Bravely Default Demo

Probably my most hyped game at the moment is Bravely Default on the 3DS.  It's a semi-classic style Final Fantasy JRPG with artwork by Akihiko Yoshida.  It's the spiritual successor to The Heroes of Light on the DS, which itself was a spiritual remake of Final Fantasy 1.

Akihiko Yoshida was one of my favorite artists from Squaresoft during the Playstation era.  He did the artwork for Final Fantasy Tactics, and Vagrant Story, and then, more recently, Final Fantasy XII.  Though, Bravely Default does not fall in that universe. He works a lot with Yasumi Matsuno, who designed all those games, too.

It was originally released in 2012, and is finally coming out in the US in about a month.  Two weeks ago, Nintendo released a demo on the eShop.  The demo is mostly stand alone.  It contains no story, and very little character interaction, and you're placed in an area that doesn't even exist in the full game.  It's simply meant to show off the Job system, the battle system, and the Street Pass stuff.  As well as part of the world, and the music, too.  As you progress through the demo, you unlock stuff you can transfer to the full game. :)

I started playing the demo yesterday, and it looks gorgeous.  Yoshida's art style is represented perfectly.  The characters and their costumes are vibrant and unique.  The enemies look really nice, too.  I love the flat look used in the village and the battles.  It doesn't compromise style for realism.

The demo itself is rather grindy, due to the lack of story, but I think it's still pretty fun.  You get a simple kill or fetch quest, complete it, then do the next one.  The jobs cap at level 4, so it allows you to experiment with several jobs and job combinations.

The Brave & Default battle system is pretty unique, and rather easy to understand.  When it's your character's turn, in addition to attack, magic, etc, you can choose to either Brave or Default.  Defaulting essentially saves a turn for later, and your character is put in defensive mode for the rest of the turn.  Brave will use multiple turns per round, up to 4.  You can only stock 3 turns, and going negative is OK, but characters can only participate in a round if they have 0 or more stocked turns. Stocked turns are simply called Brave points.

So, I pretty much just stock up on turns and then release a ton of moves in a single round later.  The extra defense from Defaulting is almost necessary for not getting killed right away.

This game does feature random battles, but in the settings, you can change the frequency of the encounter rate.  You can change is to 0 when you want to explore.  Or up it to 100, when you need to grind out some levels.

The demo is kinda long, too.  I think I'm about halfway through at 4 hours, and I've only unlocked two of the seven prize packs I can bring into the full game.

If you were a fan of Squaresoft back in the Playstation days, I would definitely recommend playing through the demo, and deciding whether or not this game is for you.  I've been pretty excited for this game, and the demo has definitely reassured me. :)

Also, if you have a Japanese 3DS, the recent re-release of the game with the subtitle, For the Sequel, is (nearly) the exact same game out in Europe now, and coming out in the US next month.  It has full English support, and I think might not have the censoring they added for the western market.

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