The Bravely Default: Flying Fairy demo is finally available on the Nintendo eShop, and while this “first impressions” piece is trailing the release of the demo, it seems like there hasn’t been as much buzz around the Square Enix RPG for the 3DS. This is kind of disheartening because it features a unique battle system, gorgeous art style and a Quest that is exclusive to the demo.
It’s enough to get you excited for the game, but weird decisions by the developer, Silicon Studio, hinder some of the progress that you can make. Right from the beginning of the game, players are informed that they only get 30 starts. This means if you switch out to play A Link Between Worlds, you have just wasted one of your starts. It’s a small gripe, but it’s enough to keep me worried about how I manage my time with my 3DS. It’s something that most 3DS demos have; but with something of this scale, 30-start cap seems a little limited.
Aside from this, the story is very much like other JRPGs. There are evil monsters everywhere since “The Great Chasm” and they are causing a ruckus. One town (Norde) is hit hard by these monsters, and the protagonist (Anges) is asked by the Prime Minister to take charge of the rebuilding efforts.
So there is some cool micromanagement; but this interesting idea can never really reach its full potential by only having one townsperson in the village. More workers are recruited via Street Pass. This means that if you don’t find someone using it (which may or may not have happened to me), some tasks can take up to ten real-time hours! It really hinders the progress that you can make – but it can also be a pretty fun time killer.
I’d like to live there.
There are side missions to do in the mean time. There are a few fetch quests, which serve the purpose of easing the player into combat and promoting a bit of exploration. The first, and most noticeable thing is the gorgeous anime-inspired steam-punk fantasy art style. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the towns and dungeons.
If you’re rolling your eyes at the mention of “side missions”, rest assured that there is some incentive to do these. Finishing the demo results in a reward that can be transferred over to the main game, so it’s a nice “thank you” to the people who too the time to play through it. There are also some alternate routes inside dungeons; these can lead to loot. It’s a cool way to keep the player invested in a particular area for a longer stretch of time.
I spent hours just going exploring towns, and getting into the occasional battle. Combat is pretty unique and customizable. There are different classes, or jobs, that suit your play style, and each job has various abilities that come with it, as well as some that can be added.
Advanced training in mobile dentistry.
The battle system is what really shines through (the game is actually named after it). During battle, you have the option to “default” or “brave”. If you default, you miss a turn, biding your time. You take less damage this way, and it adds some strategy to each encounter. When you are done defaulting, you can brave. This unleashes your attacks. Instead of one, you get two shots and they tend to be a little stronger. You can also mortgage future turns if you want to brave without defaulting. You can see how much your move will cost in brave points before each attack, then you can make the executive decision if it’s worth it. This way, each character can come out swinging, or bide their time for stronger attacks while taking less damage. It adds some strategy to each fight, and it keeps each minuscule battle unique.
For an RPG demo, quite a bit is revealed here. The promise of an entire quest that isn’t in the final game, some fun albeit tedious micromanagement to kill time, and the promise of some content that can be carried over into the main game make this demo a must download.