The Bravely Default demo hit the US Nintendo 3DS eShop a few days ago. Aside from the Project X Zone demo, this is one of my most played demo in terms of play time. As of this writing, I’ve already sunk about 10 or so hours (not including the time spent to max upgrade your town) into the demo, cleared all bosses and maxed out my town and party – both in levels and (all) job levels. Tips and spoiler-ish stuff ahead.
Bravely Default is a traditional JRPG in the style of early Final Fantasy games with the exception of their Brave/Default battle system. The game features turn-based battles with random encounters, a job system, sidequests and so on. Their Brave/Default battle system uses Battle Points (BP) which acts similarly to the stamina system in Chrono Cross.
Since I’ve not StreetPassed anyone playing the demo, I can’t say much about their Abilink feature. From my understanding, the feature allows players to “borrow” the job levels of their friends’ characters. During battles, you can choose which character and skill you would be sending to friends when you StreetPass.
As for the job system, the demo only allows you to try out 9 out of their 24 jobs. Those jobs are Freelancer, Knight, Ninja, Performer, Valkyrie, Swordmaster, Red Mage, Black Mage and White Mage. The remaining jobs that will be available in the full version of the game are Monk, Thief, Merchant, Spell Fencer, Time Mage, Ranger, Summoner, Salve-Maker, Pirate, Arcanist, Spiritmaster, Templar, Dark Knight, Vampire, Conjurer. Each job level will be capped at 14. The demo however caps the job level at 4 and with player level capping at 20.
The demo doesn’t include any story relevant to the full game and only serves as an introduction to the mechanics of the game to players. The demo includes a partial world map with 3 dungeons and the town of Ancheim. The town building segment of the demo allows you build part of the town of Norende which includes an Armory, a Weaponsmith, an Item Shop and an Accessory shop all capping at upgrade level 3. The good news is that your progress for your town upgrades will carry over into the full version of the game when played for the first time. Defeating bosses and clearing dungeons (via quests in the demo) will reward players with equipment packs that will help players early on in the full version.
Here are a few tips for playing the demo based on what I’ve experienced so far:
- Upgrade your town! The equipment in Ancheim can only sustain you for so long. Later (post-game) bosses will require you have equipment from your upgraded Armory or Weaponsmith. I know the upgrade time is long. But know that the time can be reduced by having more people in your town working on stuff. Or you can be like me and start upgrading just before bedtime and leave your system on standby. You’ll get an equipment pack for fully upgrading your town in the demo. Plus, your town progress carries over into the full game so it’s win-win!
- Certain cross-class support abilities work well with each other. For example: A Swordmaster’s Multitask on a Ninja. Multitask gives a character a 25% chance to follow-up a normal attack with another. A Ninja would normally dual-wield as he/she doesn’t get the damage penalty for holding an offhand weapon. Plus, upon maxing your job level for a Ninja, you will get the ability Ikkikasei which doubles the number of hits you deal with a weapon. Ikkikasei + Multitask + Brave rush attack = One Man Army. Another example would be using the Knight’s Two-Handed ability on a Valkyrie with Jump or on a Swordmaster to boost their already high physical damage. Experiment to find your own killer combos.
- Don’t forget to Default. It maybe tempting to Brave Rush a group of enemies for a quick victory but the recovery time of a failed rush will and can kill you early on in the game. By having a party member Default, you’ll be able to dish out those emergency heals while the rest of your party is recovering from negative BP. This also increases your BP count by 1. Useful to spam cast spells/heals/buffs later on and still being able to move next turn.
- Try defeat all 5 bosses. Yes, 5 bosses! The first three are in the dungeons on the world map. The other 2 are only available after clearing the demo (by beating the 3 dungeon bosses). After clearing the demo, return back to Ancheim and head to the palace. You’ll then be able to fight all 3 dungeon bosses again (leave the dungeon to get them to respawn) and unlock the 4th boss in the oasis to the west. Upon defeating the 4th boss, return to town to unlock the 5th boss located by the obelisk north of the oasis.
- Return to Ancheim at night! Some quests are only available at night. Roam around the world map until the sun sets, then return to town.
- Consider maxing your Performer’s job level early. At job level 4, your Performer gets the Buff Up support ability which raises your attack and defense (both physical and magical) by 5% every turn capping at 150%. Consider this a free Protect or Shell that also gives you a damage buff.
- Only buy magic that you can use. In the early stages of the demo, money is limited and scarce, and Spells are somewhat expensive. Don’t be an eager idiot like me and buying Cura only to realize that I can’t use it unless my White Mage is about job level 3. In the demo, only Black and White Mages have access to their Rank 3 spells. Red Mages are capped at Rank 2 spells.
- Check your town often. The Trader (Item Shop) gives you consumable items at certain intervals FOR FREE! Those items are normally, a teleport stone, hi-potions, ethers and remedies. Also the items you receive are based on the Item Shop’s upgrade level.
- Battle bonuses! You will get certain bonuses depending on how you perform in battle. Defeating the enemy in a single turn will grant you bonus XP. Not getting damaged in battle will grant you bonus JXP. Defeating all enemies simultaneously will grant you bonus gold.
- Increase the encounter rate! I’ve not noticed option this until almost the end of my play through. You’re able to mess around with the encounter rate in the options menu. Try using this if you’re farming for gold or JXP.
- Don’t turn your 3DS off. Your town upgrade timer ticks down only if you have the game running. So if you quit the game or turn your system off, your upgrade progress will go nowhere. Try upgrading those pesky 10 hour buildings just before heading to bed and then leave your system on standby.
Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS will be available on the 7th of February, 2014.
Also coming to the Nintendo eShop.