Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bravely Second... First... Impressions

I've completed the prologue of Bravely Second, so here's my thoughts so far.  You can probably get the gist of it from my post about the demo, because it reflects what's in the full game.  I'll summarize that post here, though.

The game offers a bunch of new features and little fiddly improvements over Bravely Default, while maintaining the exact gameplay you'd expect if you've already played Bravely Default.  Some of the new features and little fiddly improvements are things I didn't even know I wanted, which is awesome.

The prologue of Bravely Second offers up five jobs: Freelancer, Wizard, Charioteer, Fencer, and Bishop.  To summarize each job:  Freelancer is your standard jack of all trades with abilities that are of general-level usefulness.  Wizard casts elemental spells, and can do spellcrafting to add extra effects to spells at the expense of BP.  Charioteer is pure offense, and sports the support abilities Triple Wield and Quad Wield, allowing you to equip additional weapons in the helm and armor slots, which is gonna get insane later on down the road.  Fencer is a fairly tactical job, with a variety of stances, abilities that can only be performed from certain stances, and abilities that require one stance but change you to another stance.  Bishop is a holy warrior of sorts, who can heal and deal damage.

One important change is that you can now customize the trigger for a special move, which means it's no longer weapon-dependent, and therefore you can always have it be something that you're doing on a regular basis.  This will translate directly to special moves being used more often.  They went sorely underused in both of my playthroughs of Bravely Default, but with this change, I'm going to see about using them a bit more often, perhaps even designing a party around them, who knows.

If you remember that Bravely Second teaser video from Bravely Default, accessible either by entering the Konami Code on the title screen, or by beating the game, well, it's an actual scene taken verbatim from Bravely Second.  It's actually really cool, watching Magnolia beat up on a bunch of dudes from Tiz's point of view inside the tank.  They could've just had you burst in there with your party and beat up all the dudes and the boss at the end, and then claim your reward through gameplay, but having it be a cutscene whose point of view you can control by moving the system around is actually pretty refreshing.

Of course, you didn't just come here to see me gushing about how much I like the game, right?  Well, I took a few screenshots using Miiverse, so I'll post them here.

The first one shows the blatant name pun that was also in the demo, but I couldn't screenshot the demo.

The next two are later on, just after you get Tiz.  You're trying to get out of Eternian Central Command without alerting the guards, and Tiz goes full Jedi.

Also, I didn't screenshot them, but Yew has this whole thing going on with gravy.  I tweeted most of the gravy quotes, so head on over to my Twitter to read them.  The other characters question his use of the word "gravy" at one point, but he just keeps on rolling.

Revisiting Eternia was doubly nice in that Eternia's town theme is still that same awesome piece of music with the sleigh bells and bass guitar and whatnot.  I stopped for a little while just to listen to it, not gonna lie.

Something that Bravely Default did that wasn't fixed here, however, is the fact that there is quite a lot of dialogue in the audio before you get the chance to set the audio language.  If you're like me and prefer the Japanese voices, you have to deal with the English ones until you get to the point where you can open the menu and change the option.  Then, you get to deal with the fact that the subtitles match the English dialogue and not the Japanese dialogue.  This results in a lot of noticeable lines where a character says one or two words in Japanese, but the text onscreen shows two full sentences of English.

Also, if you hadn't noticed it in the very end of Bravely Default, the Celestial Realm is brought up again, so it's relevant to know that the Celestial Realm is actually our world.  You know, the real world?  Yeah.  It's inherently fourth-wall-breaking.

Anyway, Bravely Second is good, that much I can tell right now.  Is it better than Bravely Default?  Well, that's going to be a point of contention.  Nobody was expecting Bravely Default, so there wasn't a standard set yet.  Now that there is a standard set, we'll have to see how Bravely Second measures up against that.  I can already tell you that from a gameplay feature level, it most definitely is better.  However, I've just played the prologue, so I still have yet to see where the story takes us.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's too early to tell, but it's definitely good.

Also.  One last thing.  If you haven't played Bravely Default at all, and you're wondering if you need to play it to understand what's going on in Bravely Second, the answer is no.  The very opening of Bravely Second summarizes the story of Bravely Default, giving you what you need to know.  Of course, if you want to grab a copy of Bravely Default and play through it, I'm certainly not going to stop you...

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