Bravely Default II is the suffering of a long-dead series. Review / Games

Хм-м-м-м-м, где же я это видел?


Genre Role-playing game
Publisher Square enix
Developer ClayTech Works
release date February 26, 2021
Platforms Nintendo Switch

The Bravely series is still a funny and rather pointless thing. It started out as an offshoot of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, but eventually grew into an independent project and was named Bravely Default. However, the game got so much from the “finals” that it can be called a free remake of the first Final Fantasy. Nevertheless, it was a coherent, albeit boring project that said everything I wanted to say. Therefore, the appearance of a direct storyline sequel, Bravely Second, was quite unexpected. He was cobbled together on the copy-paste principle, used the same locations and demonstrated a crisis of ideas with his other “merits”. It would seem that it was worth stopping at this, but after five years Square Enix for some reason decided to return to the series, this time with Bravely Default II. Perhaps not the least role in this was played by the fairly good financial result of Octopath Traveler (two and a half million copies sold as of February 2021), which took over a lot from Bravely.

In the sequel, I would like to see a fix for at least some of the many shortcomings of previous releases. But, alas, instead of this, the second numbered (and in fact the third) part simply broke almost everything that worked before, and is forgotten faster than the Nintendo Switch turns off.

⇡ #Rode crystals through crystals …

… They see crystals – crystals-crystals. Sorry, I could not resist, because the whole Bravely Default II is perfectly described by this phrase. As you may have guessed, this time the developers again offer a standard story about four warriors of Light saving the world from incredibly evil villains! Hmmm.

It’s funny – Square Enix has been trying to make modern “classic” jRPGs for ten years (and for some reason I go through all this), but none of the attempts can be called truly successful. That the internal forces of the “birdhouse”, that third-party studios on contract, as in the case of Bravely, desperately cling to the terribly hackneyed cliches of 30 years ago, chewing the same thing over and over again. And they don’t even try to add some of their own ideas – everything is strictly according to the manual, not a step aside. Needless to say, because of this, the storytelling in Bravely Default II is one of the most boring elements of the game?

Hmmm, where did I see this?

Hmmm, where did I see this?

In fairness, in the two previous parts it was also lame, but there it was somehow supported by the charismatic and lively main characters, between whom the notorious chemistry was felt. Yes, the characters were not perfect, but what were the conversations of the cheerful Edea and the naive Agnes, who had just changed her monastic confinement for a frightening, but so exciting real world, worth! The current quartet is a bunch of empty dummies, whom the scriptwriters did not even bother to properly introduce to each other. What interesting interactions there are. After several tens of hours, the names of the charges cannot be recalled …

However, Bravely also has strengths. First, an entertaining, albeit familiar, system of professions. As you progress through, a couple of dozen paths of development for the heroes open, besides, the skills of different classes can also be combined, creating a mega-party with a deadly set of skills. Secondly, the series before Bravely Default II had a cool combat system where you had to think about your actions in advance. All thanks to the mechanics of Brave – Default.

It allows you to both store up to three additional moves for future use, and take them on a conditional loan. Thus, the hero can perform four actions in a row, and then wait a long time for his turn. Or, at first, it is allowed to accumulate action points, and then to dump the enemy without fear that the warrior will be inactive for some time. Enemies, of course, do the same, so the battles turn out to be very intense.

Bravely Default II seems to do the same. With one giant “BUT” in the form of developers’ unhealthy love for counterattacks. There are bosses here that respond to both physical and magical attacks. There are ordinary opponents reacting to regenerating magic! They, for example, can calmly kill a doctor when he, during its move patching up the party. However, the situations that are best shown with a screenshot are the most amusing:

After this, I don't want to continue playing Bravely Default II.

After this, I don’t want to continue playing Bravely Default II.

The enemy has a vulnerability to water, but if you hit him with the appropriate spells, it turns out that he will counterattack when striking a weak spot. Why not actually? In addition, such nonsense is also activated randomly, which completely breaks the “battle” and puts an end to planning their actions. And how can you think about something, when for seemingly logical actions they begin to fine you with powerful attacks throughout the squad.

Also, the sequel (triquel?) Has never done anything about the insane grind that has plagued the streak since its debut release. It is not difficult to get to the next boss, but already in the battle with him you realize that the heroes either do not have enough damage, or the equipment does not fit, or the healing spells are weak, or they even take out everyone with two pokes. You sigh, figure out what abilities and skills it would be nice to get … And you leave in order to pump the necessary professions for an agonizingly long time.

