Bravely Default II

 Four brave strangers, four magic crystals, and an opportunity to save the world.

Square Enix nowadays has become a name synonymous with RPG. With the plethora of RPG series that have been released over the years, it has rightly won this title as well. With series such as Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Octopath Traveler, Dragon Quest, and more recently such as Bravely Default, Square Enix is ​​the "mother" of the best JRPGs ever released. The secret that makes a JRPG great is that Square Enix seems to keep it a family secret passed down from generation to generation and not shared with others. All Square Enix JRPGs, though different from each other, have something in common, something that every RPG understands directly when playing a Square Enix JRPG.

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Of course, this element could not be missing from the Bravely Default series. As a fresher series, since the first Bravely Default was released in 2014 in Europe, we expected something brand new from Square Enix. Eventually, it did not, but with the exception of some new elements introduced by Square Enix, it retained much of its older JRPG elements. The result was a mix of Final Fantasy and something new. The series managed to make good sales and gained a lot of fans. This resulted in Square Enix releasing three more titles in the series with the most recent being a brand new adventure called Bravely Default IILet's see what is new and if it is worth investing in the latest release of the Bravely Default series.

Simple crystal hunting or something more?

Bravely Default II is a brand new adventure in the Bravely Default series and has nothing to do with Bravely Second. The adventure you will experience in Bravely Default II may seem familiar to JRPG fans. Although special, it is a classic cliché and is somewhat reminiscent of the story of Final Fantasy III. Your adventure begins with the destruction of the city of Musa, which was responsible for the protection and maintenance of the four crystals that maintain the balance of the world. As you can see, with the destruction of the city, all four magic crystals were stolen.

The only Musa survivor is Princess Gloria. Thus begins her journey to reassemble the four crystals and restore balance to the world. As this journey begins she will meet three more strangers who, for their own reasons, will accompany her in her search for the crystals. As they search for the crystals their friendship grows, they face adversity and slowly approach the mystery of the theft of the crystals, the destruction of Musa, and the sudden presence of the Asterisks who give special powers to their possessors.

The grind goes cloud

In addition to the story that accompanies Bravely Default II, the core of the game is their turn-based battle system, as well as the system of jobs and skills. Unlike older JRPGs, Bravely Default II has discarded random encounters, which means that before you start a battle you will see your opponents, whether they are strong or not, and who they are. This way you will be able to avoid them if you wish, however, if you are weaker than them they will just chase you, while if the opposite happens they will run to hide from you.

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The moment you enter a battle the options will seem quite familiar to you if you are familiar with RPGs, even if all you have played is Pokemon. You have your attacks, your skills of your main job and slavery, your special moves, HP and MP, as well as a defense option (Default) and the choice of multiple attacks (Brave). The last two are what make the Bravely Default stand out from the rest of the JPEG. Bravely Default II, like its predecessors, uses Battle Points (BP) as tokens to determine who attacks and how many moves they can use.

The standard maximum is 3 BP and the minimum is -3 BP. By selecting Default your hero enters a defensive position and wins a BP, while by selecting Brave your hero can make up to (max) four moves, whether these are items, skills, or simple attacks. The Brave option cannot be used when a special move is performed, cannot be used in conjunction with Default, and cannot be used when you have negative BP.

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Every move you make practically does not consume BP, they are consumed only with the Brave option. For example, if you have 0 BP and it is your turn you can make an attack and at the end of the round, you will have 0 BP again unless it specifically states to your abilities that instead of MP or HP the ability consumes BP. Also, in battles, you can take advantage of the features of your main job. Depending on what job you have set as main you will have a separate property (passive) that will be active only as long as you have the specific job as the main job, but you will be able to put up to five other passives from any job you have unlocked.

The combinations are infinite, both the combinations of passives and the main and sub-jobs. Also, each main job affects the operation of your special movement. There are several jobs to choose from and you can unlock most of them simply by moving on with the story. Some of these are unlocked by doing some side-quests. You need to look at the function and passives of each job in detail, as some of them do not behave as you would expect. For example, Spiritmaster if you get the job to level 12 (which is the maximum) and unlock its second passive will constantly have some active spirits that remove all the buffs, whether they are yours or hostile.

We experiment with different combinations of jobs and clear each dungeon

You need to use your BPs and the skills of your jobs carefully, as a miscalculation, especially against stronger enemies, can be fatal. On the other hand, if you are fighting a very easy enemy, you are given the option to increase the speed of the battle and finish faster, which is especially useful as to be competitive you will need to grind a lot. When it comes time to fight the bosses of each chapter you will understand the necessity of grind in Bravely Default IIEach chapter has about three bosses who have special moves but also counters depending on the attacks and moves you make. So, if you are underloved you will have a hard time against these bosses. When you beat the bosses,

Another way to gain the edge, in addition to trying different combinations of jobs, is to experiment with different weapons and equipment. Each job has a different weapon that uses different stats and to achieve the best result you should approach the equipment of each job carefully and not always put as much as possible. You can either buy equipment and weapons from merchants or find them by chance in various chests as you explore.

