Review: Bravely Second: End Layer

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Do you like it when your games screw with you? I am talking about stringing you along like Pinocchio.

Should a videogame make you laugh, cry, and enrage you all in the same cutscene?

Do you like internet memes?

If any of those things tickled your fancy, then let’s embark on an epic tale together.

Welcome to Bravely Second

Coming to us once again from the small but mighty Nintendo 3DS, Bravely Second: End Layer is the sequel to the well-known game Bravely Default from Square Enix. This time around the story revolves around a two year old Luxendarc in a state of relative peace and Yew, the leader of the three Cavaliers and their quest to save Pope Anges from the evil Kaiser….or so Yew…I mean you think.

You aren’t really Yew, though you are playing as Yew. It’s complicated but it will all be explained in due time.

You, Yew, Tiz, Magnolia, and Edea are later betrayed by the people you thought were your allies and the ones you called enemies end up assisting you in your journey. It’s not exactly M. Night Shyamalan’s level of twists but it’s up there. I don’t want to give away too much of the story because that is this game’s highlight, just like the game before it.

The gameplay reads from almost the same book as its predecessor. Some of the jobs have changed with the addition of new ones such as Catmancer, with the power to use cats to fight in battle with you, and Patissier, with the ability to enfeeble your enemies with the power of delicious cakes. With the addition of new jobs, other jobs had to be removed. Salve-Maker and Spell Fencer got the cut, to my displeasure. Spell Fencer was the best combo of magic and physical attack power without needing two classes and Salve-Maker was just overpowered in the later levels, but I guess they just had to make room.

Before I get into how much I loved this game and how I couldn’t put it down for a week straight after buying it, no game is without its flaws and this game had quite a few.

The biggest problem I had was how easy they made the game right from the start. In the game, you have the ability to save commands that you use most often and have them execute automatically. Sounds good, right? It is. And this, coupled with the fact that you can heal up your party with the Adventurer in each dungeon for a reasonable price, kind of makes the combat a joke.

“But Mr. Gamer, you can just put the game on Hard mode.”

And I did. Combat was still just as much of a joke as our presidential candidates. Those who read my Be A Better Gamer guide on this will see just how much you can fly through the game with only a bit of grinding.

The next problem I had was with the job choices. Honestly, some of them were completely useless and utter fluff. One of the biggest perpetrators of this is Patissier. Someone tell me why in Celestia’s sun would I use a job where my main skill is throwing pies at enemies for status effects that might not work on all of them. I am better off hitting them with a rubber hammer. Not only is the main skill useless, it only works if you have the items to make the stupid cake. That is ridiculous. I don’t see the Hunter class needing me to buy bullets for the gun or having each attack drain some of my MP, if you really want to get technical. I felt like I didn’t need half the jobs the game provided me, even the extra special Yokai.

I didn’t even use half the classes given to me and I still beat the game with 1 gave over. I only got the special class because there is no completion but 100%

A “one or the other” decision making event was put in the game where you must choose to side with one asterisk and you get the other. It supposed to make you question life and morals and screw that noise. Go for utility or, if you are like myself, you get them both eventually.

Another problem is that if you don’t know anything about the first game, Bravely Default, You are going to be lost and this game won’t explain a lot. Bravely Second has Bravely Default’s framework but enough foundation for new players to jump in and understand why this particular character is doing this thing. Heck, the special ending of the last game explains a huge plot point of the current story and you only get that if you got the True Ending of the first game. I don’t think the player needs to be punished for not playing the first one.

Now yes, that was nasty and there isn’t a MIB mind eraser large enough to make me forget it but the game is still a beautiful gem for the console and here is why.

From the Streetpass function trying to rebuild Magnoli’s world on the moon after it was destroyed by Baals (not a typo), to the cute little Chompcraft mini game, Bravely Second does a very good job of trying to be the only game you not only play but have running on your 3DS.

Chompcraft is a mini game you gain access to early in where you have your party make small dolls for cp, not to be confused with pg, the currency in the game. You can have songs play in the background and as long as the system is open, they will continue making dolls and money. This pairs well with the town building aspect of the game where the game has to be running for the timer to diminish on your building so, in a sense, you will never stop playing this game even passively.

It’s similar to Animal Crossing… but much cuter.

Useless side mission aside, this game takes the good chapters from Bravely Default’s book. Though I played the first game to the true ending, I was still surprised with the twists that were presented in this game. It was an immersive story and had me hooked. And it’s just so good that I don’t want to spoil too much. I would be terrible if I did that to you.

But here’s The Breakdown…

Bravely Second is an excellent addition to your 3DS library as long as you can overlook the struggle you might have with forced memes and a lack of story if you haven’t played the first games. The gameplay is on par though the game holds your hand so much you might as well play it on Hard mode. The music is just what you’d expect from a Square Enix title. I was particular to Bravely Default fighter themes but Bravely Second’s aren’t bad.

Bravely Second – A great game gem for the 3DS console that needs to slim the sidequest fat.