Next month the 3DS will be receiving the highly-anticipated sequel to the 3DS’ Bravely Default, called Bravely Second. However, just as with the first game, Nintendo has released a demo for Bravely Second leading up to the full game’s launch that serves more as a prequel to the full game. The demo is a great way to refresh people on the game’s mechanics leading up to next month, while also offering some incentives for playing it on its own.
The demo for Bravely Second is called The Ballad of the Three Cavaliers, which stars new characters named Yew Geneologia, Janne Angard and Nikolai Nikolanikov, as well as the previously-revealed Magnolia Arch. The first three of the aforementioned characters are the Crystal Guard’s Three Cavaliers, who take their orders from Bravely Default protagonist Agnes Oblige as they investigate a potential threat in the town of Al-Khampis.
While the game leads up to the events of Bravely Second: End Layer, the game thankfully goes light on the plot and focuses more on the gameplay. Very little information is revealed regarding any of the characters, as you are instead dropped into the game’s world and are essentially taking on a series of sidequests. The demo’s map is small, but it contains several areas like the main town of Al-Khampis where you can talk to NPCs and shop, as well as battle areas like underground caverns, woods, dungeons and more. None of the areas are particularly lengthy, but that’s to be expected in a demo.
As you take on the quests that the demo has to offer you will be taken across the map to do things like defeat a certain amount of enemies or collect a certain amount of a particular item, as well as just taking on boss enemies. Several of the boss characters put up quite a challenge and may require level grinding depending on your style of play, which was a mechanic that was featured prominently in Bravely Default. The human bosses will drop their job asterisks when defeated, seeing the return of jobs from the first game as well as the addition of new ones.
Players start off with the returning Freelancer and Valkyrie job asterisks, as well as the brand new Wizard and Astrologian jobs. Throughout the course of the demo players will be able to unlock 5 more jobs, which are Red Mage, Performer, Swordmaster, Hawkeye and Exorcist. The new classes fit right in with old ones, providing new ways to play for gamers looking for more variety. Hawkeye is great for gun users, whereas Excorcist allows you to essentially undo the results of the enemy’s most recent move. Unfortunately, the demo only allows you to level up each class to 4 before maxing them out, so there’s a lot more to these classes that won’t be revealed until the full game launches next month.
For those who may be using this demo as their entry point into the series, the Bravely Default series’ main stand-out feature is the brave and default mechanic that returns in the sequel. This essentially allows the player to either save an attack (default) or execute an attack (brave) up to 4 times in one turn, which continues to really add a nice twist to the turn-based gameplay. It’s especially useful for level grinding, as it allows you to wipe out weaker enemies in one turn and rack up experience points quickly. It’s also essential to master for some of the tougher boss fights, as there are times when you need to focus on defending and other times when you need to capitalize on an opportunity and unleash a flurry of attacks while you can.
Those who enjoyed the Norende town rebuilding mechanic that was present in Bravely Default will be happy to know that the feature returns for Bravely Second, this time with rebuilding a town on the Moon. Other features found in the first game also return for the sequel, such as adjusting enemy encounter rates, a journal that includes a bestiary, summoning other players via StreetPass, and the SP system that allows players to take free actions in battle that is used via points that are generated by keeping the game in sleep mode. If you’ve played the first game then this demo will make you feel right at home.
Even though the demo is light on story, it nonetheless is able to showcase its charming cast of characters and has me excited to see a lot more of them in the main game. The banter between characters is as endearing as ever, and now you have Agnes on the bottom screen of the 3DS who is always there to chime in on the situation at hand and to answer any questions you may have. The Bravely series continues to hit a nostalgic RPG adventure feeling that you can’t help but get swept up in, while also offering just enough new to stop it from feeling like a retread.
The rewards for playing through the demo that carry over to the main game are usually small things like healing items, which definitely aren’t enough to demand that you play this demo for the rewards alone. However, it’s filled with all of the same great features found within the first game, and considering the fact that it’s being released for free even though you can spend up to 10 hours with it is impressive. For those who are eager to get back into the Bravely world and can’t wait for next month, The Ballad of the Three Cavaliers is definitively a demo worth checking out.