A Long Awaited Return to Luxendarc 

Bravely Second: End Layer is a turn based JRPG with a very unique combat system and is the sequel to 2012’s fantastic 3DS exclusive JRPG, Bravely Default. Second is a direct followup to Default, set some years after the events that devastated Luxendarc. Bravely Second improves on the formula in every way, and the bravely default system we’ve come to know and love has been untouched. Bravely Second makes enough changes and tweaks to make it well worth playing, especially if you’re a fan of Bravely Default or JRPGs in general.

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The Three Cavaliers. From left to right, Janne, Yew and Nikolai.

A Tale that Spans Time and Space

Bravely Second’s story takes place two and a half years after the events of Default. The game starts off by recapping all the key events of Default, meaning you don’t have to play the first game to understand what’s going on here. The basic plot is that the Kaiser Oblivion attacks the Crystal Orthodoxy and kidnaps Agnes to fulfill his plans. I don’t want to get anymore in depth than I already have. Much like Default, the main cast of characters all form the party one at a time and for their own reasons. The new party consists of two new characters, Yew and Magnolia and two from Default, Tiz and Edea. I really liked Yew and Magnolia as new characters. I felt both of them were unique and interesting characters that I legitimately cared about. All the cut scenes are voice acted, but there is a downside to this that i’ll get to later. The story has plenty of plot twists throughout, and all of them surprised me. I know a lot of reviews said it was a predictable plot, and sometimes it is, but more often than not it managed to surprise me. That being said these twists didn’t affect me nearly as much as the major twist in Default did. All in all, a fantastic story but just falls short of Default’s, however I am interested to see where the story goes from here. In 31 hours, I cleared the main game and did about half of the side-quests, and once you finish the main story, new game plus is unlocked straight away, carrying everything over.

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The artwork and concept art is beautiful.

Default, Default, Default, Brave, Brave, Brave

If you’ve played Bravely Default, you’ll be right at home. There a few tweaks to the combat system so it stays mostly the same, which trust me, is for the better. For those who aren’t familiar with Bravely’s combat system, it’s a fairly standard turn-based party battle system, but with one unique and significant mechanic called Bravely Default. The Default command allows that party member to assume a defensive stance, which significantly decreases damage. Defaulting stores one BP or Bravely Points. These Bravely Points can be used to activate the Brave command, which allows the party member to to use one more command for every Bravely Point used. This means you have to use your Bravely Points effectively to get through battles, particularly in the harder difficulty modes. Most fights can be cleared quickly with full use of BP, but boss fights require a lot more thinking and strategy. Also making a return is Bravely Second, which allows you to freeze time and take a free turn. The resource for Bravely Second, SP regenerates 8 hours per point and can be bought through the e-shop. All the Asterisks (jobs) are back and there are also some new ones too. Some of the new Asterisks are really unique and interesting and I didn’t ever find myself not wanting to try one out. In one way or another, all the features of Default are present in Second. Fort-Lune acts as Norende did in Default (rebuilding the town which gives you various benefits), Yew’s Diary acts as D’s Journal and etc. The map is fairly similar to Default, but with some new areas, making it bigger overall. The one problem that I had with Bravely Second’s game play was that it felt a bit too much like Default, which isn’t necessarily a horrible thing, I just would’ve liked to see some new mechanics being implemented.

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This is concept art for Al-Khampis, a school that also functions as a city.

Timeless Style

Bravely Second looks beautiful. I absolutely love the art style, hand drawn backgrounds and character design, sharing the same style as Default. The soundtrack is absolutely astounding, I constantly found myself humming along to the battle theme and would always recite the victory chime before finishing off the last enemy in a battle. As I said before, all the cut scenes are fully voice acted in English, the only problem I had with this was that more often than not the voice acting annoyed me much like they did in Default. Admittedly some of the voice acting was enjoyable, but it was few and far in between.

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The art book that comes with the collectors edition is fantastic, and well worth getting.

Verdict: 9/10

In my opinion, Bravely Second is one of the best 3DS you can get for the system. It’s a fantastic, deep JRPG that I would recommedn to anyone who played Default, or is just a fan of JRPGs in general. Although it has a few faults, I cannot recommend this game enough to 3DS owners who are looking for a game to sink their teeth into.

Positives

-Fantastic combat system

-Interesting characters and story

-Art style

-Soundtrack

Negatives

-Most voice acting is annoying

-Could be a little more change

Thanks for reading guys, sorry this one took so long, it was quite a hulk of a game for me to get through.

UPDATE: I’m currently progressing through Twilight Princess HD now and will hopefully have a review up for it by next Saturday. Dark Souls III has also been added to the list of games i’ll be reviewing.

 

 

 

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