I put “Personal Opinions” to justify why I don’t pitch an article to some paying outlet.
Here, I wanna talk about the games I recently finished and what I take out of the game when all is said and done. I would love to type a more in-depth and professional piece, but I doubt many publications would like to pay me for my personal opinions at the moment, and I want to talk about the games I play with people who may have played it as well.
I recently had the pleasure of finishing one of my most highly anticipated games; Bravely Default for the 3Ds. I’ve had my eye on this gem for over a year, and I’m proud to say that the game did not disappoint. From start to finish, despite the flaws and annoyances, it was the characters and battle system that ultimately won me over and made Bravely Default one of my favorite JRPGs.
I could write glowing praises for this game, and it would deserve it because it is just that good, but some things stand out and take away from it being a flawless experience.
1. Backgrounds, Dungeons, and Character Models
In Bravely Default, part of the draw is the gorgeous hand painted backdrops… for the towns and battle back grounds. For dungeons and character models are all represented by 3D models that, while adequate in their own right, aren’t the same hand painted deliciousness that the towns are.
Also, the heroes themselves are more deformed than the rest of the cast. This is fine save for the fact that the characters are all young adults (no matter the version you play), and interact often with other adults, but these other adults are represented by longer proportions and more adult features, making the four heroes look a lot younger than they are. This is especially distracting when the character, Edea, stands next to her parents and looks every bit a child.
It could be argued that the child-like proportions represent just how young these heroes are to be changing the world, but due to the fact that Bravely Second is rumored to be changing the proportions, I doubt it.
2. Edea’s Motivations
Edea is the last party member you gain, and one of the most outspoken. She’s a dynamic character that stands out in a party of (mostly) dynamic characters. She has a strong sense of justice that aligns with the party… and that’s it. Her sole reason for joining the party is to set right what her country is doing because she believes its wrong… despite being raised on it. The only reason the rest of the party accepts her is because Ringabel is drawn to her via his journal and convinces the others to let her join.
At one point in the game, you must play as Edea, which means only she can do something the others can’t, but this happens mid game, and after that, she’s really only along for the ride. If a game starred her, it would be called: Bravely Involving Yourself: Other People’s Business.
3. Tiz And His Vague Power And Decision
Tiz is set up to be the protagonist, he is the first and last perspective in the game, and he has some unknown importance. This, however, is false, he is actually the deuteragonist to Agnes. I absolutely love this, as it’s a perfect set up for his supportive relationship with her.
However, midway through the game, it’s hinted at that Tiz is like a transformer, and more that meets the eye. This isn’t addressed again till the end, when his power suddenly become relevant. There’s no progression in this plot point, and no foreshadowing save for the one vague mid-game statement. The power is never fully explained in the game and left vague. At the end, Tiz makes a decision that makes no sense, and although appears to be selfless, turns out to be selfish.
It seems like we’ll be seeing Tiz again, so maybe this plot point is going to be addressed.
3. What The Hell, Ringabel?!
If Tiz is the deuteragonist, then Ringabel or Edea is the tritagonist.
There is a plot twist late game, like any good story arc. The problem is that the plot twist is revealed early in subquests, then again a bit later through the main story. Ringabel is the first to figure things out, and even lets Tiz and Agnes in on the plot twist that will enviable come (its assumed that Edea is informed, but it’s never stated).
From there, nothing changes. The party still falls into the plot twist and acts surprised when it happens. Ringabel has ample time to warn the rest of the party, but they do nothing about it. This is mainly due to Agnes wanting to beat a dead horse, but still, Ringabel does little to prevent the plot twist, just warn the others, and sit back and watch it all go to shit. Way to go, Ringabel.
4. Agnes Has The Worst English Voice Acting
Most of the reviews for Bravely Default say that the English voice acting is less to be desired, but the voices all seemed to work well, save for one…
Agnes’s voice only seemed to portray tragic and sadness, and nothing else. Her voice was grating, and did little but distract from an otherwise strong character. Agnes wasn’t the strongest personality in the party, but as the protagonist the story only moved through her direct actions. She was the catalyst and sole survivor for an ideals put under fire… And all of it fell a bit flat with the breathy whiny voice Agnes speaks with.
5. Everyone Is Vague Because…?
Very few people in the world agree with Agnes. Even fewer people give reasons for why they do. Some people are killed because they don’t agree, but instead of explaining why the party is wrong in their opinion, they instead expire with basically a big ol’ “screw you people, you suck”. This extends to the whole game, and gets very annoying.
6. “You Mean We Can Live A Great Life? …Nah. Check Please.”
The party makes mistakes. They stumble through their adventure. They learn, they grow, they start to do things better. They realize their ways may not be set in stone.
SPOILER! DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT PART OF THE STORY REVEALED!
When the party starts to cross worlds, one of the worlds to test their resolve is a world where their direct actions don’t bring the world down. In this world, Tiz’s brother survives and he doesn’t. Olivia survives and Agnes doesn’t. Edea is killed and Alternis Dim gives up his position. The result is a place where the trans-dimensional party belongs to, a place where they are needed and desired, and they would make the world a better place simply by being there for the ones they love. Naturally, the party decides to leave this world in order to get to the source of the chaos.
But in the end, when they do set what is wrong right, they are given the chance to return to this world. Instead, they decide to go to the origin world. A world made progressively worse because the party didn’t know better.
I mean, I get it. They want to live with their decisions. It’s better to live with your decisions than to run from them… But what’s done is done. Their being involved in their origin world serves little good. Instead, why not live in a world where they are needed?
7. Late Game Mechanics
In the latter part of the game, once all the jobs are unlocked, the game decides to ramp up the difficulty, nearly forcing players to get to level 99 with maxed out jobs. Assuming this, the game starts to throw new mechanics to screw you over, like unavoidable resistance downers and, in the case of the final boss, unavoidable instant death.
The results became me playing classes and mixing skills that felt like I was exploiting the system instead of playing the classes and skills I wanted to base each character on. It cheapened my experience, but it felt necessary with the curve balls the game started throwing. Ultimately, yes, it was my decision to play these classes, but the difficulty spike in the final chapters warranted it.
These flaws bring the game down from being perfect, and a lot of these are just nitpicking. The desire is to spark discussion, and maybe any points you had with the game. I loved it, and the sequel looks to rectify many of my complaints. Let me know in the comments how you are enjoying the game!