I haven’t written in a while due to time constraints with having my second child and work being busy, but finally have some time to sit down and talk about a game I’ve been playing off and on for months called Bravely Default. BD is a throwback to the PS1 style Final Fantasy classics that fans of the genre have been yearning for, well, since Final Fantasy broke out of the mold and experienced with different gameplay mechanics. Some fans latched onto the changes of FF, while others wished for a more rooted experience. That’s where Bravely Default steps up.
This game has all the classic tropes. You are a group on the hunt to awaken crystals to stop the evildoers from doing evil doings (leaving that as it is.) This game excels in gameplay. You had a ton of customization options to play around with. It centers around a job system, much like FFV, but adds extra layers of depth to this by allowing you to equip essentially two jobs at once. You also have special moves you can swap in and out, buffs to make your four characters stronger, and a great Brave/Default mechanic that allows you to store up your moves to unleash them all at once. It really has a lot going for it in terms of being involved with battle mechanics.
While BD is a fairly straightforward game, you do have side missions that can earn you great items and summons for your summoner class. It’s not many, but still allows you to stray away from the main quests to explore more of the world. You learn more backstory of the main characters and allows you to grind, which is a necessity in spots because many of the boss fights are brutal if your team isn’t strong enough.
But with the positives out of the way, the game has a few drawbacks that I hope are addressed in the sequel. The story is complete rubbish. I got to the point where I was skipping dialogue due to it being cheesy. Sure, all JRPG games are cheesy, but I must be over the silly story lines these games offer now. My wife was actually shaking her head listening to the voice acting.
So with me not paying attention to the story anymore, I pressed on with gameplay alone. Which actually is still fun because of how varied battles can be. I logged 30+ hours into the game and headed into Chapter 5, which loosely following the story seemed to have been wrapping things up. **MAJOR PLOT SPOILER AHEAD** As I head into what I presume is the final battle, a few story beats happen and I’m separated from my party. Controlling one person, you walk around and find your other party members, but turns out the world has been reset, and I received this message from the annoying fairy:
It requires you to play through the four crystal battles again! Yes, padding out the already long enough game by making you do major boss battles over again. I thought it was a New Game Plus type of scenario but looking into this people were saying this happens several times. So you go through the crystals again and it resets yet again. Square Enix was right there with this one, but as soon as I seen this, I removed the game and boxed it up. And proceeded to throw it in a fire (actually took it to GameStop for $20 Steam card.)
Bravely Default was fun for a while but definitely not work syncing the time into it. I’ll be scouring the internet when the sequel comes out hoping they make a better story in a more concise game.