Хм-м-м-м-м, где же я это видел?

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


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

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