Just finished Bravely Default 2. It was a mixed bag although ultimately I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Last edited by JWeinCom - on 23 March 2021
In terms of story, the game is a basic JRPG, which isn't a bad thing. But, this time around, it's a bit too basic. In Bravely Default 1, there was a really neat twist at the end which a lot of people didn't enjoy (for good reasons), but I really dug the creativity. It also helped bring all of the various sublots together in a really satisfying way (despite some leaps of logic) and gave meaning to the individual characters' role in the story. Second one also did this, albeit not as well.
This time around they tried to do that, but didn't hit it just as well. For the most part it sticks to the standard JRPG tropes, and they do throw in some fourth wall breaking bits towards the end, but it seems like they just did it because this is Bravely Default, and that's what the series does, not because the story really demanded it. The various antagonists' machinations don't really come together in the end like they should. The characters were ok, but they just didn't grab me the way the cast of the first two games did. The villains are more rounded, but for the most part less fun, although there are some standouts.
The gameplay is really solid. They made some smart additions which I hated a bit at first (countering, turn staggering) but in the end forces you to really put some thought into setting up your party. The game starts off really sluggish and furstrating since I felt like I was just hitting the enemies with a wet paper bag. But, as you get more jobs and things open up, there's a lot of depth. My favorite part of the game came at the end where you unlock the hardest boss battles. Figuring out strategies to take them out was interesting at first, and as you unlock the game's best weapons and abilities, you can combine them to gamebreaking effect, and it's a lot of fun to come up with unique strategies.
The problem though is pacing. The game starts off so slow, and by the time you really get to the fun part, it's mostly over. This is not a short game by any means, but the half or so is a bit dull. Because of this, I really wanted some sort of post game content to spend more time messing around with the battle system and the various options it presents.
I'm glad the series is still alive, and hope the new team gets another chance. They halfway get what made the first games so charming, and they mostly have some neat gameplay additions, but they're just not all the way there. As it stands, it's a fun game in a subgenre that hasn't gotten a lot of love, and those who miss the turn based Final Fantasies should definitely be pleased. But, it's just missing a little something that would make it really special.