When I heard that a new RPG game was coming from the producer of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions I decided to check it out. Bravely Default is a new game for the 3DS featuring a different take on the classic Final Fantasy franchise. As soon as I found out that the demo for it was available, I immediately downloaded it.
The demo has you doing errands for some of the town residents and completing them gives you bonuses that can be carried over to the full version of the game. The requests typically have you collecting items from certain enemies or killing tough bosses. What’s more, in the fashion of Final Fantasy, you have four unique characters in your party that can be customized with different weapons and job classes.
So after talking with some of the townspeople, I set out for the field to fight the monsters. Within my first battle encounter, I found that enemies were pretty tough and that my traditional attack first approach wouldn’t cut it. That’s when I learned of Bravely Default’s new gameplay mechanic.
At the start of a battle, characters have points called “BP” (Brave Points) that can be used to take additional actions like attacking, using items and even abilities. Each character usually starts off with 1 or 0 BP, and like the title’s namesake you use the Brave and Default options to spend or store BP points. Using Brave spends BP and allows your character to take extra actions during their turn. It’s a bit of a gamble because while you can get another chance to attack right away, you risk a character’s later turns. The Default option, on the other hand, puts a character on the defense to reduce damage and build up BP points for a powerful counter attack on their next or future turns.
Overall, the new Brave Points system is great and I haven’t seen a deep strategic gameplay mechanic like this since Final Fantasy XII. Sure it’s risk-and-reward, but I like how it changes up the gameplay of a traditional RPG game. I can choose to wait carefully and build up my BP to attack at just the right moment, or I can risk it all to try and finish off enemies as quick as possible. Either way, alternating between the two features is essential for winning battles.
Another great feature of Bravely Default is the jobs that you can assign characters. Much like in Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, Bravely Default offers a Job System that players can use to assign characters to different jobs or classes. Characters gain more abilities from a class by leveling it up. Even for a demo, you can alternate between 9 different types of classes. Though each job has its own abilities, the best part is that I can use the abilities from other classes I’ve leveled up. I had a character with the Valkyrie job, for example, that could use black and white magic from the Red Mage class. Mixing and matching the different techniques and abilities of the classes can make for a very strong party.
I was really impressed with the Bravely Default game trial. While most other demos usually cut you off right after the first level, the Bravely Default demo is packed full of content. Even after you finish the game, you can continue playing to complete side quests or level up character classes. I can’t wait for the full release tomorrow on February 7th. Whether you’re a veteran of the Final Fantasy series or have never played one before, Bravely Default is a great change of pace.