Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bravely Default Demo Impressions

The demo for anticipated RPG Bravely Default hit the 3DS e-shop recently.  The graphics are very similar to Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, and it's supposed to be.  The characters are super-deformed 3D models, and they look pretty good.  The 3D effect in the game is what you would expect.  It works fine, but not amazing.  The music, however, is good.  I especially like the boss music, but it's all good and fits the areas well.

The battle system takes normal, turned-based RPG combat, but adds a twist.  The 'default' function is basically the guard, as you will take less damage, however, it also will save the point you get that turn for use in a later turn, so in effect, you can stack your turns by defending.  The 'brave' function will use those turns to unleash several actions in one turn.  Now you know where the title comes from.  Also, you can use brave without using default beforehand, but you will put off your turn until your points equal zero (you get 1 point per turn).  It adds some strategy to the mix, since you can try to save your turns until the enemy is open, or send yourself into the negative to end things early.

Borrowing from the best Final Fantasy games, the job system is also in place in Bravely Default.  You pick one class to be, and you can choose the action abilities (magic, etc.) from one other unlocked class.  You can also equip a few passive abilities that you have learned.  Each passive costs a certain amount of points, and your characters have a max of 4 points.  There are some really good ones, like 'multitask', which sometimes allows you a second attack if you choose 'attack' that turn.  This was amazing on the ninja job, since it can dual wield without penalty, and each hand attacks separately.  So, you could have four attacks in one turn, just by picking attack.  Combining it with brave... well, that is some good damage.  Another useful skill was 'buff up', which increases your attack and defense by 5% per turn, and it stacks up to 50%.  This was really useful for boss encounters, since those last enough turns to make the skill worth it.

The demo is basically a series of quests that are taken one at a time.  I found that after each one, I needed to grind for a bit to raise my level and afford some better equipment before being able to tackle the next.  It reminded me of old-school RPGs, for better or worse.  At first, I didn't like that I could only take one quest at a time, but there's less than 10 in the demo, so I understand why.  However, the fairy on the menu screen (I didn't catch her name if she gave it) would tell you what the quest is, so you don't have to look it up on a sub menu if you forget.  You could complete all of the quests in about 7-8 hours, and I put 9 into it to max out the level (20) and all the job classes for all the characters.  That's really substantial for a demo.

The final thing thrown into the demo is a sample of the town building aspect.  You get a villager, and they can clear away debris for space to build facilities in your town or build/upgrade a facility.  It takes time (during play or sleep mode) to clear it and build the shops, and each villager shortens the time needed.  To get more villagers, you have to use street pass.  I was able to clear it all and fully upgrade each shop without any other villagers, it just took a few days of sleep mode.  I'd much prefer to actually get some more villagers, since they will directly carry over to the full game when it releases.

Bravely Default was a really good demo that let you play the game, but not actually a part from the full version.  It lets you experience the town building, battles, quests and some of the job classes.  You can put several hours into it, which is great for a demo, and certain milestones (bosses defeated) will unlock items for the full version.  If you like job classes in RPGs, or old-school turn based RPGs at all, give the demo a try and have some fun!

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