Bravely Default 2 - JRPG for the Nintendo Switch

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,187
756
126
Bravely Default 2 came out on February 26 for the Nintendo Switch, and while this is numerically a sequel to the original Bravely Default, the game is independent. (As a note, the 3DS's Bravely Second is an actual direct sequel to Bravely Default.) For those that aren't familiar with the previous games, which is likely given that they were limited to the 3DS, the Bravely series is a turn-based JRPG, which tries to spice things up by using the Brave system in battles.

The Brave system allows a player to hunker down and gain the ability to execute more actions later, or unleash multiple actions within a single turn. This system uses a separate resource called BP, which is separate for each character. A character typically starts with 0, and is able to Brave up to three times to perform more actions, or Default to save turns for later. This can be used for effective combinations such as a single Brave to perform Phoenix Down + Cure, or spamming multiple Attack commands per character to quickly wipe out some enemies. One aspect that makes this battle system a bit different from some added in other games is that enemies also have access to the exact same system. This can add a bit of strategy as a defaulting enemy will take less damage from attacks, and they are also able to bank BP to execute multiple commands on a single turn. (Enemies can also go negative.)

Some other aspects that may or may not appeal to players. The game...
  • ...uses a job system.
  • ...does not have random encounters; enemies are visible on the map.
  • ...is voiced, and includes both English and Japanese audio.
  • ...has two demos available on the Nintendo e-Shop.

If you'd like to play, here are a few tips that I've picked up along the way...
  • In the very beginning, you're asked to leave the city and visit the shore. When you leave the city, the game prompts you telling you about the ability to cut down grass (like Zelda). I highly recommend clearing as much grass as you can before you visit the shore. The grass can contain good amounts of money (pg) and even items that aren't available in the current area. After visiting the shore, monsters will be on the map and they will chase you if you get too close.
  • There's a bonus feature in the game called Explorations. They're a non-interactive, sleep mode function that's designed to give you some benefits while you're not playing. However, setting off on an Exploration does not interrupt gameplay in any way. So, I highly recommend always having an Exploration active. Also, the rewards for an Exploration are gained over time, which means you can end one early and still get (some) rewards.
  • If you want to farm JP to level up a job quickly, using enemy food is the best way to do it. (These are distinct items from player-used consumables.) When using one of the enemy foods, you simply gain a buff that will make you attract that enemy type (beast, human, undead, etc.), and if you encounter one, it will lead to 2-4 consecutive battles. (2 battles = 1.1x JP, 3 battles = 1.3x JP, 4 battles = 1.6x JP) The number of nearby enemies does not matter for this. The food will eventually fade (when it's almost gone, the visual effect will appear diminished).
    • My favorite place to farm is to use undead food (Ghoulash) in the woods at the north-east of the first area. Near the end of this "dungeon" are around 5 ghosts that spawn at a decent rate. What makes this an easy farm mechanic is that ghosts can be killed using healing spells. If I get four fights in a row, I can easily make 200+ JP. If you combine this with the Freelancer's JP Up and JP Up and Up abilities, you get an additional 1.7x modifier on that.
    • I recommend using a farming method for leveling jobs like the Freelancer. I also stopped my usual progress and used that method for grinding out the Red Mage as I found the class far too weak -- especially given my healer and magic damage dealer were both using it.

