Warning: I’m not going to spoil the story of the demo, but mechanics of it will be revealed. Avoid this if you consider that spoilers!
I’m going to be completely honest, I never finished Bravely Default. I started the game three seperate times, and got stuck in the same place every time. In fact, I’m sure a lot of people stopped where I did: the repeats. That didn’t stop me from loving the game though. There were a few problems, but mostly I enjoyed the hours put into the game, even in that third playthrough.
Playing the demo for Bravely Second just reminded me why I loved the first game: the smoothness of battle, the gorgeous artwork, the cute character designs. It was exactly what I was hoping for, and now that I finished it my world is a little colder.
So, I’m gonna talk about it!
Bravely Second appears to be shaping up to play very much like Default, but with minor tweaks. Let’s start with a complaint, and then go to the good parts. I can’t turn Auto Battle on in battle! There is a menu outside of battle where you can tweak the frequency of fights and turn Auto Battle on and off. There are even options for setting up Auto Battle commands, but I can’t seem to toggle them on and off in an actual fight. Now, this may be my own lack of understanding, or (hopefully) something that will be changed in the full game.
Other than that minor complaint, battles run smoothly and as smart as ever. In fact, holding B and having your team go through the same motions is probably just as easy as having Auto Battle set up. Also, new in the demo is the option to keep fighting. Beat that enemy in one hit? Press L to start a new fight! Not only can you chain battles together until you get hit, but you get an exp bonus for each new battle. I literally gained a whole level once by taking on weak enemies and racking up a huge multiplier.
I happen to love this mechanic. It’s no fun getting into weak fights when you’re just trying to get from Point A to Point B. Using this new chain option gives a reason to keep fighting. It makes fighting low level characters worth it. This is something I never knew I needed in my life.
Even for all my bragging of chaining battles, I can see a downfall. The easiest way to use this mechanic to it’s fullest is to use magic. Honestly, there wasn’t once in the demo where I felt my physical attacks were anywhere as strong as my magical ones. Luckily in the demo, you are always near a town and the dungeons are only one level. The main game is sure to be less accommodating. It will actually become a balancing issue of “One More Fight!” and “Holy Crap I Need To Heal My People.” Hightailing it back to town with enemy encounters turned off and no MP will probably become my default panic plan.
And can we talk about the town? The first chance I had to let the camera pull back and show off all the little details, I took it. It’s gorgeous, even on a small 3DS screen. It also gives you hints to where you are on the world map, if you played the first game.
So now we come to my last and biggest concern: the job system. My biggest complaint from Bravely Default was that once you got to the repeating section, you had to use very specific jobs together to be powerful. I couldn’t stand it. I’m a hugely stubborn person, and not being able to use the jobs I wanted drove me insane. It’s probably the main reason I never finished the game. I was hoping things would be more free to have different jobs working together in Bravely Second. Judging by the demo, I was wrong. There was one enemy I needed a certain set of skills to defeat. It was frustrating, and the only reason I actually switched things around was because all my characters were max level and had all their jobs maxed out as well. I literally lost nothing by making a certain team. I can’t imagine things will go that smoothly in the full game, but I’m hoping for more range in what jobs to use for hard encounters.
Now you may think all I did was complain, but I actually love this demo, and the promise it holds for Bravely Second. And I didn’t even mention the new jobs (That last one!), or the characters, or the town building mechanic (Very similar to Default, but why there?!), because I’m trying not to spoil anything. I highly recommend playing this if you are at all interested in Bravely Second. For now, I’m going to play again on the harder difficulty and see if I can handle it. (I’ll most likely rage quit.)
(Oh, and one last spoiler-y thing: I loved the shades of Madoka in the last boss fight. It was so brilliant and fun.)