Bravely Defabulous

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I don’t think Nintendo knew what it was doing with this Play Count timer on the Bravely Default demo.

They certainly didn’t think of me, laying awake at night, wondering if I’ve left myself enough demo attempts for the next few weeks.

Why did I waste a session on a 15 minute jaunt through the over world?! And then there was that time I quit out to clear out my StreetPass Plaza…what was I thinking?

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The Faulty Four.

Writing this, I’m presented with two paths; to the left, I can continue ranting about the nonsense that is  tailor made content expiring with use, and over to the right, I can talk about just how awesome Bravely Default is.

Oh, also to the left is a pit that far too many whiny whiners fall into, so my choice is clear.

The game’s namesake, the Brave or Default combat system, is most definitely something that deserves to be slapped on some box art. While many RPGs tinker with turn based systems, the result is largely the same; you pick your move, the enemy picks theirs, and it’s off to the races. Bravely Default allows players an unsettling amount of freedom in regards to the flow of combat. By selecting ‘Default’, you are able to store one move, as well as taking a defensive stance. ‘Brave’ uses a turn, and throws your characters into the fight. So, at the outset of a battle, in most cases you’ll start with zero turns available. From here you can Brave up to three times (which, coupled with your first, means you have four turns at your disposal), or Default once (putting you in a defensive state, and storing a turn for the next round). This system allows a customizable battle; players are able to throw caution to the wind or pick away at an enemy over time.

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While I like the game, I do not have to like these names…

What makes things tricky is understanding just how powerful you really are. In my experience, every battle was very dangerous, at least for those first few encounters with new enemy types. It isn’t wise to ‘figure’ you’re stronger than your foe, Brave-ing it up like a madman. I would know, I did that and got my butt handed to me.

Perhaps I can play it cool, noting that the game’s beauty distracted me from these important decisions. It doesn’t ring ture, but at least believe my assessment of Bravely Default‘s visuals. It’s a real looker, combining the soft faces of its protagonists with a harsh world of poison rivers and raging beasts. The hand drawn cityscapes don’t mesh as well with the polygonal models as I had hoped, but this is merely a hair in what is an otherwise amazing salad (I should mention that finding a hair in my food is something I’m not too disturbed by).

Of course, with this demo being original content not found in the game, it serves as a primer for the full game, and provides some interesting hooks (just who the hell is that Fairy on the pause screen?) While I’m getting a sampling of just how difficult the game can be (and I’m playing on easy), it’s doing a great job at preparing me for February 7. Especially in regards to the Job system, a method of customization that’s really throwing me for a loop. For some, experimentation comes easy; changing classes on the fly just to get a taste of what they can do, then just as speedily move on to something else. For me, changing jobs (or equipment, abilities, party formation…) is a great stress. I don’t see it as a trial of a character’s new capabilities, but instead it feels like I’m throwing her to the wolves. Upon changing my Dancer to a Ninja, I was shocked when the cost of the moves from her previous profession doubled in price. This wasn’t how I wanted it to end!

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“Hack and Slash”? Square Enix X Koei Tecmo present…Luxendarc Warriors!

I’ve since seen the error in my ways, and feel more confident in changing classes. It’s just another sign of how customizable Bravely Default is, and as with anything customizable, it’s only a matter of time before I can make it an extension of me.

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