COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Bravely Default 3DS Review

Updated: 02/18/2014 9:14 AM By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Square Enix
Photo courtesy of Square Enix

I have been a huge fan of role playing games (RPG’s) since the early days of NES.  I played games like “Final Fantasy” and “Dragon Warrior” for hours. 

I really enjoy RPG’s because they are challenging and every time you play through them it’s a different gaming experience.

I was thrilled when I received review materials for “Bravely Default” for the Nintendo 3DS.

“Bravely Default” is the latest new RPG from Square-Enix, and it has a brand new and unique battle system, which I think is awesome.

“Bravely Default” is about a young boy named “Tiz,” and one day a great chasm opened up and swallowed his village.  He is the only survivor, and he goes out looking for more survivors.  He ends up running into a girl named “Agnes” who is the keeper of a wind crystal.   You learn that there are four crystals, Agnes has one of them and Agnes’s temple has been devoured by darkness.  Now the two of them along with two other characters named “Edea Lee” and “Ringabel” must work together to try and stop the evil darkness.

I really thought the story was really interesting and new, and I enjoyed it.  The more I played and as the story started to unfolded, I felt like I had to keep playing, because I wanted to find out what was going to happen.

I really thought the characters were awesome.  The main characters were very likeable, and I wanted to learn more about them.  Well, at least I did anyway.

The graphics are truly stunning and look fantastic.  There is so much detail added to “Bravely Default.”  The characters and enemies look great, and the battles are epic. 

The backgrounds and scenery are beautifully drawn and are breathtaking.

I played mostly in 3D and that is the way to play.  Everything just jumps out at you.

The controls are very easy to learn and everyone should be able to pick up the game and play with no problems at all.  Plus everything is explained in a tutorial that is built into the game which is very helpful.

You move Tiz around with the direction pad on an over world map and you can talk to people, enter buildings and look at certain things by pushing the “A” button.  If you push the “X” button you can bring up your menu, and you can upgrade your characters by equipping them with new weapons and look at your character stats.

Once you meet characters and they join your party, you can switch between them by pushing the “L” or “R” button.

As you are playing, a message will sometimes pop up that says “party chat.”  If you push “Y” the characters will talk to each other, and you will learn more about the story.

The touch screen is very helpful because here you can save your game, see what quests are available to do, update your street pass, and also access Norende Village.  I will talk more about that later.

In each town you visit, there is an Inn where you can rest and regain your health and magic points, a trader where you can purchase items like potions that will restore your health.  There is an armory where you can buy and sell equipment like swords and shields.  These will increase your attack, and you can buy armor that will help protect you in battle.  Once nice thing is that when the item is highlighted, you can see if a weapon or piece of armor will increase or decrease your characters stats.

There is also a Magics shop where you can buy magic scrolls.

In every town and also in different areas in the game there is an adventurer, and if you talk to him, you can save your game.

One really fun thing that is added to “Bravely Default” is the tutorial quests.  There are a bunch of them, and if you go into your menu you can see what you need to do to complete them.  The quests explain how to do certain things in the game, and if you do them you are rewarded with items.

The battle system is awesome, and as I mentioned earlier there are new features called “brave” and “default.”

When you are walking around the map you will randomly encounter enemies.  Once you encounter an enemy, you will go into a battle sequence.  Here you can choose from a number of options, and you only get once action per turn.  You can choose to attack, and you will attack one of the enemies. You can choose to run away from the fight and also use items.  You have abilities that you can use and will learn different ones as your character’s level increases.  For example, one ability will let you see how many hit points an enemy has left and what his/her/its weakness is. 

You choose to use” default,” and what this does is allows you to wait with your action and will give you an extra action the next turn.  So once you choose default, your character will defend an attack and then will get a “Brave Point (BP.) You can save up to four brave points each turn.  When you decide to use your brave points, you will gain that many of turns.   You can attack the enemies multiple times.  I really like this a lot, because if you wait a few turns you can really build up a pretty powerful attack.  This is extremely helpful when you have other characters in your party because you both can save up the brave points with default, and then you can do enough damage on your next turn to wipe out the enemies.

Another really cool feature is that you can summon friends to help you in battle.  You can activate the StreetPass and meet other players.  In battle, you can summon your friends that you met to help you on a turn or you can choose to use one of their abilities.  This was a pretty cool feature and is very helpful especially when you are fighting a very powerful boss or creature.  You also have something called “Affinity.”  Whenever you summon a friend and use their moves, your affinity with them will increase.  Your friend’s moves will become stronger and more powerful if you have a high affinity level.

When you win a battle, you will gain experience points and sometimes the creatures will drop items you can use.  As you earn experience points, your stats increase and so does your job.  The jobs will give you different abilities that you can use in battle and you can combine the jobs that you learn to give you even more abilities.  Some of the jobs are ninja, thief, black mage, and conjurer.

Another really fun thing that you can do in “Bravely Default” is try to rebuild Norende Village,  which is Tiz’s town that was destroyed.  You can build different buildings like inns, weapon shops, and etc… You select what you want built and where and once you make the selection construction begins, and it takes a certain amount of time.  You can also remove obstacles on your map. 

When you meet people using your StreetPass, they will become workers, and the more people you meet the more workers you will have to help rebuild your town.

There are creatures called “Nemeses” and they will come to your town and will attack it.  You can fight them and get special items from them.  Other players can send Nemeses to your village, and you must stop them from destroying your village.

I thought that this was a lot of fun, and it really added something extra to “Bravely Default.”  I know players will find this feature fun and exciting.

I really enjoyed Square-Enix’s “Bravely Default” for the Nintendo 3DS a lot.  The graphics and story were amazing.  The 3D looked fabulous, and I really thought the new battle system with the “brave” and “default” options were a great new feature.  I know fans of RPG’s are really going to enjoy “Bravely Default” a lot. I would highly recommend that you check this game out.

Aaron Chalich is a entertainment columnist.