[Review] Bravely Second: End Layer
A brave(ly) new world
by Brittany Vincent
The Bravely Default series to date has suffered from several issues over its shelf life, many of which harken back to a frustrating second half of the game. While the inventive job system is engaging and open even to new players, the second half is extremely annoying due to the ridiculously frequent amounts of grinding. Bravely Second: End Layer has similar moments that annoy, but in most situations it's an obvious improvement over its predecessor.
Taking place a few years following the end of the original game (you're going to want to have played through it if you play this one) you seek to save Agnes Oblige, a heroine from Bravely Default, from the hands of a masked villain known only as Kaiser Oblivion. Yew Geneolgia (yes, they all have these types of names) and a ragtag band of heroes set out to rescue Agnes and bring her back to safety. Theprotagonists have equally interesting personalities with some excellent dialogue, so even though at first it may seem like an impenetrable and confusing story, it's actually littered with interesting and humorous bits that move the rollicking tale along.
There are 30 different jobs to choose from so it's not difficult to find something that you fancy, especially with the brand new "Catmancer," which is basically a
job where you summon adorable cats for various effect.
You can employ Knights, Patissiers, Mages, Summoners, and more to tackle the various enemies you'll encounter along the way, but if you choose a job that doesn't work for you immediately you can always go back to change it later. You'll earn dozens of jobs through normal gameplay, but there are an additional 18 you can pick up simply through completing sidequests, which take up a massive portion of your in-game time. When you're not advancing the plot along, you'll be seeking out quests to complete, as they do quickly become addictive.
The combat hasn't really changed; it's a mixture of turn-based and other rounds where characters choose the option to "Default" to bank turns
or "Brave" to spend Brave Points and earn multiple turns one after another. Understanding this system is key to enjoying Bravely Second: End Layer, but luckily it's simple to grasp and get into if you give it some time. There are several layers of strategy that require some thought, and that's one of the keys to creating a fantastic game.
Bravely Second: End Layer is an excellent followup to a game often riddled with issues, but it does a great job of improving upon and expanding what positives there were from the original. It'll take you 40-50 hours to complete, but even longer if you decide to finish up all there is to see, so you'll certainly be getting your money's worth. This is a game that's truly for the hardcore role-playing fans out there, but it's also interesting for those who don't normally frequent the genre. Pick it up and see for yourself.
developer: Silicon Studio
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