Braverly Default is a JRPG game by Square Enix. To me, it is a prime example of JRPG done right. Not to mention it kept me occupied for an entire week while driving through America. To be honest, I would probably have been bored to death without it. The main story is the basic cliche of most RPGs of doing something involving the four elements: Wind, Water, Fire, and Earth. Although I am not quite as cold to the cliche as other people due to me not having played as many games with this premise. It certainly doesn’t excuse the fact that the story was uncreative. It has a premise that can be copy-pasted fifty times to different RPGs but it has its moments. Going deeper into the plot can make it quite interesting and in some small parts, it can even be dark. I truly do enjoy that Braverly default wasn’t afraid to make a few steps to make the story pretty good. The characters are certainly alright in my book and there is decent character development over time. Now to go off the story, we are getting on to the main point: the game play.
This game play is one of the most fresh ones that I have ever seen. After just having recently a very personal experience with Final Fantasy 13, I was very pleased with the game. It follows a regular turn based approach with the new system called the brave and default system. How this works is when you use the brave turn, you get to use any two moves available to you. You can brave up to three times to get four moves in one turn. The down side to this is your character is going to have to wait and be completely idle for the turns that he is braving. For example, if I were to brave two times and I were to have three moves, then I will have to wait three turns until I can attack again.
Now on the other hand, with defaulting, you give up your turn by guarding but you will take less damage. As you guard, you will store up one brave point where you can brave without losing a turn in the heat of the battle. Although this may seem simple, due to the wide variety of strategies, it makes it an extremely intricate system. As both your enemies can also brave and default. Because of this and the fact that this job involves twenty four different jobs with different abilities and attacks, you can have some extremely powerful strategies of attacking. And I really did enjoy the creativity that the job system gave me. Since one of your four characters can have two jobs equipped at any time. There are also multiple different side quests that are completely optional carry different jobs as rewards. You can also take a few steps in rebuilding the village of Norende.
When you rebuild, it can take a set amount of time to rebuild certain shops that will be available with items as the game goes on. Some of these items are extremely powerful. So when I first saw them, boy did I want them! And once you do get one of them later in the game, boy does it feel good to wield it in battle! They are expensive though. I was practically flabbergasted when I saw one in the first chapter of the game. And since your funds go up further and further as the game goes on as the enemies give you more money, later on I was finally able to get one. Eventually I was equipping most of my team with some of the Norende items. Now the basic game play does go well and it is quite fun to progress through the game. Although at a certain point, it gets repetitive, kind of literally. Saying anything more would lead to spoilers.
There are a few more kinks. The voice acting a bit too dramatic and the voice directing being baffling if not laughable at best, just kind of gave me a chuckle when I heard the first few lines and how they are (supposed to be) pronounced. Not to mention, there are micro transactions. The worst part about it is they are trying to get you to pay more money, for a $40 game, basically you will be throwing money at things that won’t even help you. I would explain how sleep points work. You get them by leaving your DS on sleep mode but honestly, I so rarely used that feature until later on in the game when I really needed to do extra damage. The sleep points are really not worth buying since you can so easily get them.
All in all, despite the few minor flaws, I enjoyed the game with all my heart. It was a substantial game with a intricate and interesting system. A breath of fresh air.