Review: Bravely Default Demo

Yeah it’s that time of year.  The time of year when even the virtual shelves are sparse with new games.  So I guess it isn’t surprising that I somehow I found myself downloading and playing the Bravely Default Demo, in hopes of finding something, anything new to play.  What was surprising was that I found myself sinking nine hours into the game.

There’s not a lot of story, the demo explicitly states that the events takes place outside of a the main game’s story, and your reason for combat is just a bunch of glorified fetch quests.  But, there is a lot of fun gameplay if you like turn-based jRPGs with job systems.  Which I do like quite a bit.  There isn’t a whole lot of fundamental difference between the job system and combat between say, Final Fantasy II.  But the game doesn’t pretend that a couple decades haven’t passed since that game has been released.  Success in the game requires some thoughtful managing of the various job roles in any given party.  The one original feature  of the game(which they named it after for some reason; maybe something is lost in translation?) is the ability to “brave” (take two turns at once) or “default” (defend and bank a turn for later).  This doesn’t seem all that interesting in the early stages of the demo, but you soon run across enemies that force you to use these systems well to succeed.  And, the enemies play the same rules, so you have to plan for enemies that might take a couple turns, or they might not.  It’s interesting.

There also is the promise that you’re going to carry certain parts of your progress in the game over to the main one.  I don’t know how that’s going to work out but it seems like a nice reason to play the demo.

There were other features that I just couldn’t comment on, but was curious about.  The game has several different social hooks that allow you to really take advantage of having friends who play, as well as encouraging you to street pass with other players.  But despite the fact that this was a free demo, I don’t have any friends playing and have been unable to streetpass with anyone so I have no idea if they work or not.

All in all, a pretty good experience for nothing.  It made me want to get the main game.  But it’s not in any stores and not in the E-shop yet.  So instead of getting my 40 bucks, now Square has to just hope I remember to buy it before I get something else.


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