When I started writing notes for this review after about 2 hours in there were comments such as ‘copy, paste RPG’, ‘It’s like barely engaging my brain’ and ‘tried to do something different’, however 10 hours later I can’t put this game down, my opinion has definitely changed. Everything about this game screams 90s JRPG, and it does it very well. It’s also worth noting I did not play BD 1 and haven’t felt like I needed to at all.

Lets start with the story, if you’ve played your fair share of jrpgs (as I have) the story will not surprise you in the slightest. I don’t want to spoil anything as story telling is a very important thing for this genre but obviously you’re the unknown hero (who even gets ship wrecked, penny for every time that’s happened…..) and you’re essentially the chosen, or most powerful, one who is one of few to be able to yield certain powers….. There are essentially 4 elemental crystals which are causing havoc in the world, the water one is the reason you were ship wrecked, and you must find these crystals to end all of the madness!….. And of course along the way you’ll get wrapped in your team mate’s problems as well as many side quests. This leads me nicely into the first thing I really liked about the game, there’s no messing around when it comes to getting your team, you essentially do a couple of missions all decide you’re fighting together and off you go! The game does everything it can to get you to the combat, because this is where it really comes alive.

They do something different with the combat by allowing you to store your moves, or going all out if you think you can do it, this is the Bravely Default system. You can be ‘brave’ and hit the enemy 4 times in a row, but be out of the battle for however many turns you’ve gone (there’s a counter, so if you’ve gone to -2 you miss out for 2 turns) or default and essentially block, and store your moves. When you start to master the area you’re in you’ll find you’re unleashing all of your moves for all characters as the monsters will never have a chance to get back at you before they’re defeated. However in new areas and boss fights you’ll find yourself being very tactical with how many turns you’re taking in one go, and this is quite simply what makes it a great game. Having the BD move system on top of enemies weaknesses (they can be weak to both elements and weapon types) AND the job system means that you’re constantly playing with different set ups, move sets and really makes it VERY different to other games where you just keep the same set up the whole way through. I’m looking at you World of Final Fantasy!!

Jobs are very important in the game. In case you don’t know jobs are essentially your class system and in this game you can train any character up to have any job type (Black mage, Vanguard, Monk etc.). I haven’t really had a tonne of experience of job systems, except Octopath and I didn’t massively get into that, so I found that this has been a really interesting and engaging part of the game. Any character can have a main job and a sub job, when fighting you will gain normal XP points but also job points, which go towards your main job. However any skills you have unlocked in your sub job will still be available. For example I have a black mage who’s almost maxed out, so I changed his main job to bard so he could learn support skills but he still maintained all of his spells. However if you were to change the sub job to something else the spells would be lost, the skills are tied to the job…..hope that makes sense. Be aware that every change you make will affect your stats, so I’ve had to make sure to change them back to the main job before a big battle. You can also really exploit the equip load. At the moment my black mage has 2 staffs, so that maximises his magic attack…….

Jobs are very important in the game. In case you don’t know jobs are essentially your class system and in this game you can train any character up to have any job type (Black mage, Vanguard, Monk etc.). I haven’t really had a tonne of experience of job systems, except Octopath and I didn’t massively get into that, so I found that this has been a really interesting and engaging part of the game. Any character can have a main job and a sub job, when fighting you will gain normal XP points but also job points, which go towards your main job. However any skills you have unlocked in your sub job will still be available. For example I have a black mage who’s almost maxed out, so I changed his main job to bard so he could learn support skills but he still maintained all of his spells. However if you were to change the sub job to something else the spells would be lost, the skills are tied to the job…..hope that makes sense. Be aware that every change you make will affect your stats, so I’ve had to make sure to change them back to the main job before a big battle. You can also really exploit the equip load. At the moment my black mage has 2 staffs, so that maximises his magic attack…….

I only have 2 very small gripes with the combat; 1 is that you’ll often get an NPC join you for a short while with combat who you can’t control, they can be either really powerful, which makes you perhaps rely too heavily on them, or next to useless if you’ve really levelled up. Secondly SOMETIMES the jump between the open are you’re in and the dungeon you’re about to go into can be very steep, so you can be gaining nothing from the monsters outside but as soon as you’re in you’re getting annihilated…but these are tiny gripes. Anyway I could honestly go on all day about the combat and job system but the real takeaway is there’s a lot to it and a lot to learn/explore. All of this does mean there’s a lot of grinding, because you’re essentially training up 2 move sets for each character, but the game allows you to change battle settings on the fly, so you can speed up the battle so it goes by very fast and so you can repeat your last move set. It knows what it is, and it knows you don’t want some slow ass grinding. Overall the combat is jut really solid, and what good is a jrpg without a solid combat system, especially when you think about the grinnnnnd. Once you get the hang of applying jobs and utilising the bravely default feature you can pretty much grind super fast through fights and gain loads of exp. This is the part of the game that will keep me playing and it makes it a perfect handheld /switch game. 

Overall I would say the game is definitely not perfect, there are extremely silly characters, such as an Ozzie who uses the phrase drongo in nearly every sentence, which can be a real annoyance. The graphics can sometimes be pixelated and although the towns you visit look pretty good nothing about the graphics for the characters or monsters impressed me at all. However there are next to no loading times (apart from sometimes there can be a slight delay in loading ‘cut scenes’ (which are mostly the characters moving slightly behind text boxes, but pretty much everything is voiced) ) so that’s a win and the main story itself is engaging enough to keep me fighting. The game also offers a one handed mode, it’s actually really quite good, especially when you wanna do something else with you other hand…. 😉. There’s also a boat you can send out to explore whenever you want, even when you go sleep, when the switch is in sleep mode. It goes out and is a really good way of obtaining job point orbs, making it easy to level up new jobs. It has a maximum of 12 hours so just keep an eye on it, but it can be a great way to level up new jobs.

I don’t know if it’s just me and the fact that I’ve been playing jrpgs non stop recently but this one doesn’t too much to differentiate itself from the rest, the story won’t surprise you greatly if you’ve played any jrpg ever, and some of the characters /voice acting can be grating. However it has a solid combat and job system which is backed up by a great variety of monsters and an exciting open world within within which there’s a lot to do. Boss battles are difficult and exciting. I’ve found myself getting half way through some and actually quitting because I knew I wasn’t a high enough level, and being more than happy to exit and go and grind/explore for a couple hours to ensure I was ready.

Basically I was looking for a good turn based jrpg, and this is it. Anyone who is a big fan of JRPGs, especially those of you in your late 20s/30s, will thoroughly enjoy this game, especially on switch.

At the moment I give bd2 an:

8.0 / 10

This review is also available in video form:

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