Sidescrollers: ‘Bravely Default’ is a welcome ‘Final Fantasy’ clone

"Bravely Default" is an old school RPG fantasy. Credit: Square Enix
“Bravely Default” is an old school RPG fantasy.
Credit: Square Enix

There once was a proud and marvelous RPG series called “Final Fantasy.” These games wove fantastical tales of good and evil. They featured fast paced combat systems, plenty of real estate to explore and a perfect marriage of story and gameplay. They also let you ride around on a giant chicken. Gamers the world over swooned.

All good things come to an end, however. With advancing hardware and shifting consumer demands, the series found itself relying less on gameplay and more on flashy cinematics. While not bad, newer entries in the franchise lacked the satisfying rhythm that made the first several so essential.

Enter “Bravely Default,” an old school “Final Fantasy” game in everything but name. Four plucky heroes? Check. A bona fide overworld map that can be explored however you see fit? Check. An absolutely addictive job system that lets you play as a thief, a ninja or even a merchant? Check. Confusing nonsense about the four elements? Check! However you multislice it, this stellar old-school JRPG could just about have come out in 1992.

I said “just about.” Square Enix wisely added some modern accoutrements to all of this retro goodness. Many of the things that scare people away from the genre are tweaked here. There is a fluid difficulty slider and the ability to change up how often you are attacked. There’s full, if a bit cheesy, voice acting in both English and Japanese. You can speed up battles to a dizzying degree, making level grinding a breeze.

However, just because it is being rewarded five globes doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are some late-game pacing issues and a rather strange attempt to throw micro-transactions into the mix. Barring these, though, it is a simply stunning addition to the JRPG canon and is absolutely guaranteed to make your next horrible Greyhound trip go by quicker.

Follow Lawrence Bonk on Twitter at @sidescrollers


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.