For Christmas I got Bravely Default, which is great because I've been wanting to play it since it came out. So far it's been enjoyable. The art is reminiscent of Tactics, which I adored. The music, while not up to the immersion standard found in the Final Fantasy title (yet) is still wonderful, granted this is not a Final Fantasy title. The story has been fabulous, yet very Final Fantasy-esque (harmonious crystals and impending darkness, etc.) which seems a little strange given how mindful they were to set the titles apart. Not that it's a bad thing.
I won't go into too much detail pertaining to the story because A:
spoilers, and B: I'm stilling playing it. While it has many Final
Fantasy elements despite not part of the franchise, it also has a lot of
JRPG elements similar to Tales games and Silver Star Story which isn't a
bad thing. It may take you by surprise though. There is also a
story-related mini-game that has a lot of potential.
What's really unique about the game is the combat system. It's based on a
job system a la original Final Fantasy, Tactics, FFXIV, and so on. You
obtain new jobs by defeating bosses and gaining their job Asterisk. Each
job has its own unique skills, attributes, and costumes. During combat
you have all the basic options: attack, magic, items, skills, escape,
etc., but you can also either Brave or Default. This is where things get
You can Brave to get more turns at once or you can Default to defend
(taking less damage) and then Brave later without going into the
negative. If you Brave without Defaulting, you have to wait however many
turns you Braved for afterward. So depending on what/who you are
fighting you may want to incur the wait penalty and Brave right away or
you may want to Default to avoid a big incoming attack and then Brave
later. Really depends on preference and situation!
If you put the 3DS into sleep mode with the game running rather than
turning it off, you can also gain 1 SP every 8 hours this way for a
maximum of 3. You can expend SP to immediately have your turn in combat.
Whenever you want. This has the potential to be game changing if used
correctly, it is, however, not necessary at all. So if you'd rather just
turn your 3DS off, you won't feel entitled to leave it on.
The game makes use of the internet in fun ways. You can call upon
friends for help during battles, you can fight people you've passed on
the street gaining Nemesis, you can borrow friends' skills, you can gain
villagers. Entirely optional, of course. The game seems to have a lot
of neat, optional content. Which is also nice. You can partake, or not,
and it's totally fine either way.
I have to say though that, as per usual, Square's English voice cast
is... bad. However that is easily remedied by going into the settings
and either turning the voices volume all the way down or setting it to
Japanese with English subtitles just so that not everyone sounds like a
emotionless 8 year old boy who had been raised by robots except for the
women who sound like sexy 5 year old girls (???) who were otherwise also
raised by robots.
You'll want to mess with these settings regardless because by default
all the volumes are set to 8, which means they are all competing for
your attention. All the time. It's not really problematic until
there is a cutscene and you can barely make out what anyone is saying. I
found turning the music to 5 and leaving the voices at 8 was a workable
solution. Except then I could tell just how horrible the English voice
acting was and had to go back in to make the previously mentioned