Here are a few things that could really use some work in the game...
  • Side Quests
    I don't think the game implements side-quests very well. The problem is that side-quests may not show up until a specific time of day or until some specific point, and by then, the monsters in question are too weak. Also, you are only able to track three quests at a time.
  • Insta-Kill Abilities
    There are a number of enemies in the game -- even some rather early on -- that have insta-kill abilities. For example, there are two enemy types near the third city (a rabbit and an ant) that have insta-kill abilities. Sure, they have a higher chance of missing, but I've lost multiple party members in a single turn to this.
  • Too Many Jobs
    Now, I typically like having lots of jobs and choices, but in this game, the issue is that it feels like they took a standard JRPG class and broke it into multiple classes. For example, the Black Mage can only cast Thunder, Ice, Fire, and Poison. Other magics such as Earth and Wind are split off into the Red Mage. Similarly, the White Mage sometimes has buff spells such as Reflect or Haste, but if I recall, two other classes have those.
  • Sword Swipe Prioritizes Monsters
    The sword swipe is used to cut down things like grass in the overworld, but it's also how you gain an advantage (i.e. +1 BP) over enemies when engaging them in combat. The problem is that the game has a "feature" that cannot be turned off where it prioritizes attacking enemies with the swipe. This isn't only if the enemy is directly in front of you, but seemingly, if they're in a 180-degree cone in front of you as I've had the game literally turn me and swipe at a monster to the side.
  • Rare Monsters
    The game has plenty of rare monsters, which are mostly signified by the game's red highlight mechanic. (Monsters that are deemed too tough will glow red.) The problem is that I don't think I've ever encountered one that isn't glowing red -- even when going back at times -- and I'm already level 33. I'm not sure what their range is, but I wouldn't mind if I could actually fight them earlier.
  • Boring Gear
    For me, one thing that can make gear somewhat uninteresting is how there isn't enough of a difference in gear to make it seem worthwhile to hunt out specific pieces or types. For example, gear that appears to be for casters (the icon has a staff on it) tends to rarely have any bonuses that directly affect spell effectiveness (+magic attack or +restoration power), or if they do, it's usually way too small. This problem mostly affects the helm and chest armors.
  • Map System
    The game has two maps available to it. In the main menu, you can view an all-encompassing world map that has very little specific detail. When in the world, you can swap between no mini-map, a small mini-map, or a large mini-map. The latter is the most effective at showing quest objectives, but it always displays at 100% opacity, and since it blocks the bottom right of the screen, it just isn't useful.
  • Location Entrances
    Some locations in the game simply require you to walk close enough to it to enter, which makes it easy to accidentally enter the town/dungeon/area. It would be nice if towns had a little cut-out that you had to walk into to enter. (Savalon, the second city, does do this.)
  • Magic Seems Weak
    This is one that I'm not entirely sure if I'm just not building my characters out correctly or if it's just a limitation of certain Jobs, but I've had a tough time finding attack magic useful in the game. For example, I used Firaga as a Red Mage (Black Mage was the sub-Job) and Flames of War as a Berserker (Monk was the sub-Job), and the latter always significantly out-performed the former when used on the same enemy. (Both are purely fire abilities with no physical component on the Monk ability.)
  • Loading Times
    While the game doesn't have long loading times, it does feel like you have to go through a lot of load screens. (A bit of a "death by a thousand cuts".) During a cutscene, it will have to load whenever the scene goes to a different location even though cutscenes are often just characters speaking in front of a static background.
  • JP Battle Rewards Don't Scale
    One aspect that can really make battles frustrating is that you are typically only rewarded for more difficult monsters via more experience and money (pg), but not JP. I can go fight a tough enemy and only gain the same amount of JP as fighting 1-2 incredibly weak enemies. This is likely due to jobs only having a small number of levels, and how that effectively resets with each job swap.
Overall, I've got around 35 hours into the game already, and even though I have plenty to complain about, I'm still having an overall good time.
 

otho11

Member
Feb 16, 2011
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How would you rate the game compared to other modern jrpgs like octopath?
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,187
756
126
How would you rate the game compared to other modern jrpgs like octopath?
(EDIT: I tweaked my response a bit.)

I do own Octopath Traveler, but I haven't gotten around to playing it yet. I did play the demo, and I was somewhat intrigued, but I think what really held me off from just jumping in head-first was that I wasn't a huge fan of the game's Break System. For those that haven't played, Octopath Traveler has a visible defense stat for enemies, and once it hits 0, the enemy is stunned for a few turns. Utilizing this mechanic is key to making battles efficient. The problem -- for me -- lies in how lowering it requires you to attack with one of their vulnerabilities. So, first, you have to figure out what the vulnerability is, and then you have to hope you have either that type of weapon equipped and/or that element of magic available. Bravely Default 2 does have weaknesses on its enemies and provides mechanics to view them in battle, but they just allow you to deal more damage.

Now, I think where people who've played some other JRPGs may balk a bit when it comes to Bravely Default 2 -- and arguably, all other games in the Bravely series -- is that the plot is pretty generic. You're literally playing as the four Heroes of Light out to collect the crystals of the four elements from evil fiends that want to use them for their own end. I think the reason why I can play this and not really care is that I prefer the mechanics in the Bravely series. It's part of the reason why Final Fantasy 7 Remastered sits on my shelf unopened and this game has over 40 hours into it. I don't want real-time, action-based combat, because I don't think the vast majority of RPGs do it very well.
 
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jman19

Lifer
Nov 3, 2000
11,213
645
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(EDIT: I tweaked my response a bit.)

