Feature Article

Every Final Fantasy Fan Should Play Bravely Default

You can go home again.

The wait is nearly over. Bravely Default will be in US stores in a matter of weeks. I've made no secret of my love for it in the past, and I'll be damned if I'm going to shut up now that it's almost here. You see, even though it's not an official part of the series, it's the Final Fantasy game I've been waiting for since Final Fantasy IX. If you miss the spirit of old Final Fantasy games like I do, believe me, there's no better game to scratch that itch with than Bravely Default.

In fact, the similarities between Bravely Default and Final Fantasy are too obvious to ignore. Take the story, for example: a mysterious dark force has overtaken a legendary protective crystal, and it's up to four young heroes to save both the crystal and, ultimately, humanity. Four young heroes, crystals, and the fate of the world are common threads that have appeared in numerous Final Fantasy games, so Bravely Default doesn't win any points for its plot, but being familiar with these themes makes it an easy world to understand.

Once you're in, you're bombarded with other reminders of the Final Fantasy series' legacy. Item names that are uniquely Final Fantasy, including phoenix down and hi-potion, populate your inventory; you cast spells with familiar names such as blizzaga, shell, and meteor; airships make an early appearance, keeping with the tradition upheld by every single Final Fantasy to date, save Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest and Final Fantasy Legend II. Apart from the lack of chocobos and a character named Cid, almost every mainstay of the series appears in one form or another.

Even the job system harks back to past Final Fantasies. Every character begins his or her career as a freelancer, exactly like in Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy V. There's even a dash of Final Fantasy Tactics' secondary job assignments and support abilities thrown in for good measure. If you're familiar with the function of most classes in the aforementioned games, you'll feel right at home with the selection in Bravely Default: red mages can cast both black and white magic, summoners conjure powerful beings, and thieves are spritely robbers with a penchant for daggers, to name a few.

The presence of such iconic elements will be attractive to fans of Final Fantasy games, indeed, but if that were all there was to it, I can't imagine the appeal would last for long. Thankfully, not everything is strictly copied and pasted from one series to the other; Bravely Default's combat system forges its own path from the start. Generally speaking, it's a turn-based battle system with four characters to control, but it's designed around the acts of sacrificing and borrowing turns. If you have characters default during their turn, they sacrifice an immediate action for an extra turn in the future. Conversely, if you execute the brave command, you immediately gain an additional turn for the given character, albeit at the cost of being able to act in the future.

Considering the pros and cons of either action is critical during boss fights, but this system also has an effect on encounters with common enemies; you can issue four attacks at once, knowing that you'll kill a low-level enemy quickly, rather than waiting for everyone to take one turn at a time. It's a novel system presented under the guise of classic Final Fantasy combat, and once you've played with it, the game's cryptic title even starts to make sense.


While 3DS owners in the US still have to wait until the first week of February to get their hands on Bravely Default, European and Australian players have had access to the game for over a month. These versions, like the US release, are based on Bravely Default: For the Sequel, a retooled version of the original Japanese release. Given the unsubtle subtitle, it was fitting when a true sequel, titled Bravely Second, was announced in an issue of Jump magazine days prior to the rerelease in Japan and Bravely Default's debut in Europe.

I'm not pointing all of this out for my health, but rather, for the health of the Bravely Default franchise in the West. We know that there will be a sequel to Bravely Default, but there's no way to guarantee that it'll be localized outside of Japan. Nintendo, not the seemingly squeamish Square Enix, footed the bill for the first game's translation and publication. If it doesn't sell well, it's unlikely that Nintendo will jump at the chance to release Bravely Second.

Even though I've played only a fraction of Bravely Default, as a fan of classic Final Fantasy games, I'm instantly sold. It's probably good that I didn't review it, because I would have had a hard time separating myself from the warm and fuzzy feelings I get every time I encounter Final Fantasy's spirit within. Final Fantasy games stopped fulfilling my expectations for the series a long time ago, and if I have to stick my neck out for the one series that does, so be it.

Written By

Want the latest news about Bravely Default?

Bravely Default

Bravely Default

Follow

Discussion

246 comments
Grenadeh
Grenadeh

Ignoring of course the caveat which is - you have to buy a 3DS to actually do so. No thanks.

gargungulunk
gargungulunk

I wish I had something meaningful to say about this article...(pre-order!).....but more-so I'm glad that it exists.

Since finishing the 4Heroes of Light, twice...I've anticipated this game as it's successor.  ...and proof that S~E still understands the genre.


I love handheld RPG's, they cater to short term playing, as much as playing-well in any room.

Those with the issues on handhelds, just go XL and get on with it. etc...

m_bd89
m_bd89

Always feel a bit sad when Final Fantasy X isn't considered one of the good ones, loved that game.

