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Bravely Default - Nintendo 3DS
Platform: Nintendo 3DS|Edition: Standard|Change
Price:$42.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on February 13, 2014
I am thirty-three years old. I've been playing video games since I was five. I've tried almost every Final Fantasy game and abandoned all of them after a few days. However, Bravely Default is quickly becoming one of my favorite games.

I've never been able to get into Japanese RPGs. I love D&D and Pathfinder, but Final Fantasy - possibly the quintessential JRPG - always bored me. I got sick of random encounters, some of the dialogue scenes were too long for my tastes, battles got repetitive after a while.

Bravely Default (an awkward name if you ask me... I blame it on a loss of translation) by Square Enix is similar to Final Fantasy in mechanics and art style, but there are differences that transcend plot alone. The new battle system which this title is named after allows you to get past frustrating enemies that heal themselves frequently. If you use the "default" move, you can defend yourself and collect "brave points" which you can spend to unleash a few moves in one turn. If you have a group of four and most of them have initiative (D&D term... sorry) higher than the enemy, they'll pummel the enemy and hopefully knock its HP down way faster than it can heal. That's just one way the new system is helpful.

The things that make this game better for me than Final Fantasy (FOR ME... that's an opinion) is the option to adjust the frequency and difficulty of encounters in-game, and the ability to change characters' job/profession/class whenever you want without suffering too much loss to stats.

*Encounter Frequency and Difficulty*

Within the character view screen, there's a "tactics" selection. Under that is "config", and then "difficulty". From there, you'll find "encounter rate" which will present a slider that can be set to +100%, +50%, +-0%, -50%, -100%. The highest setting will throw you into encounters every few seconds, while the lowest will let you wander around freely (but it'll warn you that you'll have a tough time leveling up).

This is great for me. For instance, when I'm trying to find a hidden chest and I'm getting really annoyed with the random encounters interrupting my search, I can simply turn them off, find the chest, and then them turn all the way up and set the difficulty to "easy" so they happen every few steps but don't completely destroy my characters. This way, I can sort of make up for the potential loss of XP. Once I get tired of battling every few seconds (and feeling like I'm cheating) I can set the frequency and difficulty back to a normal levels and continue the game as intended. Basically, you can adjust the frequency to suit your needs at any moment. Random encounters are important for leveling your characters, but they can get irritating at times.

*Jobs*

Rather than have set classes, Bravely Default offers jobs which you acquire as the game progresses. Characters have slight variations in base stats, but the jobs you choose increase and decrease relevant stats, while the weapons and equipment they hold helps with their abilities. This way, you can play a characters as a monk for a few weeks and change it to a mage or knight if you want without worrying too much about them not performing efficiently.

Like I said, there are slight variations, but they're not so extreme that jobs can't be changed. Agnes has higher base mana points (MP) than Tiz (these names will have meaning when you play the game). At first I set Agnes as the mage and Tiz as the monk based on that stat alone. I wanted Agnes to be the monk (despite her in-game personality, I like strong female leads and it made sense to me for Tiz to want to heal her and keep her alive... but that's just me). I played a few encounters and then switched their jobs and equipment. Agnes performed just fine as a monk and Tiz has kept everyone alive and well thus far. Additionally, you can set each character with a secondary job ability and have a knight who can heal in a pinch, or a ninja who can use fire spells.

Here's a short summary of relevant stats between Tiz and Agnes to illustrate my point:

As a monk:
Agnes - 68 MP, 14 Strength, 8 Intelligence, 11 Mind
Tiz - 58 MP, 16 Strength, 7 Intelligence, 10 Mind

As a white mage:
Agnes - 126 MP, 7 Strength, 16 Intelligence, 18 Mind
Tiz - 110 MP, 9 Strength, 14 Intelligence, 17 Mind

(There are more stats, like dexterity, agility and others, but these seem to be the most relevant for their jobs. I assume - for example - dexterity and agility will be higher for a ninja.)

