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Best Battle System - Bravely Second: End Layer

Best Battle System

Second Place

Third Place

Much like that of its predecessor, Bravely Second: End Layer's combat is an excellent blending of old school systems and contemporary RPG sensibilities. Battles are turn-based at their core, but the series sports the eponymous Brave and Default systems. Players can choose to go all out and attack up to four times in one turn but at the sacrifice of future turns. Likewise, they can Default and save up turns, or Brave Points, for later use. This makes for an exciting risk/reward system and adds a tredendous layer of strategy to fights. Most random encounters go by quickly, with options to speed it up even more. Meanwhile, boss fights take full advantage of the game's extensive job system and require careful planning and strategy.

Only a small amount of tweaks were done to Bravely Second's battle system, which speaks to quality of the original game's combat. One is the new ability to chain battles, which allows players to start a new, slightly tougher, fight immediately if they defeat all enemies in one turn. It trying to chain as many battles as possible and gain the huge EXP, money, and Job Points bonuses that doing so provides can make even the most trivial random encounter fun and challenging. With the huge amount of available combinations of jobs, equipment, and skills, players can now save their favorites and switch between them easily. What also needs to be mentioned are the new jobs added to Bravely Second. Most of them move away from the Final Fantasy staples and while some function like legacy jobs (the Catmancer is just a feline-obsessed Blue Mage), many are unique. Of note are the new Wizard job and its Spell Crafting ability, as well as the Exorcist and its Undo command. It all makes for an exciting combat system that is both fast-paced and deeply strategic when needed, a reminder of why turn-based battles can still be enormously fun.

Few things feel as satisfying as warping from halfway across a battle to topple an enemy over, something Final Fantasy XV's battle system ism ore than happy to provide. The addition of Wait Mode into the final version of the game allows for those with more strategic proclivities to stop and scope out their next move, and is a welcome addition for those less adept at pure action systems. It has some issues, with a lack of control over the friendly AI and an over-reliance on QTEs for defending, but despite these Final Fantasy XV still manages to have a highly enjoyable and engaging battle system.

From Software found a great formula for combat with its initial release of Demon's Souls. That formula has stuck throughout the series across the Dark Souls games as well as onto Bloodborne. With the launch of Dark Souls III, the company refined things to be a smooth as ever. With a huge variety of character builds, weapons, and armor, From Software crafted a system that is just fantastic to play. Combat never stops being responsive and punishing of errors for foes and the player alike.

by Cassandra Ramos, Shannon Harle, Michael A. Cunningham

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