Unfortunately not being a huge fan of handheld gaming anymore, means I'm missing out on so many great JRPGs.

IPwnNooBs666
IPwnNooBs666

I have this game pre ordered, can't wait for February 7 :) !

crognalsen
crognalsen

If you like turn based exploration JPRG you might like the Dragon Quest games for DS/3DS.  I've decided to get them because I enjoyed the NES Dragon Quest games a lot and they are pretty fun so far.  One the my issues with current JPRGs are the graphics.  I'm not a huge fan of the stick figure teenage looking characters.  The old JRPGs left a lot up to the imagination, but still had good stories, exploration, and the need to think strategically in combat.

Zacmaccraken
Zacmaccraken

I HATE that game web's NEVER show the most important thing on an RPG, that's exploration and towns!!!! 


Always putting pics of lousy battles!!

jcr8
jcr8

A real pity that all the good RPG's nowadays are released exclusively on the shitty kidtendo handheld garbage.

registeredpunk
registeredpunk

I'll just wait for nintendo fusion, so I can play this on the big screen.

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

Not buying a 3DS for it but I will gladly pay full price for it if they bring it to Android and iOS. Make it universal, while you're at it.

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

Excellent read. I'm really looking forward to this. It's been a while since I've played a quality JRPG.

pelvist
pelvist

If you liked final fantasy games before they turned shit ( FFX onward...) then you will like Bravely Default. I liked it, not as much as everyone else seems to, but I did like it.

poopinpat
poopinpat

Looks good!  Off to try the demo :D  

rushiosan
rushiosan

Anyway, I played the demo. It didn't catch me at all. I found battles too hard and somehow very boring. I'd prefer an action RPG or something, or at least a classic FF battle setup with Active mode. The system is kinda unfair since you have to select all your actions BEFORE the monsters do, with no freedom to organize turns. That makes everything a big mess.

Rikomi
Rikomi

Dang, I hope this comes out on the iPad or PS4 eventually cause I can't play it.

nigelholden
nigelholden

I'm playing the demo between FE:A. It's pretty solid, but the wager system definitely takes a bit to get used to. The demo is actually pretty cool. Quite a few hours and feel fleshed out. My only complaint about the demo is that it's missing any substantial story elements.

2w-sephiroth
2w-sephiroth

Certainly looks like a game that pays homage to old school FF games. I might have to pick this up when I have some spare money to burn :p

geminontraveler
geminontraveler

i have actually heard that the story of the game is incredibly weak, but the characters are good.


just not interested in playing an RPG with a crap story...

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Game does look great, but I have never enjoyed playing games on handhelds. I guess I will have to wait for an emulated version. 

Tangsta03
Tangsta03

Square are such dicks, their first decent RPG for almost a decade and they make it a 3DS exclusive. The Vita is a good very handheld, I'm not sure what Sony did wrong to cause all the devs to shun the Vita in favour of the 3DS, at least make your handheld games multi-platform to keep it a fair fight.

Scarshi
Scarshi

Damn. Never bought a ninendo device, now I want a 3DS just for this game. I'm a big FF fan and RPG player. Can I truly justify getting one now? Sigh.

BradBurns
BradBurns

Looks like a must buy but I can't help but want a Wii U port for the big screen. 

mirage_so3
mirage_so3

Maybe if it weren't for the DS..... Sorry but I hate looking at a tiny screen to play video games.

lorider25
lorider25

don't like the art style of the characters at all 

TheFlawedGoblin
TheFlawedGoblin

What's with most JRPGs going to handheld systems? I mean I love the Tales series but I would like to see variety on the big 3 consoles because all we really have for JRPGs right now are the terrible FF13 trilogy and the Tales series with a few solo titles out there. Back in the PS and PS2 days it seemed like there were so many that you couldn't even keep up with time required to play all of those great games. Some series that absolutely must come back are the Chrono series first and foremost (I would trade everything Square has done since FF10 just for one new Chrono game lol), the Xeno series (Gears was one of my favs and Saga was pretty epic as well), the Mana series, Parasite Eve, Star Ocean, Shadow Hearts, Suikoden, Grandia, Wild Arms, and the list goes on and on. Oh and here is a nintendo throwback that no probably ever thinks of or even remembers, but I love to see a new Star Tropics game! I frickin loved those games as a kid lol I am just ready for something other than yet another Tales game that feels like every other Tales game and FF is not FF anymore. Isn't the next one supposed to be an action game now? I think overall there just are not enough JRPGs and Zelda-like action adventure games on any console really.

