Everyone else has already established that Bravely Default is amazing, so if you haven’t played it and have any love for JRPGs or the good Final Fantasy games you owe it to yourself to check it out. The game made an extremely positive impression on me early on, and actually elicited the comment “This game is perfect” about 30 minutes in, once a particularly great piece of music began playing. It also has a very strong ending, and a slightly less amazing but still good alternate ending. The only negative criticism I can think of is that in the back third (we’ll call it Chapter 5) the game slows down quite a bit and becomes repetitive as you have to repeat a very similar cycle over and over, and the game could’ve handled things differently. It is still fantastic, and although not offically in the Final Fantasy series, it does a better job of being a Final Fantasy game than any other FF game has in the past decade (except FFXIV A Realm Reborn – that game was solid).
Here’s the lightning overview of what it makes Bravely Default special:
- It’s a classical JRPG in the mold of Final Fantasy IV meets Dragon Quest (puns included), but in a 3D environment with occasional pre-rendered backdrops (similar to FFVII) and with better art than either
- It has a job system similar to FFV/FF Tactics. This means it has an implementation of the best job system ever
- It has a decent plot that turns into a bit of a mystery towards the end, and an extremely epic finale (even considering that video games generally set the bar for “epic ending” pretty high)
- It has very, very good music
- It has two good characters and two annoying ones. By the end everyone becomes more likeable.
- It knows people may not like grinding, so you can double or quadruple the speed of the random encounters
- It also lets you turn off enemy encounters entirely. Or you can double them. You can also change the difficulty of the game whenever you want. Overall the game gives the player a lot of control over their experience.
- Lots of cool twists on game mechanics like importing super attacks from other people playing the game, stocking up turns, and interrupting enemies part way through their turn (even in the middle of an attack animation) to take an immediate action
In my opinion Bravely Default really represents the modernization of the classical JRPG, and it gives me lots of hope for the genre, and for the future of Final Fantasy. Square Enix finally published a good RPG again!