You come back after a few hours, you win, and after 30 minutes, already on another storyline enemy, everything repeats itself, since each of the bosses has a unique set of techniques. At some moments, you can get lucky with assembling the party, but most often you have to radically shake up the group through the tedious genocide of all the living creatures of the dungeon, which gives only crumbs of experience. Someone will definitely say, they say, in jRPG it has always been like this, why find fault. But actually, no, there was not – there are many games in the genre that are played quite normally. And they do not turn, like Bravely Default II, into an endless series of battles, diluted with drops of a hackneyed watery plot.

Dungeons of the game - intricate monotonous labyrinths, differing only in the design of the walls

Dungeons of the game – intricate monotonous labyrinths, differing only in the design of the walls

In general, it’s a shame that the “classic” in the representation of Square Enix looks like Bravely Default II – four warriors of the Light, a broken combat system, no dungeons and a minimum of motivation to move forward. It is doubly disappointing that the publisher’s producers were so caught up in the first Final Fantasy that they did not even try to do something different from them. Try, for example, to repeat the grandiose Chrono Trigger (not in the form of the gray I am Setsuna, where the name Chrono was used only for advertising purposes). Try to at least slightly reach the work of Yasumi Matsuno and his Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre (although they promise something like that in 2022!). Or get inspired by Xenogears, even if it’s from a slightly different era. But what is there, the same Final Fantasy VI will set the heat on all attempts of the “birdhouse” to do “as before” undertaken over the past ten years.

If you really want to try classic Japanese RPGs, see above. As for Bravely Default II, the series ran out of steam 9 years ago, and the gigantic and useless sequel-trick is not at all worth the time spent on it.

Dignity:

  • beautiful city design;
  • still a cool mechanic with the ability to postpone or borrow moves.

disadvantages:

  • an unhealthy fixation on counterattacks that break the combat system and planning;
  • the game literally copies Bravely Default in places;
  • again the emphasis on endless and boring grind, stretching the game to an indecent size;
  • none of the shortcomings of the previous parts has been fixed, and in most moments Bravely Default II performs even worse than its predecessors.

Graphic arts

The watercolored cities and post-processing effects look good, which cannot be said about the inexpressive dungeons and mediocre enemy designs.

Sound

Music has always been one of the virtues of the genre, but in Bravely Default II there really are no catchy tracks – mostly something strumming there in the background. But thanks for the opportunity to include the Japanese soundtrack.

Single player game

An unintelligible plot and no narrative are buried under tons of grind, and the combat system that worked before is broken by the ability of enemies to constantly punish heroes for any actions, even aimed at comrades-in-arms.

Collective game

Not provided.

General impression

Bravely Default II once again shows that Square Enix should have stopped at the first part, and not released two more games. There is nothing remarkable about the project, and the publisher’s attempt to copy the “classic” jRPGs of the golden era failed again.

Rating: 4.5 / 10

More about the grading system

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The new Pixel smartphone will be released in June, and the new Pixel Buds headphones in April

The new Pixel smartphone will be released in June, and the new Pixel Buds headphones in April


For the second quarter of this year, Google, according to network sources, has planned the announcement of at least two new gadgets: a Pixel smartphone and next-generation Pixel Buds completely wireless headphones.

Authoritative analyst and blogger Jon Prosser became the source of information about the upcoming products. He claims that the new Pixel Buds will be officially unveiled in mid-April.

As for the new Pixel smartphone, its announcement is supposedly scheduled for June 11th. At the same time, it is not yet clear which model we are talking about. Observers believe that, most likely, Google will introduce a mid-range device Pixel 5a 5G. By the way, this smartphone has recently appeared in the images in a protective case. And the resource OnLeaks published the renders of this device, which can be seen above and below.

The Pixel 5a 5G is rumored to be powered by a Snapdragon 765G processor and a 6.2-inch FHD + punch-hole single camera display. The rear camera can receive sensors with 16 and 12 million pixels, as well as a special sensor for the autofocus system. There is a possibility that the new product will come with the Android 12 operating system out of the box.

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The next Progress MS cargo vehicle will leave for the ISS at the end of June

Фотографии Роскосмоса


The Russian cargo vehicle Progress MS-17 will be launched under the International Space Station (ISS) program at the end of the next quarter. This was reported on the pages of the latest issue of the magazine “Russian Space”, published on the website of the state corporation Roscosmos.

