The four playable heroes. Are they all sheltered, stubborn, sanctimonious morons who act on emotion and impulse and refuse to acknowledge any negative consequences their actions have caused as their fault? Granted, all four are Locked Out of the Loop regarding the truth that the Crystal Orthodoxy was once a Corrupt Church (And the Eternian Church still remains one until 15 years before the start of the game and how Airy is secretly the Big Bad who tried to keep them out of the loop as much as possible, but one has to wonder how much they acknowledge some of the mistakes they did which brought to the negative consequences of the game, such as helping Airy to keep awakening the crystals to the very end, despite said action being the only way you can access the true ending of the game.
Braev Lee. Was he a Well-Intentioned Extremist or a self righteous, corrupt tyrant? Even if he had good reasons to overthrow the Orthodoxy, he was still trying to expand his sphere of influence across the world through hostile means. The people he put in charge of his campaign for world conquest were (with a few exceptions) a group of violent, unstable and immoral individuals who were given little oversight in their actions. More than a few of them were children and teenagers, one of whom was an insane, dying child who got sicker whenever she overexerts herself. Furthermore, Edea's complete lack of knowledge about his uprising and the Orthodoxy implies that he may have been trying to rewrite history in his favor, much like how the Orthodoxy did.
Annoying Video-Game Helper: In addition to Airy stopping to tell the player how to awaken the crystals even after you've done it 24 times already, after the first world where she actually offers useful advice she does nothing afterwards but whine about wanting the party to awaken the crystals for the next 4 worlds every time you enter the menu. Fridge Brilliance is in play when you consider Airy is the Big Bad and she wants to reawaken the crystals in each world before the protagonists realise what is actually going on.
Ass Pull: Ouroboros' entire existence is a big one. Over the entire game, nothing hints at his existence and virtually everything implies that Airy is the Big Bad. Then, either before (true ending) or after (normal ending),Airy suddenly reveals that she's actually serving a higher power who receives no backstory or explanation for his existence. Ouroboros basically exists just to give a proper True Final Boss.
Awesome Art: Several backdrops (Ancheim, Florem, Ancheim, the warped cliff where you fight Mephilia etc) are gorgeously detailed. Then there's Akihiko Yoshida, who drew the promotional art and main character designs, but that's not all. Different artists helped design different job asterisk characters eg Atsushi Ohkubo designed Lord DeRosso and Einheria, helping to convey a unique aesthetic for them. The full list of artists is staggering.
Artemia, despite her high HP, tends to go down quickly due to her weakness to Fire. And not only is Fira buyable in the nearest town, but also a rod that powers up Fire attacks. She only has one particularly threatening attack, and it requires multiple BP. She's a Flunky Boss, but unlike her sister (see That One Boss) she never summons any more.
Jackal does little more than steal potions from the party when fought, though he is partnered with Khint to help compensate.
Barbarossa has an extremely simple AI pattern that can be reduced to a non-issue simply by alternating Default and Brave, has a weakness (in this case Lightning) and isn't even a Flunky Boss. His Shell Split (Defence Down)/Double Damage combo would be threatening...if he targeted them both at the same character, which he rarely ever does.
Surprisingly, very late in the game, the Status Ailment Team in Eternia Central Command. Put on Fairy Ward on the first turn and you make them 2/3 less useful. Their AI pattern is always fixed to inflict status ailments no matter if they work or not.
Gigas Lich, the fourth crystal boss certainly counts as this. Compared to the three before, his only gimmick is buffing his stats slightly every turn, which you can easily take care of with a White Mage's dispel. Half the time he doesn't even attack with his increased stats, preferring to use death or fear spells, and by that point you should have equipment to negate either. Heck, as an undead foe, use Big Pharma on him to get paid money to damage him, or use One More for You on him to decrease his BP, even to the point of making him completely unable to attack you. If you have one, you can even bravely second an elixir to kill him in one move. Story-wise he's in between Braev and Alternis, who have more plot importance overall.
With the right skill and job combinations, some of the boss defense groups you encounter in Chapter 8 can be pathetically easy to beat due to each group's Crippling Overspecialization. Brave Points Galore, The Iron Wall, and The Powerhouse groups consist of bosses who can only do single target damage, so a use of the Karai skill on a party member with very high defense can tank their hits while your DPS kills off their support. Much of Ailment Hell's threat can easily be neutralized with Fairy Ward. The only group that's NOT a total pushover is Mega Magic, since their skill combinations are just plain unfair.
Cliché Storm: Not that this is a bad thing. While guilty of this (particularly with some of the villains), the game has a lot of charm and many likable characters. There's also the fact that the situation's only a cliche storm on the face of it; in fact, setting things up like this seems to be part of the proper villain's plan, so that you act the way they want you to. The actual situation gets way more complicated later on.
