Nintendo Direct Mini Recap (3.26): Major RPG Sequels Coming in 2020

Bravely Default II

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Bravely Default was a massive hit for the Nintendo 3DS.  The game, lauded for its story, music and traditional turn-based RPG gameplay, found a huge audience outside of Japan even though it was developed for Japanese gamers.  In its lifetime, Bravely Default sold over a million units and over half of those units were sold in North America and Europe.  Given this popularity, many fans wondered when or if a new installment would be created.

In December 2017, the official Bravely Default Twitter account posted an image of the main protagonist, Edea, holding two joycons.  Many took this as a teaser that the next Bravely Default game would be coming to Nintendo Switch, but it would be another 2 years before an official announcement was made at the 2019 Game Awards.  And now, just 3 short months later, Nintendo has announced that Bravely Default II will be released this year.

Fans of classic Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior games will find familiar gameplay here, as they build parties of 4 characters to travel around completing quests and battling monsters.  During the adventure, characters can change jobs (or classes) at will and any skills learned with one job can be used with other jobs for unique combos.  In addition to the customizable job system, the battle system uses a unique feature named brave points which allow characters to perform multiple actions in a turn.

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The art direction for Bravely Default 2 is impressive.  The overworld art of Bravely Default 2 is reminiscent of classical book illustrations.  In the demo, currently available in the eShop, the initial area looks like a pop-up book has come to life.  The crisp black outlines, makes everything stand out and gives a good amount of depth.  I expect this may the same graphics engine that was used for the 3DS, but everything still pops on the Nintendo Switch.  The level of detail on each character’s attire is surprising.  For an example, look at the embroidery of Adelle’s dress in the picture above.  The chibi-style character design may not appeal to everyone, but it is hard to dismiss the beauty of this game.

Bravely Default 2 will be a welcome addition to the Nintendo Switch library later this year.  Given the popularity of Octopath Traveller, Square-Enix most definitely has another hit coming.

King’s Bounty II

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King’s Bounty never made its way onto any Nintendo platform, so seeing the sequel being released on Nintendo Switch is a pleasant surprise.  The King’s Bounty series is a turn-based tactics game where the player amasses an army and roams the countryside completing quests.  Each squad is unique and the units develop bonds which makes the squad stronger.  Combat focuses on tactical decisions on a hexagonal based grid, with the player determining placement of forces to build synergy between units.

King’s Bounty II adds some welcome features.  In the sequel, the landscape matters in combat.  The battlefields will directly reflect the landscape around the players on the overworld such as including ravines or hills, making a player’s decision to enter combat even more important in order to gain the upper hand on the enemies.  Battles will also include line-of-sight tactics to further enhance the combat experience.

Players will have the availability to impact the story which is a new feature for the series.  Rather than using dialogue trees as seen in some RPGs, the story will change based on the player’s actions.  As the characters align themselves with different ideals, NPCs will react differently when confronted by the character and there will be a noticeable change in the world.

Given the popularity of King’s Bounty and its numerous DLC on PC platforms, I expect King’s Bounty II will be a huge hit as Nintendo fans will have an opportunity to experience another turn-based series for the first time.

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