Photos from Roscosmos

Photos from Roscosmos

On February 15, we recall, the Progress MS-16 spacecraft went into orbit. It was docked to the ISS manually on 17 February. The ship delivered cargo with a total mass of more than 2.5 tons to the station, including a device for detecting microcracks and a repair kit for eliminating air leaks.

Reportedly, Progress MS-16 will be part of the ISS until the launch of the Nauka module. It is planned that this “truck” will leave the station together with the “Pirs” module and go out of orbit over the Pacific Ocean, freeing the docking station for receiving “Science”.

As for the Progress MS-17 apparatus, it was originally planned to launch it on March 29, but then the terms were revised. Now the estimated launch date is June 30th.

The shift in the date led to a change in the plan for the delivery of scientific equipment for research on board the station. Equipment for experiments “Biodegradation”, “Aseptic”, “Cascade” and “Photobioreactor” was delivered ahead of schedule on the Progress MS-16 spacecraft on 17 February. And the materiel for scientific work “Mikrovir”, “MSK-2” and “Biopolymer” will go to the ISS on the manned spacecraft “Soyuz MS-18” in April.

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AMD seems to be working on RDNA cards for crypto-raters too

AMD seems to be working on RDNA cards for crypto-raters too


The first signs that AMD may create a specialized accelerator for mining cryptocurrency appeared back in October 2020. The Linux kernel update added a new Navi 10 based accelerator with the ID 731E. This card, as it was clearly stated in the description, will not support DCN (Display Core Next) and VCN (Video Core Next), that is, we are talking about a GPU without the ability to display an image.

This graphics card can be used either to speed up computations when working in clusters or to mine cryptocurrencies. According to a new March 3 patch, AMD has created a Navi 12 GPU that is also devoid of VCN, which is the ability to display an image. The latest GPU came just after NVIDIA made the announcement of the mining solutions expected to launch later this month.

Interestingly, Navi 12 is not available in any free market Radeon graphics card. It was designed specifically for the Apple Mac as the Radeon Pro 5600M. This is the only Navi 1X GPU with HBM2 memory. There are no mining tests available for him, so it is difficult to predict how well he will perform in the mining of cryptocurrencies.

In terms of specs, both Navi 10 and Navi 12 offer 2560 stream processors (40 compute units). Navi 10 is available with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, while Navi 12 has 2x 4GB HBM2 memory stacks. GDDR6 memory has 448 Gbps of bandwidth, while HBM2-based Navi can offer 394 Gbps.

According to the words quite a reputable informant Komachi, AMD, no later than November last year, began to prepare variants of the RX 5700 XTB, RX 5700 B and RX 5500 XTB specifically for crypto-accelerators. These may be working names for new cards, but it is unclear if AMD would want to use the Radeon brand for such accelerators.

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Biostar has prepared a unique modification of the Radeon RX 6700 XT

Biostar has prepared a unique modification of the Radeon RX 6700 XT


Either this is an error in the description, or Biostar is going to release a special version of the Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics accelerator. A novelty with a difficult to pronounce name VA67T6TEL9 Ver. The RX6700XT M and the Extreme marking on the packaging have a reference design and factory overclocking.

GPU speed in Boost mode is 1.3% higher than the nominal value. Of course, such a slight overclocking will practically not affect the performance in games, but the very fact that the reference card offers frequencies higher than the nominal is interesting.

The Navi 22 GPU used in the Radeon RX 6700 XT has 40 compute units (2560 stream processors) that run at a base frequency of 2321 MHz. In game mode, the GPU frequency can reach 2424 MHz. And in the automatic overclocking mode, the chip is able to raise the frequency to 2581 MHz. For the Biostar Radeon RX 6700 XT Extreme version, these values ​​are 2330, 2433 and 2615 MHz, respectively. Thus, for each mode, the frequency increase was 9, 9, and 34 MHz, respectively.

In all other respects, the new Biostar repeats the reference version of the Radeon RX 6700 XT. It offers 12 GB of GDDR6 video memory with an effective frequency of 16 GHz and a 192-bit bus. Recall that AMD has priced the Radeon RX 6700 XT at $ 479. The video card will be on sale from March 18.

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Marubeni buys stake in Skeleton Technologies

Продукция компании Skeleton Technologies (суперконденсаторы)


According to Japanese media reports, one of the five largest Japanese trading houses, Marubeni, has acquired a stake in the Estonian company Skeleton Technologies. Marubeni expects that Skeleton graphene supercapacitors will be in great demand in the energy sector and in new energy transport. A stake in an Estonian startup will help the Japanese bring supercapacitors to the Asian and Japanese markets.

