Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bravely Default

GENRE: Role-Playing
PLATFORM: Nintendo 3DS
CREDITS: 2013 Atlus
DIRECTOR: Kensuke Nakahara
PRODUCER: Tomoya Asano

Bravely Default Collector's Ed
Bravely Default for the 3DS
General Merchandise
The RPG You Should Be Excited About! (Demo Review) >>> by John Santillana

Bravely Default is a new RPG by Square Enix which was developed by Silicon Studio, the studio that created the game "3D Dot Game Heroes". It's a classic, turn-based RPG similar to the traditional Final Fantasy games. Basically, in this demo, your party is tasked with aiding the people of Ancheim. You talk to the townsfolk and get quests from them. You are also tasked with rebuilding the village of Norende (more on this later). So you run around town talking with the NPCs to fulfill their requests. There's a world map and specific areas/dungeons where you will be venturing to to complete the various quests in the game. Completing these quests grants you bonuses for use in the full version of the game. The interface and menus are simple and this is good for an RPG as it can get irritating if there are too many items to go through just to access one thing (I'm looking at you Mass Effect). Graphics are also simple yet beautiful both with the 3D slider turned off or on.

Bravely Default's gameplay system is similar to classic Final Fantasy which is turn-based with a twist. The game has a "Brave" and "Default" system which uses "Brave Points". Brave Points dictate how many actions you can do in a turn. If your Brave Points are 0 and you activate Brave, you basically borrow future turns in order to do multiple tasks in one turn. Be it using items, using a skill or just simply attacking. The drawback to using Brave is depending on how many times you use it, you leave your character open for a number of turns after based on your Brave Points. In contrast to "Brave" you can also decide to "Default". Doing so puts your character into guard mode. You take less damage from attacks and you gain 1 Brave Point. So now its up to you whether you would like to build up your Brave Points first or go out all from the start and risk taking the damage. Levelling up your characters (level cap for this demo is 20) is just like in any RPG. You just need to grind for it. You can also adjust the battle speed during encounters. Pressing the Right key on the d-pad increases battle speed (or fast-forward) while pressing the Left key decreases the speed and can even pause the battle. Battles occur randomly when walking around the world map and dungeons.

There are a total of 9 different job classes for the characters in this demo. These are Freelancer, Knight, Black Mage, White Mage, Red Mage, Ninja, Performer, Valkyrie and Swordmaster. But even though you select one of the classes, you are also allowed to choose the command abilities of another class. For example, if you select Black Mage as your main class, you can select the White Mage job command to access white magic spells. Levelling each class (the maximum level in the demo is 4) grants you access to specific abilities for that class. This system allows you to mix classes to what suits you. I personally love mixing the Knight and Swordmaster classes. You have the defensive abilities of the Knight and the counter abilities of the Swordmaster. Their look also changes with each of the different job classes. It's just awesome!

The game also has a "Summon" feature of sorts which makes use of StreetPass. When you recieve StreetPass from another player, you recieve whatever character they chose to send. You then bind that character to one of yours and they can summon the character from StreetPass. When summoned, they do a move which was selected by the player who sent it. It's a one time use thing though. If you want to re-use it, you'll have to pass that person again to restock.

Another part of the gameplay in the demo involves you managing people to do certain tasks to restore the Village of Norende. This part of the game I call Facebook-game-ish. How it works is you tap on an item on the town map to choose a task. Be it build a shop or clear a pathway to expand the village. Each task will require a specific amount of time to be accomplished. So you select the task then assign a villager to work on it. The more villagers assigned to the task, the less time it will take to be completed. You will only have one villager to work with at the start. If you want more, you will need to StreetPass other players who also play the game. Though at some point, one of the NPCs will send you one additional villager so that at least sort of helps. The one problem I noticed with this part of the gameplay though is that if you exit the game, the counter stops. So if you plan on building up Norende, you're not allowed to exit the demo (3DS on sleep mode with the game running is fine).

Final Word:
Overall, the demo has me exicted for the full version. It took me 13+ hours to finish it mainly because I was grinding to level up and max out all the job classes (I ended up maxing out their base level too!). The full game will be released on February 7, 2014. It's less than a month away and I can't wait! ^ u ^ 

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