Today, Nintendo brought a little light into our bleak COVID-19 quarantine by dropping a surprise Nintendo Direct Mini on YouTube. The 30-minute presentation is filled with information about upcoming rhythm game content for Ring Fit Adventure (if you're lucky enough to have one), the Isle of Armor DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield, and lots more.
A not-small chunk of the presentation is reserved by Bravely Default 2, which Nintendo confirmed is coming to Switch during last year's Game Awards. The Direct expands a good deal on 2019's teaser; it introduces the characters and talks about the game's setting and battle system. Bravely Default fans whose appetites are whetted by the tantalizing preview of the sequel can head to the eShop and download a demo now. I encourage you to do so. Just a heads up, though: You are going to die if you don't do what the game's title tells you to. Brave. Default. Brave.
The Bravely Default 2 demo offers a brief introduction to its characters before it sets you down in a locale that's likely a mid-game checkpoint. The introduction is coupled with a friendly warning about how the monsters in the demo are a "little" harder than the ones you'll go up against when the full game releases sometime this year.
Silicon Studio's heads-up is just a gentle way of telling you to drop your drawers and prepare to get paddled. I strutted onto the overworld (which replaces the previous games' random encounters with visible enemies) with gusto. I beat Bravely Default, and Bravely Second: End Layer. My triumph over Bravely Default's cousin series, Octopath Traveler, likewise bolstered my chutzpah. I threw my arms out wide and invited Bravely Default 2's orcs and goblins to die in my deadly embrace.
Said orcs promptly clubbed me to death, and the goblins eviscerated me. I underestimated the little bastards, and I paid for it. I slapped myself across the face a few times to bring myself back down to earth, then I put on Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and started to grind. (News Editor Eric Van Allen argues Rush is ideal grinding music. Go ahead and vote in the comments.)
I generally don't mind grinding in RPGs. I usually find it kind of relaxing. That said, I have no real desire to grind in a demo, so I only went at it for about 15 minutes—just enough to gain a few levels and buy better weapons and armor. I also rebalanced my party, as the Bravely Default 2 demo lets you switch between five jobs and sub-jobs on the fly. I made sure I had a dedicated White Mage in addition to a Vanguard (a tank class), a Black Mage, and a couple of Monks.
More importantly, I paid close attention to how the enemies take their turns. Bravely Default 2's battle system works much like the previous games' systems, and to some extent, like Octopath Traveler's system. When your characters' turns come up, you can "Default," i.e. defend while simultaneously saving a Battle Point (BP). You can Default up to four times in a row. When you're ready, you can select the "Brave" option, which lets you pour all that stored up energy into four simultaneous attacks. You can even divide up your stored BP to use a spells or skills in between regular sword-strikes.
Now, if you're an over-confident dunderhead like myself, you can pull off two, three, four attacks in a row without storing up your BP first. That lets you hit enemies hard as soon as the battle starts, which isn't a bad strategy whenever you're up against some weaklings you want to clear out ASAP. But if you don't finish off your foes during that initial sweep, you can wind up in big trouble. Your character can't act until their BP fills up one by one with each turn. If you don't play your cards right, five orcs who did use Brave and Default to their advantage will curbstomp you while you stand there with your gob wide open.
If you're looking to spend a little time with the Bravely Default 2 demo, my advice is to take your time. Grind a little, yes, but don't get overconfident with the Braving and the Defaulting. Your enemies aren't afraid to use the system carefully, and you shouldn't be afraid either. Watch your step, too: If you stray too far from the path the demo suggests for you, you'll run into monsters who will swallow you whole regardless of how well you Bravely Default.
Previous Bravely Default games have difficulty settings, and I imagine Bravely Default 2 will likewise offer the option when it's out for real. However you feel about the Bravely Default 2 demo, keep an eye out for an upcoming survey and air your comments and concerns. When the Octopath Traveler team sent out a survey, many of the suggestions were used to polish up the final release.