Bravely Second is the sequel to the 2013 3DS JRPG Bravely Default. Despite enjoying the first game’s demo, I never made the jump to actually purchasing the game. But when Bravely Second came out, naturally an evolution and improvement upon the first one’s game mechanics, I just had to get my hands on it.
In the last 5-6 years I’ve become increasingly interested in JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, exploring their history and how the games in those franchises changed throughout the years. Bravely Second caught my attention because it manages to bring those 90s JPRG gameplay aspects to a modern game and combine things from different franchises to make something that feels entirely fresh and exciting to play.
Bravely Second’s unique battle system is where it truly shines. The Brave/Default system allows you to decide whether to attack or defend in a turn, spending your attack points or saving them to unleash a 4-part attack in one turn later on. Of course there are hundreds of smaller details I didn’t mention. The combinations, risks and rewards are too many to list here. Your strategy has to change depending on who (or what) you’re battling. Without boring you with too many details about the combat system and character customization, I have to say that everything feels polished and balanced.
The game feels very much like a pre-Playstation era Final Fantasy game in the best way possible. Don’t let this fool you though. The game is incredibly well-made with an easy to use interface, tidy menus and easy instructions. In addition to that, it is also incredibly cinematic with carefully directed AR cutscenes that give you full control of the camera using the 3DS gyroscope. Environments are beautiful and the hand-drawn style of the game, combined with the 3D effect, brings some truly breathtaking scenes to life.
Bravely Second was a risk to make. It was a second entry to an entirely new franchise, exclusive to one system. The fact that games like these still get released gives me hope for the future. It is unique, original and one of very few games that truly captivate me and make me want to explore every detail of their virtual world, the characters and combat. If you’re a fan of JRPGs, stop reading this and go get it now.
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