Bravely Default Review

Bravely Default is your typical JRPG with a twist – the twist being that the gameplay mechanics are completely different compared to any JRPG by using the ‘Brave’ and ‘Default’ systems in turn-based combat.

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'Bravely Default' came to Europe in December 2013 so you could say that this is an older game. Will it be good, you wonder? Well, that’s why Radar is here to analyse the game in more depth. 

This game centres itself around the four main characters: Agnès Oblige (the wind vestal), Tiz Arrior (the lone survivor of the Norende Chasm disaster), Ringabel (a man who suffers from amnesia) and Edea Lee (the daughter of the Eternian grand marshal). There are four crystals in the world of Luxendarc - where the game is based, each representing a different element. These crystals are: fire, water, earth and wind. Agnès’ role as the wind vestal is to look after the wind crystal and pray to it. These crystals and their respective vestals are all linked to a religion known as crystallism which is now corrupted by the higher-ups which Agnès wasn’t aware of. Along the way, she meets TizRingabel, and Edea in that order and travels on a journey with them to ‘awaken’ the crystals. She does this with the help of her cryst-fairy, Airy. 

When you first play this game, you cannot know what to expect from it. What came after the initial thoughts were surprisingly great. The plot can be a bit confusing at first but once you understand the lore behind the game, such as vestals and the idea of crystallism, then you can find yourself getting emotionally attached to these characters. The game also has many twists and turns throughout. The character development in here is good as well. You can see Agnès develop from a sheltered and quiet young woman to a kind and strong-willed leader, for example, which was one of the highlights of the game as Agnès can be relatable in quite a few ways. Tiz’s character developed well as he went from having nightmares about his brother’s death which plagued him throughout the game to learning to accept his brother’s death and move on. Death is also a prominent theme throughout the game as many characters – enemies and allies – can die during the game’s storyline. 

In this game, you will have to grind considerably. For total beginners of the Bravely game series, it is recommended that you play on easy mode to fully enjoy the storyline as it was intended. However, you can set the difficulty to normal or hard mode if you want more of a challenge. Normal mode can be found as more challenging than easy mode even if you know the game mechanics inside out. The bosses in this game can be very difficult if you are not prepared enough. The key to defeat bosses is to have a solid strategy as well as the right jobs. This will be explained next in the article. 

Another highlight of the game is the job system. You start with all four characters being a Freelancer – the default class of the game. To gain jobs, you defeat the bosses holding various job asterisks. For example, to get your first two asterisks – the White Mage and Monk asterisks – you must defeat the White Mage and Monk bosses working against you in order to get the job asterisks. The job system is fun to use as you can have Tiz being a Monk with some Freelancer abilities or you can have him being a Black Mage with some Arcanist abilities once you get the asterisks. A key feature of the job system is that each character has a primary job and a secondary job; therefore, you’re not limited to just one job at a time which is amazing. To get most of the job asterisks, you need to complete side-quests in order to unlock them. Doing side-quests can boost your character’s experience points and job points which is an extra bonus as well as unlocking jobs. 

Overall, 'Bravely Default' is a great yet underrated game. It is very similar to other RPGs such as 'Dragon Quest' and 'Final Fantasy' and it is up there in terms of memorability. If you do not expect much from 'Bravely Default', be prepared as this game will change your mind about JRPGs. It has the right amount of difficulty and the right balance of characters and plot. 

You can get this game from game.co.uk at £39.69 (new) or eBay for £24.95 (preowned and cartridge only). 

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