The only significant difference, as you can see, is between mana points. The other stats differ by one or two points, which isn't enough for me to lock either character into a job. Sure, ten MP seems like a lot, but I've only run out of mana once in the beginning.

With my love for RPGs like D&D, Pathfinder, Pokemon (card and video game), and even Magic the Gathering, I wanted to like Final Fantasy. I tried so many times over the last 25+ years, but I just couldn't get into them. Bravely Default is the JRPG I've been craving. It's everything Final Fantasy was/is and more. The annoyances that made Final Fantasy feel tedious and uninspiring for me have been rectified.

*Mini Game*

I've played this game for about a week and I only know of one mini game. I don't want to tell you what it is because it would be a major spoiler. It functions similarly to all of those farming and city building games in that you can set tasks that are completed in the background over time.

Try the demo, but don't rely on that alone. It'll give you a few jobs to switch between, you can try out the new battle system and the difficulty settings, but it sort of throws you into difficult situations.

Overall, Bravely Default is receiving a lot of hype and it is totally deserved... even if the name isn't too inspiring.
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on February 7, 2014
The Good:

+Very unique combat system
+A lengthy quest that'll keep you busy
+Return of the job system allows for lost of customization
+Charming characters overall
+A lot of old school charm
+Great soundtrack
+Stunning visuals

The Bad:

-Pretty straightforward story (though this is definitely intentional)
-Some players are probably not going to like that the game will sometimes get bogged down in grinding for hours

Back in the 90's and early 2000's, Square was the king of the RPG. In particular, Final Fantasy was once revered as one of the greatest JRPG franchises of all time. In recent years Final Fantasy has had something of a mixed reputation. So, in fact, has Square-Enix. Yet Bravely Default comes as a surprise. It harkens back to what made Square so great in the first place. It is an old school RPG right down to the core. If you were a fan of Final Fantasy back in the days when they were known as Squaresoft instead of Square-Enix, you may very well love Bravely Default. It's overall a fun game.

There isn't much to keep track of in terms of story in Bravely Default. Compared to the rest of the game, it's fairly simple and straightforward. You control a band of adventurers who are out on a quest to revive the four crystals. If you're familiar with Final Fantasy this is all pretty familiar and straightforward. The good news is that the cast of characters are actually quite likable. You'll meet them all pretty early on in your quest. The story may not be what will entice you about Bravely Default. Though the characters are likable there are quite a few "by the book," moments. Rather what is likely to excite you about Bravely Default is the battle system.

The battle system in Bravely Default is a good one. It's a simple turn based affair. Your allies on one side of the screen while your enemies populate another. What separates this battle system from others is the Brave/Default mechanic. Every character has a set of BP. Those who choose to Brave can expend them and get an extra turn during combat. The sacrifice is that if BP drops into the negatives they lose the chance to attack the next turn. If you default, however, you'll store BP that you can choose to expend or not within the following turn. So let's just say you decide to default for a turn. The next turn, you'll have an extra BP which will allow you take one extra action. And it can be anything. Utilizing this system you could say... prepare for a powerful attack by having a character default and then the next turn they could attack AND heal if they wanted to. You can play around with the system in many ways. If you keep defaulting until your BP is maxed out you can perform several actions in a turn. A mix of healing, boosting stats and attacking can be done by every character if you so choose.

This is more than just a gimmick. The game's battle system has been designed around this mechanic. Bravely Default is not an easy game. You can't simply ignore the Brave/Default mechanic and hope to win in the traditional sense. In some fights, for example, attacking twice is probably going to be the best way to defeat an enemy who insists on healing. You may find in some battles the need to boost your defenses before launching into attacks. The enemies sometimes hit hard. Bravely Default is not going to hold your hand through it, either. Comprehending and mastering the battle system is key to getting through Bravely Default. If you don't take the time to really get it down the game is happy to punish you for it.

