In my ever present quest for good handheld games, and being a big fan of JRPGs, I read about Bravely Default (yes, a terrible name, even if it is apropos to the game mechanic). The game art was done by the same artist that did Final Fantasy Tactics, as well as Final Fantasy V (and others), so it looked quite good. Reading a little about it, I also saw that it offered a job system (which is nice), a good story line, and a nice long playtime (I didn’t want to spend $40 on a game that was only 8 hours long). I wasn’t able to buy it locally, and Amazon had it out of stock, but I ordered it on Amazon backorder, and went about my day.
A couple days later, I got a notice that the item had shipped, and two days later, I was starting the game. Initially, I was a bit concerned as the game had me do an AR Card (back of the manual), and used the 3D to show a character in trouble. I don’t care for the 3D aspect of games. I didn’t have it on at all during Link Between Worlds. Thankfully, I’d find out this was largely gimmicky, and the game doesn’t use 3D during the rest of the game.
The game starts out with the main character surviving his home town being swallowed up in a sink-hole. After that, you quickly meet the second character, and with minimal effort, characters 3 and 4. At this point, you’re a full party, and the game gets fully underway. Story unfolds rather well, and in a very Final Fantasy way. World in danger, anti-spiritual group threatening, you are trying to unlock the some crystals to save the world.
The game play is very good, and with the addition of being able to adjust difficulty and random encounter chance, as well as adjust the speed of the battles, you’re able to really “grind” without a sweat. In fact, in chapter 3, I found a great place to grind with all (and only) undead enemies, and the use of a shield that casts Cura, you can just mass cast Cura, with no MP cost, and level like crazy. I leveled all the jobs available to level 9 in a few hours, and made character level 65 for everyone at the same time (which is a good 20-25 levels above where I should be at this point). Pretty cool. Later in the game, there are enemies you can just phoenix down, and kill, so for a few hundred bucks a battle, you can very quickly level with no difficulty.
The problem in the game, however, is the second “half”. You basically have to do the same thing, over, and over, and over again. And while this doesn’t take much time, since I had already maxed out my characters, it did get a bit tedious. If I had done it straight through, it probably would only take a couple hours to clear the last few chapters. After chapter 5, you can trigger a “false” ending, which basically skips to the end, and lets you fight one of the two main bosses, then just warps you back to before you triggered that ending. The true ending requires the repetition.
While I can rail about it here, why not just read this. Ultimately though, the game was a lot of fun. And the end was extremely easy using a pretty much game breaking combo1.
All and all, I’d wholeheartedly recommend the game, and suggest anyone who enjoys JRPGs to buy it. While the second half is a bit tedious, if you just plow through, it’s not a huge deal. In the end, I had over 122 hours on the game, but some of that was using “cheats” to get money, or kill things without interacting with the game (I left the 3DS running a few nights in a row).
- Max out pirate and swordmaster for all characters. Set three of them up as either a pirate or swordmaster, and then set up your secondary abilities for the
opposite. The only support ability you must have is “BP Recovery” (requires Red Mage level 9). Now, the fun. Have all your characters max brave, then do “Free Lunch” on swordmaster, then “Amped Strike” 3 times. The last character should be a white or black mage, and then the opposite as their secondary. That last character should also have “Group-cast All” (also requires maxing Black Mage). That character then casts Poison on the party 3 times, then Ensuna. That means 6 BP for each character. =) Second turn, your three attackers can just cast “Amped Strike” 4 times each since “Free lunch” lasts 2 turns. Rinse, and repeat. Massive damage, and the last boss only hit me once. =) You may also want to adjust Agility using various items so your BP generating character goes last [↩]