Ouroboros himself, the God of Destruction, plots to wreak havoc on the Celestial Realm, and is responsible for every catastrophic event in the game's plot. Unseen until the game's true ending, Ouroboros pulls the strings behind his servant Airy and oversees her link the tens of thousands of worlds that comprise reality in a bid to break the boundaries between them, utterly destroy all of them, and bring chaos to the Celestial Realm to recreate reality in his own twisted image. Ouroboros devours his pleading servant once he finally tires of her, dismissively compares her to cattle, and, in the final battle, obliterates world after world for the sheer purpose of breaking the heroes' spirits, nothing less than utterly gleeful once they beg him to stop. Ouroboros, motivated solely by boredom and a lust for chaos, strife, hatred, and suffering—things he considers exciting—goes down as the greatest evil in the story.
Airy, fittingly titled "the Evil One", is the Piercer of Boundaries and chief servant to the evil god Ouroboros. Posing as a helpful fairy ally to the Warriors of Light in their mission to reactivate Luxendarc's corrupted crystals, Airy is in truth behind the opening of the Great Chasm and the wide swath of destruction it caused throughout Luxendarc, traveling from world to world and manipulating the heroes into purifying the elemental crystals and thus linking those worlds to Ouroboros. Airy takes sadistic delight in manipulating the heroes like puppets and butchers them after she is done with them, having repeated the process with tens of thousands of worlds over a course of millions of years. Once she's ousted as Ouroboros's servant, Airy, in the false ending, quickly slaughters the party while taunting them about how she's manipulated them. Forced to rest in the Dark Aurora after being cheated of purifying the last crystal, Airy, once confronted by the revived heroes, decides to torture the warriors of light for five thousand years to bide her time, and pretends to have been possessed purely so she can shatter an already despondent Agnes's will further by revealing she is exactly the remorseless demon she appears to be. A deceitful monster under her seemingly innocent, childish exterior, Airy's singular wish was to allow her master access to the Celestial Realm in order to destroy all reality.
Dr. Qada, the Salve-Maker, is an obese psychopath who stands leagues over Eternia's normally-sympathetic ranks. Qada sacrifices thousands of innocents through the Toxic Mist, including those of Eternia's own swordbearers, while acting as a medic to both sides of Luxendarc's conflict to have a large supply of healthy bodies to experiment on. Qada's ambition extends to planning to wipe out the Council of Six with his equally-treacherous compatriots Fiore DeRosa and Erutus Profiteur to take over Eternia themselves, with Qada planning to unleash a fatal plague through Luxendarc. Reviled even by his own superior, Qada is completely unsure as to whether or not he should be remembered as a gloried hero for providing the cure to his own plague—or as the vile, disease-spreading sociopath who unleashed it in the first place.
''Let's say you're a rake with two paramours: Girlfriend A favors her fighters, and Girlfriend B favors her mages. You can pick between them at will, depending on the abilities you need at the moment!"
Myconids are able to use Spore to spawn themselves endlessly if you can't kill them fast enough. They're particularly bad if your party are Monks and Knights, since they use it to counter physical attacks.
Cerberuses in Vampire Castle are capable of using a Hellfire attack that hits the whole party, have high physical defense AND magical defense, and they also can counter physical attacks.
Disappointing Last Level: See also Ending Fatigue for more details - on top of this, the game's final act ends up becoming quite tedious, especially if one is going for the true ending because boss's stats scale massively at the end. Sure, you have a lot of game-shatteringly powerful abilities available... except for one problem: You actually don't even need most of them to reach this point in the game, and you don't even need them to beat the final encounters. Unless you're willing to spend over an hour per boss. The Final Boss takes about an hour even with Game-breaking abilities and speed-up.
Ending Fatigue: Once you are caught in the "Groundhog Day" Loop, there is nothing new to do except kill the job masters again, kill the crystal guardians again, and re-awaken the crystals (or not, if you're aiming for the false ending). And you will have to do this four more times in order to unlock the True Ending. Needless to say, the last part of the game gets tedious because of this, and makes an otherwise very good game begin to overstay its welcome, though it's less repetitive by having the job masters gain new abilities and assisting each other in combat. The For The Sequel edition, however, added new scenes between the Jobmasters in the 7th and 8th Chapters, which does mitigate this a bit, and in their final fights in Eternian Central Command in Chapter 8, everyone gets new abilities or uses different strategies than usual. It doesn't help that, while the last two chapters provide some last minute Character Development for the Jobmasters, the main story essentially freezes with literally no plot scenes until the final portion. This is an ideal example of having too much of a good thing. The boss fights are widely praised as highlights of the game, but several chapters of non-stop boss encounters later, it just gets gratuitous.
Franchise Original Sin: Several of the problems levelled at the sidequests in Bravely Second began here. The massive amount of Death Is Cheap and Unexplained Recovery is present (Holly, Barras and Jackel are revealed to have survived in later loops and Alternis is shown alive in the credits despite explicitly falling to his death from Grandship) and the majority of the quests became irrelevant by the end of the game and many were used as gag material. It's just, with the second game having a considerably more detailed and complex main story, these elements stuck out much more.
Fun with Acronyms: The fandom is slowly turning the Blood Roses Brigade into BRB. (Although they were renamed to the Blood Rose Legion in the English translation.)