Sikrion
Sikrion

Honestly between this and persona q I am slowly leaning towards a 3ds at this time, but the games industry has me trained now to wait for a cheaper price and newer hardware

PS4andXoneGamer
PS4andXoneGamer

I absolutely adore Final Fantasy 7, 8 & 9, so naturally I would love to get my hands on this game. Shame I don't have a 3DS though :'(

RAD_RADIO
RAD_RADIO

@m_bd89 FFX is a weird one. It's narrative sucks big testicles, but it has probably the best combat system of any of the games.

Characters, and plot? Trite and discombobulated.

Combat and progression system? Out-fuck'n-standing.      O_O Wtf.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@m_bd89 Anyone who says it isn't is automatically wrong so I wouldn't worry about their opinion.

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

@Rikomi Hmmm...I'd say buy a 3DS, there are plenty of games to play on it. I held off until this past holiday season. I just couldn't not play the games anymore.

rushiosan
rushiosan

@Rikomi Or... you could just get a 3DS. Trust me, you won't regret it.

SphinxDemon
SphinxDemon

Then again it is a demo, which they said is completely separate and different from the full game, which has a functional story

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

By today's standards, most of the early Final Fantasy games didn't have the strongest story lines either. This is more of a nostalgic game than anything from what I can see.

Tangsta03
Tangsta03

I also recommend it to Pokemon and Ghibli fans.

Llama345
Llama345

@TheFlawedGoblin JRPGs don't really sell well on consoles. Western RPGs are kicking their ass, and for good reason. I enjoy myself a good JRPG, and Bravely Default seems pretty cool. FFXV seems like a more mature Kingdom Hearts which has a large following, I'm excited for both. You can't have it both ways, either you like the new 'turned-based' battle of FFXIII/2 or you want an action game. 

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

@TheFlawedGoblinI'd love more great console JRPGs, but there's no getting around the fact that handhelds (the 3DS in particular) are king in Japan. You've likely heard it all before: Japan's dense population and reliance on mass transit mean that gaming on the go is more practical than having to be tethered to a TV. It's just the nature of the beast. Developers are going with the largest install bases and largest potential profits.


But that really doesn't excuse the dearth of original IPs. Like you said, the PS and PS2 days were filled with one-off RPGs that weren't bound by a franchise or series. I miss the likes of Rogue Galaxy, Threads of Fate, and Vagrant Story. Hell, when was the last time we got a Seiken Densetsu? JRPGs that aren't part of an established franchise are few and far between nowadays, and SE seems to be one of the worst offenders (it's all FF and KH with them).


I miss those days. Grandia, Breath of Fire, Suikoden...all seem to be dormant. But that's our fault for the most part. They're only willing to make what we buy...and that seems to be first person shooters, open-world action games, and free-to-play MMOs.

BradBurns
BradBurns

@PS4andXoneGamer Go for it. The 3DS library is pretty varied at this point. Mario & Luigi Dream Team is also a really fun turn based rpg.

TheFlawedGoblin
TheFlawedGoblin

@Llama345@TheFlawedGoblinI am fan of western RPGs as well but that is comparing apples and oranges. I mean you can kinda classify most western RPGs as first or third person action adventure more than I would call them a role playing game. And the only reason that western RPGs are doing better is because there is no competition right now. Like I said all that' available is the Tales series which always seems to be missing something to me and the crappy WB Drama of FF with the 13 trilogy. How can we know if JRPGs sell well when there aren't enough for sale to calculate the numbers? I guarantee you that if a new Chrono game came out or a new Xenogears for that matter that those games would be on par sales wise as games like Fallout 3, Witcher, or Elder Scrolls because there are a lot of people like myself who have been dying for more quality JRPGs to be made so I can buy them lol What's available right now doesn't offer anything epic like a FF7. Xenoblade was an epic but no one ever frickin played it because its on the Wii lol So yeah, JRPGs haven't sold because no one has made a really good one in while, but that doesn't the desire for better ones aren't there. I think a lot of people are sick to death with the overkill of FPSs and TPSs. Don't get me wrong I like all forms of gaming but its that one genre just hasn't been around for ten years and that is JRPGs. There is plenty of money to be made by the first company who puts a quality one with a sick adult themed storyline and fun turn based/action oriented battle system. Also, its gotta be open world because I think the fact that a lot JRPGs in the last console generation were way too linear.

SpiderLuke
SpiderLuke

@Yomigaeru @TheFlawedGoblin Hopefully Ni No Kuni's successful release will help influence the production of more quality JRPGs.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

@TheFlawedGoblinI'd squirt so much man-gravy if they ever did a completely remade Xenogears in HD...even a quick and dirty XBLA/PSN HD port. Xenosaga never hit that chord with me, but Xenogears I'll always remember. I opted to keep that PS1 copy back in my youthfully ignorant "trade in like $500 worth of games for $20 at Gamestop" days.