Ease of play: 3 out of 5
Violence: 3 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Sexy stuff: 2 of 5
Drinking, drugs and smoking: 1 out of 5
Consumerism: 1 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Genre: Role Playing
ESRB Rating: T for fantasy violence, mild blood, mild suggestive themes, use of alcohol
Parents need to know that “Bravely Second: End Layer” is a Japanese role-playing game with frequent but fairly mild violence. Players control a group of characters who battle human and fantastical foes in order to save their world. Combat involves no blood or gore; enemies simply stagger, fall and disappear when defeated. The protagonists only fight to defend themselves and out of a sense of duty to help others, but endure loss and unexpected betrayals in the process. Parents should also be aware that while there’s no explicit sexuality or foul language, the often humorous dialogue includes puns that are a little racy, including a frequently recurring joke that revolves around how the word Ba’al (meaning demon in the game) sounds like a part of the male anatomy.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
“Bravely Second: End Layer” sets a quartet of heroes on a journey to once again save the troubled world of Luxendarc, now under threat by a new villain named Kaiser Oblivion, who rains terror from his floating crystalline fortress, the Skyhold. Players begin by taking control of a charming young man named Yew, who excels both as a fighter and a scholar. They’ll gradually add to Yew’s party a woman from the moon who has also suffered the Kaiser’s wrath, as well as a pair of returning heroes from the first game: the orphan-turned-champion Tiz and the endearing (and always hungry) warrior Edea. Beyond battles and the main narrative, players are encouraged to seek out and complete side stories, slowly rebuild a settlement on the moon in order to gain rewards in the form of items and play a crafting mini-game in which the main characters snip, stitch and paste together colorful toys.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
With similar visual presentation, many of the same characters and locations, and nearly identical combat and jobs systems, this follow-up is a clear case of a game maker sticking with what works. Even the storytelling has a very familiar vibe and the same sense of humor.
That’s not to say there aren’t any subtle improvements, though. Players have been given more control over the pacing of battles, thanks to the ability to control encounter rates and a revamping of the auto-battle system that allows players to preprogram sets of up to four commands for each party member. Plus, the game’s jobs system has been tweaked so that attack strength has more to do with character level than job level, making it less risky to experiment with new low-level jobs when fighting tougher enemies. So while “Bravely Second: End Layer” may not deliver anything as fresh as its predecessor’s battle system, it still ought to satisfy anyone who wished the first game never ended.
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