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Yangus’s Thoughts: Bravely Default

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Hello all, ol’ Yangus here with another edition of Yangus’s Thoughts. This time I’ll be talking about an RPG I recently completed and fell in love with: Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS. Before playing the game, I was skeptical of this title. Perhaps Square Enix’s rocky history from the last few years had left me cautious to approach a new game from them. Either that or the lack of Dragon Quest releases was clouding my judgement.


Nevertheless, my interest in the game came about when Nintendo started advertising Bravely Second – the sequel to Bravely Default – and it got me thinking about the game. For the last few months I’ve thought about trying the game once and for all, needing a new RPG to try.


Unfortunately finding a physical copy became a problem since I waited too long, but I snagged a digital copy and before I knew it I had sunk over 90 hours into the game by the time my adventure was drawing to a close.


So with that said, let’s bravely talk about Bravely Default!





Things I Liked about the Game:


-The visual style. The first thing that caught my eye with this game was the chibi artstyle for characters mixed with bright colors and simple designs. Seeing images and videos of the game in action gave me flashbacks to the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV, a near perfect remake of one of my favorite RPGs. Each area has a unique feel to it, from the near 2D layout of Anchiem to the red light district-esque city of Florem, a mixture of 2D and 3D used to convey towns and dungeons. The artwork for each town really shown, with little details tucked away here and there as you walked around. It reminded me of a children’s picture book…



-The job class system. I’m a sucker for job class/team building RPGs. Final Fantasy V has one of my favorite job class systems within the FF series, and to see that idea of the job class system return to a modern day RPG was refreshing and fun. Every job felt useful (even the ones I hardly used) with plenty of options for main and sub class set-ups to deal with random mobs and bosses. All the tools were there, it was just a matter of using them correctly.


What I appreciate about Default’s take on the job class system Square Enix is known for is that, unlike Final Fantasy III and V where you had so many job classes all at once within the first few hours, you instead slowly gain the job classes. Some are earned through the main story, while others are earned via side quests. I thought this idea worked in the game’s favor (and for me personally) as it gave me plenty of time to figure out each new job class I earned. Plus, doing the side quests for the jobs helps flesh out the world of the game and the characters that cross your path, so that’s another nice touch.



-The music. Oh how I love love love love LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this game’s soundtrack. Within the first few songs, I knew I was in for something special with the music, and I was not disappointed. There’s a quality to the music that really put me in the mood to keep playing, drawing me in and wanting to hear any new pieces yet unheard. More than anything it reminded me of Yuzo Koshiro’s work in the Etrian Odyssey series (a well-known favorite of mine) because it really adds to the atmosphere the game’s environments, battles, and cut scenes are going for.


Some standout pieces include the overworld theme (which gives that sense of fun and adventure), the various town themes (my favorites being from Caldisla and Florem), Below the Duchy’s Banner, the Crystal themes, and those adrenaline fueled battle themes.

But of all the songs, my absolute favorite would have to be “The Day the Wind Blew.†The first time it plays…oh it got me, it got me good. Not a lot of music can get me to tear up, but the composition and instrumentation of this song is just spot on. It plays at moments of triumph and of rekindling, showing the bond the party shares and how hope can reunite the people of the world. It kind of reminds me of music from Princess Mononoke (a Studio Ghibli film).


If I had to, I’d say this game has my favorite 3DS game soundtrack of all the titles of played. I know I’m doing nothing but gushing over the music, but really I love it so much that I can’t think of anything else to say. It’s the perfect RPG soundtrack.



-The story. The overall quest is to restore the 4 crystals in the vain of early Final Fantasy titles, but it peppers in a little of the Dragon Quest style too. With each new continuant and town you reach, a new plot will present itself for the party to address and befriend and help the people. The side quests all help expand on the story and characters as well, but the main story is pretty good for its simple approach.


That’s not to say the game is without surprises in story, however. There are some pretty good twists down the road, and attentive players will see them and appreciate what lies ahead. I ended up this way and liked how the game could allude to these surprises if you knew where to look.


And the individual character plots were all interesting as well. My favorites would have to be Ringabel and Edea’s stories. Speaking of which…



-Edea. Edea is one of my favorite female leads from video games. The writing for her in Bravely Default is really good. Sure she can be a little bossy here and there, but her character is so interesting. She has her funny moments here and there with her infamous “Mrgrgr,†line and love for sweets, but these traits are spaced out to keep them funny. Everything else about her handled with ease, from her home life/relationships to her view of the world. Perhaps I connected with her because I know what it’s like to struggle with a parent relationships, and all it takes is open conversation and understanding each other…


Didn’t expect me to get kinda deep like that, now did ya? Edea is a great character and one that I loved learning more about, being a welcome member of the main party.



