Bravely Default 2 review: “Nostalgic but innovative, complex yet approachable, and overflowing with character”

I would’ve had this Bravely Default 2 review ready sooner if the game hadn’t gotten a lot longer – and somehow better – out of nowhere around 50 hours in. Maybe that’s on me; bonus chapters are practically a Bravely tradition at this point. Not that I’m complaining or anything, because now that I have finally worked through this mammoth of a JRPG, I’m more than ready to put it on the same shelf as Persona 5 Royal and Dragon Quest 11 S as one of the best games in its genre. Bravely Default 2 is absolutely sublime, and it’s an early frontrunner for game of the year.  

The heroes’ journey 

Bravely Default 2

(Image credit: Square Enix)

In true Bravely fashion, we open with four unlikely heroes brought together by equally unlikely circumstances that compel them to gather four elemental crystals and save the world. It’s a classical, if well-tread setup, but Bravely Default 2 delivers it with a sense of winking self-awareness that makes all the difference. This is not a game about heroes of light being awesome. It’s a startlingly grim story about corruption, obsession, and sacrifice, and it’s elevated by the diversity of societies within it and the strength of its main cast. 

Fast facts: Bravely Default 2

Bravely Default 2

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Release date: February 26, 2021
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Team Asano / Claytechworks
Publisher: Square Enix / Nintendo

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