Bravely Default 2 Review
Bravely Default made waves when it was released back in 2012 on the Nintendo 3DS. Aside from reimagining the classic Square-Enix turn-based formula through the Brave and Default system, it also introduced a slew of quality-of-life features that would define new standards for JRPGs. Bravely Default 2 was recently released on the Switch and even though it’s missing some of the QoL features of its predecessors, it’s still a BD game that brings a few new tricks to the table.
In Bravely Default 2, you take on the role of Seth (or whatever name you choose to give him), a sailor who’s found by Princess Gloria and her most trusted knight, Sir Sloan, washed up on a beach with no memory of how he ended up there. After recovering at the kingdom of Halcyonia, he learns about Gloria’s quest to find the four Crystals, powerful gems that could bring about calamity should they fall into the wrong hands. After being joined by mercenary Adelle and travelling scholar Elvis, the four embark on a journey to find the Crystals and uncover the secrets of the Asterisks.
The story on the surface feels like a familiar one but it’s underpinned by the narratives that guide the motivations of each of the protagonists. Seth needs to find out who he is and his connection to the Warriors of Light. Gloria’s quest to find the Crystals is driven by the loss of her kingdom, Musa, and desperately wants to stop the world from seeing the same fate. Elvis is on a mission to learn more about the power of the Asterisks, the gems that grant individuals power. Adelle has taken up the life of a sword-for-hire as she seeks out someone dear to her. These individual stories are well intertwined with the main narrative and are easily the main highlight of Bravely Default 2’s storytelling.
Bravely Default but Evolved
BD’s elaborate job system returns to Bravely Default 2 and it’s every bit as fun as it was in the past games. Jobs are acquired by defeating bosses and obtaining their respective Asterisks. You can assign a main and secondary job to each character to mix and match their abilities. This adds an engaging strategic layer that ends up becoming a metagame in itself as you experiment with combinations. Some of the past jobs return overhauled from previous games. For instance, the Swordmaster job no longer has a samurai theme and doesn’t rely on critical hits. There are also new jobs introduced in Bravely Default 2, such as the Bastion, a balanced melee job, and Hellblade, a high-risk-high-reward job that utilizes HP as a resource.
One big change from past BD games is in the game’s overworld. Bravely Default 2 no longer relies on random battles and instead has monsters and enemies roaming the map which you can choose to avoid or engage with. This has cued the devs to replace the old random battle settings with a new system whereby enemies that are significantly lower level than you will flee if you go near them. On top of that, you can further reduce enemies aggroing your party through the use of special consumables. This new system feels like it provides more choice that feels integrated with the world.
Great on the Go
Bravely Default 2 is well-optimized and runs smoothly on the Nintendo Switch, both in docked and handheld mode. The game’s combination of gorgeous hand-drawn backgrounds and cute, chibi-style 3D models looks better than ever on the Switch’s superior hardware. If there’s one gripe that we had, is that the game’s overall art style feels better suited to handheld mode as the models and maps tend to feel a bit too blown up on a big TV display.
With fewer and fewer titles coming out that carry the classic turn-based gameplay of JRPGs of yore, Bravely Default 2 stands as a shining example of the genre still being relevant while also introducing fresh ideas that push the series forward. If you’ve been looking for a classic style JRPG on the Switch, look no further.