Regarding the Bravely Second sidequest changes

Another sort-of-addendum to the old post about ethical choices in videogames, where I talked about the Bravely Second sidequests. You probably remember that Bravely Second‘s release in the west was met with some backlash due to several localisation changes. One job outfit was changed to avoid racist stereotyping, a few other outfits were slightly modified to show less skin, but most importantly: the way that the sidequests worked was amended.

Spoilers!

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When RPGs give you ethical choices …

… it is also your choice whether to accept them at all.

When I play RPGs, I like having the feeling that my actions and my own choices actually affect the story, and be it just in some small way. I’m totally fine with linear stories, but it’s always cool to be feel like you’re not just along for the right, but an active participant instead of a passive observer. I’ve noticed that even when the choice turns out to be an illusion, I still feel a little bit more involved in the game. It makes the experience more immersive for me, because it prompts me to really think about the characters and their world … Hmmm …

Then again, an abundance of pseudo-choices can have the opposite effect. In Golden Sun, I was constantly given the choice between saying Yes or saying No to questions and suggestions – but for the most part, giving the “wrong” answer just resulted in my opinion getting ignored or overruled by the other characters. Pfff! Stop asking me this stuff if you don’t care!

What actually prompted this post was an old-ish SiliconEra article about Bravely Second‘s sidequests, titled Bravely Second’s Job Options Overshadow Sidequests’ Difficult Decisions – the headline actually tells you the core argument of the article, which is really refreshing in this age of clickbait titles. Still, I disagree completely with the sentiment.

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Should you play Bravely Second?

Bravely Second was released in the USA yesterday, and I have seen a lot of people wonder whether they should give it a try.

The answer is YES. You should.

I have not completed the game yet, but I’ve been playing for 70+ hours and would be extremely surprised if the game suddenly started sucking NOW. Bravely Second is a great game and a proper sequel. I mean that it is not just a game set after the original, but a game that learns from the mistakes of its predecessor and improves on its ideas. I won’t spoil anything! Just know that the pacing is better, the plot stays engaging, the dungeons are more complex  and the sidequests are much more interesting.

There is a part of me that liked … that thing in Bravely Default. It was such a bold move and a unique idea. But it was not executed very well and ended up affecting the gaming experience in a negative way. However, there’s no need to avoid Bravely Second because of that. The game was clearly created with an awareness of what worked and didn’t work in Bravely Default.