I do own Octopath Traveler, but I haven't gotten around to playing it yet. I did play the demo, and I was somewhat intrigued, but I think what really held me off from just jumping in head-first was that I wasn't a huge fan of the game's Break System. For those that haven't played, Octopath Traveler has a visible defense stat for enemies, and once it hits 0, the enemy is stunned for a few turns. Utilizing this mechanic is key to making battles efficient. The problem -- for me -- lies in how lowering it requires you to attack with one of their vulnerabilities. So, first, you have to figure out what the vulnerability is, and then you have to hope you have either that type of weapon equipped and/or that element of magic available. Bravely Default 2 does have weaknesses on its enemies and provides mechanics to view them in battle, but they just allow you to deal more damage.

Now, I think where people who've played some other JRPGs may balk a bit when it comes to Bravely Default 2 -- and arguably, all other games in the Bravely series -- is that the plot is pretty generic. You're literally playing as the four Heroes of Light out to collect the crystals of the four elements from evil fiends that want to use them for their own end. I think the reason why I can play this and not really care is that I prefer the mechanics in the Bravely series. It's part of the reason why Final Fantasy 7 Remastered sits on my shelf unopened and this game has over 40 hours into it. I don't want real-time, action-based combat, because I don't think the vast majority of RPGs do it very well.
IIRC, in Octopath you can carry multiple weapons per character and swap which one you're using before entering commands for a character each turn. So not really that difficult once you've discovered the proper break weakness. I actually really enjoyed this mechanic and it required you to really think about turn order.

As for BD2 - I'm not very far in yet (near end of ch. 1) but I'm enjoying it so far. I'm a sucker for job based JRPGs. I can tell this is going to be a bit grindy (maybe too much so - I concur with your JP point) and I don't really love the fact you have no dungeon map / mini-map. I do appreciate that the game makes you "think" every battle so long as you aren't really overleveled / can't just use all your BP in one go and smash everything.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,187
756
126
There is one aspect of the game that I forgot to mention, and I could see it raising a few brows... the translation. I'm not sure where the translation was handled, but I'm guessing with was a location that would focus on British English (e.g. "apologise" instead of "apologize"). The character Elvis was given a Scottish heritage as he uses vocabulary from there as well has his English voice actor is Scottish. They also use slang from other areas such as Australia. For example, the side character Dag uses "drongo" (moron) a lot. Honestly, there are times where I'm not entirely sure what they're saying due to not knowing the random terminology, but I can usually figure it out from context clues or the Japanese voices. Fortunately, they didn't do something like insert random Japanese dialects (e.g. Osakan) into the game. :p

IIRC, in Octopath you can carry multiple weapons per character and swap which one you're using before entering commands for a character each turn. So not really that difficult once you've discovered the proper break weakness. I actually really enjoyed this mechanic and it required you to really think about turn order.
You can also swap weapons in Bravely Default 2, but the new weight/encumbrance system does make that a bit harder. If you setup your gear to be as close to maxed as possible, you may not be able to switch to a different weapon due to weight differences.

I do need to try out Octopath Traveler at some point. I've batted around the idea of just buying it for PC since that's arguably my preferred platform. They're also re-releasing SaGa Frontier soon, and I'd say that, at least conceptually, it's similar in nature to Octopath Traveler. I don't know why, but for some reason, I always have fond memories of when I played the game on the PlayStation.

As for BD2 - I'm not very far in yet (near end of ch. 1) but I'm enjoying it so far. I'm a sucker for job based JRPGs. I can tell this is going to be a bit grindy (maybe too much so - I concur with your JP point) and I don't really love the fact you have no dungeon map / mini-map.
I'm nearing the end of chapter 3 right now. I don't think the game requires too much grinding, but I do usually go out of my way to grind job levels. In these job-based games, I like leveling the vast majority of jobs to give me more party combinations, so I end up spending a lot of time leveling jobs.

Speaking of leveling jobs, I found one aspect that might've sounded good on paper, but is just a bit annoying in practice. One of the hidden jobs in the game is the Gambler. I won't say where or when you get it, but it has a rather unique and frustrating attribute. The attribute is "All or Nothing", and it reduces EXP, JP, and PG gained from battle to 0 with the chance of gaining 15x the original amount. Although, I believe the EXP and JP drop is only suffered by the character with the Gambler job equipped; however, it does result in a serious loss in job levels. I switched Gloria to Pictomancer and Elvis to Gambler at the same time, and both have JP UP an JP UP AND UP equipped; however, Gloria is already switched over to Spiritmaster while Elvis is... I think level 9 or level 10 Gambler? I might go grind out Gambler on all characters in the spot that I mentioned in the initial post. The only shame is Gambler actually has good Magic Attack, so it's a nice job for a Black Mage.

