Release: February 7th, 2014 (U.S.)
Published by: Square-Enix - Nintendo
Developed by: Silicon Studio
Available on: Nintendo 3DS/2DS
Average game-play: Around 60-65 hours
Streetpass: Yes [explained towards the end]
Collector's Edition: Includes original soundtrack, artbook, and 34 AR cards (and of course a copy of the game)
Keep in mind this is a brief review to cut down on any spoilers
You are a warrior of light in this game. Your objective is to awaken 4 crystals to bring the world back from darkness. Each crystal counts for an element: Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth. For example, at the beginning the seas have become tainted (even boats cannot sail without them dissolving into the ocean). Awakening each crystal helps to restore everything back to normal. A village is swallowed up by darkness. This is where the story begins.
The story/plot is impressive. It keeps you wanting to play more and more to find out what happens next. There are side quests in the game you can do if you want to take a break from the main story or from grinding. There is a lot to do in this game and a lot of twists to keep you guessing what happens next.
This is an RPG with turn-based combat. There are two other options as well. "Brave" and "Default" If you want to make a strategy you can use these two options to your advantage. If you 'default' you basically just pass your character's turn. You can do this up to three times. Then you can 'brave' three times and that character can strike 4 times in 1 turn. It's very useful in boss fights.
There's also the SP drinks which are pretty useless in my opinion unless you really need it to take the advantage in battle. If you leave your 3DS on sleep mode for 8 hours you regain 1 SP (you can have up to 3 SP at a time). You can use it at any point in battle to make it your turn and it stops time for you to attack. If you don't want to wait 8 hours for 1 SP you can buy more in the Nintendo eshop thing (yes, it actually costs real money and not play coins).
There are different jobs in the game as well (24 in all) that you acquire after beating certain bosses. All 4 characters start out as Freelancers. Each job has their own strengths and weaknesses, so it's a good idea to keep them leveled up for when you need to swap to them later on (you receive Job Points (JP) after defeating enemies in battle. Each job maxes out at Lv 14). IF you played the demo and obtained all 7 play bonuses, those will transfer over to the full game (as well as any villagers you gathered in Norende).
The music in this game is good. Square-Enix usually delivers when it comes to the music in a game. If you bought the collector's edition of Bravely Default, it comes with the original soundtrack. For the certain areas of the game the music is re-used....which over time becomes bland, but the soundtrack overall is great.
The voice acting is great but at times it feels a little forced (in my opinion it happens to be Agnes's voice that irritates me sometimes). I haven't used the 3D function in the game, so I can't really review how that works (I usually play games with the 3D function off anyways).
The game has 3 difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, and Hard. You can always change the difficulty setting during the game. The one thing I love about this game is that you can change the encounter rate! In this game you run around on a map and every so often you will enter into a random battle (if you played old school final fantasy games, you will understand the pain ha..).
The good thing about changing the encounter rate: 1. You can raise it to +100 to make grinding easy and 2. You can lower it to -0 when you don't feel like fighting at all (which comes in handy when you're trying to go somewhere quickly).
Streetpass and Norende
You can use streetpass to your advantage for a number of things. The more people you street pass, the more villagers you add to Norende. Rebuilding Norende is especially important because you then have access to the items after certain shops are built (by talking to the trader in red you normally see to save before boss battles).
To do this, you assign people to a shop or area to build or reclaim. The more people you assign, the less time it takes to build or reclaim. The max level for all shops is set at level 11.
Leave your game on overnight in sleep mode to build/reclaim faster. You can add more people to your village by net-inviting random people or by adding other friends on your friend's list who own the game via internet under the "add friends" option. Net-inviting you can only do once per day and it has the possibility of adding up to 4 people to your village.
Another nice thing would be that you can summon friends to help you in battle, or send help to your friends as well. (it comes in handy later on...especially if your friends send you a special attack that does a lot of damage).
Overall I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who loved playing old-school RPGs. The storyline is great, the characters are great, and it's a fun game to play. If there's one game you should be playing right now, it should be this one!
I give Bravely Default an 8.5 out of 10
Now get back to playing!