Bravely Second: End Layer - 3DS Review

It’s been two years since the dubbed Warriors of Light have saved the world. Because nothing can ever be a true happily ever after, the world is once again thrown into turmoil from a powerful force. Using a floating castle to attack the heart of the new Church lead by Agnes (who is now the Pope) and the Crystal Orthodoxy, Agnes is taken away from her seat of power. Having been almost annihilated, it’s up to one of her three remaining Chevaliers of the Crystalguard to mount the rescue by banding together with friends both new and old.

As with the Demo players will be given control over Yew (pronounced “U”). Meeting again for the first time, Yew is joined by the other newcomer Magnolia who was also present in the demo. Replacing the other two members of the Chevaliers* are the returning cast members Edia and Tiz from Bravely Default. There is a nice balance to the character dynamic as even if some members have already ventured together, it isn’t all about the past and instead the four can focus on the here and now.

Bravely Second makes it easy for anyone who had not played the Demo to jump right in as they’ve technically missed nothing. Having used a certain form of magic in order to appear real enough on the planet while still being on the moon, all the memories that were formed while Magnolia was present have disappeared. Several instances of this can be seen with Yew swearing that he’s met certain individuals but “knows” that it’s impossible because the “time frame” is off. Joined together under a new cause the four set out on a new adventure that like the cast, is also joined by features new and old.

Unlike the Demo, the features in Bravely Second are introduced over the period of the prologue which acts as a long tutorial. I use the word long as I didn’t realize that it was essentially the prologue until four hours in when the opening video started up. Four hours! I should note to be fair I did use the fairly well and refined battle systems to grind somewhat which may actually break certain systems but more on that later. Length of time aside this was honestly one of the best introductions that I’ve played in a long time as it never felt like it. Features are slowly added as to never overwhelm the player though returning players from either Bravely Default or the Bravely Second Demo may find things a bit slow to their tastes starting up having just had access to them.

Making their return are features such as the expansive character class system, ability to modify the encounter rate and enemy difficulty, a rewarding mini-quest system that acts as a secondary tutorial, and the rebuilding of a city. Newly minted to fit in snugly with what already works is the Encore system that makes the already well designed grinding for experience and job points even easier. While exploring, and of course making sure that encounters are enabled, Encores occur when the party eliminates the enemies within a single turn. Doing so will constantly add a multiplier to experience, job points, and gp that is received. If at any time it feels like things are going downhill in a hurry then the Encore can be put to a stop at the last multiplier on the assumption that you’ve completed the battle to that point.

Still using the titular feature of the first, Braving and Defaulting will still be at the core of battle. Braving will put a character into defensive mode while also granting them an extra turn by stocking that one away. Defaulting on the other hand will go into the negatives allowing the party to unleash all hell immediately. Finding the balance that works for you can take some time especially when testing out new classes and formations. One thing for sure, Yew and Tiz are my magic slingers and enemies beware because Edia and Magnolia hit like freight trains.

On the subject of classes there are returning ones such as the starting Freelancer, White, Black, Red Mages alongside other brand new ones to spice things up. An example of this is the Chariot Class which allows for characters to wield three weapons like One Piece’s Zoro or Disgaea’s Almaz (based on Zoro for some sword skills but needs to check his underwear for his name to make sure that it’s still him**). Following in the “new” category however is a feature that will either be loved or despised.

As with Bravely Default some classes will come along as part of the story while others require a bit more travelling off the beaten path in quest lines of their own. What changes this time around is that instead of just beating the living daylights out of some Asterisks Bearers for following Eternia’s Orders, Edia must now choose between which of the ones in conflict she wishes to choose from. Picking one over the other really isn’t easy at times. Siding with one person may be the right thing to do but by doing so it means that your party needs to pass on the job class that you would otherwise obtain. These choices really come down to how bad do you want to feel for getting what you want? I personally passed on a few because it was “the right thing to do”.

When it comes to voice acting Bravely Default set a bar for 3DS games and Bravely Second hits that bar maybe even nudges it up slightly. Other than tiny party skits that happen after cutscenes, Bravely Second is fully voiced making one wonder why more 3DS games do not follow along. Each character sounds great, or aggravating as they are meant to be, making everything alongside brand new music great to listen to as there is never any question during these main segments as to how a character really feels.

As a bit of a side game which could affect the main gameplay, Tiz originally had help in order to rebuild the village that was lost due to the Cataclysm. In a bit of the same boat, Magnolia’s home was savagely attacked and the people of the moon need help in order to rebuild. Starting off with a set population things can take quite a bit of time to get back into order. Starting off with minutes and then moving into hours facilities and the passageways between will need to be re-constructed and then leveled up if they are to be any use to the party. These facilities when leveled up grant new abilities for the special attacks that can be built up by either performing Braves, Defaults, using magic, healing other members, and other methods which makes them worth investing time into.

It’s not everyone that has twenty-hour or forty-eight hours in order to wait for something to be complete. Adding more workers will shorten the time but still. By the time they finish the adventure would be over. Re-construction can be done while the 3DS is in standby mode. It will however not continue if Bravely Second is not running which leads into why leaving it in standby mode while not playing is a good thing.

In order to make things go faster both friend invites and SpotPass can be used to add more population to the moon. Even in an area like mine I’ve managed to add in an extra ten people, which was surprising, but has also been a lot of help even with the headstart population bonus from the demo. In this particular case the more is definitely the merrier as construction can be done much faster in order to give a bigger edge to those harder encounters. More than these moves being useful to you is that they can be useful to others. Either through the SpotPass or through the Net Invites, Special Moves can be sent to others in order to use them through a Summoning Function in order to get an edge on a battle or simply end it outright if the summoned were powerful enough.

Finally there is the newest addition in which is ridiculously time consuming. The party now has the ability at any point in time to build a series of what are called Chompers. A Chomper is a stuffed lizard thing looking thing that is freaking cute and takes about twenty seconds in order to make one. Buying better tools can improve the process as long as there’s CP (Chomper’s Currency) in order to pay for the time upgrade. It’s a time killer but it does have its uses once things get oiled enough in order to really output a good set of Chompers fast as CP can eventually be traded for the party’s real world currency PG.

With the battle system being what it is even without pumping out a production line of Chompers PG is VERY easy to come by especially when performing Encores while grinding for experience or job points. Running out of money is almost impossible and it doesn’t take long to fully equip a party for any class configuration and start buying ninety-nine of everything to keep it in stock. I really didn’t need to use the healer class with a full stock of potions. All of these features are there to use and it’s not exploiting the system because you worked for it but I felt that in certain cases it could make everything a bit too easy as in certain cases you could throw money at it! Or at least the shops in order to

Bravely Second is not only a great new entry into the newly minted series with this release, but it is also exactly what a sequel should be. Even with returning characters it was nice that they didn’t steal the lead from the newest entry as can sometimes happen when an older introduced character is “cameoed”. Building upon the aspects of the first while making improvements big and small to something that already worked was amazing. Not sure what the third will be called but I truly hope that this series will continue on.

* The Three Musketeers
** Almaz is one of my favorite Male Disgaea Characters

Game Information

Nintendo 3DS
Silicon Studio
Square Enix
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Article by Pierre-Yves