-The streetpass/tag system. Not a lot of 3DS games use streetpass features all that well, but Default has a great idea for this system. I like that by tagging other players (or by connecting online) you can increase your population to help rebuild the town of Norende, which it turn nets you new rewards for use. Plus you can get powerful super bosses to fight as an added bonus, giving a due shout out to Bravely Default’s predecessor (Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light). It’s a fun way to encourage players to leave the game on in sleep mode, the excitement of further developing areas of Norende and earning new goods all too real.


Plus you get some fun bonus costumes to wear. Who here wants to have Tiz dress up as an Onion Knight?!?



-The Brave/Default system. I like how the team behind the game spiced up the classic turn based gameplay with this system. Braving earns you extra actions on a turn, and Defaulting nets you extra actions for each turn you don’t act. It made me think of how to approach certain fights, such as making my main healer Default until the party needed help. They would swoop in by spending Brave points and heal the party. It’s a system that adds to the setup freedom the game offers players, and was a nice change of pace for turn paced combat.



-The handling of the later chapters. Now if you’ve heard anything about Default, it has to be the amount of complaints the last few chapters get. I’m not going to say they are handled perfectly (far from it, actually…) but there are good things about this repetition. The main story points in chapter 5 and 6 are well done and help reveal new tidbits, while the side quests of chapter 7 and 8 are a lot of fun and provide a new take on what the player has seen before. If these two had been combined into two chapters rather than four I think it would make the overall game experience all the better, but even so there’s a lot of good to be found.



-The customization in difficulty. Being able to change if you gain money, experience points, job points, location markers, encounter rate, and the difficulty level whenever you want? Sounds good to me! Having control over these kind of gains means you can do a little job class grinding without gaining too many main levels, or earn some extra cash for that new sword you’ve been eyeing. I can certainly think of a few games that need an encounter rate adjuster, so that was a welcome addition.




Things I Disliked about the Game:


-The handling of the later chapters. I know I just said I didn’t mind it, but to keep this quick I didn’t care for how chapter 6 repeated the side quest changes seen in chapter 5 and how chapter 7 and 8 really didn’t change the main story plot points. I don’t want to say much more for spoilers sake, but bottom line, these were my low points of the later chapters. Not too bad all around, but I wish these points had been given a little more time and consideration to make them stronger.



-The mood shift Agnes has in Chapter 3. The way Agnes acts in Chapter 3 pisses me off. She had gotten along with everyone just fine, but once Chapter 3 hits and story stuff happens, she becomes a real $#!&@. Luckily this goes away half way through the chapter, but it feels unwarranted and completely out of character for the young Wind Vestal.




Bottom Line:


Bravely Default ended up being a real captivating experience for me. I was shocked I sunk over 90 hours into the game before my adventure ended, drawn in by the gameplay, simple story, and that wonderful soundtrack. It has been a while since I’ve played a more traditional RPG in the classic fantasy setting with crystals and job classes, and playing through Default was a refreshing experience. To quote ProJared from YouTube: “This is the best Final Fantasy game Square Enix has made in years,†and I completely agree with him. It felt like I was experiencing a lost game from the SNES or PS1 era, having a sense of nostalgia for a recent game.


I’m glad I bit the bullet and gave this game a shot, as it became one of my favorite 3DS experiences in some time.


Thank you all for reading, and as always leave any thoughts you have about the game in a comment. This has been YangustheLegendaryBandit, and have a good one, guvs.

Edited by YangustheLegendaryBandit
  • Upvote 1

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Your enthusiasm got me playing and I'm enjoying it.


I'll only disagree on 1 point: I see the point of Agnes's attitude in chapter 3. No, it's not one an RPG character normally has, but to get deep, that's exactly how I'd feel. I just started 3 and thought, geeze, it's about time someone said that.


Other than that, spot on.


Oh, bravely default has music?

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Eh, to each there own. As least her shift was for a short while, so it wasn't too bad, but I still count it as a dislike.


And I'm glad my enthusiasm helped. I know I tend to do that, but this is a game that really struck a cord (in a good way). Just goes to show you shouldn't judge a game before you play it. Or by it's cover. Or however it works for video games...



I'm surprised you say that music comment though. I know you don't normally don't have the volume on in games, but I figured you would since the game is entirely voiced. But I guess with two little ones you'd be better off having the volume off in case you need to jump up and help out.

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I have turned it up for voices most of the time. However, most of my playing has been while holding the baby in the rocking chair in his nursery. I'll turn on the voices, but not the music at 4am.

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I just dislike Agnes as a whole. :P I liked her in Second though.


Nice review, Yangus. Has many good points, and I'm super glad you enjoyed the game in the end.


And hey; speaking of Second, I bet you can't WAIT to play the sequel, Bravely Second, right?!



Edited by gooieooie

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Yangus has the patience of a... well, I don't know any saying to quote here.


He's patient.

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