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

Do we know why, precisely, Elysium doesn't like JRPGs?

I tend to think that, of any game that would potentially change a bad opinion of the genre, Chrono Trigger might be the best one to try.

Malor wrote:

Do we know why, precisely, Elysium doesn't like JRPGs?

I tend to think that, of any game that would potentially change a bad opinion of the genre, Chrono Trigger might be the best one to try.

Actually I'd recommend Final Fantasy Tactics as it has a lot of Western appeal in both mechanics design and aesthetic. Chrono Trigger is fun and good, but it is still very much a product of Eastern game design and storytelling.

Malor wrote:

Do we know why, precisely, Elysium doesn't like JRPGs?

I'm not exactly sure. Maybe he should tell us

ccesarano wrote:

Actually I'd recommend Final Fantasy Tactics as it has a lot of Western appeal in both mechanics design and aesthetic. Chrono Trigger is fun and good, but it is still very much a product of Eastern game design and storytelling.

Along those lines, I would think Fire Emblem Awakening might be worth recommending to him before FFT. It's more approachable, and it has quite a bit in common with XCOM which is a series we already know he enjoys.

Dyni wrote:
Malor wrote:

Do we know why, precisely, Elysium doesn't like JRPGs?

I'm not exactly sure. Maybe he should tell us :)

Well here's the history on his bouncing off TWEWY while we wait...

4/21/2008:

Call it a niche week. Both The World Ends With You on the DS and Heavenly Guardian on the Wii seem like the sort of games that probably have secret followings with elaborate handshakes and their own pidgin languages. Frankly the canon of Nintendo continues to flummox me, and I can make neither hide nor hair of what constitutes a meaningful release on those systems. It underscores a schism in the gaming world that grows deeper with time.

Fast-forward almost an entire year to 4/6/2009 where a bunch of people recommend he try The World Ends With You as a DS game to broaden his horizons that month. Curiously he picked TWEWY over Advance Wars, Kirby Canvas Curse, GTA Chinatown Wars, and a host of other good options.

The end result of this experiment was recounted in a May 2009 article and I presume some choice words on the podcast that week

Every time I see the name Bravely Default it makes me laugh. Looks like some weird mistranslation you would see in an imported piece of electronic equipment.

Don't preorder Ccesarano! The amazon shipping likely won't get it to you until Monday or Tuesday.

I agree with Dyni's FE:Awakening recommendation.

I agree with MrDeVil about the name.

I agree with Clock for saying that this FF5 successor is not likely to change anyone's mind about JRPGs.

I disagree with people who like walnuts, because this post didn't have enough conflict.

I tend to think that, of any game that would potentially change a bad opinion of the genre, Chrono Trigger might be the best one to try.

It was a long time ago, but I actually played and finished Chrono Trigger. I don't remember anything specific, but I do know I enjoyed it. So, there's that.

Elysium wrote:
I tend to think that, of any game that would potentially change a bad opinion of the genre, Chrono Trigger might be the best one to try.

It was a long time ago, but I actually played and finished Chrono Trigger. I don't remember anything specific, but I do know I enjoyed it. So, there's that.

Then you actually have a chance with Bravely Default, I'd say. It sticks to the classic formula that CT had but freshens the battle system a bit to where every battle is more enjoyable.

Squee9 wrote:

Don't preorder Ccesarano! The amazon shipping likely won't get it to you until Monday or Tuesday.

I'm actually a shopping troglodite and pre-order at GameStop still.

Minarchist wrote:
Elysium wrote:
I tend to think that, of any game that would potentially change a bad opinion of the genre, Chrono Trigger might be the best one to try.

It was a long time ago, but I actually played and finished Chrono Trigger. I don't remember anything specific, but I do know I enjoyed it. So, there's that.

Then you actually have a chance with Bravely Default, I'd say. It sticks to the classic formula that CT had but freshens the battle system a bit to where every battle is more enjoyable.

Plus you can fast-forward through the random battles and let auto-battle do most of the heavy lifting for the trivial fights

ccesarano wrote:
Squee9 wrote:

Don't preorder Ccesarano! The amazon shipping likely won't get it to you until Monday or Tuesday.

