Bravely Default graced North American Nintendo 3DS owners with its stylish take on traditional JRPG gameplay last Friday, warming the cold hearts of genre fans in a way that few other games have in recent years. The game’s multitudes of features and retro-inspired feeling have escalated Bravely Default to near classic status in just a single week.
For all intents and purposes, Bravely Default is best seen as a love letter to the golden age of JRPGs passed. Brimming with life and memorable moments, Bravely Default captures the essence of what made JRPGs the massive success that they were during the height of the Super Nintendo/PlayStation eras.
Below, are just a few of Bravely Default’s features that make it such a strong game. These features, all packed neatly together in Bravely Default’s package, make for a game that truly is the best JRPG of the 2010’s.
Lengthy, well-written story:
Bravely Default’s length is nothing to balk at. Clocking in at over 80 hours of gameplay, the story of Bravely Default is certainly long, but is carried by some impressive writing that touches on JRPG clichés without ever falling into them fully.
Advertised on the back of Bravely Default’s box is the simple message ‘basic reading ability is needed to fully enjoy this game’. This message rings true while playing through Bravely Default, as the game is not afraid to get wordy during dialogue sequences. Thankfully, the game is written in such a way that characters almost always seem to have something important to say without making the player feel like they are having their hand held.
By combining a lengthy tale with a tightly written story, Bravely Default has ensured that gamers will stay invested throughout the many hours it takes to complete the game.
Enjoyable characters, meaningful relationships:
JRPG protagonists tend to carry the unfortunate stigma of being awful, annoying teens riddled with angst and hormonal issues. Bravely Default’s main cast successfully avoids many of these tropes, instead featuring a cast that genuinely likeable.
Tiz, Angés, Ringabell and Edea bring a wide variety of personality to Bravely Default that feels more like true friendship than simple generic RPG party members. Each character has their own interests and desires, which are mentioned in passing throughout conversation and various plot points, which goes a long way to develop the relationship between each character.
As the game progresses, so do the bonds between the four main characters. During their dangerous quest, the characters must learn to rely on and trust one another, leading to some truly great and memorable character development throughout.
Brilliantly realized hand painted world:
Despite the hardware limitations of the Nintendo 3DS, Bravely Default still manages to be an undeniably beautiful game. Featuring sprawling cities and varied environments, each and every location within the game is masterfully brought to life thanks to the game’s gorgeous, hand painted scenery.
Every location that players visit in Bravely Default is worth stopping for a moment to take the scenery in. The breathtaking locations capture the heart of classic JRPGs and are brought to life perfectly with the 3DS’ 3D capabilities.
Varied and deep Job system:
A whole lot can be written about Bravely Default’s unique take on traditional JRPG combat. By utilizing the game’ risk/reward system of Bravely attacking multiple times at the cost of future turns or Defaulting in favor of saving turns and raising defense, Bravely Default adds an element of strategy that many recent RPGs are missing.
The true brilliance of the combat system is realized when used in conjunction with Bravely Default’s various Jobs. Similar to classic Final Fantasy offerings, Bravely Default features numerous unlockable Jobs that give each party member different sets of skills and abilities in battle.
By combining various skills from different Jobs, Bravely Default creates a combat system that has remarkable depth to it. Experimenting with different combinations are encouraged, allowing players to uncover their own personal favorites to tackle the game’s numerous enemies with.
Bravely Default’s Tiz is a young man whose home has been essentially wiped out of existence during the game’s early moments. After losing everyone he has ever known or cared about, Tiz resolves to rebuild his hometown of Norende; adding shops and clearing forests until his hometown is restored.
The town building sections of Bravely Default are integrated in such a way that the player actually wants to help make Norrende bigger and better than ever. With each shop unlock, the party is given access to additional items and equipment that can later be purchased.
The incentive of new items and the ability to recruit friends via the Internet to help cut down on building times make Bravely Default’s town building sections a mini-game that is both enjoyable and extremely useful.
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