In 2012, the world was introduced to Bravely Default, a game that redefined JRPGs. Three years later, in 2015, Bravely Second: End Layer hit the shelves, taking us right back into the beautiful world of Luxendarc, home to Tiz Arrior, Agnes Oblige, Edea Lee, and Ringabel.
Bravely Second: End Layer picks up two years after the concluding events of Bravely Default, introducing us to a young man named Yew. Yew is the sole heir to the House Geneolgia, and leader of the Three Cavaliers of the Crystalguard. The game opens with him trying to protect Pope Agnes Oblige from a mysterious masked man, calling himself the Kaiser Oblivion. Despite his attempts, the Kaiser is too powerful for him to defeat, and he knocks Yew unconscious for a week. He then kidnaps Agnes, taking her aboard his enormous flying ship, the Skyhold.
This leaves Yew with a personal vendetta against the Kaiser, and he sets out to rescue Agnes. Along the way he recruits Edea Lee, daughter of the Grand Marshal of Eternia; Magnolia Arch, a young woman from the moon, stranded on Luxendarc; and Tiz Arrior, the Hero of Norende, central character of Bravely Default, and love interest to Pope Agnes.
Personally, I loved the game. It has an amazing story, with dozens of twists and turns; plenty of side quests; hundreds of items and weapons to collect; and dozens of enemies and monsters to defeat. Additionally, it has beautiful 3D, scenery, and graphics; the voices are perfect, and the cut-scenes range from tragic to hilarious.
The gameplay is simple and will be familiar to any fan of JRPGs. There is a large world map, where you travel between cities, caves, castles, towers, and continents, meeting enemies randomly along the way. Combat is turn based, and the enemy will occasionally surprise you, attacking first. You are able to fight with weapons, magic, items, and by summoning either your friends, people you have StreetPassed, or players you have invited online.
You can also save combinations of your attacks, and by using auto-battle you can easily perform the same actions over and over again. This is very useful when grinding or traveling through dungeons.
Additionally, exclusive to the Bravely series is the option to either ‘Brave’ or ‘Default’ while fighting. Brave is basically defending instead of attacking for the turn, and Defaulting allows you to attack multiple times in a single turn (usually up to four times, but in special circumstances it can be higher). This is based on the amount of ‘brave points’ or BP, the character has. You gain one BP for every time you Brave.
Furthermore, for every eight hours your 3DS is in sleep mode (with the game on) you will earn a single Sleep Point, or SP. In the game, the characters use an hourglass (which Magnolia brought from the moon) to initiate Bravely Second, stopping time and allowing them to attack up to four extra times without expending BP.
The hourglass and SP are very important in Bravely Second: End Layer, with the entire game revolving around it. Magnolia tells Yew that on the moon, ‘Bravely Second’ means ‘the courage to try again’. This is the main theme for the game.
The game has deep roots and strong ties to Bravely Default, which is not a bad thing, in my opinion. Bravely Default is an amazing game, and you should definitely start with it before playing Bravely Second. Otherwise you’ll likely get a bit lost with all of the characters, side-quests, and at times even the main story. Just remember, Bravely Second: End Layer isn’t meant to be taken and played like a Pokemon game (a.k.a. the same story rehashed over and over for each game), it is the continuation of a vast epic tale, stretching across the two games in surprising and shocking ways I guarantee you will never see coming.
The final takeaway is that I highly recommend Bravely Second: End Layer. By itself, it is an amazing game, and will provide dozens of hours of fun. The incredible story is well worth the time spent, and the gameplay is entertaining and easy to learn (auto-battle all the way!). It may be a little easier than Bravely Default, but somehow I didn’t see this as a flaw.
I also very much recommend playing Bravely Default before this game. If you are a fan of JRPGs, I can promise you will thank me. After all, why not play it? This game is simply the second chapter in a beautifully written story. Everything between this game and the first game comes full circle, tying up many loose ends (but leaving just enough for a third game to tie into).
I can honestly say that Bravely Second: End Layer is one of the best games I have ever played. It was addicting and fun, and the ending made me want to cry. I feel that it both continues and improves upon the perfection of the first game.
Now go give it a try, and you might just have a new favorite series.
Copyright 2018 Ammon Hansen
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