Swordmaster Kamiizumi. He spends 95% of his turns performing one of three possible moves that will cause him to perform a powerful counterattack when hit (as in, powerful enough that unless you are obscenely overleveled, the second and third ones will KO you, and you'll need buffs and/or debuffs to even survive the first). One of them counters physical attacks, while another counters magical attacks. Which will he decide to use on any given turn? Who knows. And it halves the damage he took from that attack to boot. No, you can't just draw his counter with a tanky character and then attack him with other characters afterward; he will simply counter the subsequent attacks as well. You could use attack items, but those can be caught by his third counter, which will counter any attack from a particular character. Sometimes, he will instead decide to Brave and do several regular physical attacks in a row, which is your chance to attack him while his BP is negative, but he rarely does that. So pretty much, no matter what you try to use against him (especially the first time, where you don't have nearly as many jobs or skills to take advantage of), it will take forever and a year to actually beat him.
Ninja Konoe Kikyo. She loves to use Utsusemi to evade the next attack and immediately counter-attack. She also loves to spam Shippûjinrai to attack first, generally after a Default, and will one-shot most of the party members that way.
There is a way to continuously add villagers in the demo by talking to an NPC who gives you an extra one once you progress far enough in the demo, quit the game to the title screen and reload your save: since Norende's progress is saved seperately from the main save file, you can get more villagers every time you repeat the progress. This has somewhat limited use though since the demo version's Norende maxes out a lot quicker than the main game's Norende and you can only carry over up to 20 villagers from the demo, which you can get with the main game's Update Data feature in 4-6 days.
Satan[+] is a huge obstacle to beat through normal means, with physical attacks not being very effective against his 9999 Defense cap which will force you to rely on magic and Pierce M. Defense. However, if you use a Friend Summon with high enough power, the damage it will deal won't heal him, but it will somehow make his HP fall down right into the negatives (which is outright impossible to do in the game even), allowing you to simply toss a small normal attack and watch it keel over. This guarantees you'll get an Unearthly Bun.
The people of Caldisla giving Ringabel his name. This initially seems like a playful jab at his amnesia, but then it's revealed that just before Ringabel showed up in town, Alternis had been roaming Caldisla helmet-less, helping out in hunts and making friends here and there. When Ringabel does show up, everyone just thinks he's being funny acting like he's forgotten everything. Jerks. Though in truth, Alternis never stated that he gave them his name in the first place.
Florem is basically Ringabel's dreams come true in regards to all the women found there. Look up his past, and you'll find out he had a bad childhood in there.
Jackal's backstory is that he was abandoned by his family and no one was willing to care for him until he was taken in by thieves. Since Khint is the only person Jackal is shown to respect, it can be inferred that the Spell Fencer was among the thieves that took him in or he at least played some large part in Jackal's life. Keeping this in mind during Jackal's boss battle when Khint abandons him when fighting for him is no longer beneficial makes the scene much sadder.
In the third world, the group learns that their loved ones are all in grieving due to their counterparts in that world all dying. They meet with them and pretends to be their counterparts to help uplift their spirits. Later, as the group prepares to leave the world, Sage Yulyana asks if they want him to erase everyone's memory of meeting them and they tell him not to as they believe it will give them "a spark to keep going." This implies that they've given their counterparts' friends and families closure with their encounter, but from what was seen this can't be the case. It was shown that everyone the group met was hysterical, even suicidal, over the deaths of their counterparts and the group pretending to be them didn't bring closure since they all now think they're alive and expects them to return to them. If anything, allowing everyone to keep their memory of their "return" only for them to disappear again will probably result in them being in even worse shape than if they were allowed to grieve normally.
Hilarious in Hindsight: After freeing the party from Eternia's dungeons, Edea mentions in a conversation that there are two men in love with her. Ringabel is a given, and the other is Alternis. This is shortly before The Reveal that they're the same person.
Idiot Plot: A common criticism of the game is the sheer levels of "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot that the heroes are put through for no reason. The Dutchy of Eternia knows something wrong about the crystals and wants to protect the world from it, with its leader even knowing a Dark Secret that in theory should be enough to convince them to stop. Despite this, the antagonists never attempt to do so, even when Edea outright tells her father she doesn't understand why he is doing what he does. While the heroes are justified in continuing their mission since they don't know the truth, the antagonists just flat out not telling them the truth feels like a glaring issue in the plot.
It Was His Sled: Due to being a major point of contention that's brought up in most reviews of the game, it's hard to not be spoiled on the alternate worlds business.
Love to Hate: Red Mage Fiore DeRosa. He's such a despicable, dirty sociopath (and an incredibly difficult boss) that killing him in the first world is incredibly satisfying. And somehow, beating his smug ass in the loops doesn't lose its satisfaction.
