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dbarry_22's Video Game Reviews (221)

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Demon's Souls 3.5/5
Metroid Dread 4.5/5
Returnal 4/5
Dead Cells 4.5/5
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 4/5
Bloodstained: Ritual of... 4.5/5
Bloodstained: Ritual of... 4.5/5
Red Dead Redemption 2 4.5/5
Blaster Master Zero II 3.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Li... 5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Li... 5/5
Golf Story 4/5
Tetris 99 3.5/5
Red Dead Redemption 4/5
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes... 4.5/5
Mega Man 11 4/5
Octopath Traveler 4.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Sp... 3.5/5
Bloodstained: Curse of ... 4/5
Everybody's Golf 3.5/5
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 4.5/5
Super Mario Galaxy 2 4.5/5
Castlevania: Portrait o... 4/5
Final Fantasy X / X-2 H... 4.5/5
Final Fantasy X / X-2 H... 4.5/5

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Bravely Default   Nintendo 3DS 

A New Take on an Old RPG Concept    4.5/5 stars

Bravely Default successfully brings back the traditional turn-based RPG by adding several small improvements to the battle system making this a must play for fans of older RPGs.

The game title "Bravely Default" can seem a bit vague at first, but it describes the major renovation to the turn based battle system. Every turn, you can either do your normal physical or magical attack or maybe a special ability. That's normal. But, you also have the ability to "Brave" or "Default". When you "Default", you basically put your character in a defensive state, building up turns to use later on. This is referred in the game as your "BP". You can also "Brave" raising your character to up to 4 attacks in one turn. The idea behind this is to time your attacks. If you "Brave" a ton at the start of the battle, your BP will go into the negative, and you can't do anything with your character until you get back to zero. It actually works really well. It gave the traditional turn-based RPG a fresh feel.

I won't go too much into the story as to not spoil anything. The game begins with an impressive CG sequence showing a great chasm swallowing up the home town of one of the characters in your party, Tiz. He loses his brother in the tragedy and gets picked up and taken to a town while unconscious. Upon returning to the scene, he runs into a woman named Agnes. Anges is the Wind Vestal attempting to fix the worlds ecological problems. Tiz, with pretty much nothing else to do, decides to protect her and joins her quest. Along the way you come across Ringabel, a man who has a past full of mystery, and Edea, a woman who was originally fighting against what Agnes is striving for. In order to seal this great chasm that's formed, Agnes believes they must revive four crystals (Wind, Water, Fire, & Earth). Sounds familiar doesn't it?

One part of the game I really enjoyed was the job class system. In order for one of your characters to take on a job, like a white mage, you must defeat a boss who has that job. I thought this was a great way of introducing you to all the jobs and also spreading them out over the course of the game so to not overwhelm you with choices (there are well over 20 in the game). Don't worry, the initial jobs that open up to your party are the basic ones you'd be seeking. Your characters have two leveling systems. The character gets your basic experience and can level up to 99. But, you also level up your job too by getting JP in every battle. As you level up your job, you can do more abilities. Not only that, but you can pick a second job where you can use its abilities. So, if you're a black mage you're not just stuck using black magic the whole time. Your character's second ability could be white magic so that character can heal, too. You don't level up the second ability, you just have access of using it.

The job system in combination with the "Brave" and "Default" aspects to the battle system make taking on enemies a lot of fun. There are practically endless choices in strategy and party combinations making the game feel less redundant as you go along. You're not just attacking with a sword or fire spells the whole time. There are other tweaks to the battle system that make things go quicker, too. During battles, you can set the animations quicker if you want by pressing left or right on the D-Pad. You can increase the speed to 2x or 4x, making battles go much faster if you want. Also, if you're in a grinding mode and you are using the same strategy every battle, you can turn your party to "Auto" by pressing Y and they will perform the same actions every turn. Both of those things made my game go much faster and it was greatly appreciated.

The graphics aren't exactly impressive but they don't detract to the game either. If you played Final Fantasy III or IV for the DS, you'll see a lot of similarities. The 3D models aren't perfect, but they weren't horrible either. Every once in a while I did see a slow down with massive fire spells or something, but in general the engine ran well. I thought the music was well composed but it did lack a bit of variety due to the game's length.

That's the other thing, you can spend a LONG time playing this game. I did pretty much everything you can do in this game and ended up spending almost 100 hours on it. Don't get me wrong, I do feel I definitely got my money's worth, but in general I believe a handheld game shouldn't take you this long. It's not very hard to spend 20 or 30 minutes on a boss battle if you're being careful, so sometimes you need to make sure you have time to spend before turning this game on. Yes, you can put it sleep mode, but I'm not the kind of guy that likes to do that mid-battle.

There are other little things that added to the experience of playing Bravely Default. You get to rebuild Norende (the town swallowed up at the start of the game), in an almost mini-game type scenario. This is totally worth your while because you fine tune your characters' specials that way among other things. There's a nice tutorial mode that promotes you to try new things. There's a Summon Friend ability that's let you bring in someone else's character to do an attack that you might not be able to do. There's plenty of things that will keep you coming back to this game.

To sum up, while I did find the story a bit redundant and slow paced by the end, the battle system kept me coming back. There are countless boss battles and side quests to go along with the main story and the battle system has been fine tuned close to perfection. If you're a fan of old school turn-based RPG's, this is a must play for you.

4.5/5

 

 


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