The Bravely Second demo dropped on the Japanese eShop this week. Being a huge fan of Bravely Default, and in possession of a Japanese 3DS, I decided to give the demo a try and see how it compares to the first game.
Bravely Second takes place on the same world as Bravely Default, known as Luxendarc. Several years have passed since the events of the first game; Tiz has gone missing, and Agnes is now the Pope of the Crystal Orthodoxy. She is protected by three warriors, who make up most of your party. Yu Zeneolsia is a knight and captain of Agnes’ guard, Jean Engarde is a swordsman known as the “Wolf of the inferno”, and Nikolai Nikolanikov is a priest of the Orthodoxy. Rounding out your four-person team is Magnolia Arch, the game’s main character.
Magnolia hails from a civilisation on the moon, which was decimated in a demon attack that left her as the only survivor. This brings back the town rebuilding sidequest from Default, this time applied to Magnolia’s home — yes, you build a city on the moon. Just like in the last game, you can assign villagers you gain via StreetPass or SpotPass to rebuild or clear certain parts of the town for rewards. The more people you allocate to help out, the faster it will be rebuilt.
Agnes takes over Airy’s role from the last game, and will appear via magic crystal to advise the party on their next steps and remind the player what they’re supposed to do next. Party chats are back; these are optional conversations triggered by certain events that develop characters and give the world of Luxendarc some backstory. I quite enjoyed them in Bravely Default, and I’m glad to see their return.
Upon starting the game, you will be given an option to link your Nintendo Network ID. I’m not entirely sure what this does, but it’s there. The first thing to strike me about Bravely Second when I started playing was how gorgeous it was; the backdrops were beautifully crafted, and the music was great to listen to as well.
It was easy to figure out where I was supposed to go next, despite the language barrier, owing to the fact that there was constantly an orange “!Main” on the map on the bottom screen. This indicated where I needed to go to advance the story and find sidequests. It was not that easy figure out what I was supposed to do in the sidequests, however; I spent a good 15 minutes trying to figure out how to give a guy three potions (I’d written down the symbols, matched them up with the potions in my pack and realised the quest had something to do with them), talked to a couple more people around town, and then realised the potions were the reward for talking to these people and not the object of the quest itself. Whoops. This would obviously cease to be an issue if the game were to be localised.
The quests were simple fetch quests here, though in the full game they will be more complex than that. It was possible to get a few different job classes from doing these quests. The job system works just like that in the previous game. Classes can be swapped at any point in the game from the main menu, and subclasses can be equipped for added skills.
The battle system is similar to Bravely Default as well. Choosing to defend or “Default” will give your character one BP. You can then use “Brave” to spend this BP on an extra turn; this turn will be taken directly after your next one, allowing for consecutive attacks. Up to three BP can be accumulated, and you can take turns in advance to go into negative BP. Going into negative BP results in that character being unable to do anything until it recovers, which it does at a pace of one BP per turn.
SP allows you to freeze time for a short period, allowing free hits against your foes. SP can be bought, and can also be accumulated at the rate of one for every eight hours of play. In Default, you had to spend eight hours with the game on and in sleep mode to earn SP; in Second, both sleep mode and regular gameplay count towards the eight hour total. The three-SP cap appears to have remained the same.
Defeating enemies in certain ways, such as beating them in a single turn, used to net you bonuses in Default. Silicon Studio has altered the system in Second; as far as I can tell (and I did a lot of battles to test this), beating your foes in one turn will give you the option of fighting another wave of monsters. Beating this new wave in one turn will get you another wave, and so on until you can no longer defeat them in one turn. You will then have a multiplier applied to the total amount of money, experience and job experience across all the battles you just fought. This is an excellent solution to the grinding so prevalent in games like this; I was accumulating experience and cash pretty quickly.
I wasn’t able to finish the demo, as Bravely Second is so text-heavy. There was a sidequest I simply couldn’t finish due to my not being able to understand the requirements, and I was unable to move past it. I still got a couple of hours out of it though, and had a lot of fun with it.
Bravely Second seems to be very similar to Bravely Default, but with a few new improvements. Will I buy it? When it gets a Western release, yes. The game is far too text-heavy for someone who doesn’t know Japanese, like me, to really enjoy the game properly, or even progress at all. If you can read the language, then by all means, give the game a go. For now, I’ll just hang out for the Western announcement.
Bravely Second will be released on April 23 in Japan. There’s been no word on a Western release as of yet.