Bravely Second’s Job Options Overshadow Sidequests’ Difficult Decisions
Bravely Second: End Layer has 30 jobs. Except you aren’t exactly getting all of them handed to you as part of the storyline. Only the new jobs are acquired naturally as you play. You start with the Freelander, then eventually get new positions like the Wizard, Fencer, Bishop, Charioteer, and others from members of Kaiser Oblivion’s army. Positions from the previous game, however, are all obtained in side-quests from Bravely Default’s Asterisk holders.
It’s handled in an interesting way as well. After major story segments in Bravely Second, there are often blue sidequests highlighted on the map. These lead into a supplemental storyline following some of these other characters. Each one is on a plausible, opposite side of a situation that needs to be resolved with a decision Edea makes. You fight the person representing the side the group doesn’t choose, getting his or her Asterisk as a reward.
As an example, the first one is set around the Al-Khampis area. Water is at a premium, with multiple oases drying up. The Jackal is helping keep order around the remaining oasis, so people can still get water. Fiore DeRosa is a professor at the university researching a hypothetical power source that would make the water shortage issue inconsequential. Edea, Tiz, Yew, and Magnolia end up getting a legendary Water Gem that can solve either problem, but there’s only one.
It’s supposed to place people in a moral grey area decision, where neither answer is exactly right or wrong. People are supposed to feel conflicted no matter which choice they make, since the epilogues to these quests often help you realize either answer could have been right. The problem is, Bravely Second’s Asterisks don’t always let you side with your heart.
With the aforementioned Al-Khampis situation, I sided with Jackal. Partially, because it seemed like the right thing to do. DeRosa’s answer was experimental and hypothetical. If things went wrong, it could destroy a town. Using the Water Gem to revive the oases would offer an immediate, positive response to people in need. But mainly because the Red Mage Asterisk made more sense for my immediate needs. I had been over 10 levels above the recommended level for locations since coming to Al-Khampis. Money and equipment weren’t an issue. But getting MP Free in a Pinch, which would make spells free if a character’s health dropped below 20%, is an essential life skill for my Yew and Magnolia.
It’s a trend that’s only intensified the further I’ve progressed in Bravely Second. I sided with Erutus Profiteur over Holly Whyte not because I believed in his decision, but because the White Mage Asterisk was more appealing. I hate Ominas Crowe, but didn’t need the Black Mage Asterisk right away, which meant siding against Artemia. When I started the sidequest pitting Heinkel against Kikyo, I sped through it for that sweet, sweet Ninja Asterisk and its Dual Wield ability. (By the way, Dual Wield with Triple or Quad Wield is magic.)
What Bravely Second attempted to do is admirable. The idea of making someone think about what might really be right or wrong and be rewarded with an Asterisk is an interesting idea. In some situations, it might actually work. But the promise of getting certain abilities immediately over another trivializes things. Was a coeducational experience in Florem more important than schools separated by gender? I believe so. But, I really needed that Monk Asterisk for Tiz, so I had to be selfish. If you’d have been in that position, you would have done the same.
Bravely Second: End Layer is immediately available for the Nintendo 3DS.