In regard to the lack of a map, just wait until you get to the Wandering Woods at the end of chapter 2. It's designed to be frustrating as going the wrong way just ends up teleporting you back to one central area. I like to grab all of the treasure chests, so I was tempted to draw up my own map! I probably could do it easily now as most mobs should run away from me.

I do appreciate that the game makes you "think" every battle so long as you aren't really overleveled / can't just use all your BP in one go and smash everything.
I think one of the hardest things is that you might be at a bit of a disadvantage if you're trying to level jobs and the party make-up just isn't that good. For example, back when I was Thief (Monk), Red Mage (White Mage), Red Mage (Black Mage), Beastmaster (Thief), it was a pretty painful experience. What made it hard was that the Thief's lower damage resulted in less damage for the Monk abilities, and Red Mage just has poor Restoration Power and Magic Attack. So, that lead to bad healing and bad magic damage.

It's hard for me to be entirely sure about some things, because I don't know if I'm just not playing/gearing correctly. However, I get this feeling that attack magic is undertuned. My biggest problem is that it's just very expensive for the amount of damage that you do. Even as the Gambler, which does have good Magic Attack, my damage seems about equal to the Monk's Flying Heel Kick or Flames of War. While those two cost good amounts of health, I can just restore that quickly with a Cure. The reason why Seth has had Monk equipped as a sub-job for so long is because of how helpful those abilities have been.

Right now, I've leveled..
Seth: Freelancer, Vanguard, Monk, Thief, Berserker, Beastmaster
Gloria: Freelancer, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage, Bard, Pictomancer
Elvis: Freelancer, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage, Bard
Adelle: Freelancer, Vanguard, Monk, Thief, Berserker, Beastmaster, Ranger
 
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nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
53,781
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I f@$#ing hate insta-kill abilities, that was one of my gripes with the first two entries. Story was also not great, and the repetition at the end was annoying and stupid. Overall I think Bravely Default is better than Octopath Traveler.

But I'm still going to pick this one up once my queue is cleared down a bit, probably in a couple years.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,187
756
126
I'm at Chapter 6 now, and I think I'm getting a bit closer to the end. One thing to note for those who are at the final boss in Chapter 5, the boss isn't really the final boss. You will get an ending when you beat her, but if you load your save again, watch the distorted Gloria death scene, and then walk out of the room without fighting Edna, you'll start Chapter 6. Do not attempt to fight Edna again, or else you'll just get the same ending. A quick, non-spoilery note about the Chapter 5 boss, you do not gain anything from defeating that boss, so take equip whatever Jobs you want. I usually try to maximize my JP gains since bosses give a good amount, but that isn't necessary there.

As for the boss fight, Edna was quite the pain... especially since I didn't know you didn't gain any JP. I originally tried the "beat the crap out of her as quickly as possible approach" by using two heroes with the Thief sub-Job. Godspeed Strike is arguably the strongest ability in the game given how much damage it can deal... and deal twice given it applies the debuff that deals the same amount of damage. The problem is that Edna usually either casts one spell at a time (the AoE wind one or Silent Storm) or just casts about three in a row. The latter is what's liable to get you killed -- especially if you push her below the threshold to make her cast Ultra-flare. It's really easy to cheese the fight by just using Contagion to drain her mana.

Although, my recent playtime has reminded me of another issue with the game that I could definitely see some people finding frustrating... the camera. When you're in a dungeon or town, the camera is always in a fixed perspective that will only move depending upon your position in that area. In other words, you don't have any control over the camera. However, on the overworld, you do have control over the camera in typical right-stick fashion, but there is a major limitation. The game does not let you lower the camera if the camera will collide with terrain. This problem doesn't really show up in the earlier areas due to a higher prevalence of open land. However, this problem becomes noticeable in the fourth area, which has taller mountains in certain parts, and very noticeable in the fifth area, which has traversable canyon areas and tall mountains. What makes this really problematic is that when the camera refuses to move, you end up with a mostly top-down view, which makes it very hard to see monsters or where you're going.

I've also spent a ton of time leveling jobs in my usual spot, and I've mastered almost all of them on all characters. I kinda leaned toward just grinding some of the jobs that I don't care for such as Salvemaker. I was also a little worried that I might have skipped too many enemies with Ward Light as I went from having enemies run from me in dungeons to having them be red. (Note, we're talking story dungeons not places where I shouldn't be yet.)

I f@$#ing hate insta-kill abilities, that was one of my gripes with the first two entries. Story was also not great, and the repetition at the end was annoying and stupid. Overall I think Bravely Default is better than Octopath Traveler.

