Video Game Review: Bravely Default

Details: Played on the 3DS. Finished playing through the game in about fifty-six hours, though a substantial amount of that time was spent idle. More information can be found at https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/bravely-default-3ds/

Score: 6.5/10

Bravely Default started out as an enjoyable bit of role playing game comfort food. Unfortunately, the game gets real boring and real repetitive about halfway through, draining a lot of my enjoyment. Minor spoilers ahead.

Bravely Default is a Final Fantasy-esque role playing game developed by Square Enix. It takes place in a fantasy world where a nation is using military force to control all four of the powerful crystals in the world. You control a small group of young people who seek to oppose against this tyranny. The story eventually turns into one where the fate of the world is at stake. It’s common Japanese role playing game fare.

The story is pretty standard for the genre. As said above, the game turns bad about halfway through. The story requires you to retread areas you’ve been too over and over and over again. You have to then fight the same bosses over and over and over again. It’s repetitive and a waste of time. It’s clear this is just padding to lengthen the game and save resources of creating more enemies and locations for the player to explorer. I can understand why a game developer would do this in order to save resources, but this is still lazy game development and disrespects the player’s time.

The gameplay is standard Japanese role playing game format. You control four party members and they take turns making actions. You can cast spells, attack, heal, etc. The greatest part of this game is something I consider essential for modern turn based role playing games, and that is auto-battle and in game controls for random encounters. If you’re game has random encounters, you need to include a way to turn it off because random encounters are primitive and annoying in this day and age. If your game is a turn based role playing game, you need an auto-battle or fast battle option. Turn based games are simply too boring without. You fight thousands of battles by the time you finish the game and most of those are uneventful wastes of time. Auto-battle solves that problem.

The primary focus of the battle system is one the bravely default system and the jobs system. The bravely default system is simply that the player can choose to forgo a turn, adding an extra action onto the next turn, up to four times. You can then make four actions at four times, stacking a ton of damage, healing, etc. I’d like to say that this system changes everything, but it doesn’t change this game much from other turn based role playing games.

The job system is a familiar system that’s been in many other role playing games. You can assign jobs to characters and they gain actions based on those jobs. White mage, knight, thief, etc. It’s really standard stuff if you’re familiar with this genre of video game.

There are some interesting online social components to this game. I didn’t participate in any of those things because I’m playing this game in the year 2020 and no plays this game anymore. I also don’t care for online interaction for my single play role playing games.

Visually, the game looks about average for the 3DS. It’s playable. The art direction is fine.

The audio in this game is fantastic. Most of this game is fully voiced. The little pieces of inconsequential dialogue are not. The music is surprisingly good and exactly what you’d expect for a fantasy role playing game.

Overall, this game was okay, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. That second half of the game is just such a waste of time. I still had fun with the game.

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