Before you ask, yes, I am getting to the Bravely Default review. Experimenting with doing videos is, well…problematic. Mainly because I need someone to work the camera. Also, I feel that talking about this game is necessary because of the weird as hell premise. Developed by Spike Chunsoft (999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward), and published by my favorite makers of awesome games, Atlus, I was very skeptical. You’re about to see why in just a minute, but also why I am actually excited for the game!
Let’s not waste any time and dive in!
The demo doesn’t delve too deep into the characters involved. Basic premise is evil of incredible power is subduing humanity, and there’s little that can be done. At least until things change thanks to “God’s Gift.” You control a character who is apparently “God’s Gift,” and is able to create Star Children with the various heroines of the game through Classmating, which is basically sex. Yeah, they hold hands, but it’s clearly sex. Atlus, you guys ain’t fooling me! They are [insert various sex jokes/other ways to say it, because the list is too damn long]. Anyway, by doing this, you can create children of various classes, who while small, do possess incredible power. Rather than babies, they seem to be a bit grown up thanks to the source being some sort of doll. It looks like something I have seen before, but I can’t put my finger on it.
The demo allows you to dig a bit deeper by talking to other characters. You can talk to three heroines, though more will be available in the full game obviously. Each one has a different personality, as well as different stats. So when forming children, they each bring something better than the other to the table when trying to give a child a job; think Final Fantasy jobs, like Warrior, Cleric, Mage, etc. The kids even give the parents gifts! However, talks with them can actually improve their moods, making them happier to be around you. And of course, you do get to know more about them, though your time is limited. The number of times you can talk is also limited, as well as the dialogue, which felt like a mixed bag for me. Maybe it’s because of the voice actors.
Gameplay has been compared to the Persona series, and it does share some similarities, with a weakness system. There’s also the chain system, which can actually help bind an enemy while also granting extra experience, money, and BP. However, the important thing this game has is placement, which is very important. Enemies can only move one place at a time it seems, meaning you can force enemies to take an extra turn to get to you if the tactics down right. And of course enemies even have different attack patterns, such as being able to attack every spot around them. The aim is to do the most damage, yes, but this does force you to be more careful. Sadly, that was the last enemy of the level and not much more experimentation could be done.
The children are one of the new things, as you can organize them into various teams. Teams share HP and MP, and even skills, and can be arranged into teams of 3. Due to the demo, this is restricted, but this does lend way to building strategic armies, similar to Devil Survivor, minus the fact that you can name these kids and even equip them with other weapons and armor. As for yourself, you and the heroine of your choosing are the biggest damage dealers, though also have the most limits in terms of attacks. However, special moves are available, and they differ depending on your partner, in terms of damage, attack animation, and even how many enemies are hit.
There is one other thing to remember with your kids: they can combine…into a giant robot. I’m not even kidding, and this suddenly made me want the game more. The logic can be baffling, but this is one of those “too-awesome” moments where I cease to care. By using built up BP gathered from talking to people and chaining enemies, the children can combine into an ultimate being of power, and the sheer power is incredibly fun to toy around with, though usually a limited time due to the weak enemies.
The only thing I didn’t quite like was the lack of difficulty or implementing more strategies. However, that is kinda the point, especially with the ridiculous amount of MP healing items you have. The idea is to experiment with what you have and see how much chaos you can do on the battlefield, as well as what works and doesn’t work. The dungeon layout however can be a bit boring times, though at least tries to keep things somewhat interesting with random loot scattered throughout the level. It should be mentioned however that’s it seems to only be random by placement.
The 3D is next to useless sadly. In combat, there’s barely any difference. However, I felt it was far more useful when talking to classmates, or classmating, though not really necessary and hardly adds anything interesting. I know I usually hate on 3D, almost as much as Angry Joe, but other games sometimes got this right at least. And, taking a page from Bravely Default’s book, you can also take the save data of the game to get items to help you out early on.
Overall, the demo is meant more for experimentation than challenge, finding what works and what doesn’t, while also introducing the player to the world of the game like a good demo should. And doesn’t charge you $30 like a certain Metal Gear game! However, much like that game, it can also be completed very quickly. I think I sped through in seven minutes, and I think others can do faster.
If the premise hasn’t sent you running away, try it out for yourself and see what happens. I already I have mine preordered. I just hope the full game meets my expectations. Then again, if Atlus can turn a game where you have to put an item like a gun to your head and pull the trigger to summon beings of incredible power and fighting off demons of darkness known as shadows, and make that incredibly memorable, I think they can help pull this off too.