optional mini bosses to contend with if you wanna challenge yourself.

Difficulty

Yes, yes we do

I am one of those people that always starts on the hardest difficulty, so I can only write from the Hard difficulty point of view. Although, I’m not sure if it’s because I am happy grinding when I want an ability or if the difficulty really is a touch low, even on Hard mode, but I found it to be pretty easy still, some bosses I would need to fight a few times to figure out the strategy needed, since some bosses have so many counter abilities it can feel like you’re hitting a brick wall with a feather duster.

The only time I have felt underpowered, is when I ‘beat’ the game and got to go unlock extra Job levels, those fights were a pain in the butt, but I managed eventually. As I said before, lots of learning their patterns and changing my jobs to suit the fight I was in, rather than just hit them with everything I got. A bit of patience is all that really required for this game, other than that, it was a walk in the park unfortunately. I actually wish there was a harder difficulty once you’d beaten the game.

But, apart from Hard difficulty, there are also Casual mode and Normal mode, Casual being BD2’s Easy mode. Now, from what I’ve read myself about BD2, it seems for most people this game is classed as difficult, even when not on Hard mode. I think growing up on old JRPG’s has given me the patience to just grind out levels or abilities whenever I fancy. Most issues it seems others had with the difficulty is either the amount of thought you need to put into the strategy, or the counter mechanics. Just have some patience, learn as much as you can in your first try against something difficult and persevere! If necessary, write down what they counter, what their weaknesses are, so you can get a better look at what you need to bring to the fight.

Graphics, Sound and Performance

I wish I could have taken a video to show how well voiced all the characters are, but unfortunately, Bravely Default 2 doesn’t allow video to be taken on the Switch. But, they voice almost every character you interact with! Most simple townsfolks don’t have a voice, but anyone important in any way to the story has a unique voice. It’s nice to see such diversity in a computer world, accents changing with the country, cultures changing too.

Each place has it’s own sounds, whether you’re in a forest listening to the sounds of forest life or on the beach, listening to the waves, it’s such a delight to hear the soundtrack and background noise. It’s a very interactive world, and it helps that you can really get immersed in this world so easily, I was glued to Bravely Default 2 for hours at a time, barely noticing if other things were happening around me.

Possibly the only issue I believe to be found in the performance may be the loading times, now, I don’t mind if a game takes it’s time loading things in as long as it’s not long enough for me to make a cuppa before it’s done, but 10-20 seconds, no real issue to me. But I know that it can be a problem for other people, which is understandable. We’re in a world where we want technology to do what we want as fast as possible, but a touch of patience and hopefully it’s not that big a deal. The game itself makes up for slightly long loading times.

Conclusion

Bravely Default 2 is a great old school style RPG, if you long for old Final Fantasy style gaming, give the Bravely Default series a go. They’ve managed to incorporate new ideas with the old turn-based style and it works, I love the gimmick of Braving and Defaulting, it opens you to fun interesting fighting styles.

8/10

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