Since I finished Octopath Traveler, a great JRPG, I resumed another one I had paused, Bravely Default II. I love it, but is it greater than Octopath? Tough question! I watched a YouTube video comparison of the two and think I agree that BDII edges out ahead. This is surprising since I had previously ranked Octopath a notch above BDII.
Of course, the final verdict can’t come in because I haven’t finished Bravely Default II yet - I’m about 70 hours in. Before I finished Octopath, I had held it in high regard and didn’t fully grasp why many players disliked its story structure. But once I finished it, then I realized the game’s story shortcomings. Likewise, though I now esteem BDII, once I fully finish it, my view may change.
Wherever I end up ranking BDII, it remains in my top three JRPGs of all time so far, right up there with Final Fantasy VI (FFIII SNES).
Now that I’m back to playing the game, I’m having great fun with it again. I love the job system, grinding for new active and passive abilities, and finding the most effective combos against challenging bosses. I also optimize my characters’ equipment and accessories to balance out their stats and any special conditions like nullifying certain status effects when needed.
As for presentation, the music is very good and the visuals are excellent. I really love the high-res details in environments and special spell effects, and I appreciate the Chibi character models too. My only real gripe is that I wish it was possible to rotate the camera freely in the overworld to easily see everything instead of constantly enlarging the on-screen map overlay and then hiding it.
The story may be simple, but it’s told very well through plausible scenarios displayed as either party chats or full cut scenes with dialogue voiced over. And though I’m accustomed to convoluted JRPG plots, I think BDII’s classic tale is refreshing in its simplicity. And I like it overall better than Octopath’s collection of individual mini-stories because it helps carry me, as the role-player, throughout the entire game’s continuous and cohesive narrative, pushing me to see how it all will come to an end.
It’s a great time to be gaming on the Switch with games like Octopath and BDII keeping classic JRPG gameplay alive and well. And with Octopath Traveler II set to release in a few months, the future looks promising too.
Have you played either Octopath or BDII? What’s your take?