Bravely Default

9/10 – “The rebirth of the classic JRPG genre.”

Developer: Silicon Studio

Publisher: Square Enix, Nintendo

Release: 6/12/2013

Platform: 3DS

Back in 2011, after jut finishing Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, I saw a page mentioning a sequel called, Bravely Default Flying Fairy. I was immediately interested in the game as it promised to be more of the game I loved and spent hundreds of hours playing.

Fast forward to 2013, and I finally got the game I had been so eagerly anticipating, within 5 minutes of playing the game, I was instantly hooked and loved the game. The combat with the Brave and Default commands was refreshing and felt new even though it was still a turn based JRPG.

The game starts you off as Tiz, one of the 4 main protagonists and dense Sheppard, if you played the demo; they treated you to some nice bonuses at this point. Shortly you are introduced to Agnès, the best character in the game and sheltered Vestal of Wind, Edea, the spoiled but idealistic side of your team and Ringabel, the harmless, flirting guy of your party. They are supported by a strong cast of characters which the game makes you love and love to hate.

Set in the world of Luxendarc, you travel the world awakening crystals while fighting the Eternian Empire in a story that gets dark, with tons of lore but also balances that out with humour and light-hearted scenes of the party bonding. They use those scenes as well as the darker ones to help characters grow, as an example, Agnès, goes from being sheltered, reserved and shy to more confident in her choices and more open to her friends who helped her grow.
Alongside the story, is the combat and job systems. Combat is what you expect from the usual, turn based JRPG but with the aforementioned Brave and Default commands. These adds a risk/ reward system to combat where you can Default for a sacrificing your turn or turns, you can take extra up to four actions in a turn with that character at no cost, or you can Brave, where you can take up to four actions per turn but at the cost of leaving your character unable to do anything for the turns based on the amount of actions taken.


I'm just going to leave this here.
There are twenty-four available jobs in the game, ranging from the standard White mage, Black mage, Knight, etc. to Vampire, pirate and performer. They all have their own strength, weakness and purpose. The game allows for everyone to equip two jobs at any time, this leads to game breaking combos like in everything with a job system. The game even hints at certain overpowered combos, such as Dark Knight/ Monk.

Jobs are obtained by defeating the respective owner, mostly during side missions. These side missions help to expand the lore of the world and story, especially the end game ones, and repeat versions. These repeat versions appear in chapters’ four to eight, which are considered the worst parts of the game by the majority of players, but I think they’re secretly brilliant as they expand the story if you actually do them without rushing and show the consequences of your actions and if you just do what you’re lead to believe without questioning it.

I found that they’re actually telling you the whole truth and back-story to the events throughout the game but you likely won’t notice it on your first playthrough as you’re lead to believe that it’s all a lie by your companion Airy. She acts as a guide of sorts, informing you of where to go and what to do.

The music accompanying the game is beautiful and fits every scene almost perfectly, the overworld theme makes you feel like you’re on an actual adventure the battle and boss themes are fitting, and reflect the conflict of battle. The final battle theme also shows the intensity of the fight of and what they’re fighting for. The four playable characters each have their own special theme that plays in battle, reflecting their personality. E.g. Ringabel’s shows his flirty personality by being upbeat and passionate.

I whole heartedly recommend picking up the game if you have a 3ds and love RPGs or JRPGs. While the repetitiveness at the end can bore the player but pays off with expanding the story and tying up some points you find left unanswered, it also helped to start an amazing series in which we are still waiting for news of the third game. It’s definitely worth trying and earns a 9/10.