Given that Bravely Second: End Layer is a direct sequel to Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, you expect the two have things in common. After all, Tiz and Edea, leading characters from the original game, are part of your party in Bravely Second. There’s a robust job system, with entirely new jobs and the ones from the previous entry bringing the count to 30. You even visit every major location from the first game in the second. However, there are some other parallels that appear in interesting ways.
Bravely Second begins where Bravely Default ended. In the first game, your journey began on the continent of Caldis, near Norende and Caldisla, and went to Harena, Florem, Eisen, and finally Eternia. With Bravely Second, you begin in Galthelatio, near Eternia and the Temple of Earth. While there were other, important places visited after Eternia in Bravely Default, it’s interesting to see Bravely Second kick things off adjacent to the empire that was once the primary antagonist.
The importance of advisors remains in Bravely Second. In Bravely Default, people were encouraged to turn to Airy, the Cryst-Fairy, for advice and insight. With the sequel, Agnes fills this roll. You can talk to her sometimes while exploring the world and often during important story segments. She’s there to remind you what to do or where to go next, as well as providing an occasional aside. Again, we have a non-intrusive means of keeping ourselves on the right track.
The inclusion of Cryst-Fairies and their role is important as well. In both games, they ally themselves with a powerful force they believe has the ability to change the world. Airy followed along the heroes in Bravely Default, in the hopes of helping them accomplish her goals. Here her sister, Anne, works with Kaiser Oblivion to fulfill another dream. They’re characters with powerful masters that drive each story forward.
Both Bravely Default and Bravely Second also have their extra job class. In the first game, people could fight Lester DeRosso at the end of the game to get the Vampire Asterisk. This Blue Mage class would allow someone to learn enemy skills and turn them back against foes. The Yokai class fills that role in Bravely Second, giving someone that extra, special job to work toward. While it doesn’t offer the same weapon proficiencies as the Vampire, the Yokai’s stats are superior. In each case, it’s a little something extra for people who want an optional extra punch.
There’s also the twist. Bravely Default set a precedent with a changing subtitle that would reflect the game’s big secret. Bravely Second does the same. In each case, something happens that completely changes your view of the game and it’s events. You get the opportunity to do something different, and it’s an awe-inspiring moment. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but let’s just say that Bravely Second has an interesting New Game+.
It’s also about the little things. Minor players from Bravely Default will show up again in Bravely Second, usually in the side-quests that give you additional jobs. My favorite instance of this comes when you’re left to decide between the Performer and Pirate Asterisks. In the first game, you needed to meet the bard Arca Pellar’s students and get his baton to defeat Praline, holder of the Performer Asterisk.
Here, both Barbarossa the Pirate and Praline want the rights to an undiscovered Arca Pellar song. You decide who gets it, all the while experiencing references to the first game. During a tent scene, Tiz and Edea even recap the whole quest-line for Yew and Magnolia. It builds on an established history and continues it, allowing people who enjoy the series’ characters, environments, and lore to learn even more about this land and its people.
Honestly, that’s the best way to think of Bravely Second: End Layer. It’s taking everything you remember from Bravely Default and building on it. The characters, locations, world, and its history are constantly growing in this new adventure, taking what we know and somehow making it deeper and more interesting than it was before.
Bravely Second: End Layer is immediately available for the Nintendo 3DS.