Bravely Second: End Layer (3DS) Review

Jae Lee

Bravely seconds, please.

Bravely Default is a game that holds a special place in my heart as a title that pushed the bounds of what a traditional JRPG was supposed to be.

The immediately likable cast of characters, enveloped in a tale that took a bold twist on a tried and true formula, along with a series of brilliant mechanics both in and out of combat had me feeling hopeful for the first time in years of where the genre as a whole was headed.

It became an instant classic in my eyes.

While it certainly wasn’t the perfect game, it was my pick for game of the year in 2014.

Suffice to say, the wait for the sequel has been long, and now that I’ve finally had my time checking back in with Edea and company, I can safely say that it was well worth the wait.

There are old and new friends to meet and they’re all a delightful bunch.

There are old and new friends to meet and they’re all a delightful bunch.

MSRP: $39.99.
Platforms: 3DS
Voice Acting: ENG only
Length: 50~ Hours

The story picks up a few years after the events of Bravely Second, and centers around two new characters, Yew and Magnolia, along with two series veterans, Tiz and Edea.

Yew is an earnest, up and coming knight in service of the pope, and Magnolia is a Ba’al Buster from the moon who speaks French.

I’m not making that up, I swear.

Tiz is… well, Tiz and Edea are still the Mrgrgr queen of sweets and justice.

If you’re pondering what I’m talking about at this point, that just means you haven’t played Bravely Default and you’re clearly in the wrong place.

Go read my Bravely Default review instead, or better yet, just go buy and play it already instead.

Without going into meaningful spoilers, I would say that the overall plot in Bravely Second is fairly interesting, with nuanced characters and a few good twists along the way.

However, many of the themes that were explored previously in Default are touched upon once more in Second, and while that certainly isn’t a terrible thing, I would have liked to have seen the sequel delve into different concepts and ideas instead.

Luckily, the biggest mistake the original made in the last few hours of its campaign isn’t repeated, and the overall pacing of Bravely Second felt smoother with much less down time.

That is not to say that it’s a game devoid of tedium, as the way the asterisk battles are handled required going through same scenarios twice, picking the other choice the second time.

Not only did this feel unnecessary, it only served to cheapen the choice I made the first time and felt like a poor design choice overall.

The combat remains mostly the same with a few tweaks and don’t worry, you can still manipulate random encounter rates anytime time you want after the tutorial.

The combat remains mostly the same with a few tweaks and don’t worry, you can still manipulate random encounter rates anytime time you want after the tutorial.

As for the combat, it’s still the same great system of defaulting to save turns and braving to expand extra turns.

It’s every bit as good as it was in 2014, when I praised it for being as flexible as it is deep, allowing for some truly clever tactics.

It’s not all the same though, as now battles can be chained one to the next, increasing multipliers to the various rewards like exp, jp and pg. With a maximum of three times the reward on everything, I often found myself thinking up new ways to chain encounters in the most efficient way to reap the rewards.

The job system returns as well, more or less identical as it was in Bravely Default, but this time all of the passive slots are unlocked and ready to be used from the beginning. Given it took 25-30 hours to unlock all of the slots previously, having them right from the get-go was a welcome change, and played well towards my love of fiddling with different combinations of skills.

The town restoration mini-game returns in much the same fashion, but this time the player is tasked with rebuilding the moon.

There’s also a new silly little mini-game where the characters make a bunch of chomper dolls for profit, but I never felt it was really worth the time and didn’t bother with it too much.

I spent hours fiddling with the various skill combinations to create new deadly combos and had a blast while doing it.

I spent hours fiddling with the various skill combinations to create new deadly combos and had a blast while doing it.

Bravely Second is a title that builds on the success of its predecessor without taking too many risks. There are only a handful of new mechanics and ideas present here, but as the original was brimming with so much innovation, I have a hard time holding it against the sequel for upholding the precedents made by its predecessor. In turn, it also stands amongst the best JRPGs on offer for the 3DS.

Fun Tidbit – Continuing my proud tradition of destroying RPGs.

bravelysecondreview_04

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Deep and satisfying job system
  • Likeable cast of characters
  • Enjoyable combat

Bad

  • Rehashed content and themes
9

Excellent

Jae Lee

Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he’s too busy playing games to do anything about it.

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