Magnificent Bitch: Konoe Kikyo, the Ninja, is a quirky, shy, and utterly relentless Eternian assassin tasked with taking out the leaders of the Shieldbearers. Disposing of and disguising herself as the Goodman family housekeeper Nastassja, Kikyo forges invitations to a banquet in Agnès Oblige's name and sends them to Commander Daniel Goodman and Officers Steiner and Neuer. Once they're all gathered, Kikyo locks them inside the house, feigns her own death to prevent suspicion, discretely murders both Steiner and Neuer while pinning the blame on Daniel's wife Eleanor, and nearly manages to kill Daniel as well when he separates himself from the party, only stopped at the last second by Agnès' crew. Despite this merciless cunning, Kikyo is shown to be rather pleasant when off-duty, values her fellow Eternians as friends, and ultimately turns a new leaf come Bravely Second.
Due to the odd title that conveys no information on what the game is about, it's not uncommon to see the game referred to using different but similar names, usually synonyms like Courageously Standard or simply words that start with the same letters like Baker Dozen.
Agnès' "Unacceptable" has become pretty Meme worthy. People often use it with fanart depicting Agnès ripping apart monsters guarding the crystals while saying it, and not to mention all of the Lemongrab references (Like this one).
In a similar vein to "Unacceptable!", Edea has her commonly used "Mrgrgr!" growling/grumbling sound become memetically popular, complete with fanart and crossing with the "Gununu!" meme from Strawberry Marshmallow.
The Bravo Bikini. Explanation The outfit Yulyana initially constructs for Agnès' for the Flower Festival. It is extremelyStripperific.
Mega Ultra Waifu ChickenExplanation Ba'al I; Turtle Dove, one of the Norende Bonus Bosses is... a weird bird in what looks like a bridal gown, and it uses love-themed attacks.
Are you done reading about memes yet? We need to get on with awakening the crystals! Explanation Once you leave the first world, Airy gets a major case of Continue Your Mission, Dammit!.
Mis-blamed: Many people blame Nintendo of America for the costume censorship, but according to the credits, Square Enix (and an Italian company called Binari Sonori) actually handled localization, with NoA only doing overseas publishing and product testing.
Moral Event Horizon: Holly Whyte plans to torture Agnes to near death and then use her healing magic to repeat the process once she catches her.
When fighting Pupal Airy, all four party members have some rather choice words to say to her after finding out that she's been manipulating them in her plans to sacrifice all of reality to a dark serpent god. When it's Tiz's turn, however, rather than raging at her for destroying his hometown, thereby killing his family, friends, and his little brother right in front of his eyes, as well as proceeding to make him unknowingly destroy his own hometown over and over again in each successive world, he instead rages at her for "violating Agnés's trust", which makes Tiz seem absolutely obsessive about Agnés to the point of absurdity. Even Airy thinks that's a dumb reason.
Depending on how many friends you have, the horror of the worlds being destroyed at the end of the game might end up being a bit undercut depending on whose world dies. "Oh no! Not Friend-bot's world! Anyone but Friend-Bot!" Though it can make a certain set of four quotes while using Bravely Second with Tiz flip straight back from hilarious to awesome if you use them in succession to kill Ouroboros:
Tiz: This one's for Ringabel! Tiz: THIS one's for Edea! Tiz: This one's for AGNÉS! Tiz: And THIS ONE's... FOR FRIEND BOT!
Any serious, dramatic or emotionally heavy scene can be ruined if one or several of the heroes is/are currently wearing one of the silly-looking asterisks, such as the Performer asterisk.
Narm Charm: Some of the voice acting is either stilted, over-the-top, or otherwise badly directed, but it actually adds to the SNES/PS1 throwback nature of the game.
Older Than They Think: Some critics bashed the "Auto battle" feature of the game and said it was "casualizing" it or making the game "play itself". Auto-battle has actually been a staple of these types of games for decades.
At the end of the game, Ouroboros devours entire worlds of alternate Luxendarcs with their own versions of the characters you've come to know and love... and then he culminates it by devouring the world of one of your friends. Asshole.
Captain Knight Owen early on. The man who saves you after your entire village and life are swallowed up in an instant. He offers you shelter and gives you hope and courage to go on. He's killed by Heinkel while trying to defend the king. It really hits home later on when you see how it's affected his father the innkeeper right afterwards as well as and later on in the story.
Olivia also counts, she was all Agnès had as far as family would go. Agnès desperately searches for her knowing she's in danger but her whereabouts are unknown. You finally find her and have a brief reunion with her only for Victoria to try to kill Agnès. Olivia makes a Heroic Sacrifice and takes the hit for her.
Long story short, every character has their Speed modified by a number ranging from -10 to +10 each turn. First of all, nothing in the game explains this at all. Second, this means to ensure a character moves before someone else, their Speed has to be at least 21 points higher than that character. Third, this means that strategies that require people to move in a certain order can be ruined if someone moves out of order by chance. Finally, some of the Bonus Bosses can have their Speed increased by as much as 20, meaning to move before them, you need to have at least 31 more speed than them.