Skeleton Technologies products (supercapacitors)

Skeleton Technologies products (supercapacitors)

Skeleton Technologies has developed and is already supplying several European car manufacturers with the latest supercapacitors for use in electric vehicle propulsion systems. Unlike a lithium battery, a supercapacitor can instantly give and store much more power. This paves the way for “flash” batteries.

However, supercapacitor batteries are not suitable for long trips, since their specific energy storage density is very low, but for recuperation systems (charging during braking) and for smoothing consumption peaks, they are extremely useful. Supercapacitors are also in demand as a buffer for creating virtual power plants and servicing electricity generation from renewable sources. All this explains the Japanese interest in the topic of supercapacitors.

Skeleton Technologies is said to have developed and is about to produce record-breaking supercapacitors that are eight times the size of the previous generation. The company or its production partners are planning to start mass production of new generation supercapacitors early next year, and cooperation with German institutions allows us to hope that these are not unfounded statements.

Thus, Marubeni plans to become a distributor of Skeleton supercapacitors in the Asian region. But apart from simple sales, Marubeni intends to cooperate with customers to develop products based on Estonian graphene supercapacitors, which means creating new markets.

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Vertu Ayxta Fold 5G smartphone with a large flexible display is priced at $ 7000

Vertu Ayxta Fold 5G smartphone with a large flexible display is priced at $ 7000


The Vertu brand, known for its premium devices, announced the expensive Ayxta Fold 5G smartphone: the device in the book format is equipped with a large flexible display that folds outward.

The novelty is based on the Royole FlexPai 2 model, which can be found in detail in our material. The applied flexible screen has a size of 7.8 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 1920 × 1440 pixels. Next to this panel is a quad camera in a configuration of 64 + 32 + 16 + 8 million pixels.

The smartphone has received an exclusive finish from high quality leather. At the same time, various color options are available – black, brown, red, blue, orange, etc. In addition, other premium elements are used in the design of the device.

The device is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and a 5G modem. The amount of RAM can be up to 12 GB, the capacity of a flash drive is 512 GB. There are wireless adapters Wi-Fi 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.2.

The device has a specially adapted for flexible screen operating system waterOS 2.0 based on Android. Responsible for power is a 4450 mAh battery with support for 18-watt charging.

The Vertu Ayxta Fold 5G is priced at approximately $ 7,000.

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Fitbit To Release Ace 3 Fitness Bracelet With 1.47 “OLED Screen And Good Battery Life

Fitbit To Release Ace 3 Fitness Bracelet With 1.47 "OLED Screen And Good Battery Life


Fitbit, which was recently completed by the American giant Google, will soon announce a new fitness tracker called Ace 3. Specifications and high-quality press images of the device have already been published on the Internet.

The gadget will receive a touchscreen display on organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) with a diagonal of 1.47 inches and a resolution of 240 × 240 pixels. For the novelty, straps will be available in various colors.

The standard set of functions is listed: measuring the distance traveled, calories burned, sleep duration, etc. Among the sports modes, running and cycling are mentioned.

The fitness bracelet will be able to communicate with smartphones running Android and iOS operating systems using Bluetooth wireless technology. It is about moisture protection. In addition, the dimensions and weight are indicated – 172 × 26 × 90 mm and 70 g.

The rechargeable battery will provide up to eight days of autonomous work on one charge. It will take approximately two hours to replenish the energy reserve.

The German edition of WinFuture claims that the official presentation of the Fitbit Ace 3 will take place on March 15th.

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In the first full review, Intel Core i7-11700K disappointed with its performance

Источник изображений: AnandTech


Resource AnandTech managed to acquire one of the Intel Core i7-11700K samples, which have already appeared in the German Mindfactory store. Intel has yet to officially unveil the new series of CPUs and, despite numerous rumors, is reluctant to share details about the new desktop processors. Nevertheless, the specialized publication managed to conduct a comprehensive analysis of one of the representatives of the new series of Rocket Lake-S processors.

Image source: AnandTech

Image source: AnandTech

The resource did not provide full details about the platform on which the Core i7-11700K was tested, since this information is partially under a nondisclosure agreement. Chief Editor AnandTech Ian Cutress, the author of the review, says that he only provided information in the text that was already known thanks to Intel itself, but added a few new details. Early rumors suggested that the manufacturer is still “polishing” the BIOS firmware for new processors, which is why it will be possible to officially publish full reviews on Rocket Lake only from March 30th. It is very likely that the final version of the microcode will be able to change the picture that was observed in the review. AnandTech

The full version of the review can be found on the website that published it. Here we will analyze only the most interesting information – the performance in games and the level of power consumption of the Core i7-11700K.