The job system is in play here as well. Final Fantasy fans who played through Final Fantasy V will instantly recognize and understand the system. You'll select a job which already has its own innate abilities. Black mages cast black magic, white mages heal while warriors are apt fighters and ninjas are fast. Final Fantasy veterans will know all this stuff already. As you master abilities, however, you'll be able to mix and match. So it's possible to have a black mage that will also know white magic if you're trying to build a good sorcerer. In many games with a job system there are plenty of ways to take advantage of it and learn the best abilities and just keep going with those. Bravely Default isn't always like that. In many cases you'll find yourself forced to rethink your strategy against a powerful boss every now and then. Mixing and matching abilities gives the game a lot of customization. This isn't like so many RPGs with a job system where you can find a good set and keep it going for nearly the entire game. Bravely Default has such a wide variety of ways to customize your party that you'll probably want to experiment and learn as many abilities as you can to build up the best party that you can.

Of course doing all that involves grinding. And this is where Bravely Default certainly shows its old school charm the best. A lot of JRPGs are designed in such a way now that you can coax through them with ease. They're balanced in a way that the levels typically tend to come around as you go. Bravely Default doesn't do this. There are times when you'll need to spend LONG periods of time grinding. Either to learn abilities with jobs or to gain levels. You'll often take a break from the story to do this. In part because Bravely Default demands it.

The good news is that the game is rarely that punishing and you can actually choose the pace at which you grind. You can speed up battles to make them go faster if you want (or select a handy auto-battle command that actually serves you well). The best part, however, is that if you're feeling tired from grinding or battling and just need a break, you can set how high or low the encounter rate is. This is something the JRPG has probably needed for a long time. No abilities, accessories or items necessary to it either. You can always go into the configuration and set the random encounter rate to 0%. This is especially nice if you ever find yourself backtracking or just exploring a dungeon for the sake of exploring. For those looking for a challenge you can also opt to turn off experience, gold and job point rewards. There really doesn't seem to be any real point to this other than for the hardcore JRPGer who likes to challenge himself or herself.

It's nearly impossible to talk about Bravely Default without mentioning Final Fantasy. The game itself is most definitely a spiritual successor to the famed franchise. It deals with the elemental crystals and the job system is ripped straight out of FInal Fantasy V. Many spell names sound very familiar and the graphics and art style are reminiscent of the remakes of Final Fantasy III and IV. And it all makes for a glorious package. Bravely Default is a beautiful game through and through. The world is lively and feels alive. There's plenty to explore and a lot of things to do. It'll probably keep you busy for hours on end. The music is also very good. It's a game that easy on the eyes and the ears.

The only thing that might keep Bravely Default down is that the old school charms aren't for everyone. The story is fairly slow going at times and is also pretty predictable. The emphasis here is definitely more on the gameplay, exploration and grinding than it is the actually story at hand. That doesn't mean the story is actually bad. It just means that Bravely Default plays it straight. Likewise, some gamers aren't going to like the emphasis the game will put on grinding. Especially when it comes to earning abilities The game makes the process of mastering a job take a long time. And with so many classes to choose from you'll be busy for a while learning abilities. For some gamers this is the charm that some of us have to come to appreciate from the genre over time. For others it might be seen as a way to pad out the length of the game. Indeed, a lot of hours spend on Bravely Default will come from you running around looking for a battle.

Neverthless, I still happen to think this is primarily why Bravely Default works. It is a game that knows its audience. And knows them very well. If you are fan of the JRPG and you've got a 3DS and you loved Final Fantasy, then Bravely Default is for you.
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on October 19, 2017
A throwback to the classical era of JRPG on the SNES, Bravely default has been out now for some time. It's currently out of print, so your best bet is going to be getting this used until Sqenix/Nintendo decides to make more or possibly bundle this game together with Bravely second (sequel also released on the 3ds) on the Switch. Fingers crossed!

Interesting, quirky characters keep the simple-enough story plotting along. The storyline is very much Final Fantasy for the NES, at least at the beginning. Dialogue is well written, and will frequently put a smile on your face just by the goofy nature of a few characters.

On gameplay- this game has enough depth in its combat to keep you gripped for the dozens of hours it will take to finish. Each character in your party will be able to change jobs, ie class, inbetween battles. Each job is leveled up individually, and you'll be rewarded with cool dynamics between primary and secondary active and passive abilities. The braving and defaulting system is also a cool way to reward knowledge of fight dynamics and windows of opportunity.

Overall, if you have so much as a passing interest in JRPGs, you've likely already at least heard of this game. If you havent, try to find this !
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on December 23, 2017
Fantastic call back to Final Fantasy I-VI. I thought the characters were lovely (age controversy aside/I really wish Japan would start using adults in their stories already) the voice acting was lovely, and the motivations and mistakes made sense from a human standpoint. The game does a poor job of making you feel like you make any progression though by using narrative devices to reverse or undo everything you accomplished. It felt like a lazy attempt to write in a reason why the game needed to go on. You can do better than that, Squeenix. Otherwise, the rest of the game is good as far as turn based Jrpgs go.
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on July 26, 2017
If you are looking for a great RPG and loved the old turn based Final Fantasy games than you should pick this up. The game has a great story that fallows a group of teens that are trying to save the elemental crystals of the world.

The Job system is really great. The game doesn't do the usual class system like other games, Instead you have different job that you get as you go through the game. each job can be leveled up with any character you like. So if you don't like that job with that character you can change the job anytime. Each character has different base stats but the jobs can decreases or increase these stats and give them different abilities. This is great as different players can play the game differently with what jobs that chose to give the characters. The job system is one reason I really enjoyed the game.

The difficulty of the game isn't that bad and the encounter rates of enemies spawning can be change. So if you looking to to grind some EX you can change the encounter rate to +100% or you may just want to get to the next town without battling anything so you can put it at -100%. The encounter rate can be change from 100%, +50%, +-0%, -50%, or -100% which is really nice.

The battles are really fun as you have an ability called brave where you can defend and wait a turn up to 4 if I recall correctly and than do 4 attacks in one turn. This lets you pull of nice combos and get some nice damage out. You can even attack up to 4 time in one turn with use using brave but than you will have to wait that many turns.

So why do I give this 4 stars over 5. The reason is that its a really long time and if you want to know the whole story it can be a little bit repetitive. Other than that its a really great game and anyone who loves turn based RPGs should take a shot at this video game..
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on May 4, 2017
It's a typical JRPG story with amazing features such as the ability to take multiple turns at once (braving) or defend (defaulting) to build up turns, 4 times battle speed (which skips summon animations), encounter rate control (0-200%), autosave on zone transition (even floors and buildings, keep it on), a log of every cutscene and chat in case you forgot what happened, and an amazing soundtrack (especially the battle music). It can get a little repetitive in the middle even with the side quests, but after that they start throwing multiple bosses at you at the same time instead of just drip feeding you story and it becomes interesting again. There are two possible endings but you can do both on the same save file. After you finish one it brings you back to before you made that choice so you can see the other ending. So don't worry about not saving just to see the other ending without going on youtube. Also there's optional bosses from streetpass and "netpass" (so you don't need friends that have it) that can be very difficult, harder than the final boss (which is no joke even on normal). Also, difficulty is just for your own sake. You lose nothing (no exp, money, job points) by just playing on normal instead of hard.
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on April 19, 2014
I have a love/hate relationship with Bravely Default. My breakdown looks like this:

pros
-----
- Beautiful music & graphics. 3D is also well done.
- Some great mechanics in battle. I enjoy the brave and default mechanic, the Norende mechanic, as well as the job system.
- Provides a good challenge and an engaging story
- You can enable/disable random battles, which saves a lot of frustration

cons
-----
- The dungeons are downright boring. Every single dungeon in the game is exactly the same format, flat, and provide little variety.
- Tons of fetch quests. "Go here! Now...go there! Now, go back there!" This is lazy game design.
- Speaking of lazy game design, much of the game is driven by "Hey, this book I got says go there. So let's go there." Seriously, half of what you do in the game is because a book told you so, not because the story gives you any reason to do it.
- The "Nemesis" mechanic is completely broken. I'm level 45, and have only level 99 nemesis to fight in Norende.
- Some framerate issues with 3d enabled
- Ringabel is a womanizer and a perv. Yes, we get it. Every single scene throws this in your face.

One thing to keep in mind, is that this game is -not- easy. Taking a page from RPGs of old, bosses will often be much more difficult than the standard enemies you encounter before them would make you believe. Every boss will force you to stop and reconsider your strategy. Fortunately the game gives you enough options, with the diverse job and ability system, to prevent this from being a mindless chore.

Will you enjoy Bravely Default? Well, if you don't mind random battles and you enjoyed RPGs of old, then I think you will. There's a lot preventing this game from being one of the best, particularly the mind-numbing dungeons and some lazy game design, but that doesn't stop it from being a memorable adventure to partake in.
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on November 21, 2015
Very pleased with the game. The characters are great and the dialogue and interaction between them were very well done. This is even extended to the side characters not just the 4 heroes of light. The battle system is really good and the ability to mix and match job abilities is great. It allows for some creative mixes. The presentation is also very done, the music, graphics and art were all to my liking. The 3D is also well integrated and extends beyond the typical 3d dialogue boxes from a lot of 3DS games. The ending does get repetitive which is why I removed one star. On the bright side with each new cycle come's new dialogue for the existing characters in the world. This enables you to learn more about the story, characters and the world you are in. It also enables you to fight harder bosses and combination of bosses. The final repetitive cycle has a boss rush mode which is a great challenge for any of those up to it. The optional bosses in the Norende side game are also very challenging, I would say the most difficult by far. However one is just overly cheesy and I didn't like that. If I were to sum this game up in one line is that it's really a back to basics Final Fantasy, except its called Bravely Default.
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on February 21, 2014
I've had Bravely Default for about a week now and as an older gamer I can say that it's very comfortable to me. Meaning at the heart of Bravely Default it's a Final Fantasy game that most of us are familiar with. There are also enough tweaks of play that upgrades the game over those Final Fantasy games of the past. Did I mention that I love it?

Story: Without giving away spoilers I will say that it's the first story in a long long time is engaging and one where you don't have to keeps notes on the who the characters are. Thank you Square Enix! During play there will be a number of little intermisisons that funny and GREATLY add to the story so DO NOT skip them!

Gameplay: RPG's have the normal rythem of fight things, level up, fight bigger things and that is here as well but that's where it ends. During combat you have to spend Brave points and you earn points as you fight. It makes for interesting decisions (very tactical). I really like this newly added wrinke. I also really liked the fact that you can turn random encounters down or off but if you do that you will have to grind.

Graphics: Looks sharp on the 3DS with the 3D aspect turned up! The towns and villages of Bravely Default look incredible.

Bottom Line: If you are into RPG's buy it. You won't be disappointed. Also do you the grinding needed for the true ending, it's worth it!
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on May 22, 2014
This game is gorgeous. It never stops being amazing how pretty everything is. This game uses the 3d effects the best of any #ds game I have played yet.

The jobs and special moves and customizable attacks are fun as hell to swap out. I love that you can summon your friends. I love that you can link up with them and use their skills. A++++

The story is awful. It's terribly cliche and occasionally insulting (see the second town with the water temple.... I mean really guys? Seriously? It's 2014 and this is what you could come up with?). It's disappointing and lame and so so so so so boring. It's also almost entirely irrelevant and in no way hampers the amount of fun I am having. I *love* this game. I actually like the characters quite a bit, both the main and the side, and I think they are adorable, but the writing (and the voice acting....) is really bad.

It's very long. Be warned. Very. Be prepared to spend 100+ hours, not counting the amount of time you keep it in sleep mode. It gets a little repetitive after.... 60-ish hours, so don't expect to beat it in a week, or even a month. It works best when you play it a while and then take a break of a week and come back.
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