It is actually possible for enemies to move twice in a row if everyone on the battlefield is close enough in Speed. Bad enough when it's a normal enemy, worse if it's a boss...and worse still if it's Lord DeRosso, whose strategy revolves around getting everyone down to low HP and then performing a Total Party Kill. Normally, after he uses Graviga or the like, you can heal off most of the damage before he goes again. But if the random numbers should just so happen to fall in such a way that DeRosso goes after all player characters on one turn and before them all on the next? Good luck getting around that, unless you know beforehand that such a thing could happen and bring some speed buffs or debuffs. Or if you find the Hermes Shoes that he keeps in a chest in his castle and put those on your healer.
Unlike most JRPGs, a character's stats aren't determined solely by their job and level. Each character has base stats determined by their level, and multipliers are applied to those stats based on the current Job they have equipped,as one would expect. However, the multipliers the Jobs apply are tied to Job level. This discourages experimentation and makes it hard to determine how strong a class is, because if you want to try a new job out, that character is going to feel like they're made of wet toilet paper until the job levels up a couple of times. This becomes even worse when the amount of job points needed to level up becomes absurd after reaching level 9 note Going from 9 to 10 takes more Job Points than going from 1 to 9, and it only gets worse from there.. Players who aren't aware of this may be baffled as to why the amount of damage they're doing stopped going up after around 1200, even after spending an hour grinding. It doesn't help either that there is no way of telling what skills each job has unless you've already unlocked them (or looked them up in a guide). Spent a lot of time leveling one particular job on a certain character that turned out to be fairly useless later in the game? What a pity.
Surprisingly Improved Sequel: In the sense that it's a Spiritual Successor to The Four Heroes of Light. BD fixes basically every mechanical problem that game had, especially the targeting issues and making the "multiple actions in a turn" system a lot smoother and more intuitive. It even addresses some of the plot issues many players had, in that the party doesn't split up or bicker fruitlessly for the first part of the game.
Dr Qada's Dark Breath is downright unfair since it works exactly the same way as the player version does. It deals fixed damage (so Default won't help) equal to the amount of HP the user has lost. This it totally balanced for player characters, but when used by bosses, Health/Damage Asymmetry rears its ugly head. Take out even as little as 5% of his HP and Dark Breath will do enough damage to One-Hit Kill anyone in your party twice over. So what for the player is a desperation attack, becomes an unavoidable, unblockable guaranteed instant kill for Qada. He does tend to Brave his BP into negative when using it, but having to keep wasting turns reviving gets annoying fast.
Likewise Alternis's Minus Strike does the same exactly same thing and is even more blatantly unfair because unlike Dr Qada, Alternis will NEVER use brave when using it. This means he will use it, take out a character, and then next turn do it AGAIN. To make matters worse: Once he starts dying, he'll stop using all other attacks and use it. It's extremely unfair, because it means every turn, you're forced to use a turn reviving a character instead of killing him (or make use of Font of Life to set Reraise).
Rusalka's Seep/Dark Flow. It does massive damage to everyone to the point of being a Total Party Kill if you don't Default, especially if any characters were hit with another attack that debuffs their defense. And it can still easily take a good 900 HP or more of what might be maybe 1200 or so at that point in the game. And then it summons three clones of the boss that have no immediately evident way to distinguish them from the real one, (hint: the real one is the one with a different amount of BP, or the only one with a health bar shown if you used Examine beforehand). In fact, all of Rusalka's attacks aside from the basic physical one could qualify: the other two can inflict Charm status and debuff your defense, and yes, the thing can do them up to 4 times in a row thanks to the clones. Yet this becomes even worse in the 2nd world and beyond, Where Dark Flow will also give all surviving clones 1 extra BP and a full heal. They will always use the extra BP immediately, giving Rusalka 7 attacks in a row the turn after Dark Flow. It is important to note that the clones themselves are quite tanky, and hit just as hard as Rusalka.
Kikyo's Shippujinrai is another example of being near useless on players as enemies rarely have low enough health that a priority strike makes a huge amount of difference, but when she uses it, it can jump past healing spells or defensive abilities. Add to the fact that Kikyo will use brave to attack twice, and she can bring even a defaulting character down easily.
Airy's Acedia, which makes you weak to all elements and acts as a full-party Dispel. Goodbye, buffs that you spent the last 4 turns setting up; hello, follow-up attacks that deal huge damage to the entire party.
Fiore de Rosa, in no small part due to the Revenge ability he has, which may give him BP whenever you attack him, which he can use to multitask his way through your party. He can hit you with physical attacks, blast your party with thunder-element spells, inflict a few different status ailments, and will heal himself for a decent chunk of HP over and over again. You need to be able to withstand his attacks while also being able to do enough damage to overwhelm his healing spells. Also, Edea starts off the fight charmed, so you have to waste a turn dispelling her.
Profiteur also qualifies, as his Takeover attack hurts at that point in the game and there's no way to reduce its damage. In the various loops he's even worse because his stats are scaled to match the chapter he's in. Plus, unless you're very overleveled, his Takeover damage is tuned so that your party members cannot take two at once. Usually, Profiteur won't attack the same person twice with Takeover, but if you're really unlucky he can just suddenly decide to kill somebody with two shots. What makes his fight worse is that he's not alone. Khint is a spell fencer who will either use a fire sword to deal high damage to one of your party members, or a silence sword that can disable your casters. His attack power is high enough that he can finish off any party member already weakened by Takeover hits.
