Playing this game at Bravely Hours until there is no tomorrow!
Looking back at Bravely Default, I don't regret a thing I said back then. The thirst for classic role playing games was real and that made me very happy to play the game really quickly. While there were some padding problems at the end of the adventure, everything else felt really well designed and I don't how they could even top that. Then I played Bravely Second and realized that they managed to do the seemingly impossible.
That doesn't mean that Bravely Second hides its problems really well, because they become apparent mere seconds in. You are literally thrown into a battle and have no idea what exactly is going on. What’s clear to me is that you need to play the lengthy demo first, because characters and events are glanced over for the most part. If you weren't planning to go through that thing, I do highly suggest it, because I was confused for the first 30 minutes or so.
Once you get a feel for this weird flow at the beginning, you learn about Yew Geneolgia. He is the leader of the Three Cavaliers, who guide the Crystalguard into battle. The mission of the Crystalguard is a simple one: Protect pope Agnes Oblige from harm at all costs. At the start of the journey, she is captured by this game's new villain, Kaiser Oblivion. Together with Cryst-Fairy Anne, they hatch a plan together that becomes more apparent as you move along.
Now it is up to The Three Cavaliers to set it right, correct? Well, that is certainly Yew's intention, but things go awry incredibly fast. Within that first hour. It turns out that one of his longterm partners, Janne, has betrayed everyone and actually works for this newly formed Empire. He killed most of the remaining Crystalguard, leaving the rest for dead in the progress. Yew finds the final member Nikolai of the Cavaliers before his death and requests of him to simply walk away. Walk away and live.
Yew's resolve, however, becomes stronger as a result and he is determined to bring Agnes back from the airship she is being held captive on. But while he is a force to be reckoned with, he is also young and gets easily scared. It doesn't take long for him to find some friends to set things right! Edea Lee from the previous game returns to make some quick swiping motions with her sword. The game also introduces Magnolia Arch, a Ba'al Buster warrior who claims to come from the moon. Between her English dialogue, she speaks lines of French to show an edge.
The play between characters and plot is strong in this one. Similar to the first game, there is a lot of chatting going about. This makes for some impressive scenes in battle, but also comfy moments where you can't help but just smile. So there is a long chat between all three characters about how adventuring and camping can be a ton of fun, given in the right circumstances. If you can't get enough, Party Chat makes its return to give you even more to chew on. The banter was never annoying to me, and if you are the same, you will just enjoy how everything is written. I will say that there is more referential humor in this one, which I don't mind per se as I can appreciate a good Star Wars reference once in a while.
While saving Agnes is the main goal, the goal in the prologue is brought to a somewhat smaller level. If you have seen the secret movie at the end of Bravely Default, you will know that Magnolia saves Tiz Arrior from his slumber. Now, I don't want to go too deeply into this, but the end result is that he will also join your team. Together you fight enemies and travel to locations, old and new, and see what this new threat is made of!
If you are familiar with the mechanics of the original game, you will more than likely feel right at home. You will walk across the world of Luxendarc once more, where you find some things have changed in your absence. The world is more united against this common threat and you see that more in the people that you meet. While there is a lot of familiarity in this adventure, like traveling to Eternia, there is enough to keep the intrigue going. There is also some things that make me think that this updated world will have new additional mysteries hidden within it. That alone makes me quite excited to keep playing. Everything about Bravely Second feels more open as well, so you have more reason to wander about and explore.
One thing that I must continue to mention is how beautiful these games look. The world is truly stunning and it does wonders on the senses. It is the kind of game that wants to keep you addicted for hours on end and it does a great job. On an equal level is the battle system, which I consider the true star of the show. The turn-based system with all of its refreshing elements make a solid return in Bravely Second. While the way through dungeons may seem grim, it became a game to quickly reduce the enemy to rubble and claimvictory.
On one hand, I could play it safe and constantly Default to raise my Brave Points. This would take more time, but when things would go horribly wrong, I simply saved myself from potential harm. By stacking them three turns, it prevents your counter from going below zero. If that happens, you will have to wait and that gives your opponents time to strike you down. That being said, there are reasons to spam the Bravely button instantly and take that risk. It destroys smaller enemies way faster and Bravely Seconds actually rewards you for going all out.
If you destroy everything in a single turn, it enables the ''Bring It On!'' option, which starts a streak. The BP status remains the same, but if you succeed, you will receive more experience and job points as a result. This can be done multiple times, which nets you an additional bonus at the very end. Once I unlocked this feature, I heavily abused this to raise my characters quicker for the rougher fights ahead. Bring It On is a major help is raising the levels of the various jobs in your arsenal, as every level unlocks new features to make that set of skills stronger.
The job system has seen increased variety when you compare it to the previous game. You get access to more of them quickly and you will have a very diverse line-up at the end of the prologue. A good example is the Wizard, who can spells like Lightning and Fire to bring down multiple enemies at once. As you level up, you can transform them in different ways to be more effective in various situations. Another favorite is the Charioteer, which is skilled at using a variety of weapons and can cause a lot of damage as a result. Later on, there is a Catmancer, which is exactly what is sounds like. It is gloriously silly but awesome all at the exact same time. I have some good hope for the 30 jobs in total!
Bravely Second leaves an incredibly strong first impression. The game seems to be a more open and witty adventure than its first attempt. You will smile as characters shout interesting dialogue at one another and keep you pushing forward to new places. While it seems like that you have to play the demo first to fully grasp everything, it is well worth your time. There is still a ton of things left to explore and they will be touched upon as we move along with our journey!