Although I am indeed an RPG fan, I feel like there’s just so many RPG’s out there that one would really need to catch my eye in order to entice me to buy it. One such series that I’ve always passed over was Bravely Default, which, aside from having a rather odd name, didn’t appear to be much different from other RPG’s I’ve already played. But when I discovered a demo for Bravely Default 2 from 2021, I thought it couldn’t hurt to give it a try, considering money wasn’t involved. The demo has a five-hour time limit and takes place during part of Chapter 1: Chasing Mirages. It would seem our four heroes, who are already nicely leveled up, are searching for the stolen Water Crystal in the desert kingdom of Savalon.
Starting off, the game already seems to have a bit of a cliche story (seriously, what’s with RPG’s and their obsession with crystals?), and most of the characters didn’t really stand out to me, with the exception of Anihal, who is quite adorable. I also felt like a good portion of the demo was pure dialogue. I know RPG’s tend to be rather heavy on story, but I still feel like this game was just a bit excessive. If I hadn’t been recording my experience for Youtube, I would have skipped much of the characters’ rambling, but since I didn’t, I found myself sitting silently through many minutes of uninterrupted chattering.
When I was actually allowed to, you know, play the game, it was perfectly fun, and I really enjoyed the game’s soundtrack, which is quite exceptional. I completed a few easy side quests, whose objectives were clearly marked on the map. Part of me questioned the fact that every detail of these tasks came complete with a marker showing you exactly where to go, but I suppose it beats aimlessly combing the beach looking for seashells or whatnot.
Battles are turn-based, as expected, and your characters have different jobs, a bit reminiscent of Final Fantasy 5. The demo starts with Seth as a Vanguard, Gloria as a White Mage, Elvis as a Black Mage, and Adelle as a Monk, though you also unlock more jobs as the demo progresses. While I do prefer RPG’s like this where your characters have unique skillsets, I’ll admit I was rather confused with the fact that many of your abilities cost not just MP to use, but HP and BP, as well! Having multiple different “currencies”, as it were, to use abilities seemed needlessly complicated to me.
And in case you’re wondering what BP is, well, that’s where the game’s bizarre title comes in. When you select Default, your character will defend. (Why the word “default” is used instead of, well, “defend”, I have no clue.) Defending earns you BP, which allows you to choose the Brave option, which grants you the ability to use multiple moves in one turn. I suppose this is a pretty interesting concept, although the usefulness of it is negated by the fact that enemies can do this, as well.
Much of the demo was a decent difficulty level, not too easy and not too hard. Unfortunately, there is a huge difficulty spike whenever you encounter a boss battle, and the whole Bravely Default concept is partially to blame. Your foes can spend multiple turns defending, making it difficult to inflict much damage. Then they can pummel your team with attack after attack. While I was able to defeat the first boss and unlock the Bard job, I was unable to complete the demo because I couldn’t get past the second boss. This particular foe was accompanied by a little nymph-like creature that would spend prolonged time defending, making it very difficult to inflict any damage. And then it would heal the enemy’s team multiple times in a row and undo much of the damage I had done.
I’m sure if I had devised a better strategy and gained a better grasp on the different jobs and abilities associated with them, I’d have an easier time with this game. Nevertheless, I read online that many people agree that the boss fights in this game are unfairly difficult and require a good deal of leveling up in order to defeat them. And while I don’t mind challenging RPG’s, I prefer it when just playing the game naturally enables your team to grow strong enough to keep up with the increasing challenge. One of the biggest things I don’t enjoy in RPG’s is the need to set aside large periods of time mindlessly battling enemies just to overcome the next major boss fight.
As such, just this feature alone makes it unlikely that I’ll ever want to play Bravely Default 2 in its entirety. There are so many RPG’s out there that I think I’d rather save my money for something else. If this sounds like your thing, however, then you’ll certainly get your money’s worth. Although Bravely Default 2 is available on Switch and PC for a whopping $59.99, I heard that the game can take you a generous 50-88 hours to complete!
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