Bravely Default II Demo: Commentary and Thoughts
Bravely Default II Demo!
Alright, so the Bravely Default 2 Demo is out and I’ve finished it, and it’s time to discuss my thoughts. Overall, this game is very fun but there are a few things I would like to see or need to be fixed before the official release. Let’s get into it.
Let’s start with praise. Visually, I think the game looks great. The characters are a little weird, they feel like they’re caught in between the original chibi look of the other games and the anime-esque from Second, but I don’t mind it that much. But the world, the cities, all of that looks fantastic. And the new job outfits, ahhh, they’re so good! I really love the Monk redesign in particular, but all of the jobs look amazing. And Elvis is hilarious and yes I know I got it wrong last time, he’s Scottish not Australian, but he said crickey in the trailer so I made an assumption.
Musically, as expected, it’s wonderful. It doesn’t feel quite as impactful as Default’s soundtrack, which I’m unsure if it can be topped, but that doesn’t mean this music is by any means bad. I’d still slap someone upside of the head for saying this soundtrack sucks, it’s REAL good. I love that the combat theme is a reimagining of Conflict’s Chime from Default, the Spanish guitar in Seth’s theme is great, and while repetitive, I love the new asterisk boss theme, it really gets ya going. Especially during such a kick ass boss fight. Bernard was an excellent challenge, he was in what I call that perfect difficulty range. And I was pleasantly surprised by the post-demo bosses too.
The combat still feels great, but that’s just the classic Bravely Default formula coming back of course haha. Seriously though, this game is still a lot of fun to play, and I was never bored while grinding enemies here, compared to Octopath where it felt a little more like a chore. It may be due to getting so many unlocks so quickly, but that sense of reward is what made me want to keep going too.
I love the new open world, it feels really nice and the bush cutting mechanic is cute. I’m happy with the encounter change to being changed from random to actually encountering the monster, and I found it really neat that some monsters will run away from you.
But with that out of the way, I’m out of praise to offer, and this is a good spot to transition to some criticism. Despite liking the concept of the encounter change, it needs a bit of work. For one thing, the enemy spawns seem a bit off. Sometimes I’ll get out of a battle only to have something come sprinting at me immediately afterwards before I have time to act or recover. Other time, they come sprinting from outside my field of view and put me in battle before I have time to react and run away - this was a bigger issue in the dungeon than the overworld, I found.
Another problem was the camera itself; there were numerous times where a new enemy would spawn behind me, but because the camera would be blocked by terrain, I could not see them, and hence I’m dragged into ANOTHER battle. Perhaps having the terrain fade to being invisible from where you’re looking so you can see through would be helpful, like how the wall is removed when you enter the side door in the Savalon palace.
There were a number of issues I noticed with combat, so let’s go over those. The most important of them all, and probably the most important thing that needs to be fixed is, we need a turn or initiative counter. With the game no longer allowing us to choose our whole team plan in one go and then let them fight, it is nearly impossible to tell when one turn has ended and another is beginning. This is critical when it comes to abilities like Shell Split - I have no idea when the debuff has worn off now. So a turn counter is heavily requested.
On top of that, PLEASE fix the combat menu. The main menu looks awesome, I love the design with all the books and papers and such, but the combat menu is so… rough. I know this is the demo, so I’m hoping this is just a menu for us to play the game with before the real one is done, but this menu is a bit unpleasant to look at and annoying to navigate. One of the little things that I really appreciated Bravely Default for was the ability to play the game with only your left hand. The horizontal aspect makes the combat list more annoying to use, and the lack of anything other than text slows down gameplay significantly as I find myself constantly reading and re-reading abilities over and over again. Perhaps add some icons or colours to these texts - and we really need Specials to stand out more when they’re available.
Another problem that a lot of people have had was no Default hotkey. I do agree, I think it’s a little annoying, and perhaps throw Default on R and Brave back on L like on the 3DS, it would make things a lot easier.
And that’s it. While I had some big gripes with those things, I still had a LOT of fun playing this demo, so thank you to Asano and team for surprising us all with this wonderful little gift during such turbulent times.