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Bravely Default - Nintendo 3DS
Platform: Nintendo 3DS|Edition: Standard|Change
Price:$44.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


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.
245 helpful votes
246 helpful votes
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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 !
1 helpful vote
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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..
1 helpful vote
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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.
1 helpful vote
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on April 19, 2014
I have a love/hate relationship with Bravely Default. My breakdown looks like this:

pros
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- 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
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- 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.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on September 13, 2017
There are many things to love about Bravely Default:

* The turn-based combat system with a twist.
* The ability to change the difficulty to suit the needs of the player (which includes the ability to increase, decrease, and remove random encounters temporarily.)
* Beautiful artwork and music.
* Various job classes to experiment with and enjoy.

The game looks (and feels) like an upgraded version of Final Fantasy V, and I've enjoyed playing it immensely.

There is some dialogue in the game, however, that makes me reluctant to give it five stars. Many fans have argued back and forth in regards to certain comments made throughout the game, and whether they could be viewed as sexist. I am not a very sensitive person, and typically I will not notice such things. That said, there were times in which I felt irritated, and even slightly uncomfortable, by some of the comments made in this game. I do not wish to scare people away from this game - mechanically, it is one of the best RPGs I have played in a long time. However, I wouldn't feel right reviewing this product without giving fair warning regarding this issue.
1 helpful vote
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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.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on May 8, 2015
I'm in love with this game. Unexpected gem I found here.
It is a Japanese RPG, expect a typical save the world story with all the cliches that japanese stories normally have. The art is from Akihiko Yoshida and will feel and look like Final Fantasy Tactics with some world structure that will remind you of Final Fantasy 9. It has a Job system similar to Tactics but the fights are much more like turned based random combats.

It has all the nostalgia elements in a very well crafter universe. If you enjoyed the PSX era with all the oriental RPGs, you will fall in love with this game.
3 helpful votes
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on December 14, 2014
Bravely Default is a hard game to rate, because it's such an inconsistent experience. The game plods a bit in the opening acts with a plot that relies heavily on JRPG tropes and little strategy involved in combat; however, the job system keeps things interesting enough to stick around, and the ability to modify the rate of random encounters and set the characters to fight battles automatically makes it easy to grind a few levels while watching TV (I'm not sure if this is a positive feature or a problem, but it makes it easier to rush through boring parts). Somewhere around the middle, the plot begins to twist in interesting ways that actually challenge some of those tropes, and combat starts to require a bit of planning and strategy. By this point, you will have unlocked most of the jobs available in the game, which allows for a great deal of customization. In the latter acts, the game gets extremely repetitive, and taking the time to complete both endings provides little payoff in the form of additional story. While I love the way that Bravely Default rehabilitates some gameplay elements from older Final Fantasy games, the 80+ hours of gameplay it took to get both endings was excessively padded with repeated boss battles. I was also bothered by the insertion of a "pay-to-play" system, which is the last thing I want to see in a mainstream RPG.
1 helpful vote
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on April 21, 2014
After Chapter Four, it constantly repeats itself until Chapter 8! What the heck? I was tedious at best. The ending is only a shocker if you have lived under a rock for years...This is not the best that Square Enix has to offer. I have no idea why everyone things this is so good...Its not. Now, it is not a total failure ...but it is annoying.
There are good parts of the game ...so it is not a total wash ...but I think they ruined it with constant repetition...I got to a point where I just could not wait for it to be over....and I put in 127 hours... I got to level 99 and got all the job asterisks...but in the end ..it was not worth that amount of time to play the game.
9 helpful votes
10 helpful votes
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