I’m still working my way through Bravely Default, but I thought I’d make a post to address some of the complaints about the game. Be warned, there are spoilers in this post, though I’ll try to keep in vague. I’m fairly close to the end, but the completionist part of me wants to finish all the side quests, so I have a pretty good idea of how this all ends.
The start of Bravely Default starts incredibly strong. The story may be a little generic, but everything from the art to the music to the gameplay is finely polished. The moment you step out to see the first city, you realize Bravely Default is something else; a handheld JRPG that they actually put some care and love into.
But as the second half comes along, it loses steam quickly. The game returns to other worlds, repeating a lot of the side quests and the story over. As JRPG’s require grinding, it simply does not feel as satisfying when you play the same bosses over and over with slightly improved stats. It feels like the creators strung you along. The original four crystals you were supposed to awaken soon becomes twenty. It’s easy to see why the community is split about Bravely Default. It starts so strong, but drags on for too long.
But for the homogeneity of the latter half, there are a number of ways to escape it. Bravely Default has a false ending that lets you skip basically twelve of the twenty crystals you are supposed to awaken and gets to the core of the story quite quickly. You can even continue where you left off afterwards. Most of the side quests in the latter half are also quite difficult, requiring you to master multiple jobs to take advantage of their weaknesses, but the actual main bosses are significantly weaker. If you wanted to plow through the game, it’s quite simple to do so.
I was certainly frustrated at first with Bravely Default, but I’ve gained a new appreciation for it. I don’t have the same drive to complete the game as in the first half, I’m not staying up late to move onto the next chapter, but I am going at a steady pace and playing it for the sake of enjoying it. The false ending summed it up nicely, so now I’m playing just for the challenge of beating the tougher side quests.