“Bravely Default” is another J-RPG that’s been brought stateside, but the charm of this title comes from the fact that it is faithful to its own old-school roots.
Review Score: 5/5
For Nintendo 3DS
It is made by the same team that produced the “Final Fantasy” spin-off title, “The 4 Heroes of Light” and while it doesn’t bear the “Final Fantasy” name, it is in spirit.
The game is hard on the surface but offers a customizable experience that makes it as harsh or soft as you want. It allows the user to change the appearance rate of random encounters, enemy difficulty and saving availability.
The fighting mechanics and the job system for the game really stand out – they are tied to the name with the new battle commands, Brave and Default. Defaulting on your turn causes your character to defend and build up Brave Points, or BP.
The BP can be stored up to three times, and can be released by using the Brave Command. When using Brave, the character can do as many actions as they had BP stored up, allowing a single character to attack up to four times.
The Brave and Default system adds a new layer of risk and reward, but is not limited to just the player as enemies can take advantage of the system as well. Enemy AI is harder than typical games because they strategize around the new system, meaning that in the latter half of the game, any enemy can be a challenge.
Another feature that stands out is the job class, though it is reminiscent of the “Final Fantasy V” job system. Characters can learn and keep skills they gain in one class, like healing for white mages, and when they move to another class, like a fighter, can keep healing commands. This allows for near innumerable combinations of custom classes that can be mixed and matched from the 23 job classes found in the story.
The story in this game is a very typical “Final Fantasy” style story.
The world is held together by four crystals of light and the story picks up when one of these cracks and the world starts to literally fall into pieces.
The story is presented in dialogue scenes with a few high end cut-scenes spread throughout the story. Dialogue is mostly voiced with a few exceptions like listening in on your party, and this extends to voiced side-quests as well. The game is very cinematic and the voice acting is top notch, even if accents and scenarios can be a bit cheesy.
“Bravely Default” doesn’t carry the “Final Fantasy” name, but it has the spirit and makings of one, from character designs reminiscent of “Heroes of Light” and the DS remake of “Final Fantasy III,” to the use of four crystal and item names like Phoenix Down, as well as being published by Square Enix.
“Bravely Default” won’t convert you if you don’t like JRPG’s, but if you’re already a fan of the genre, then this is the game to play. The appeal to both hardcore and casual players, charming presentation and new features earn this title a score of 5/5.