Mephilia uses Summon Magic to deal a massive damage attack to your entire party every 3 turns (the game doesn't keep track of the turn number, so you have to count them yourself), and is a Flunky Boss capable of endlessly summoning flunkies. And to make things worse, one of her flunkies is capable of causing Confusion. You're supposed to fight her after Artemia, but both sidequests open up at the exact same time, so it's easy for an unprepared player to accidentally run into her first. (While the dungeon leading up to her is perfectly manageable by a low level party, Mephilia herself is not.)
Rusalka is outright horrific. She has an attack that casts Charm on the party and most of her attacks hit hard but that is not the primary reason she is a threat. The primary gimmick of the battle is the combination move Seep and Dark Flow where she disappears for a turn and then reappears, dealing between 500 and 900 HP in the process. At the point at which you fight her your HP cap is likely to be 1200. Even that is not the worst part; Dark Flow generates three clones that are all capable of using every attack Rusalka has except Seep / Dark Flow. So while you're healing / reviving your party they are knocking you out. And the clones get 1BP so they can attack twice. Finally if you do not know the trick to telling the real Rusalka from the clones (the real one has 0BP and will be the only one with an HP bar showing if you used the Freelancer's Examine ability) the battle will take ages.
Chaugmar, the goddamn Mark of Doom. He's surrounded by a barrier that sets both his defences to 9999. He only removes the barrier every four turns or so, just before using an outrageously powerful attack targeting your entire party that will wipe you out if you don't Default (or Jump). Then you only have a very small window to do as much damage as you can before he puts the shield back up. Worse he can heal himself by stealing your HP as well as stealing your MP and worst of all your BP. Fortunately damage dealing items are Fixed Damage Attacks and harm him. You better have bothered to level that Salve-Maker class you just got or managed to level up Monk enough to learn Pressure Point, which deals massive damage and ignores defense.
ANY boss group that has Heinkel in it. By himself, Heinkel isn't much of a threat. However, due to his Protect Ally ability, Heinkel will automatically intercept attacks aimed at any of his allies, which forces you to focus him down first and prevents you from going after the more dangerous targets. As if that wasn't enough, he'll buff his defenses and make it where he takes little damage and allows his team to wail on you.
During the (thankfully optional) chapter 8 Boss Rush, the team with Qada, Mephilia, Ominas and Yulyana is one of the hardest fights in the game: Qada will use Fire Bane on your party, completely overriding any equipment or abilities that grant resistance to fire, and Mephilia will use Promethean Fire, which, combined with Fire Bane, will inflict 9999 damage to your entire party. If, by chance, anybody survives, Ominas' Firaga will finish off your party. It gets better when you realize that, even if you weathered the first storm of flames with Enigma...you just used 3 Bp. You won't get to use enigma again for a while...and Qada WILL spam Fire Bane. Even using the Dark Nebula Game-Breaker that trivializes the rest of the Boss Rush on Hard, you will get one-shotted by these guys' opening attack on Easy.
The Black Blades in Chapter 8. Kikyo WILL go first, Barbarossa WILL debuff and then use Amped Strike, and Qada WILL use Dark Breath as much as possible. And they constantly brave while doing so. No big deal, right? Just default or Stillness and then attack when they don't have the BP... except ALSO part of the team is Praline. Who WILL constantly use My Hero to give her entire party 2 BP so they can brave every single turn. But it puts her BP in the negatives, right? Nope. Her version doesn't cost her BP, so she still profits. You're going to have to focus on her first so she doesn't enable constant Brave spamming, which means you'll have to put off taking care of the much more damaging Barbarossa 'til later. Oh, you want to use group attacks? Again, Qada has Dark Breath. It's generally advised to not even so much as touch him because the last thing you want is another enemy that deals massive damage. Oh, you want to put up status buffs with special attacks and just keep the chain going so your increased stats make it easier to survive the onslaught? Good luck. The large amount of actions the boss takes EVERY turn takes so long, even when the animation speed is increased to the maximum, that your special chain will run out after one or two turns. Good luck building up your special moves in such a short time. But the boss gets easier once you start taking them out, right? With fewer targets? Wrong. This boss has 5 enemies. Where's the fifth? If you take someone out, Swordmaster Kamiizumi comes in to take their place. You better HOPE it was the performer you took out first. Also, the BP buffs she gives doesn't make the enemies stop braving. They WILL still brave. They'll go into the negatives, but you still have to deal with a devastating onslaught every other turn.
The Fire Temple is this for sure. It's the longest non-secret dungeon with three layers to it (The Mine, the Volcano, then the temple). The mine isn't bad but the Volcano is a nightmare without the Freelancer's Dungeon Master because the floor will turn red and take a good chunk of your HP away. As if that wasn't enough the pathway is sometimes sucked into lava on purpose, forcing you to go all the way around and risk more damage. It also is a huge level as each section is extremely large and on your first go very confusing. Then you reach the crystal and fight Chaugmar. Thankfully after your first visit you can take a short-cut that makes only the boss left.
