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Bravely Second: End Layer

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Bravely Second: End Layer Game Poster Image
Fun, mildly violent fantasy RPG with some mature themes.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy and get some practice reading while playing this sophisticated yet accessible Japanese role-playing game. Turn-based battles force players to consider multiple factors -- including their character's abilities along with enemy strengths and weaknesses, as well as the risks and rewards of choosing to be "brave" (spend actions in advance) versus opting for the "default" defensive position (saving their actions for later) -- that will inform their strategy. Players will also do plenty of reading as they scroll through tutorials, read up on enemies, and work through hours of text-based dialogue. Bravely Second: End Layer rewards analytical thought and could kickstart kids' interest in reading.

Positive Messages

Themes of loss, betrayal, revenge, honor, duty. Players will face difficult decisions with no single right answer, leading to realization that you can't always please, save all people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters who seem honest, noble end up betraying others (though often for motives that make sense to them). But primary heroes -- two young men, two young women -- are good people who do their best to help those in need of assistance. They don't attack monsters, people, but rather defend themselves, fight back when attacked. 

Ease of Play

Plenty of options to adjust both overall difficulty, rate of enemy encounters. Tutorials pop up frequently to explain new elements of play, can be referenced as needed. Suitable for both rookies, veteran RPG players.  

Violence

Characters use swords, pikes, bows and arrows, other melee weapons plus various types of magic to attack foes both fantastical, human. Successful strikes result in flashes of light, with characters staggering, falling, then disappearing. One scene shows a character covered in blood.

Sex

Some female characters wear skimpy outfits revealing sides of their breasts. Some racy double-entendres, including a character who describes herself as a "Ba'al buster," a joke about "the study of Ba'als."

Language
Consumerism

Players can purchase special points with real money to gain an advantage in battle.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character drinks beer.

What parents need to know

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 -- some male and some female -- 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. They're sometimes faced with difficult decisions for which there's no single right answer. This results in conflicts where opposing parties -- both with seemingly noble goals -- end up fighting each other. 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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 16 years old Written byLucan1010 May 31, 2016

Fantastic Sequel is a Must-Play

Violence: Typical turn-based rpg fantasy violence, slashes and flashes of light display damage on allies and enemies. Some references to more violent acts, cut... Continue reading

What's it about?

Set a few years after the events of Bravely Default, 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. Traveling between cities, journeying across the countryside, over the ocean, and through dungeons, the group engages in a steady stream of turn-based battles against both monsters and human foes. The key to these battles is the ability to either spend up to four actions in advance to attack with force but risk leaving your party open to multiple counterattacks, or to go on defense, taking hits with reduced damage while saving up actions that can be spent all at once. 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?

If you loved the original game, which was terrific and had a surprisingly innovative combat system, and just wanted more of the same, you're in luck, because this feels less like a sequel and more like a gigantic postscript. 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 of a game maker sticking with what works. Even the storytelling, which includes loads of optional text-based party chats as well as a surprising amount of spoken dialogue in key cut scenes, 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, then sit back and watch as they do their thing whenever a battle starts. Plus, the game's jobs system -- which allows any character to switch between any of the game's two-dozen-plus unlockable and upgradable jobs, mixing and matching abilities as they go -- 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 predecessors battle system, it still ought to satisfy anyone who wished the first game never ended.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. It's easy for kids to get obsessed with handheld games and continue playing them when parents aren't around to supervise, so what's your strategy to ensure your kids don't overdo it with handheld games?

  • Families can also talk about making hard decisions. Not all choices in life are clear cut, and sometimes you'll be forced to make a decision that won't please everyone involved, so how can you go about making such a choice wisely?

Game details

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