The main character is sailor Seth, who is saved from death in turbulent waves by one of the four powerful crystals. But the others are lost, and if they fall into the wrong hands, they can not only ravage the whole world, but also open the door to far greater evil.
I do not deny that the plot of magic crystals is not particularly original. Nevertheless, the story is one of the strengths of the game, thanks to the characters and a number of very interesting storylines. Although so, Seth is a bit of a nutshell, the kind of typical caretaker who helps everyone and apparently never said a foul word.
Then we have Princess Gloria, whose kingdom of Musa was destroyed. It is she who sets out on a journey to gather all the crystals. The scholar Elvis is one of the more extravagant and quirky characters. That’s the type with which you like to jump for a beer in a pub.
The four heroes are closed by the mercenary Adelle, who accompanies Elvis and at the same time tries to find her lost sister. Her character is a little more explosive, and Elvis is obviously annoyed by her stories. Different characters join the party from time to time, which is nice, because not only does the game not fall into the routine in this respect, but they also help in the fight automatically. And maybe I was sorry for the first one that we had to say goodbye to her.
Definitely don’t be fooled by nice, almost fairy-tale graphics. What you will encounter in Bravely Default II is sometimes very brutal. And now I don’t think that the game would somehow indulge in depicting violence – on the contrary, it is quite modest. But you will see that even good people can do terrible things. You will experience helplessness when you are surrounded by a manipulated crowd. Inquisitions. You will face the death of a child, murder, fear, betrayal. But you will also experience enlightenment and forgiveness. Some reversals are quite predictable, but something surprised me. Gradually you learn more about the individual characters, their motivations, kingdoms, mythology… And in the end it all fits together beautifully.
The path to the goal is linear, however, there are a number of side tasks and you can move freely around the game world. Once you discover a new town or village, you can travel quickly between them. The game world as such is quite small when it comes to the areas that belong to a given city.
Then there are the dungeons, which are basically mazes. In this respect, the game is very old-fashioned. You can only store in them in certain places, which increases tension. However, their layout is basically the same and it doesn’t matter if you are in a dark forest or in stinking sewers. There are some switches or the need to cut down a tree, but only later and very little, which is a shame. In this respect, the creators could have been a little more imaginative.
Nice for moves
On the contrary, fights and the system of professions are great. Battles take place classically on moves, with you standing on one side and enemies on the other. The game is based on the entertaining Brave and Default system, which is linked to the series. This means that you can gradually save up to four moves to use them at once in one round, or, conversely, to attack the debt several times, and then the next rounds were defenseless. It’s quite a fun concept, where you strategically choose the pace of the battle.
In the beginning, it’s bullshit, you simply click the maximum number of actions ahead and crush the enemies in your turn. But then stronger enemies come, the first temporary partner who significantly helped the party leaves you, and you have to start relying on yourself.
To your advantage, you must be prone to certain types of damage, read enemy resistance, and avoid counterattack attacks. It can easily happen that your attack with an ax that uses the element of fire will not hurt the enemy at all, but will even heal him. It pays to first identify each enemy properly, whether purchased items or skills.
Time is at stake in every battle. You try to make the most of your attacks in order to reduce or possibly completely avert the crushing attacks of enemies. Even a seemingly weaker enemy can flood you with saved attacks. So it’s better if it’s not his turn at all.
And then there are the fights with the bosses. Different tactics and different fighting styles apply to everyone. So while one of them was helped by the application of the silence effect, which prevented parts of the magic attacks, which relieved me a lot, the other boss was already immune. I admit that I defeated one boss with a ragging tactic, when after several attempts I managed to apply poisoning. Then I tried to survive by reviving the constantly killed members of the party, before the poison bit him a little. Reading buffs, debuffs and not being afraid to apply them is the key to victory. And it is also related to…
Incredible variability of occupations
You can redistribute the profession to your four-member group at will, there are no restrictions. In the game, there are gems called Asterisk, which contain a job – a profession, and it lends it to those who have it with them. There are a very decent number of these professions in the game and most importantly, you get them mainly from defeated bosses, so until the end of the game you are still discovering new ways of fighting. And that’s great.
It works so that each character has their primary and secondary job. When you kill a monster, you not only gain classic experience, but the chosen primary profession is also leveled. Each profession has twelve levels, and you can access the skills from the first half very quickly while the second one stretches. And that’s not all. A special attack and two passive effects are associated with the selected primary job. You have the first one immediately, the second when you have completely mastered the profession, ie at the maximum twelfth level. And mostly it’s a game changer. For example, Red Mage will acquire the ability at the maximum level, which says that each spell is cast twice without costing any extra mana. And this also applies to the offer of skills in the assigned secondary profession, although without the possibility of using specialties.
To make matters worse, each character can assign up to five passive abilities. It gradually acquires these from learned jobs and can also be applied from jobs that are not currently set as primary or secondary. This opens the door to many interesting combinations that you will want to try. It is not possible for a archer to have the passive ability to heal every basic missile, or for a tank (it attracts the attention of enemies) with a 50 percent chance of counterattack.
There are classic professions such as sword master, bard, mage, monk, clergyman, thief, as well as more interesting archetypes such as painter, ointment maker, phantom or hell. It is, of course, desirable to combine professions that are close to each other, because that is how you get the most out of your character. Plus, it’s fun to experiment.
You will fight almost constantly and if you are afraid of grinding like the devil of the cross, Bravely Default II is not a game completely for you. My advice is: don’t avoid any fights. I’m not a friend of random encounters, and fortunately they’re not here. You always see the enemy. When they are afraid of you, they run away and are below your level. On the contrary, when he runs towards you, it can be an equal opponent or a problem on the horizon. In any case, even among stronger enemies, you can handle quite decently, but I advise you not to do that. In the end, it will catch up with you at some boss you will be weak at.
When I followed this rule, I had a problem with the final boss at the very end of the game (played on medium difficulty). By the way, I fought with one for even forty minutes, so it really pays to be ready, to have bought bottles, herbs… With a bunch of spoiled, you will appreciate the adjustable speed of the fights. When each round applies several status effects, it can take time.
Of course, there are a number of side tasks, but they only give experience indirectly by going somewhere among the monsters. The reward is an object. But even that is sometimes worth the effort. The side quests sometimes pleasantly complement the story mosaic, but there are also banalities such as “deliver lunch to my husband” or “drive the monsters away from the river”. When you’re not playing, you can go on a cruise and collect rewards after twelve hours. They help to level the profession faster, sometimes they permanently strengthen an attribute, but you can also get an orb with experience. So be sure not to set sail.
What to say in conclusion? I finished the game in 54 hours and performed side tasks depending on the reward offered. Although the plot of the game falls into the category of clichés, I enjoyed the story as such a lot. And there was room for funny moments. I also have to praise tactical fights and experimentation with different combinations of professions. Thanks to that, the game brings something new until the very end. Great for me. As always, however, I recommend trying the demo first, because Bravely Default II does not seem to me to be a universal game that everyone will like.