Hello and welcome to The Starlight Megaphone’s playthrough of Bravely Default II, a JRPG released worldwide on the Nintendo Switch on 26 February 2021, in both physical and digital versions that are identical in terms of their content.
Bravely Default II is, despite its title, the third game in the Bravely Default series, following the Nintendo DS releases of Bravely Default: Flying Fairy and Bravely Second: End Layer. Like the first two games in the series, Bravely Default II is exclusive to a Nintendo console.
Earlier games in the Bravely Default series included poorly-received attempts by Square Enix to insert microtransactions into their full-priced titles: for example, the original Bravely Default had a time-altering mechanic which required many real-life hours to recharge, but gamers could buy (with real money) instant recharges of that ability. Thankfully, the ability was almost entirely unnecessary. The second Bravely Default game signalled Square Enix’s wise decision to retreat from that approach to game design, and was more conventional.
However, both preceding Bravely Default titles did make use of online connectivity, although the degree to which it improved the game remains debateable. In the original title, players could exhange boss battle fights, and assist one another in developing one’s virtual home town, which leads to the increased availability of items, weapons, accessories, magic spells, and similar equipment.
The Brave and Default battle modes make a return in this latest entry, with players earning BP (brave points) during battle which they can spend in order to take a turn, or bank in order to unleash several actions in a single turn. In fact, players can even spend BP that they do not have–but, should the enemy survive the assault, then the player will find himself in arrears, forced to ‘Default’ (basically ‘defend’) for several turns until they earn back sufficient BP to make it possible to again act. This gameplay design is one of the better features of the series, as it allows the party to spend themselves into negative BP on the first round and thus deal massive damage against normal monster encounters, safe in the knowledge that they will beat the monsters in that first round and thus never have to ‘pay back’ the negative BP, which resets to 0 after every battle. This reduces the amount of time spent on random encounters without removing them entirely, ensuring that a long-standing and classic game mechanic of JRPGs is preserved without unduly interrupting or slowing down gameplay.
In addition to the Brave/Default battle system, the Job System of previous Bravely Default games makes a return, now augmented with additional mechanics. The original game’s refinements were well beyond the standards of classics such as Final Fantasy V, being on par with the system of Final Fantasy Tactics or Octopath Traveller. However, the addition of new jobs and skill mechanics makes this latest entry even more appealing for job system afficionados, especially as the Bravely Default series routinely includes classic Final Fantasy jobs (or essentially analogus versions of them) along with entirely new jobs never before seen in a Square Enix game, some of which are quite clever and useful.
Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, secrets and new content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you feel that Bravely Default II (and the Bravely Default series) is still engaging and driving JRPG development forward? Or do you believe that it is too restrained or stuck in the past? Do you find the linear direction of the storyline helpful in making your way through the game, or too restrictive? What sorts of changes would you make to the game? What features would you add, remove, or change? Do you enjoy the soundtrack, art style, and voice acting? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in about two months, ending by 1 May. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion, and will let us know when it is time to close our site playthrough.
Please join in with us and comment about your experience! The playthrough time frame is intended to allow anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone’s staff members and readers in Bravely Advancing, our Bravely Default II playthrough!