But I'm still going to pick this one up once my queue is cleared down a bit, probably in a couple years.
Yeah, I'm okay with them as long as they're used sparingly or it makes sense. For example, if you're fighting a Grim Reaper-styled boss, then it would make sense for him to have some sort of insta-kill ability. They didn't make a ton of different enemy models (outside of bosses), so there are a lot of re-skins, and some of those variations may have an insta-kill ability where others don't. For example, I mentioned the rabbit mob before, and I think only one of those has the insta-kill ability. I also ran into this enemy while in Musa where he used a something-phobia ability that would insta-kill me with a rather high success rate.

I actually enjoy some of the simpler mechanics in Bravely Default, but honestly... I do think they're maybe a little too simple at times, and that doesn't help when the story is also very cliché. That's why I'm a bit curious about Octopath Traveler as I wonder if I'll prefer the story a bit more. Bad stories aren't usually a death knell for me. I mean... I played Blue Dragon for many hours, and that game has a really lackluster story too. I'm also looking forward to the re-release of SaGa Frontier. Although, I do wish that they maybe gave it the Final Fantasy IV DS treatment with a mild 3D upgrade.
 

nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
53,781
6,281
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I actually enjoy some of the simpler mechanics in Bravely Default, but honestly... I do think they're maybe a little too simple at times, and that doesn't help when the story is also very cliché. That's why I'm a bit curious about Octopath Traveler as I wonder if I'll prefer the story a bit more. Bad stories aren't usually a death knell for me. I mean... I played Blue Dragon for many hours, and that game has a really lackluster story too. I'm also looking forward to the re-release of SaGa Frontier. Although, I do wish that they maybe gave it the Final Fantasy IV DS treatment with a mild 3D upgrade.
For Octopath Traveler, each character does have their own story, and I definitely thought some were far more interesting than others.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
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I've not really played many JRPGs- only one I've ever finished was Chrono Trigger (the DS port). Do you reckon BD2 is a good jumping in point, or would I be better with something like DQXI?
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,187
756
126
I've not really played many JRPGs- only one I've ever finished was Chrono Trigger (the DS port). Do you reckon BD2 is a good jumping in point, or would I be better with something like DQXI?
I guess it can be hard to tell because it's possible that we play the games for different reasons. For example, I don't mind going to an area and grinding out job levels, but to some, this may be really boring. With Bravely Default 2, I would say the thing that could turn you off is that it's a story that reuses some rather old school JRPG tropes. You've got your four crystals of water, wind, fire, and earth, and you have to save these from the clutches of ne'er-do-wells. I do think that the story tries to focus a bit more on interpersonal relationships, but games like Chrono Trigger still accomplish that a lot better. As for Dragon Quest XI, I'm actually not very far into the game. I got outside of the first town and have to travel (via horse) to the next town, but I just never felt the draw to keep playing.

There may be some ways to help see what you prefer. Bravely Default 2 has two demos available. I only ever looked into the first demo, but I believe it puts you into a demo-specific slice of story that uses the second city (Savalon). So, while it isn't really going to give you an idea of the story, it can help you find out if you like the game's mechanics. I don't think Dragon Quest XI has a demo, but it is available on Microsoft's Game Pass for both Xbox and PC.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,283
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You're literally playing as the four Heroes of Light out to collect the crystals of the four elements from evil fiends that want to use them for their own end. I think the reason why I can play this and not really care is that I prefer the mechanics in the Bravely series. It's part of the reason why Final Fantasy 7 Remastered sits on my shelf unopened and this game has over 40 hours into it.
OT: That reminds me, I used to have a NES RPG named "Crystalis". I think that it was actually from SNK, maybe. Not 100% sure,. Anyone remember that one?

 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,761
286
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OT: That reminds me, I used to have a NES RPG named "Crystalis". I think that it was actually from SNK, maybe. Not 100% sure,. Anyone remember that one?

Yep. I own it. Great game especially for the time it came out. It hasn't aged horribly either and is still fun as a result. It did have a huge focus on equipment.
 
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shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
81,411
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Crystalis was a great placeholder between the abomination of Zelda 2 and the glorious Link To The Past.
The ONLY flaw was no map of any kind, and most areas are kind of a maze.
 

KentState

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2001
8,388
389
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I was very much on the fence about this game. Played the first two and enjoyed them, but it sounds like this game is a little more involved, if not frustrating. I appreciate the thread, but it has made more hesitant to buy it.
 

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