Everyone has a favorite game (or at least I like think so). For me, it’s Final Fantasy VI. But what does a console game released in 1994 have to do with a one-man website’s “Handheld Game of the Year” in 2014?
This: Bravely Default is perhaps the closest any game has come to knocking Final Fantasy VI from that “coveted” top spot.
Someone’s “favorite game” doesn’t necessarily need to be the “best” game. Instead, it simply needs to connect with them in a way that no other game has before. In my case, Bravely Default was purchased with a skeptic’s dollar. It almost never made it to my 3DS, but is now a handheld experience that I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone.
I hated the demo, but I stuck with it, despite a salvo of second guesses and nearly cancelled pre-orders. When I first played Bravely Default, my entire block was suffering a power outage from an ice storm. My wife was in China, visiting family, and my aloof cat was uncharacteristically willing to sidle up to me, if but for the sole purpose of bogarting my body heat in our arctic apartment. It was the perfect time for a handheld RPG.
In my (late to the party) review, I describe Bravely Default as “deceptively dark, yet charming,” calling it, “one of the best JRPGs I’ve played.” While the developers took an approach to the story that many consider lazy and (even I’ll admit this one) repetitive, I found these choices to be innovative – at least in the context of the game.
Likewise, Bravely Default‘s battle system is challenging and clever. Even conquering common enemies requires some strategy, and I found myself quickly addicted to the intense, turn-based combat.
At its core, Bravely Default is an excellent JRPG, though it will demand your time and patience. If you’re even remotely interested in this game, there’s no reason not to play it. Even when it starts to feel redundant, keep playing and be willing think outside the box – the payoff is well worth the effort.
TL;DR – Bravely Default is the finest traditional JRPG on any current-gen handheld, stacking up with the best of them (Final Fantasy VI included).