April 28, 2014

Bravely Default Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 11:41 am by riulyn

Well, this game shouldn’t have taken me so long to beat, but it’s not like I had a bad time. In short, I liked the different jobs (pretty well-balanced in that aspect) and the sidequests. This is what I spent the majority of my time doing. The main plot is a bit long and has a lot of stupid to it (in my opinion) and I still in the end only liked Edea. So I recommend this game for people who are going to dig into the jobs system. The best dialogue and battles come from the side quests that lead to getting jobs. It may seem like a lot of extra stuff, especially for someone who usually doesn’t do side quests (like me), and I suppose not all of the side quests are interesting, but I think the job system is pretty much the main good thing about this game.

BATTLE SYSTEM

Let’s start off with this, as this is why you should play the game. The base system is turn-based (selecting commands at beginning of turn and waiting for them to execute) with the twist of being able to “brave” and “default”. You start normally with 0 BP or what would be the normal state in a normal turn-based game. This is when you can take one action and can act again in the next turn. To “brave” is to use an extra turn/action and to “default” is to defend as well as store an action. Aka if you are at 0 BP and “brave”, you perform two actions and then cannot act on the next turn because your BP will be -1 then. And if you have 0 BP and “default”, you can perform two actions on the next turn and then act on the following turn. This system limits you to taking up to 4 turns at once. Because “default” is also defending, I find it better to use “default” to store up turns before unleashing 4 attacks instead of unleashing 4 attacks and waiting for my BP to recover to 0, as this reduces damage. Of course if the enemies are mooks I brave 4 times and try to kill them as soon as possible. This system of “brave” and “default” is pretty boring if all you can do is a normal attack or heal. It really gets interesting when you have skills, including some that consume extra BP and some that will lower or raise BP of allies/enemies.

There are 24 jobs and I found that all of them can be useful at some point. Even if only to acquire support abilities. Besides different base stats, each job has a different weapon/armor proficiency profile. The higher proficiency you have with a piece of equipment, the greater your stats are when it is equipped. In addition to gaining skills upon leveling up a job, the base stats for the job increase. So it can be a little dangerous to switch to a level 1 job when you are in an area full of strong enemies.

In addition, each equipped weapon can enable 1 of 3 special attacks when certain conditions are fulfilled. Not only does the special attack do a lot of damage (or healing), but it gives a bonus that lasts as long as the special attack song is playing. So there is a benefit to playing the subsequent turns as quickly as possible in order to maximize the special attack bonuses.

PLOT & CHARACTERS

I think their aim was to write a simple story with a twist and the story is pretty much that. SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD. Basically the twist feels like an arbitrary/artificial extension of the game only justified by the characters being so stupid. The world is underdeveloped, even with the extra information about the world learned from the sidequests.  And if you do the sidequests, some of the information learned from them will be conveniently not referenced or remembered by the cast when it becomes relevant to the main plot. Oh well.

As you would know if you read my other posts on this blog, the characters affect my enjoyment of the game more than story pacing/action. While the pacing of the action of Bravely Default isn’t bad, the characters are just so stupid! I like Edea because her “stupidity” is more of a symptom of extreme stubbornness, and while I don’t like Agnes’ character, her character can make sense story-wise. Ringabel is mostly annoying but he can actually do things useful. Tiz, though… I have a burning dislike of Tiz. I think he could have been eliminated from the story and the story would have been fine or even adjusted to take less time. Tiz is probably supposed to represent the player in some way? Anyway, I feel like his presence as the “glue” weakens the personalities of the other 3 and he doesn’t even do this by being badass. It’s funny because he’s voiced by a pretty good voice actor (Asbel in Tales of Graces, Henry in Fire Emblem Awakening, etc.), but every time I heard Tiz speak I was like “Gah shut up!”

So yeah, I didn’t like the characters and that made me not care for the story. Still, I feel like even if you did like the characters, you have to admit that the game feels extended, and not in a good way, because of their “stupidity”.

OTHER

Graphics are alright. The 3D works really nicely.

The village thing is pretty stupid in my opinion but you need to do it. Basically you build shops and stuff, leading to items and most importantly special attack parts. Each building step takes certain amount of hours/villager, and it follows real time. So just leave your 3DS running all the time for a few weeks, checking on the village often at the beginning and maybe twice a day later, and you will finish up sooner than you expect. If you have no friends, you can get random others from updating your data once a day.

The music is awesome! I haven’t tried listening to it outside of the game but I’m sure it is good. Quite melodic, which is definitely my thing.

The adjustable encounter rate thing is nifty (I used it a few times) but not really a major selling point for this game. Same with the difficulty. There’s also the choice of English or Japanese voices and English, Japanese, French, German, and Spanish (I think) for the text. If I replay the game, I’ll be using to practice my German.

RECOMMENDATIONS

I would get this game if you 1) like job systems and grinding them up 2) something that feels like an early 90s RPG with a bit of a twist 3) longish portable games.

I would not get this game if you 1) hate stupid characters 2) hate when a game feels repetitive/artificially extended 3) don’t care for job classes.

Anyway, there are plenty of other reviews out there for this game! My buddy lolwhoops! also has a review up <a href=”http://lolwhoops.blogspot.com/2014/03/bravely-default-review.html”>here</a&gt; so check that out if you want more reading 🙂

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2 Comments »

  1. Joseph said,

    Very unfortunate that the characters are so flat, everything else about the game seems solid. I’m with you though, bad characters can be a serious dealbreaker. But I’m a job class junkie so when I upgrade to a 3DS I’ll certainly pick this up. Nice review

  2. fminuzzi said,

    (SPOILERS)
    Yeah, I ended up getting one of the other endings (by destroying the crystals early) in part because I was tired of them being stupid. It was only after I checked the internet and saw that the ‘good’ ending required continuing with the loop that I tried it, since I was pretty happy with how things had gone. I suppose it was worth finishing it, but only because I could turn encounters off.
    I still enjoyed the game as a whole, but there were frustrating moments.
    I mostly used the restoration of Norende as something to set up while I only had the demo, so I started with some pretty crazy things I couldn’t afford =P


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