In 2013, fans were begging for a classic JRPG experience, which ended up being Bravely Default. Players fell in love with the battle system of charging multiple attacks as well as the charming group of characters that fueled the adventure. The follow-up, Bravely Default: End Layer, was met with the same praise, which inevitably led to the release of Octopath Traveler, and both titles used the same battle system idea.
Now, with the release of the demo of Bravely Default 2 on Nintendo Switch, we got the chance to see how the developers have evolved over this time. While the character, world, and set pieces all look gorgeous, I think the brave and default battle system could really use an upgrade.
The demo of Bravely Default 2 introduces us to four new characters, Seth, Gloria, Adelle, and Elvis. We catch up to them as they are on a quest for four elemental crystals that have been taken by force. The mission is rather simple as players are tasked with asking the townspeople for clues, which opens the path to a dungeon leading to a boss fight. See, pretty straight forward.
However, I enjoyed this aspect of the demo as it doesn’t spoil the events that happened before the events of the demo, and it leaves us with very little as to what will come after. Still, this was enough time to get to know each of the character’s personalities.
The biggest take away from the demo is the battle system. Returning is the brave and default action, along with the ability to change job classes. The job classes available in the demo were Freelancer, Monk, Black Mage, White Mage, and Vanguard. After completing the demo, a Thief class becomes available. Each character can have a main and sub-job class equipped, which gains them new abilities as they level up. However, only main job classes earn levels after battles, so finding a balance when to switch job classes is necessary to create a well-rounded team.
I’ll admit, I had a lot of fun playing through the demo and grinding levels to face off against the end boss, but it was quickly apparent to me that there was nothing new here. I’ve played this game several times already, and it just felt reused. I found myself rapidly braving each character at the beginning of fights to get through them as quickly as possible, which is something that I did in the previous entries, and I approached my four-person party in a way that I typically do as well.
Bravely Default 2 needs to do better here. The adventure will be there to pick up the pieces along with the new cast, but the battle system can use some upgrading. Other elements like making your way through town and speaking with NPCs just felt like I’ve done this all before. I would have loved to find a crafting system or unique system added to the battle, such as an enemy who blocks braving. Seriously, anything to make this adventure feel new again.
I’m eagerly looking forward to Bravely Default 2, as I am a massive fan of the series, but I’m afraid that they’ve gotten too comfortable with these systems. I hope to see more advancements in the series because this beautiful looking adventure deserves it.
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