I didn't get the chance to complete Bravely Default just yet. And while I feel the need to move on to another game for the month of March, I definitely plan on coming back to this game again. It was extremely challenging, and felt almost like an ode to the days when the system just didn't have enough memory to really give the player too much guidance.
Bravely Default is an interesting new take on an old school RPG. It takes the familiar formula, and makes some pretty good changes. It mostly streamlines the process of leveling, while still having some of the awesome portions of RPG's.
The major new system within this game is the idea of being able to "Brave" or attack multiple times in one turn, or you can "Default" which raises your defense for that turn but makes it so you can't take an action that turn. To go along with this you have a number that is affected by it. When you brave, that number goes down, when you default it goes up. It also goes up at the end of every turn. If your number is below 0 at the beginning of a turn then you can't take an action that turn.
This mechanic adds to the game in a couple of different ways. First it makes the grind that much easier. If you know that you can defeat all of the enemies in what equates to less than four turns, then you can brave with all of your characters and make the fight that much faster. It also adds in an extra layer of strategy. There are times when it might be beneficial to have one or two of your character's brave, even when you know you won't be able to do anything the next turn. But at other times this can be extremely bad, as even though you can't do anything, you also still have your normal defense.
Combat bonuses are different bonuses you earn by completing battles in a certain way. If you kill all of the enemies in one turn for instance, you get extra experience. Or if you manage to complete the battle without getting hurt you get extra job points. If you're able to complete a challenge multiple battles in a row, the amount of bonus you get can go up.
Encounter Rate Settings
Another major change to the RPG formula is the ability to change your encounter rate. There are five different settings for your encounter rate: no encounters, 0.5x, regular encounter, 1.5x, or 2x the encounter rate. This does a couple of different things. First it lets you grind much faster if you're trying to do that. But it also lets you safely get to an inn or save point if you're almost dead.
The job system in Bravely Default is actually fairly normal as far as job systems go. Different jobs give you the capability to use different types of abilities. The difference comes in with how you obtain the ability to use different jobs. This is done by completing side quests, the final boss of which is someone using abilities of the job you will earn. The other interesting thing is that most JRPG's have moved away from the job system, and instead just has different skills for different characters.
Within the 3DS is a function called Street Pass. This function is used differently in most of the games I've played to date, if it's even used at all. In Bravely Default, it has two different functions. The first is giving you citizens for the town that you are rebuilding. This lets you rebuild/upgrade different types of buildings. This in turn allows you to recieve gifts from the citizens or purchase a wider variety of items, including new equipment. It also allows you to send and recieve player data from other people.
Recieving the player data from someone else allows you to do two things. If you've passed them a certain number of times the game considers them to be your friends. This allows you to link them up with one of your characters. Having your character linked up with one of your friends allows that character to use abilities that wouldn't otherwise be available to that character just yet. During combat, you also have the opportunity to summon other players to do a specified attack. The drawback is that you can only do this once per time Street Passed. You can also send your character data to other players. This process starts by selecting the "Send" option in combat before deciding on what type of attack or skill you're going to use. The game then saves that attack, along with how much damage or healing it did, and sends that data to people as you Street Pass them.
For the month of March I am planning on playing The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. I'm actually hoping to have time to play through both the original version for the N64 and the re-release for the 3DS. I would like to do a comparison between the two and see what sorts of differences there are.