Battles are the bread and butter of Bravely Second--and also where the game shines most. Like many RPGs, you will encounter battles randomly on the world map and inside dungeons; there are compulsory battles too, such as dungeon bosses or story bosses.
The battles themselves are a turn-based affair, with everyone--friend and foe--waiting patiently until you've chosen an action for each of your characters. After that, the gates are open for all of the combatants to furiously exchange attacks or assist their allies, etc.
Each turn, you can normally issue one action for each character. The basic actions are outlined below.
Attack : Your character will attack a selected enemy with their equipped weapon(s). The damage inflicted depends on the weapons' attack rating and your character's Strength stat. As your character's Job Level, Aim and Agility improve, they will start to dish out multiple hits with each attack too.
Abilities : Use a Command Ability from your character's current job or secondary job. These can have a variety of effects, such as dealing additional damage, restoring HP, boosting stats, etc. Some abilities have a specific cost (such as MP or BP) before you can use them.
Item : Order your character to use a consumable item on another character (or themselves) or an attack item on the enemy. When your characters are low on health, you can use this action to sip a potion and restore health, for instance.
Tip : You can change the equipment in your right hand and left hand mid-battle by using the Item command. Doing so won't cost a turn for that character and you can even perform a different action afterwards.
Run : If things are looking grim or you don't fancy fighting the enemy, you can attempt to flee from battle. Beware that running away won't always guarantee an escape from battle; but should one character successfully flee, everyone will escape safely.
Tip : When you don't want to take chances, you can use a Teleport Stone via the Item command to escape the battle with a 100% chance. Of course, this won't work during sidequest or story bosses--you'll have to see the ordeal to the end or reload your save file.
Flow of Battle
Once everyone has been given their orders, press "Go!" to confirm your choices. Afterwards, your characters will automatically execute their selected actions--as too will the enemy. All you can do now is cheer on your characters and hope that you made the right decisions.
Tip : When you're prompted to press "Go", you can press Up on the D-Pad to review your selected actions. Additionally, you can press the A button on an individual character to revise their actions.
The order of actions depends on your characters' and the enemies' Speed; those with higher Speed will act earlier in relation to the others. But it's not all that simple, as the game throws in a random factor, occasionally allowing slightly slower characters to act before faster ones.
After everyone--friend or foe--has performed an action (or has been knocked out before they could), the next turn will begin. From here, the process will repeat until you wipe out the enemy party, thus emerging victorious, or the enemy floors your party, resulting in a tragic Game Over.
Tip : To prevent an untimely Game Over, keep an eye on your characters' HP and take measures--such as using healing items or spells--to prevent their HP from reaching 0. Should a character get knocked out, there's still hope left--you can use a Phoenix Down (or other means) to reive them.
The Spoils of Battle
Winning battles isn't just good for your ego--with each battle won, your characters will earn experience points (to increase their Level and thus improve their stats), job points (to increase their Job Level and earn new abilities), pg (shiny money) and sometimes even loot.
Although you can adjust the encounter rate to reduce the number of random battles or even avoid them outright, be careful when doing so as you'll potentially miss out on valuable experience--both physically and metaphorically. This can be troublesome when faced with a roadblock, i.e. a boss.