The Earth Crystal isn't difficult, but the numerous staircases that lead nowhere, plus a extremely confusing set up on the map, means you'll be spending several minutes lost because you have no clue where the right stairs are.
The Time Mage and Spell Fencer sidequest can be rather annoying to unlock. The last leg of the quest requires you to find a hidden door that will only open at night. While not particularly difficult, it can be tough to figure out since the game doesn't quite give you clear directions on what to do. Also, since the door is only unlocked at night, you'll have to waste time standing around on the world map to make time pass since there's no way to instantly set the time of the day to night.
Similar to the Time Mage and Spell Fencer sidequest, parts of the Red Mage sidequest can only be done at night, and again, the game doesn't make it clear what you have to do. Also, one leg of the quest has to be repeated three times before you can actually progress.
The Pirate sidequest starts with a blue sidequest marker pointing to the House by the Sea, a location on the world map that consists of one screen with a small handful of NPCs in it. One of them mentions seeing a strange ship at night. The sidequest marker then disappears. You have to find the ship in a random location on the world map, usually nowhere near the House by the Sea. Also, it doesn't look like a ship, it looks like a mass of fog. It only appears at night, and night doesn't last very long. When you finally do find it, you're presented with a dialog option where the first option is to run away and the second option is to board the ship. Many players accidentally pick the first option and are forced to wait until the next night and find the ship again, which will probably have moved to a different location. Thankfully, the actual boss is a cakewalk.
The Performer sidequest basically requires you to backtrack to every town you're previously visited up until that point, while your Global Airship has lost its flying capabilities, all to hear tips about singing that are pretty much common sense and culminating in you finding out the one actually useful thing was in the first place you checked all along. All to fight a boss who was literally right in front of you when you started the quest. Unlike many examples of this trope, it's not actually hard, it's just extremely tedious and feels like pointless Padding.
The Vampire sidequest plays this fully straight. Once again you have to travel all over the world (though thankfully in an airship this time) and find and battle six dragons: Salamander (Fire), Mizuchi (Water), Wyvern (Wind), Ladon (Earth), Shinryu (Light) and Jabberwock (Dark), each with 99999 hp (on Normal), a multi-target elemental breath attack that causes status effects such as stop, dread, blind, and paralysis, as well as a multi-target attack that not only makes your party weak to the element of said breath attack but negates skills and accessories that make you resistant to them. Thankfully you can trivialize the fights themselves by using a party of Ninjas with Transience and just spam Utsusemi every turn: since all of the dragons' attacks are considered to be physical in nature, you'll evade all of their attacks and counterattack every time. Afterwards you travel back to the Vampire's mansion, and battle through 7 floors of tough enemies and exposition. Have fun with Cerberuses (who have "Hellfire", which attacks the whole party, and "Payback", which counters single-target physical attacks aka most of them), Magnus Bats (which have "Ultrasonic Wave" that hits the entire party with a chance of causing confusion), and Melusine (which have "Nocturnal Gala" that also hits everyone but instead of causing confusion, it causes charm). Once you make it through all that, then you can battle the boss. Even on Easy, grinding and strategy are an absolute must if you want to survive even the first part.
The Conjurer sidequest can be rather nasty. It requires you to trudge through four boss fights. You'll have to fight Alternis and Braev again, and then you'll suddenly have to fight all three of the Venus sisters AT THE SAME TIME before finally stopping at Yulyana himself. The fight against the Venus sisters can be particularly nasty since it will be the player's first encounter against three bosses simultaneously.
The Eternian Central Command gauntlet in the 5th world is this, as the Job Masters you've been beating up for the past three worlds band together to exploit tactics that the player themselves would use. Special mention, however, must go to the "Mega Magic" group, which is comprised of Ominas, Yulyana, Mephilia, and Qada. Their strategy is simple but extremely effective: have Qada use Fire Bane on your party to create a weakness, and then have everyone else spam fire spells to roast you alive. Thought a Reflect would help? Too bad Mephilia's Summon Magic completely bypasses that, and Yulyana is also capable of setting up a Reflect that a) can bounce back their own Firagas onto an unlucky member of your party that cannot be reflected back, and b) shut down your own magic users. And remember Qada's Dark Breath? Well he spams it all the time here, unlike his solo boss battle where he would only use it after a Default. If you wander into this fight without enough magic defense, prepare to get your butt handed back to you within the first few turns. This is one of those fights where Stillness spam is practically required.
