Bravely Default starts off like any other RPG of its ilk in story. Devastation has come to the world in the form of a gigantic hole simply named… “The Great Chasm”. With the appearance of The Great Chasm, the town of Norende and nearly all of the residents are swallowed whole. Tiz is the last survivor of his town, and he must discover a way to rebuild his home. He meets up with a powerful magic user named Agnès. She is known as the Wind Vestal and she is on a journey to seal The Great Chasm. Tiz decides that this is the best way to build his town, and help save the world along the way.
The two obtain more group members to join them on this epic quest. Ringabel, an amnesiac with a penchant for philandering, and Edea, an honorary knight and the daughter of a tyrannical empire. The four must journey through the world and awaken the four crystals to seal The Great Chasm. That in turn makes the story nothing special, but by the end of chapter four, it attempts to paint a different story and that’s where it bungles everything.
If the game would have ended in Chapter Four, I would have had no issues with the title aside from the story
Without spoiling too much about the story itself, the drastic shift in Chapter Five dashes the hopes of the title. I was willing to forgive the generic storytelling that didn’t draw me in at all, but the attempt to rationale everything with a strange twist outright destroyed that. It’s like the game tried to pretend that for four chapters of average storytelling didn’t happen. You can’t just magically say, “Hah, now this is where the technical and interesting elements come to life!” Not after we’ve already spent forty to fifty hours building relationships, experience, and obtaining new jobs.
To top it all off, the story weaves into a path of disgusting repetition that is completely unwelcome. If the game would have ended in Chapter Four, I would have had no issues with the title aside from the story. Instead, I get to complain about how I have to repeat things I did in previous chapters until I can beat the game. That’s an outright ridiculous and unacceptable flaw in an otherwise enjoyable game, and I almost removed it from my 3DS as a result.
Now before my anger wave completely washes over this review, I will not allow the gameplay to drift away without the respect it deserves. Simply put, this is one of the best RPG gameplay systems I have ever played. Taking after the name “Bravely Default” in the title, Brave – allows players to save turns for extra moves later on. Default – Let’s players suck up the next turn immediately and use as many attacks, items, or magic that they can at that moment. It’s a simple formula that turns out to be a ton of fun, and I admit to defaulting more than braving anything.
It features a world map, fantastic music, and incredibly detailed towns and dungeons.
The job system is what pulled me completely into the title. Defeating various enemies in side-quests and gaining job after job was the best part of the title. There were so many combinations for my characters to learn that I ended up grinding most of them to 14 just to see what the perks were. It was incredibly addicting, as was the town building mini-game that offers items, weapons, and more. Much like many of the Facebook games out in the world, players can obtain friends from the internet or via Spotpass to help them build a town. The more people available, the faster it will be to build an area of the town. This side-game kept me checking back to see what I’d earned, and it was a fantastic time-waster on the side.
The visuals hark back to the days of old-school roleplaying games. Each character is modeled in a chibi bobble head style that made many an RPG popular. It features a world map, fantastic music, and incredibly detailed towns and dungeons. The voice work is also well done outside of one specific character in the cast. Erin Fitzgerald who is known for her representation of Chie in Persona 4: Arena and Persona 4: Golden… just seems out of her element here. Her voice just doesn’t match up to the emotional weight needed from the character Agnès, and it puts a strain on the effectiveness of her performance. The other three are great, but overall the side characters have the most impressive voices.
Luckily, you can swap out the English voices for Japanese in the options if you prefer it that way. The 3D effect in the game also deserves special note. The world zooms out when the characters are idle, and shows off a full view of the town that players are in. The 3D of the detailed towns are distinct and some of the most impressive on the 3DS.
Bravely Default is one of the most entertaining RPG’s in years, at least where the gameplay, sound, and graphics are concerned. The story is generic and extends itself far beyond where it should have concluded. Bravely Default receives a 3 stars from Geek Citadel. If it didn’t concern itself with filler, it would have easily been one of the best RPG’s in years.