Opinion: Bravely Default

Four heroes on a quest. Sounds rather standard, but it quickly diverges from that.

A brief introduction

Bravely Default takes places in the world of Luxendarc, a world that has recently been beset by a series of tragedies and our cast of 4: Tiz, Agnès, Ringabel and Edea go on a quest to restore the world to its former state.

So, the positives first.

The story, the characters, the music, the world, all can be described in one word, FANTASTIC.
The world building is great. Luxendarc is truly a living, breathing world. Every location has a unique touch to it – Caldisla, Eternia, Hartschild, Ancheim, Florem, Yulyana, you name it. Each has its own feel, its own problems to deal with, its own way of living and ruling. Each city is based in a different part of the world and give off a remarkably different vibe, which coupled with the distinct music each city has, really sets the mood for each area.
Perhaps to drive the point home, Tiz, Agnès and Edea are all from different cities in the world.

The battle system is Bravely Default’s biggest strength. The addition of Brave and Default, the namesake of the title were interesting enough on their own, but the job system is where the game truly shines. The game lets you select a job class for each character and have a secondary job class as your Ability, which lets you use the special moves related to that job. This alone opens a gigantic room for experimentation, with whopping 110,075,314,176 (yes, that’s over 110 billion!) possible unique combinations of jobs and abilities. Not saying all combinations are viable, of course, but the choice is there should you decide to do it.

The sub-quests required to get each job are also very well integrated into the world. Never does it feel forced or out of place. They are all optional, but the player is enouraged to get them all, both as a way to grind for money, experience and job points, and getting new jobs in the process.

I didn’t get all the job classes by the end, and I chose to settle on a rather simple combination at the end. This was my party by endgame.

Tiz – White Mage with Time Mage (the healer)
Ringabel – Black Mage with Freelancer (the glass cannon)
Agnès – Monk with Ranger (the lightning bruiser)
Edea – Knight with Spell Fencer (the stone wall)

The sound of the whole party levelling up will be your favourite sound before long.

One of the game’s strengths is how it was able to make dungeon crawling accessible. I couldn’t get into Etrian Odyssey, but I found myself enjoying exploring the dungeons in BD. The variety of chests scattered throughout really make exploring feel rewarding.

Then, the story. It’s really well-scripted and well-written; and really dark. The problems the people face, their motivations – all feel real and relatable. I was too used to the idea of defeating enemies as just that, defeating them. Here, it’s straight-up death. The game is fully voice-acted too, so you will hear their dying words in full sombre detail. You will feel bad for slaying your enemies. The game will hammer it in that their blood is on your hands. In any case, it has one my favourite stories in any game I played, despite me not liking the ending. Character development is handled exceptionally well and you will grow really attached to all four of the cast.

Whether you adore puns or groan at them, you’ll definitely be enjoying the writing.
As someone who enjoys learning languages, Bravely Default impressed me in another regard. It’s chock-full of language options. The game has the option to choose between six languages – English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese – for the dialogue and is fully voiced in English and Japanese, despite being a really dialogue-heavy game. That they managed to fit all that in a 3DS cartridge is impressive, to say the least.
Now I should mention the music. Absolutely top notch. My personal favourites are Tiz’s theme and Hartschild City theme. Though honestly, every song in the game is worth listening to. And you’ll never get tired of them.

Now a word on the mechanics. The game is seriously good at avoiding player frustration. Shows a lot of developer foresight in that regard. The game lets you adjust everything from enemy spawn rate to difficulty to suit how you play the games. And with how easy is it to gain levels in the game, very rarely will you come across a situation that frustrates you.

Aaaaand the negative.

If you have played Bravely Default , then you probably have a good idea what this is about. Yes, I’m talking about the endgame, the only place where the game falters.

Without giving away any spoilers, the game forces you to fight the same bosses over and over again, around 16 boss fights with not much plot development in between, just fighting and healing. It gets tedious quickly, but is necessary to get the true ending of the game. I simply couldn’t find it in me to go that far.

In conclusion,

Bravely Default is one of the best RPGs available on the Nintendo 3DS, featuring an incredibly functional battle system and a fantastic story. What else could you really ask for?

Hours Sunk: 60


Yes, especially if you like RPGs.


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