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Bravely Default Review

Bravely Default Review

For fans of Japanese RPGs, Bravely Default has been a sign of frustration. It released over a year ago in Japan and those who were lucky enough to import the title spoke in spades about its quality. Many believed it would be another title that would pass Western audiences by, but it’s pleasing to say that we are now able to witness the tale of this rag-tag bunch of adventurers who are out to restore their land to its former glory.

Despite having quite a cute visual style and often happy demeanor, Bravely Default also has a side that’s very dark. This is quite clear from the off, as the game’s introduction sees you witness the destruction of a town called Norende, and one of the game’s main protagonists, Tiz attempting in vain to save his younger brother.

What happens next is one of those rather fortuitous tales that you might come to expect from an RPG, but needless to say, you end up with a party of four: Tiz, Agnes, Ringabel and Edea.

Tiz, despite being a simple farmer, has the heart of a lion. As the story plays out, he often feels like the “leader” and as a compliment to this and his initial struggles, there’s a focus on rebuilding his home town. However, much of the story’s purpose revolves around Agnes and her quest to restore the realm’s four crystals. These have been taken over by a dark force and as the Wind Vestel, it’s her duty to investigate and restore them to their former glory. Towards the start of this quest, you also meet Ringabel, a man with no memory of his past who’s in possession of a book that recants the future and Edea, an enemy turned friend who can no longer sit by and watch what her kin are doing to the world.

As you continue through with this quest, the four characters grow as individuals, but also as a team. This is true about most games of a similar ilk, but Bravely Default makes it more apparent due to the consistency of dialogue. Talking between the four is not just limited to cutscenes, with optional “party chat” moments appearing on a regular basis. These allow you to learn more about how the characters are feeling, but also more about their backgrounds.

This is also true when it comes to the game’s additional characters. Even though some of them only feature in the game’s story for a short period of time, should you want it, a concerted effort has been made to make you aware of who they are and why they are worth your time. Many of the game’s different job classes are gained through these little escapades and it’s pleasing to see that the story has been fleshed out so well in this area.

The game’s core mechanic is a play on its name, as every turn you can either choose to “Brave” or “Default”. This is governed by BP, which you can spend or accumulate depending on how you wish to play. In essence, the system allows you to be “brave” and take up to four turns in one go, or “default” on your turn, and store your BP up.

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