The jury may be out whether it's funny looking or creepy, but Ba;al i the turtle dove makes for a harrowing boss outside of spamming High Jump...and even then, with how speed works and the mass amount of speed you'd have to put into your characters just to make it work (And even then, the strategy can easily fall apart) it's still tough. One of the things that Ba;al i has going for it is the fact that it's a very dumb boss. It has no strategy, it will use useless tactics, but that's what makes it dangerous. You don't know what its next move will be, meaning you may waste your turn preparing for Fall in Love only for for him to use Sweet Dreams. He TENDS not to rely on brute forcing you, but you just don't know. But the other, more devious thing going for it is Fall in Love. There is NOTHING, not a single trick, that blocks Fall in Love. What does Fall in Love do? It takes one of your characters and makes them use mimic on a certain person. This means your Healer will suddenly be copying Edea while she's using a Templar move...meaning your turn that could have gone into healing is now useless because you've been forced to waste it. Your buffer, your mage, your physical damage dealer...all their strategies are made moot. It gets better, though: the only way to stop love is death or Heartbreak, a move Ba;al i uses. The problem is that, despite it not being a very powerful move, Ba;al i's idiocy comes to bite you because you don't know how long you'll have to wait out until he decides to use it. AND then you get to half of his health, and he gains two new tricks. He'll spam his incredibly painful attacks while raising his BP, or even worse, use Triangular. Triangular is love but worse. Two of your characters fall in love with another, and they will fight each other until one is downed or Heartbreak is used. So two of your useful members are simply down. Have fun beating down the Angel Chicken!
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Conjurer, despite being the final job received, having one of the best stat pools, an A ranking in every weapon, an ability that makes grinding a breeze and being the personal job for the creator of the Asterisks, is often shelved in favor of other jobs in actual battle thanks to its rather terrible movepool. What it amounts to is a set of user based buffs that are hideously expensive (90 MP, in a game where -ga attack spells cost half that amount) for a singular buff that lasts no longer than normal buffs, forces the it to use another ability to be useful and can be done better and with the entire party by a Performer. Unsurprisingly, it was one of the several jobs cut for the sequel.
Victoria has had a terrible life as she had an incurable disease and that the local corrupt church would just abandon her to die. Her life was spared thanks to an experimental chemical treatment, but it comes with the side-effect of trapping her in a young girl's body despite being in her late teen's as well as periodic seizures. While that's sad, these circumstances have turned her into a psychotic sadist willing to kill anyone even tangentially related to the corrupt church in the first place, even if it's simple pious innocents living far away from the church's center, or even just outright killing people for mistaking her for a little girl or to win a beauty contest, which she does. Her general haughtiness and disdain towards everyone doesn't help her getting sympathy points.
Victor is responsible of turning Victoria to her current state, because of a failed medical operation, and spent the rest of his life trying to help her. He's also very condescending and smug towards anyone who isn't Victoria or his boss Braev, including his own allies like Alternis. And he doesn't do anything to try to canalize her murderous tendencies either, so all of the death and destruction she causes can be placed at his feet as well.
Braev has a sad backstory, having lost his wife due to the corruption in the Crystal Orthodoxy, but that hardly justifies his attempts to Take Over the World, giving free reign and incredible power to morally bankrupt people like Qada, or supporting the murder of absolutely anybody with any connection to the Crystal Orthodoxy.
Values Dissonance: When Jackal explains his backstory, that he was abandoned by his parents and the only people willing to care for him was a band of thieves, Tiz argues that his parents might have has a good reason for leaving him to fend for himself in the streets and that he should have spent his life trying to find them and forgive them for their actions. While Jackal's actions were inexcusable, Tiz is essentially saying that he should have devoted his life to searching for people who, for all he knows, left him to die as a child and that all he is to blame for all the issues he currently has. This is, unfortunately, reflective of the Japanese tendency to believe that all problems and failings a person has is their fault, even ones that were caused by others. To a Western player it might seem that Tiz is being a naive victim blamer and they'll probably agree with Jackal that he sounds smug and self righteous.
What the Hell, Costuming Department?: Some of the jobs look noticeably weirder than their original counterparts in Final Fantasy, most noticeably male Valkyrie's gray bodysuit with eye-blocking helmet and spearheads around their legs and female Valkyrie's spearskirt, male Arcanist's red and black bodysuit with a tail and female Arcanist's skirt-and-bloomers combination also with a tail, Ranger's mascot head-and-tail combination and Time Mage's cumbersome helmet-and-collar combination that makes their face look like a literal clock face. The former and latter are lampshaded when Einheria accidentally pokes Jackal in the leg with one of her spears, explaining that they exist so that she can do additional damage when she jumps on her enemies and a lot of people mock Eloch's choice in headgear which he insists is the height of fashion.
On top of making the user look like a clock, they also invoke Time Lordfashion◊.
Woolseyism: A case of when it doesn't quite work as intended. Final Fantasy veterans may wonder why some of the job names are so different from the usual Final Fantasy jobs when they are very similar. Actually, the original Japanese names were more straightforward and recognizable — the Arcanist is the Magus, the Spiritmaster is the Seer, the Templar is the Holy Knight, the Salve-Maker is the Chemist, and the Spell Fencer is the Mystic Knight. Given the Job System is deeply ingrained in series tradition, one wonders why they bothered changing these job names when most others are left intact.