Processor gaming tests require the minimum resolution and minimum image quality settings. Thanks to this, the performance will not be limited by the video card and it will be possible to determine the smallest differences in the speed of one or another chip. The AnandTech test bench used a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics accelerator. It is also important to point out that the Intel Core i7-11700K and AMD Ryzen 9 5800X models were tested with DDR4-3200 RAM, while the Core i7-10700K and Core i9-9900KS models were tested with DDR4-2933 and DDR4-2666 memory, respectively. These are the maximum rates of RAM frequency that are directly supported by the processor architecture itself.

In gaming tests, the Rocket Lake-S was completely disappointing, which is quite surprising given Intel’s promise of a 19% increase in IPC (instructions per clock) relative to Comet Lake. The results can be found in the gallery below.

AnandTechseems to have found a possible explanation for why Rocket Lake-S performed so poorly in games. Apparently, the Intel Core i7-11700K suffers from increased L3 cache latency – from 43 clocks for Comet Lake-S to 51 clocks for Rocket Lake. The source notes that this probably led to an increase in data transfer latency between cores to 28-30 ns compared to 18-24 ns for Comet Lake-S. Intel has not yet said why it decided to change the structure of the L3 cache memory, or it has already said, but AnandTech cannot violate the prohibition on nondisclosure of this information.

Intel Core i7-11700K latency

Intel Core i7-11700K latency

Another interesting feature is the peak power consumption of the Core i7-11700K. The nominal TDP of the processor is 125W, but when executing tasks using AVX2 instructions, the chip’s power consumption increased to 225W. Under normal conditions of use, the processor temperature was 60 degrees Celsius with a power consumption level of 130-155 watts.

A surprise was the 292W TDP when performing tasks using the AVX-512 instructions. As noted in the review, the processor at this moment automatically set the frequency for all cores at 4.6 GHz and warmed up at a peak of 104 degrees Celsius.

In the review, we used a productive Noctua air cooler, designed for a similar TDP level.

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Perseverance rover makes first trip to Mars

Perseverance rover makes first trip to Mars


The US National Aerospace Agency (NASA) reported today about the next events in the Perseverance spacecraft program on Mars. Over the past week, the rover made its first trip to the Red Planet, checked the operation of the manipulator, and also updated its own software.

The Perseverance spacecraft made its first movement on the surface of Mars on March 4 – two weeks after arrival. The route was not very long – its length was only 6.5 meters. However, the purpose of this trip was only to check the undercarriage of the six-wheeled rover for the subsequent calibration of scientific instruments. The check-in took a total of 33 minutes. During this time, Perseverance drove 4 meters forward, turned 150 degrees to the left, and then returned 2.5 meters back, where it took a new temporary parking space.

Now fresh images transmitted by the Perseverance rover from the Red Planet contain tread marks.

In the future, when the apparatus begins to carry out a scientific program, its trips will become longer. It is assumed that he will regularly travel 200 meters or more. According to the plan, the rover must go to the delta of the ancient river in order to collect stones for their subsequent sending to Earth and try to find traces of a past life. Scientists are now deciding which way to drive the device, and whether to choose a simpler route or go along a more complex route, where intriguing artifacts can be found that confirm the existence of water on the planet from 3 to 4 billion years ago.

Two possible paths

Two possible paths

Another important test was carried out on March 2, when specialists first unfolded the two-meter robotic arm of the rover and checked all of its five joints. This operation took two hours. The manipulator, on which various scientific instruments and tools for drilling soil are installed, are planned to be used in the future to study the geological features of the planet.

NASA also reported that since the arrival of the rover, experts have loaded new software into the device, replacing the firmware used during landing with a new one – research. In addition, the specialists tested the RIMFAX GPR and the MOXIE oxygen production device, as well as deployed two MEDA environmental sensors.

Along with this, the rover continues to send more and more new images to Earth, the number of which has already reached more than seven thousand. All new images are posted in a special section on the NASA website.

In the future, more detailed tests and calibration of scientific instruments are planned, sending the rover over longer distances, as well as dropping protective covers from the sample assembly system and from the Ingenuity Martian helicopter. The first test flights of the helicopter will take place later, when normal operation of the rover begins.

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