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The dungeons you will encounter are plentiful and you should be careful, as if you have not saved before entering and dying inside the dungeon you will start again from the last save you made. Use of tent and saves in the dungeon is done only in specific places and not whenever you want, so it requires careful exploration. Unfortunately, doing various side quests will not always guarantee you some XP. You only clean the XP from the various battles. Sometimes the reward of a side quest may be an EXP Orb, but this rarely happens. Battles will not give you enough XP to level up fast and the only way to get up is to win battles. Therefore grind is one way. Nevertheless,

During your adventure, you will tour various areas and plenty of dungeons and you will encounter plenty of monsters. Monsters can be different "functional" but their names and appearances remain the same. Site exploration is limited to looking for chests, hidden side-quests, and various NPCs to talk to for a better view of the story. Another tool that helps to better narrate the adventure is the "party chats" that will appear after some events and will offer a little context to what just happened.

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The camera in cities is fixed and changes perspective only if you enter a house or go elsewhere, while as you navigate the "overworld", ie outside cities, you will be able to operate your camera as you wish. Of course, the handling of the camera is a bit strange, because sometimes it automatically adjusts according to the obstacles that appear, so you can not see what you want every time. In addition, Bravely Default II has some technical issues. The loading screen several times larger than expected, while cinematics is almost always slow to start and show small stutters at first. Additionally, this happens when the "Party Chat" option appears. When it appears and presses it will take some time until it becomes a trigger.

All of the above are some small delays that in the 50+ hours you play Bravely Default II will accumulate and become annoying. There are some stutters that spoil the immersion when they appear and some loading screens that make you think about the meaning of life. The phenomenon of stutters is very intense, especially if you run in a city and click to talk to an NPC that needs to trigger a cinematic. Overall, if we ignore the specific technical issues, Bravely Default II offers a classic JRPG adventure.

Looking back

Everyone now knows that the Switch is not the most powerful console on the market. Therefore, we know in advance that Switch games will not have the same stunning and realistic graphics as those on the PlayStation or Xbox. However, what is observed in Bravely Default II is at least disappointing. Both the character models and the environments seem to try to be somewhat realistic and detailed but fail miserably. The graphics seem to be from another console and at least five years old, while the shutters and all the other technical problems weigh on its position.

Where Bravely Default II comes under attack is the cities. The detailed design of the cities, which seems to be hand-painted, gives another breath to the game. The contrast from the most realistic "chibi" models of the characters to the most painted and cartoonish style of the cities is obvious. Also, the cities are very colorful and well-designed, while practically every city uses a different color as a base, making it stand out from the rest.

Enchanting battle melodies

Undoubtedly, JRPGs are distinguished for the excellent melodies they contain. One can not forget the "One-Winged Angel" of FF VII that grew up for generations. So in Bravely Default II, the tradition of the great soundtrack in JRPG continues. The soundtrack throughout the adventure follows a similar pattern in "overworld" with the rhythm staying the same and the "phrases" of the music changing. In Avalon, for example, which is practically deserted, it keeps the same basic pattern but follows the notes found on stairs (musical scales) that give a more eastern type to the music.

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Of course, cities have their own soundtracks, which are completely separate from the pattern that follows in the "overworld" and each such soundtrack is like describing the "essence" of the city and the region. In addition, the music tracks played during the battles are simply epic, with the climax coming in loud bosses. Apart from the soundtrack, Bravely Default II does extremely well in the field of voice acting. Despite the fact that visually they are not at their best, the characters, through voice acting, acquire a special personality and you can easily distinguish them. The tone and the way they communicate with each other depending on the facts is really something that surpasses the bad models. The best result, however,

Has the end come?

Bravely Default II offers a great adventure for Switch owners. It is mainly recommended for JRPG fans, as it is quite demanding, however with the casual mode even beginners can start playing. With a beautiful soundtrack, quite good interpretations, a good script, and "well-written" (in terms of personality, how they speak, etc.) characters, Bravely Default II definitely stands out among the other JRPGs for the Switch. For fans of the series, its purchase is practically no-brain, while for the more skeptics it is somewhat dubious. The only sure thing is that both of you will need at least 50 hours to complete it, while if you want to unlock the two extra endings, as well as do all the side-quests, its duration is shot by 10 to 20 hours.

- Beautiful soundtrack
They- Pretty good voice acting
- Striking script full of twists
- Complex and addictive battle system and jobs
- The design of the cities is beautiful

- Outdated graphics
- Technical problems (stutters, lags )
- Some big loading screens
- Some "stupid" jobs (like Spiritmaster)

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Screenplay: 7
Durability: 9
Overall: 7.5

A classic and addictive JRPG that nevertheless suffers from some technical problems.

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