February 3 – February 9

I apologize in advance to those of you who had your pitchforks pre-sharpened. It was a logical preparation to have made. After all Bravely Default is exactly the kind of game I should have missed. A 3DS JRPG with pre-release niche frenzy, it's like custom made for me to screw that one up by both not giving it Game of the Week, and also probably even forgetting to mention it entirely.

And I would have, except for forum member Shoptroll whose donation through last year's donation drive earned him the opportunity to pick his own Game of the Week. And Bravely Default is where he has spent that opportunity. I asked him, almost pleadingly, why this game out of all possibilities in the calendar year deserved his adoration and sacrifice, and aside from needling me with having to write something nice about a 3DS Squeenix JRPG, he said this:

Storywise, it's a classic Final Fantasy game in everything but the name, featuring crystals, airships, etc. but with the freedom to subvert some genre conventions/tropes and provide a slightly darker take on the typical Final Fantasy story.

And, even if Shoptroll hadn't stepped up to the plate, our own Ccesarano specifically asked me three weeks ago if I wouldn't mind sitting this week out so he could make sure — you guessed it — that Bravely Default got the nod. I also asked him why, and he described the game as a tribute to classic NES, SNES and PS1 days, somehow all at once. But most interesting is that he described the game as making player actions a kind of resource.

...managing character actions and creative combinations of character classes can result in really empowering combat capabilities and scenarios. So it's "old school", but a logical progression of the system that allows it to be fresh and new.

I'm not sure I understand, but at least it sounds interesting. So, ok, Bravely Default is the Game of the Week, but I'm willing to take this one step further: Just before posting this, I ordered a copy from Amazon that I plan to play for as long as I can manage on my son's 3DS. I'm pretty sure this will be my first experience in this genre since you people made me play The World Ends With You, an experience that still haunts me to this day. May whatever god you pray to have mercy on your souls.

PC
- Double Dragon: Neon (download)
- Gigantic Army (download - $6)
- Jazzpunk (download - $15)
- The LEGO Movie Videogame
- The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (download - $5)
- WRC Powerslide (download)

Xbox One
- The LEGO Movie Videogame

PS4
- Outlast (download)
- The LEGO Movie Videogame

Xbox 360
- Fable Anniversary
- The LEGO Movie Videogame
- The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (download - $5)

PS3
- Dustforce (download - $10)
- Gex: Enter the Gecko (download - PSone Classic)
- The LEGO Movie Videogame
- The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (download - $5)
- Trapt (download - PS2 Classic)
- Hyper Crazy Climber (download - PSone Import)

Wii U
- The LEGO Movie Videogame

Vita
- Dustforce (download - $10)
- King Oddball (download)
- The LEGO Movie Videogame
- Surge Deluxe (download)

3DS
- Bravely Default
- The LEGO Movie Videogame

Comments

I just started downloading the demo from the e-shop for Bravely Default five minutes before this was posted. Coincidence? Most likely. Still, I have high hopes since I just got a 3DS mere weeks ago and part of my motivation was access to more JRPGs.

This game (and Zelda) has made me seriously consider buying a 3DS right now and here.

Unplayed games on steam say No!

Thank you Sean for going along with this choice, and I look forward to your impressions

Also, sorry Chris for forcing Sean to do the write up this week! I wanted to make sure he wouldn't the wrong thing and pick Fable or EDF.

I really enjoyed reading that.

Elysium wrote:

I'm pretty sure this will be my first experience in this genre since you people made me play The World Ends With You, an experience that still haunts me to this day.

Ooh! Ooh! If I write another limerick, will you send me this game, too, once you inevitably throw your hands up in disgust?

Very likely, yes. That seems like a strategy that has some legs to it.

I'm amazed by the amount of hype and attention Bravely Default has gotten considering that it's a twice-removed spiritual successor to Final Fantasy V, which isn't the most beloved entry in that franchise.

As a JRPG fan who doesn't typically care for Final Fantasy, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's great to see a JRPG get this much attention and pre-release focus. On the other, I think that attention will inspire some JRPG skeptics to pick the game up only to discover that it reaffirms all those JRPG stereotypes that put them off the genre to begin with. It's a bit like souring on FPS games because of Call of Duty only to give the spiritual successor to World at War a shot.

Still, I've got a pre-ordered copy on the way and have been totally complicit in the pre-release hoopla. And if nothing else, I'm happy to see Square-Enix publish what is essentially a Final Fantasy game without it being either a remake or another whack at that silly Fabulous Nouveau Chryssalid universe.

shoptroll wrote:

Also, sorry Chris for forcing Sean to do the write up this week! I wanted to make sure he wouldn't the wrong thing and pick Fable or EDF.

Heh, those two are my secondary and tertiary picks for this week, too, and are also reasons I wanted this TWA. But alas, I found this much more amusing.

Sean, feel free to browse the Bravely Default Catch-All and to join us in our conversation. I have a feeling regular updates of your playthrough would be quite amusing.

Alas, however, I will not be able to obtain this game so soon, or so I do not believe. On the other hand, maybe I'd rather push my reservation for EDF2025 to Bravely Default? We'll see.

I still think The World Ends With You is something that you could've powered through. It didn't take too long to get to the point it subverted the genre tropes.

Bravely Default is definitely a safer game, but I expect boredom will set in right quick.

ccesarano wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

Also, sorry Chris for forcing Sean to do the write up this week! I wanted to make sure he wouldn't the wrong thing and pick Fable or EDF.

