Bravely Default

Bravely second comes out in less than a week and for a change I managed to complete its predecessor before the new one came out (yey go me!). At 55 hours that was no easy feat and you certainly get your monies worth with this one.

BD-02My first thought when playing this was that this felt more like a Final Fantasy game than any recent Final Fantasy game released. The overall feel and art style reminded me very much of the much loved series and although this is made by Square Enix I thought they might have done something a little different.

Without spoiling too much, the plot unfolds much as you would expect; there’s been a disaster, you must band together with a few new friends to save the world, standard JRPG base. What makes this game special is both the core mechanics and the sheer wealth of customization, and I am not just talking costumes here I mean how the game is played can be changed quite easily.

The idea behind the brave and default is fairly unique, you can either store up turns to use in the future, or you can do up to 4 turns worth of actions in a round but leave yourself open for the next 3 rounds whiles things catch up, or a combination of the 2. It’s a fun system and introduces some extra tactical thought to an otherwise standard turn based system.

The next few things are what combined make it pretty revolutionary. Firstly you can speed up the battles, so your characters actions can either be normal speed, around twice the normal speed, or even faster meaning whatever you have instructed your characters to do can be over in a flash. You can also set your characters to “Auto” which means whatever actions you gave them last time they will repeat again. Once you get to a high enough level it means most random encounters can be done on auto and at the fastest speed, they can be over in around 15 seconds! This means grinding for levels is far simpler and quicker than in most other games. The final tweak is your random encounter rate. You can either crank this up by 50% or 100%, turn it down by 50%, or off completely. Found an area that gives good XP but you can defeat the enemies fairly easily, then turn the rate up. If you approaching end game and levels make little difference anymore then turn it down or off. All of these functions combined give you a control over the game that would be a travesty if not applied to every game of this genre going forward.

BD-01You start with 4 characters, Tiz, Agnès, Ringabel, and Edea. You stay with these 4 for the entire game, but thankfully this game also has a revolutionary “Job” system. Every time you defat a boss, you receive their asterisk, meaning that each character can take on the role of any boss you meet in the game. You can also use up to 2 sets of abilities; one set from the job you have equipped and one from a job that character has levelled up previously. The max level for any job is level 14, you get both XP and job points after a battle and you will easily be able to max out 2 to 3 jobs per character. There are a total of 24 jobs available and although you won’t bother levelling them all up, it means you can make your characters just how you want them and some have combinations that are pretty much unstoppable.

The story of this game for the first 20 to 30 hours is great, nothing revolutionary but enough to keep you interested. After that it gets repetitive. VERY repetitive, you end up fighting the same bosses over and over and for a game of this size it really isn’t needed. The bosses do start grouping together to keep the difficulty up so there is at least some interest and I don’t want to spoil anything but things in the story do change to mix things up a bit but I’ll be honest the last 10 hours or so were not very engaging.

Thankfully a decent ending stops the downward spiral and I did enjoy the game for the most part, the combination of a varied job system and the customizable battle settings left me looking forward to the sequel hoping they have kept the good and made improvements where necessary.

I give Bravely Default

8/10

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About the author

Paul Ashton

Im Paul Ashton (Pash) I am 35, married with children so gaming is not always easy to squeeze in. I have been gaming since the Toshiba MSX in the early eighties, so 30+ years of gaming under my belt. I enjoy RPGs and dungeon crawlers amongst other things. Some of my favourites are Suikoden (PS1), Dark Souls 2 (PS3/4), R-Type (Various), Diablo III (PS3/4), Ace Combat 5 (PS2). I enjoy a good story so open world isn’t always for me, I would rather play a 25 hour game with a gripping, well told story, than a 60 hour snore-fest. I despise most forms of online gaming, for me gaming should be an experience, not just trying to prove I’m better than everyone else.