Bravely Default 2 (Nintendo Switch)07/03/2021
In the past 15 years, RPGs have largely embraced a certain formula that makes games like Bravely Default 2 stand out for me as someone who grew up playing Final Fantasy and Earthbound. Don’t get me wrong, the hundreds of hours I’ve played The Witcher 3 and Skyrim show that I have no issues with RPGs that are coming out now. There was something about Final Fantasy and its job system that felt special though. I really enjoyed the extra way of making specific characters stand out as strong magic users or a bulky tank that could also dish out damage. Customization was great, but if you didn’t play your cards right, you would surely find yourself on a Game Over screen quickly,
Bravely Default 2 tasks you with making the same choices as your hero and his 3 companions must travel the world in search of the 4 crystals before the end of the world happens! I know, not exactly groundbreaking when it comes to the plot. In fact, when it comes to the story of Bravely Default 2, it is an extremely cookie-cutter RPG in which I figured out almost every major event before it would happen. Every twist and turn you will see from a mile away, save for 1 event that kinda surprised me towards the beginning of the game…damn traitor!
I want to be blunt with you, if you are not conditioned to what we old-timers call “The Grind” then Bravely Default 2 might not be for you. In between chapters, you will NEED to go off the beaten path in search of treasures and enemies to fight if you want to have any chance in hell beating the bosses at the end of every dungeon. If you think you might be slightly overleveled, you are not…and you will die quickly! You will know you are on the right path if you go into the dungeon you are supposed to be at and the enemies run away from you (like in Earthbound). While this is nice for gathering the treasures in each area, I would advise that you still fight all the enemies you see. I made the error ONE time of getting cocky and trying to fight one of the bosses, I made it about 6 rounds and I died. After spending some more time grinding out levels and job levels though, the boss fight was significantly easier.
The job system is one of the features in Bravely Default 2 that I had the most fun working with. At any time you will have a Primary Job which is the job you are currently leveling and also what your character’s appearance is reflected on. You can also set a sub-job so that you can use all the abilities you have unlocked within that job. If you are like me, you will probably go thru the whole game trying to level your whole team to MASTERED in each job, but that is also not necessary. Generally speaking though, I would make sure I had a strong magic user specifically for keeping party health up. A support character for buffs and debuffs. My last 2 characters were both predominately strong attackers. There would be encounters where I had to change everything up so everyone only used magic or physical attacks. Thankfully there are enough jobs that do different types of attacks that you will mostly avoid having a cookie-cutter team.
I was impressed with how pretty the game was in the cities and dungeons. Although I would say that to some degree, some of the dungeons felt like they were perhaps a little too big with little substance. Usually, you would go down a long and twisted corridor to only a treasure chest or two that would contain an item as useless as a potion! In Chapter 2, one of the last areas you are in had some neat bat animations that would fly across the screen, I would’ve liked to see more of that.
Despite the flaws, I felt that Bravely Default 2 was a fantastic nostalgia trip to JRPGs from when I was a kid. I don’t know that it as replayable as Super Mario RPG, but the 62 hours I spent in the game were a lot of fun. Don’t sleep on this if you like RPGs, but if you are not a fan of games that can be grindy, best keep your distance.
*This Review Code was so generously provided by the publisher for review*
Developer: Claytechworks Co., Ltd Publisher: Nintendo Square Enix
Release date: February 26, 2021
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Platform Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch