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Bravely Default - Nintendo 3DS
Platform: Nintendo 3DS|Edition: Standard|Change
Price:$44.01+ 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 May 15, 2015
I've played dozens of JRPGs, and I would rank Bravely Default somewhere in the middle of the lot. It has a lot of things going for it, such as an excellent battle system and entertaining characters. However, I had no desire to follow the story and felt no hunger to know what happens next. The best JRPGs compel you to keep playing by having involving narratives and a sense of mystery. Bravely Default does not have this, and thus I can't really recommend it.
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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 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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Top Contributor: Makeupon April 9, 2014
What you need to do is download the demo to see if you will like it! Yes, I've bought the game and I'm waiting on it to come in the mail.

I downloaded the demo a few days ago to play after work between cleaning the house and whatnot. It was interesting at first, the first few battles I was suprised at how "hard" (just not easy) the enemies were and after just two or three battles I was mezmorized by how much more strategy this game required than most JRPGs. I was experimenting with different classes (they are not all unlocked at once) and I could not stop explaining things and telling my fiance about it. It's just so different than any game I've ever played; even though it's final fantasy-style, they have different flavors.

If you've read any other reviews or looked at their website at all, I'm sure you've read about the "Brave and Default" system. Personally I think this immediately makes the title cheesy but that doesn't matter. You can either choose to take a defense turn to stack "battle points" (how many attacks you can make per turn), go ahead and just do one action, or if the sitaution calls for it complete an action that puts you in the red. If you're negative, the game will not allow you to take a turn (even defensively, I believe) until you have battle points again. If you have stacked then you can unleash several attacks/actions at once. So you could cast a defensive spell, cure, and attack all in one turn. You could make them all attacks. OR, some actions require multiple points so you could use those without going negative. BP resets to 0 after each fight so sometimes it's not necessarily bad to go negative - if it's a hoard of weaker enemies and you have a high-cost attack that will wipe all of them at once, there is no reason to not use it - the negative points won't matter and you get bonuses for that kind of thing.

The thing about BP? The monsters get it too and their system works the same way. Which also means that some turns they just won't attack you at all and some turns they'll purposely go negative three and lay on the hurt. From what I can tell it's completely random and you have to always be prepared for the worst.

When you choose a class there is a passive ability (like a chance of countering attacks), a class ability (uses special attacks related to that job), then you have a chance to choose a job ability from one other class (so you could be a knight that also heals). Once you gain levels in specific classes you earn support abilities that you can assign and use no matter what class you are.

I don't know any story about the characters as of yet, but this game is beautiful and the characters are cute. You also get a front-facing view of them during battle, which I prefer. You can switch who leads your party (I haven't been able to figure out any other reason to "sort" the party, if there is please comment and let me know). So if you want a cutesy girl in a dress to lead your party, you can. If you want a rough guy in armor, you've got it.

When you're in town and aren't walking around, the camera zooms out completely to show the whole town. There is a map on the bottom screen and that helps you know where to go, but I honestly hate the zoom out feature. It shows off the beauty and it's gorgeous, but it gets annoying when I stop then want to go again and accidentally run into a person and can't go anywhere until I can actually see where I am.

As for coin, you get a decent amount from beating normal creatures (I have a suspicion it changes with how much damage you take, how many turns, etc) but it becomes a small amount pretty quickly once you start getting the ability to buy more expensive equipment. You will definitely need to keep upgrading equipment in this game because, like I said before, the monsters aren't playing around. You can't skip a few upgrades to store up cash unless you want to grind levels for hours and hours.

Now, as for story: The demo doesn't really have one. Random people send you on quests that all have to do with killing monsters, that's it. It's just a giant sandbox (literally) for you to get used to how the system works and how to strategize. Your levels and coin don't even transfer over to the real game (some things do, go look it up).
SO! That being said - you've read the reviews. They say that the story can be pretty bland. Some people don't mind, but it kills the game for others. I love a game with a good story but I've been playing games like Pokemon and Final Fantasy enough to not let it bother me.

Some people are complaining about grinding and time. If you're looking at rushing through a game, you probably aren't familiar with Square Enix. I have put 8+ hours into the Demo alone! I've read elsewhere that the game is pretty long and worth it, somewhere around 60+ hours.

Tl;Dr: Complex and fun class and battle system - if that keeps your interest then I would suggest it. Play the demo to see if you'll like it!

***Update***
Not much else to say, but I beat the demo last night. I put about 11 hours into it. In that time I mastered about 4 classes before the last boss, and with the experience from the last boss I mastered two more and gained two class levels on another character. Of course I can't use it, but it felt good. I highly suggest you complete the demo before you start the actual game, even if you've already got it sitting in your hands. You get bonus items for different things you complete during the demo that give you a headstart at the beginning of the actual game. Plus, it gives you a chance to figure out what you're doing before you jump into your game and then you won't be stumbling around trying to figure out which class-path you want to take.

Pro-Tip: This is a really long demo and Nintendo only lets you open demos 30 times. Just to be safe I only opened it once - closed my ds and left it on whenever I wasn't playing it, plugged it in when I felt I needed to. Turned off wi-fi and 3D to conserve battery usage. Sure enough, once I quit back to the menu when I was done it said I only opened it once. If you feel like you won't get long chances to play and have to do it in chunks, I would recommend this (though my battery might hate me now, it still lasts quite a while.)
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on March 30, 2014
Bravely Default is a gorgeous game with fun, lovable characters and a tremendous soundtrack. Of special note are the many steps it takes to make itself accessible, something its predecessor, the too-opaque-for-its-own-good Four Heroes of Light, did not do. Enemy encounters can be turned off when you just want to go from place to place or turned up when you want to grind. The difficulty can be changed at any time if an enemy is giving you trouble. The Friend Summon ability lets you call in a friend to attack for you. The game will even let you get both of the game's endings on a single save file without a New Game Plus (but that particular feature is ALSO present).

The game's major flaw is a large amount of repetition in the later stages. Much of this repetition is in the form of sidequests, however, and is easily skipped. Players eager to get to the game's final stages can plow through this part of the game in less than two hours (the aforementioned enemy encounter toggle comes in handy). My personal recommendation for people who want to see most of the game with a minimum of repetition is that they should do the following:

-Do every sidequest in Chapters 1 through 4.
-Skip all the sidequests in Chapter 5 except the Red Mage one (this unlocks a bonus item)
-Do the sidequest that unlocks the last job in Chapter 6 (this is also the best time to go for the "bad" ending if you want to see it).
-Do all the sidequests in Chapter 7.
-Chapter 8's sidequests can be done at any time before a New Game Plus at your own leisure.

This game is highly recommended to fans of traditional RPGs.
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on July 8, 2014
Very much like one of the older Final Fantasy games. In fact, this is probably the best Final Fantasy game released in the last ten years even though it's not really a Final Fantasy game.

The job system is interesting, the writing is excellent, the character designs are cute, monster designs are interesting, but do fall victim to palate swap syndrome, and the gameplay is definitely a throwback to old school turn based RPGs. Fans of the genre should not miss this game.

I've finished the game without using the "second" powers during battle. It requires that you leave the 3DS in standby mode with the game running to recharge this ability. [Close the 3DS while leaving it turned on with the game running]. It's an interesting mechanic, but due to how much of a pain it is to use and the limited number you can have [3] it's not really all that useful. The game can easily be completed without it.

Specials are interesting and require certain actions be taken a set amount of times to use. Usually something like using spells, items, or damage enemies with a specific type of damage a certain amount of times. It varies from class to class and keeps things interesting.

The Brave and Default system is neat and very useful. Brave allows players to burn up Brave Points to allow multiple actions in a single turn. Up to four can be taken in a single turn, and you start with one at the beginning of a battle. You can go negative, but if you do you lose future turns until you get back into positive points again. Default is basically a "Defend" command that allows players to build up these points. You can use up to four points in a single turn and thus perform four actions.

It adds a nice layer of strategy to the game and can allow players to lay down a lot of hurt at once on enemies and make good use of various buffs.

The 3D is nice, but easily ignored. I use it, but most will likely turn it off.

If you enjoy the old school Final Fantasy games you really shouldn't miss this. It's very much like a Pre-FF 8 game and has a ton of charm. Highly recommended.
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on June 23, 2014
If you like turn-based RPGs, you'll probably like this game. The story is nice, the voice-acting surprisingly good (not all cutscenes have read lines, though, more on that later) and the gameplay is...weird.
BD has several functions that make it seem as though they DON'T want you to play. You can 1 SP (Sleep point) for every 8 hours the game is put into sleep mode (close the lid with the game running) that you can use to freeze time in any battle (allowing you to do extra moves).
Furthermore, it includes a little village that runs on real time; you assign workers to tasks that take a certain number of REAL hours (some take 99 hours). You can speed it up by having more workers. By the way, you get one worker per streetpass from another BD player.
Additionally, you can hit the Y button during a battle to repeat the previous attack commands, effectively allowing you to automate the fight.
Lastly, the game allows you to change the frequency of attacks up to +100% and down to -100% (no attacks). This means you can grind very easily (I averaged one attack for every 4 seconds of walking when the frequency was set to +100%) for levels, items and money.
This way it was set up makes it feel very rushed, but they can really help you if you aren't the sort of gamer that can devote hours to a game. I'm glad these options are there, but they're just not for me.

As for the cutscenes, there are two types. The first has the characters moving around, making hand motions and expressions. There is always voice-acting that matches the subtitles (little speech balloons) perfectly (It's really funny when one character says "Mrgrgr" exactly the way it's spelled). The second type is called "Party Chat" or Talk or whatever, and it pops up every now and then, usually right after the first type of cutscene has ended, or when entering a new area. This one is optional, and is activated by pressing Y. There is no voice acting for these, and they tend to not be important to the story.
I wonder why they chose to do it this way, but I guess every line doesn't need to be spoken (that would probably cost quite a lot).

Overall, it's an excellent game, I have only those few gripes. Get it if you like Chrono Trigger or FFVII.
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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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