3DS

Bravely Default UK Review

Rekindle your love for the JRPG and strike your sword into the heart of the enemies in Luxendarc as you fight alongside Tiz, Ringabel, Agnès and Edea. Even with the core elements of a Final Fantasy game, Bravely Default sets itself apart with a high-spirited and, at times, risqué story in spite of its monster-ridden world.

Square Enix and Silicon Studio together delivers Bravely Default – a brand new IP set in the world of Luxendarc. Taking a hefty amount of inspiration from the Final Fantasy series and Dragon Quest, Bravely Default is an RPG player’s dream. After a brief cutscene with the Wind Vestal Agnès and her plea for help, the player is introduced to Tiz – a 19-year-old man whose simple life in Norende has been torn apart by the events of the Great Chasm.

As the sole survivor of the great catastrophe, Tiz meets Agnès when investigating the ruins of his village, becoming her well-travelled guide. But when Eternian soldiers attack the Wind Vestal, Tiz is adamant that he should fight by her side as her protector and, later, her friend. When travelling together, the two meet both Edea – a former duchy supporter – and the flirtatious Ringabel, who suffers from amnesia. Seeking to recover the ancient crystals from dark and monstrous beings, the group helps Agnès on her long quest to rid Luxendarc of the ominous, potent evil.

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Venturing into the scenic Kingdom of Caldisla sets the scene for players after the appearance of the Great Chasm.

At first glance, Bravely Default’s design can appear flat and lacking in aesthetic merits. The Kingdom of Caldisla and, more specifically, the palace looks akin to a cardboard cut-out rather than the lustrous and gorgeous detail of hand-drawn art. However, once accustomed to the playfulness of the storyline, the flat-pack designs begin to unfold as a theatre set, casting a warm glow around the player as a pseudo director. Much like design, though, the stereoscopic 3D is not utilised to its full capacity until entering Florem with brightly-coloured flowers, and later Hartschild with its fiery lava background, which are both visually stunning.

The game’s combat system is fairly simple and grounded in the traditional RPG formula. Turn-based attacks from enemies are varied by using the Brave and Default commands, which can be used to players’ advantage. Choosing to default for a number of turns will help your characters stock up on BP, in order to unleash a series of attacks on the enemy for an ostentatious victory. For tougher enemies, though, strategic planning pays off much more than a frontal assault, so you’ll have to choose wisely when determining which job command to give your characters, as well as when to let loose those special moves. Sleep points are also not necessary to beating the game, but allows those who are stuck on a particular boss fight to use an extra move in dire consequences.

Some enemy battles in dungeons and random encounters on terrain, however, can become stagnant, particularly when levelling up for an all-powerful and malicious boss. Lacklustre battle design tends to detract from the heartfelt and gripping story, becoming monotonous far too quickly. Changing job commands helps to diversify the otherwise sluggish battles in dungeons and on land, so are often prime areas to level up a character as a ranger, time mage or swordmaster to name but a few.

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Will you join forces with the Wind Vestal and help her defeat Luxendarc’s enemies?

For RPGs, the music must reflect the poignancy of the story, or the gripping tones of a battle to work in harmony with the game – and Bravely Default does just that. With some enthralling tracks, boss battles can be an exhilarating experience, and together with the in-game voice acting, they satiate the players’ needs. Yet though the music is wonderful, a problem with pitching soon becomes apparent. Emotional cutscenes between characters – particularly death scenes – can be thrown from their beautiful reverie by a blast of spine-chilling music, offsetting the mood and pace entirely.

Bravely Default’s storyline is delightfully well-paced, with well-rounded and distinct characters. But flaws in its design and the execution of the game’s music can detract from the overall experience. Nevertheless, Bravely Default is a must for RPG players with its witty, daring subplots and powerful tale.

8/10

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82 comments

  1. Great Review! I picked the game up the other day after playing the demo. Definitely a must buy for JRPG lovers. The job system and battle system as a whole is great.

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  2. I played the demo, and wow did it turn me off. I love the characters, presentation, and dialogue, but the battling is hard to understand. When someone got poisoned by snakes, I had no idea how to heal that character. I also do not understand the Bravely and Default options in battle. Every single one of my characters die within 2-4 shots, especially in the dungeon.

    My only problem with this game is that the enemies do WAY too much damage. I don’t know, are there things that I’m not utilizing well, or is this game just THAT hard? I’m scared to go back to the demo because of how punishing the battles were, and lack of FULL-ON tutorials (especially in battle). Btw, I played on easy mode.

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    1. The demo doesn’t give you any details on the basics of battle gameplay, but when you buy the game it will give you a full-fledged tutorial to work through to get you used to the different battle techniques. Plus, the enemies are no where near as hard in the game at the beginning as they were in the demo when you’re first starting off.