Heh, those two are my secondary and tertiary picks for this week, too, and are also reasons I wanted this TWA. But alas, I found this much more amusing.

Sean, feel free to browse the Bravely Default Catch-All and to join us in our conversation. I have a feeling regular updates of your playthrough would be quite amusing.

Alas, however, I will not be able to obtain this game so soon, or so I do not believe. On the other hand, maybe I'd rather push my reservation for EDF2025 to Bravely Default? We'll see.

EDF isn't out this week, right?

garion333 wrote:

I still think The World Ends With You is something that you could've powered through. It didn't take too long to get to the point it subverted the genre tropes.

Bravely Default is definitely a safer game, but I expect boredom will set in right quick.

I really need to find the legendary TWEWY thing with Sean, but I can definitely see how the story and battle system would make that a really hard game to get into. Bravely Default is a much more traditional game so it should, in theory, be much more approachable than TWEWY.

garion333 wrote:

EDF isn't out this week, right?

Huh. It was, but now Amazon has it listed for the 18th.

Yup, moving the pre-order to Bravely Default as soon as I get the chance.

Wait, Sean is buying this game? I was going to hold off for a little while since I wasn't going to play this right away...but I'm tempted to pre-order it now.

Bravely Default is really old-school in the way that it's grindy.

Some of that is made fun thanks to the job system, but it's definitely one of those games that will punch you in the junk if you visit the wrong side of the forest.

At least, that's been my experience with the demo.

Without saying too much, there's a specific point in BD that - unless you are really invested in the game - the temptation to just go "oh 'eff that" and chuck it on the pile will potentially be quite high.

If you guys tell me this is the wrong game to try as an outsider to the genre, I will believe you.

Elysium wrote:

If you guys tell me this is the wrong game to try as an outsider to the genre, I will believe you.

Based on what I've seen from the demo and previews, I don't think it'll change your mind about the genre at all, but if you have some nostalgic fondness for the SNES-era Final Fantasy games then this will play nicely off of that.

Elysium wrote:

If you guys tell me this is the wrong game to try as an outsider to the genre, I will believe you.

It's going to change your life.

Actually I'd say it's probably more accessible than most with features like the ability to toggle random encounters from completely off to extra encounters every couple of seconds for when you want to grind. Makes backtracking or running back out of dungeons a breeze.

Story wise it's VERY old school with a bit of a twist later in the game, although makes up for it with some fun side missions and characters.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Elysium wrote:

If you guys tell me this is the wrong game to try as an outsider to the genre, I will believe you.

Based on what I've seen from the demo and previews, I don't think it'll change your mind about the genre at all, but if you have some nostalgic fondness for the SNES-era Final Fantasy games then this will play nicely off of that.

Even if he doesn't have nostalgia for the games of old, it at least isn't steeped in Japanese culture and forcing him to juggle his attention between both screens on the DS.

It's not going to be the same gameplay as a western RPG but it's working with the same mythology inspired beastiary and a general fantasy setting as many of the classics on both sides of the big pond. But at the core it's still an RPG with resource management, character building, and a combat system even if the names are a little different.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Elysium wrote:

If you guys tell me this is the wrong game to try as an outsider to the genre, I will believe you.

Based on what I've seen from the demo and previews, I don't think it'll change your mind about the genre at all, but if you have some nostalgic fondness for the SNES-era Final Fantasy games then this will play nicely off of that.

Certis wrote:

It's going to change your life.

Oh my. Who to believe?!?!?

Well I'll be damned.

DustForce has a sublime zen-techno soundtrack. I picked it up a few years back after only seeing the game's trailer.

You can pick up the OST here for $3.99, "Fastfall" by Lifeformed. Great music for closing your eyes and drifting off. Alternatively, I've also done cardio to it.
http://lifeformed.bandcamp.com/album/fastfall

I eventually bought the game, but don't think I even made it through the demo.

And here I thought that Sean didn't like JRPGs because they were too short.

This week makes my wallet cry...

BDFF is something I can't play right away (Broken 3DS...), but I know that the price probably won't come down much on it. My 5 year old will probably want the Lego Movie Game. I'm going to buy Dustforce again for the Vita, and I do want to try Surge Deluxe...

pyxistyx wrote:

the ability to toggle random encounters from completely off

I'm sorry. I understand all these words individually, but when putting them in that order discussing a FF-type game -- not so much.

LilCodger wrote:
pyxistyx wrote:

the ability to toggle random encounters from completely off

I'm sorry. I understand all these words individually, but when putting them in that order discussing a FF-type game -- not so much.

Siliconera did a pretty nice writeup about the flexibility in Bravely Default's systems like encounter rate, difficulty, and so forth.

Certis wrote:
Elysium wrote:

If you guys tell me this is the wrong game to try as an outsider to the genre, I will believe you.

It's going to change your life.

I'll raise you one higher. It is going to change your soul.

I think, mechanically speaking, Bravely Default could stand a chance at tickling Sean's funny bone. This is merely a guess, but I think it might still be worth a try.

And if he doesn't like it, then it becomes another source of entertainment.

I think there will be more disappointment over Sean's JRPG hatred he becomes bored and befuddled by Bravely Default in a very short time. It brings some very cool new elements to the traditional JRPG formula, but it is still very much a traditional JRPG, and not a particularly easy one if the demo was any indication of the full game.

Hope I'm wrong