Bravely Default 2 Shines as One of My Most Anticipated RPGs of 2020
While 2020 will see the release of several huge RPGs, the next entry in Square's Bravely Default series has my undivided attention.
The Video Game Awards 2019 will be remembered by most as our first look at the Xbox Series X. However, for myself, it will be the year that one of my game dreams came true with the announcement of Bravely Default 2.
As an avid fan of RPGs, particularly the turn-based Japanese variety, I quickly fell in love with the first Bravely Default in 2014. It created a fresh world with exciting new legends, mechanics, and lore. The sequel that followed a few years later only solidified this new series as one of my favorites in Square’s library. Three and a half long years I waited; each Nintendo Direct caused me to hope for the announcement of the next game. Bravely Second left us with quite the cliffhanger, and each passing year it felt as though we kept being teased: Twitter images with Edea, a mobile release in Japan, more tweets. The teases just wouldn’t cease. It was like we were stuck in that damn loop from the first game again! So when the trailer began at The Game Awards, to say that I was on the edge of my seat would be a gross understatement.
Seeing the hand-drawn backgrounds in full HD, no longer hindered by the resolution of the 3DS handheld, were breathtaking. The narration in the trailer still gives me shivers when I re-watch it. We’ve gotten a quick look at our new band of adventurers and left with only speculation. We know that this game will be separate from Bravely Default and Bravely Second: it’s going to be a whole new world with its own set of legends, cities, and conflicts.
What I’m most interested to find out about in Bravely Default 2 is what fun new classes will be included. The previous two titles have one of the most well-implemented and customizable job systems in all of Square’s library. The series has always included staple Square jobs like White Mage, Black Mage, and Monk while also mixing in additional silly jobs like the Catmancer, Patissier, and Vampire. The first game came with 24 jobs, each with 14 abilities, with Bravely Second upping the job count to 30, with 11 abilities each. While I’m not worried that we won’t still have oddball jobs in Bravely Default 2, I do worry some that perhaps the depth and options will be cut down somewhat. In my perfect world, we will get 40 jobs each with 14 abilities. This would allow every job to come back from the previous games, in addition to a few new ones.
Another defining aspect of these mainline games is the battle system. The original game’s title is directly tied to it. By utilizing the new Brave and Default options, it added a welcome complexity to the stagnating turn-based formula. This system of allowing players to decide if they wanted to stock up on turns for later on, or burn them in advance (leaving yourself open to attack), gave an added depth to the game that I adored.
The 3DS titles feature a range of quality-of-life options that should make the jump to the Switch too. While nowadays the speed-up feature for battles in RPGs is more common, in 2014 it was unheard of. I honestly can’t think of another turn-based RPG that had this option. This combined with the option to have your party reenact the previous turn’s commands greatly allowed you to grind out levels. And if you didn’t want to level up your characters–just your jobs–you could easily toggle the sliders in the options to turn off experience, money, or job points, or even how often you found yourself in encounters. When I think the Bravely series, these options are in the forefront of my mind, and I think are a must for Bravely Default 2.
When it comes to my expectations of the story in Bravely Default 2, I have full confidence that they will take the criticisms from the previous games and improve on it. With the series having a strongly established notion of multiple timelines and dimensions, I’m hoping that BD2 will simply be one of those. As mentioned earlier, there were some big plot reveals in the post-credits movie of Bravely Second. I’m perfectly fine with the new game being largely unconnected from the others, but I’ll be disappointed if any of those reveals are ignored in the story of Bravely Default 2. With Team Asano (the group behind the first Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler), I have faith that they will craft a story to be remembered.
Outside of the quick trailer we got at The Game Awards, Bravely Default 2 is very much still shrouded in shadows, composed of the ethereal hopes and wish list dreams of fans. As it was revealed at such a widely-viewed event, I think it is safe to assume that Nintendo and Square are looking at this new game as a heavy hitter this year for the system. The RPG genre has been very kind to the Switch, with hits like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Octopath Traveler doing surprisingly well. I’m thrilled that a whole new audience will get to experience the Bravely series with this new entry. And now if they would just reveal new information about it already! Mrgrgrgr!
Bravely Default 2 will release sometime this year exclusively for Nintendo Switch.