      At first, the demo skewed my thoughts on the title as I was getting wiped out by level 2/3 (or something) without really knowing what I was doing, but it gets a whole lot easier when playing the game. Hope that helps! :)

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      1. Thanks for all the information! It makes me feel a lot better! Now this game will definitely be on my radar. :) And here I thought I was just sucking hard at the demo xD.

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      2. The beginning worlds will be pretty easy, but I was actually impressed with how much difficult content Nintendo put into Super Mario 3D world.
        Just a little something for you to look forward too… :)

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    2. Yeah the demo does a poor job of easing you in to the game. You’re basically thrown everything at once and have to figure out what to do. I found the enemies EXTREMELY difficult to fight. (i went outside to the desert first for one of the quests) and got my ass handed to me. I think there were some npcs at the town who offer tutorials but i chose to ignore them lol :P After switching some jobs around and gaining a few levels i was fine

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      1. Dont know why you would have a hard time understanding the game, when you start talk to the soldier to your right and he’ll give you a quick tutorial on the basic gameplay and battle system basically the brave and default mechanics. Once you know how the game plays its very easy to get into and strategize your attacks..

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    1. JRPGs like Ni No Kuni sold amazingly well in the UK last year. overtaking CoD and FIFA. Seeing as how successful the 3DS is at the moment i’m sure this game will sell well

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    2. Didnt the game release in the UK last month and the game was nowhere to be seen in the top 40. I might be wrong though, but I do hope it does well here in the States, so at least we can get the sequel.

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  3. This looks like baby crap! ASRRRGH! GO PLAY XBOX! We got Halo! We got Forza! We got Titanfall! Whatda you got? HUH?! Xbox is where manly men like myself play.

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    1. Is that why Microsoft killed Banjo-Kazooie franchise because Rarewarw wasn’t man enough? Ignoring Microsoft was happy when they thought they owned Donkey King Franchise. Yeah they wanted to steal already made IPs instead of coming out with more on their own.

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      1. Haha! Nintenfags! I’m teabagging over Pinhead’s dead body lol! XBOX 4 LYFE!!

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      2. How old is that person, seriousley Xbox may offer nice FPS and FARPGs but honestly not everyone is into Aliens and Grotuitus violence, That stuff really changes you. In any case, I do enjoy the game and introduces an old form of gaming that some novice may find amusing and a nice play. remember, If you have to relay on calling other people the F*G word then what sort of actualy credit do you have for reviewing a game? if you don’t like it, don’t waste your time. in any case. 8/10

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      3. Dude?! Have you played the Xbox One? It’s like a quantum leap in gaming and shit, bro. Halo and CoD hardcore only on the Xbox!!!

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      4. 1. That human Pachter is an Xbot Ambassador…

        2. Your leaders are Supreme Kings Kaz Hirai and Tretton…

        3. I think you need a lot more experience to even tackle a Nintendo Commander like me with 15 years of active service to our holy empire and another 7 years of supporting it before that…

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      5. This is what my forces did to a fleet of Xbots and some Sonyans that betrayed your legion and allied themselves woth the Xbots…

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  4. I’m surprised only an 8/10. I thought this game was supposed to be some ultimate and amazing RPG. I thought a 10/10 was in order. Guess this game has it’s flaws like any other.

    Can’t wait to buy it! I just finished Shine Megami Tensi IV and I loved every second of it! This will re-kindle my lust for turn based RPGs!!

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      1. Commander, an Xbot leader has broken through our defenses and entered our sacred land! What is your plan of action?

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      2. He couldn’t…

        Our facilities are 100% Xbot fool proof…

        The only way he would escape is if he destroyed himself…

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    1. It’s hardly the be all and end all of RPG’s – I thought it was more like a 9, but 8 is certainly a fair score and I think the reviewer justified their score very well.

      Still,if you like old school JRPG you’ll almost certainly adore this.

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  5. The trailer, art and style of the game made me really interested, but I was as well absolutely put off by the demo which wiped my party out in 2 seconds no matter what I did. Will definitely not buy.

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    1. The demo doesn’t represent the game well. The actually game has a much smoother difficulty. There’s alot of systems in the game too.

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    2. Thought the same, actually, except my party hasn’t been wiped out yet (*spams abilities and default/brave system*) and I also think that it’s pretty obvious that the demo is a huge downgrade. Pretty sure the full game will have a full tutorial and a lower difficulty curve. :P The demo shoved everything in your face and it was incredibly confusing.

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  6. Are you for real?

    The music is fucking awesome.
    It’s exactly what FF and FF style games SHOULD be, a mix of orchestral and rock, it goes hand in hand the same way most FF game has been, medieval mixed with technology.

    The battle themes are up there with FF7 and Persona 4, they’re epic.

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  7. Great review! Glad to see someone enjoyed it as much as I did. Like you say it’s a charmingly nostalgic game, it’s just a shame the combat regularly strays into a repetitive bore.

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