Sunderland Echo

A fun and rewarding experience

- Damien Lucas

It’s the one fans of Japanese RPGs have been waiting for, but how does Bravely Default 2 fare under the weight of expectatio­n and anticipati­on on Nintendo Switch? Despite the title, this is actually the third game in the Bravely series and follows the original game, Bravely Default, and its direct sequel Bravely Second: End Layer.

But while Second was a direct story continuati­on from the original, Default II features a new story and cast of characters to get to know.

For those unfamiliar with the series, in essence BD2 is a roleplayin­g game with turn-based battles.

It is set in a new world to previous games, on a continent named Excillant, which is divided into five different kingdoms. The game follows four main characters; a young sailor named Seth, a refugee princess named Gloria, a travelling scholar named Elvis, and a mercenary named Adelle.

The pressure on BD2 was huge prior to release this week. Hailed by Gamespot as the most anticipate­d release after its announceme­nt in 2020, I am pleased to say it does not disappoint.

It’s not perfect and critics will undoubtedl­y point to the difficulty and elements of grinding as negatives.

But if I may flip that on its head, certainly in terms of grind, to argue this is actually one of the more enjoyable aspects of BD2. In fact, I would go as far as to say never have I played a game where I have enjoyed grinding as much.

The added power of the Switch afforded to developers Claytechwo­rks means BD2 boasts superb graphics which are a neat blend of the classic Bravely Default art style and Octopath Traveler.

What is clear is this is a game built to last, built to keep you coming back for more over several months. It could be argued this is the perfect time to release BD2 given most of us are locked in our houses for a time yet!

With any game as vast as this the key question is does it keep you coming back for more, does the grind end up grinding you down, can it maintain that early momentum which reels you in as you progress?

It is a fine balance. Those moaning it is too difficult would be the same complainin­g if BD2 was made too easy. I feel the difficulty – whilst demanding, particular­ly for newbies – strikes that balance more or less all the way through. As you level up, you should expect to encounter a more difficult challenge. And, yes, there is no let up. This is not a game where you reach a status of invincibil­ity blowing away all before you. Strategy and perseveran­ce are key all the way through. If that doesn’t sound like your bag then you may struggle with the effort to reward satisfacti­on ratios.

Personally, I have found it fun and rewarding right the way through.

Those looking for radical changes or advancemen­ts might be disappoint­ed, too. But for me, this is very much a title that isn’t broken so doesn’t need fixing.

It is addictive, satisfying fare that keeps you coming back for more without reinventin­g the wheel.

It’s imperfecti­ons are far outweighed by the charm and engrossing gameplay experience. And it is simply a must have for RPG-fan Switch owners.

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