Bravely Default is innovative and familiar all at once. At its core, it is a traditional turn-based JRPG. Seeing as those are usually one-player affairs, I didn’t think other players would have such a strong impact on my experience with it. But Bravely Default turned out to have the most extensive and well implemented StreetPass functionality of any 3DS game I’ve played to date.
Half of the StreetPass features have to do with the ruined village of Norende: hometown of Tiz, the main protagonist, before it was swallowed up by a giant chasm. But Tiz has taken on the task of returning Norende to its former glory.
For this optional side quest, you can access the village at any time from the menu screen and assign residents to work on building or upgrading the village shops. As new items are made available in the shops, you can purchase them for yourself.
All the projects take real time to complete (up to 99 hours), but the more villagers you assign to a task, the shorter it takes. Norende’s population goes up by one with each other Bravely Defauly player you StreetPass.
Despite all this being optional, the weapons and armor you get from Norende’s shops are some of the best in the game. There are even shops that specialize in items to customize and power-up your party’s special moves; in fact, they’re the only way you can do so. This helped me out a lot, especially when going up against a tough boss with a specific weakness.
One thing that disappointed me about Norende is how detached the whole experience was. You literally interact with it at a distance where the villagers look like bugs. I was helping rebuild Tiz’s home, but I never got to actually go there. One of my favorite parts of Bravely Default was the cool, really creative towns. I would have loved to actually visit Norende, and watch the population and buildings grow as I talked to the citizens personally – like the growth of Black City in Pokemon Black and White.
All the towns in this game had the appearance of being hand drawn, so it might have been more difficult to render Norende in various stages of progression than it was to paste in a few more identical skyscrapers in Black City. That said, I wanted to be emotionally attached to this town, but the game just wouldn’t let me.
The other aspect of Norende is the Nemesis battles. These are intriguing bosses that terrorize your village until you defeat them. Some appear randomly, but you can also StreetPass a Nemesis to other players like a virus. They provide extra tricky challenges for players, beyond what you normally fight in the main story.
One Nemesis I fought seemed to absorb all types of attacks, magical and physical. When I examined it and found out it had a fire weakness, I thought I had him beat. After ordering four consecutive Firagas, I took pride in seeing the first deal massive damage. But my feeling was devastated after seeing the next three spells restore his health. After a few frustrating experiments, I learned that every time the boss took damage, its weakness changed. There aren’t many RPGs where I can call optional mini-bosses memorable. But there were a few Nemesis battles like this one that really impressed me with the thought that was put in. Definitely a great feature.
In addition to the extra strategy needed to defeat Nemeses, some of them are just brutally strong. This is where you go for a challenge after beating the game. They’re no joke.
There are two other StreetPass functions completely separate from the village: Friend Summons and Abililink.
During battle, whenever you do any attack, you have the option to “Send” it. This doesn’t change your attack at all, but it records the character, the attack, and the damage in your StreetPass data. Then, whoever StreetPasses you can “Summon” your character in their adventure to do that same attack or healing spell.
These have saved my life a few times, like when my White Mage was my last character standing, but with no MP. Luckily I had a Friend Summon I’d been saving that could deal 9999 damage, which finished off my foe.
I still have a few powerful attacks saved up in case I’m stuck like that again, but in actuality I am rarely in a situation as dire as that. They kind of came off as a novelty that really wasn’t useful at all after a certain point of the game. So I could have done without them.
The last thing is Abililink. This is a way for you to share in your friends’ progress. Now this isn’t a StreetPass function, but it is a social function, and I think it’s worth mentioning. Let’s say you have a friend who also owns Bravely Default. You both play, and while you train one of your characters to master, say, the Knight job, your friend focuses on the Templar job. These jobs complement each other pretty well, but neither of you want to take the time to level the other job all the way up. With Abililink, you can link your characters together, granting your Knight access to any Templar skills your friend learned, while your friend would likewise have access to all of your Knight skills.
Now I personally haven’t used this at all, and I don’t plan to. I don’t see the joy in getting the best skills in the game without working for them myself. I guess I’m just old fashioned that way. But it’s very popular with a lot of other players that I’ve met online, and it definitely has its perks. With 24 jobs in the game, and 14 levels to each, and four characters to level them up on, I can see why some people would want a quick out.
Bravely Default has great social aspects, not just for a JRPG, but for any 3DS game. It was the first game I had that actually had me actively looking for StreetPasses, which really says something. It did a great job integrating other people into a genre that is almost exclusively one-player.
If you are a fan of JRPGs, you own a 3DS, and haven’t picked up the game yet… what are you waiting for!? Are you still reading this? You’d better be ordering the game in another tab or we’re gonna have a problem.
All jokes aside, I can’t recommend Bravely Default enough, especially if you’re already a fan of the genre. It may not be perfect, but it’s easily one of my all-time favorites. I don’t regret buying it day one, and I won’t regret when I do the same with the sequel.
The post Bravely Social: The StreetPass Experience of Bravely Default appeared first on The Pocket Players.
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