I'm actually a shopping troglodite and pre-order at GameStop still. :P

*gasp* I'll never sleep on your hotel room floor again!

(I can't talk...I bought Fire Emblem at WalMart... :()

To be fair, Amazon doesn't play nice with Nintendo, so you're kind of forced to get Nintendo products at a brick and mortar if you want it ASAP.

The Wolf Among Us Episode 2... at some point hehehe I haven't even gotten around to getting the first one.

shoptroll wrote:
Dyni wrote:
Malor wrote:

Do we know why, precisely, Elysium doesn't like JRPGs?

I'm not exactly sure. Maybe he should tell us :)

Well here's the history on his bouncing off TWEWY while we wait...

4/21/2008:

Call it a niche week. Both The World Ends With You on the DS and Heavenly Guardian on the Wii seem like the sort of games that probably have secret followings with elaborate handshakes and their own pidgin languages. Frankly the canon of Nintendo continues to flummox me, and I can make neither hide nor hair of what constitutes a meaningful release on those systems. It underscores a schism in the gaming world that grows deeper with time.

Fast-forward almost an entire year to 4/6/2009 where a bunch of people recommend he try The World Ends With You as a DS game to broaden his horizons that month. Curiously he picked TWEWY over Advance Wars, Kirby Canvas Curse, GTA Chinatown Wars, and a host of other good options.

The end result of this experiment was recounted in a May 2009 article and I presume some choice words on the podcast that week :)

Sean keeps a careful eye on the thin line between naval-gazing and deep introspection. If he went all self-psychoanalytic about it, I can't guarantee that any of us would enjoy reading it.

Sean has seen some things, and he has secrets—dark secrets, secrets that we might all be better off leaving hidden, secrets that would drive a lesser man mad.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

wordsmythe wrote:

dark secrets, secrets that we might all be better off leaving hidden, secrets that would drive a lesser man mad.

Sean has written anthropomorphic otome fiction?

Dyni wrote:

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 :)

From those in the thread that already imported, the demo is not representative. The full game holds your hand more and doles out classes slower.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Every time I see the name Bravely Default it makes me laugh. Looks like some weird mistranslation you would see in an imported piece of electronic equipment.

There's a reason for that. The game's original Japanese name is "Bravely Default: Flying Fairy" and the Engrish name was meant as a play on the game's battle system, which revolves around the "Brave" and "Default" command options.

The game got a lot of attention in the Western market when it was announced and released in Japan two or so years ago, but Square-Enix waffled on localizing it and ultimately decided to not publish it overseas. After many requests from fans, Nintendo picked up localization and publication duties in North America and Europe.

Rightfully thinking the name was dumb, Nintendo said they were going to rename it for the Western market. Eventually, they settled for just dropping the subtitle. My guess is that after two years of online interest and speculation, there was too much momentum behind the name "Bravely Default" so it stuck, weird as it is.

Also I came looking for this article today with pitchfork on hand. Very disappointed.

What I don't get is..
How is it that 2D mech side scrolling action has come back when it never left because it never existed?

(Gigantic Army)

RolandofGilead wrote:

What I don't get is..
How is it that 2D mech side scrolling action has come back when it never left because it never existed?

No, it definitely existed:

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/ass...

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/fro...

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 love how you didn't say how exactly.

Guess The Wolf Among Us: Episode Two is going to add itself to the pile this week. [i]I really need to get around to playing the first one.

Clock from downtown! Splash, over.

It's maybe not the best name, but it's unique, and brand recognition is brand recognition. Also, what other BD game is out there to confuse with it? Binary Domain? Brutal Dlegend?

For wolf among us I'm going to wait until the full thing is out then play through it at my own pace. I did it for The Walking Dead, and it worked, so now that's my style for episodic games.

shoptroll wrote:
RolandofGilead wrote:

What I don't get is..
How is it that 2D mech side scrolling action has come back when it never left because it never existed?

No, it definitely existed:

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/ass...

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/fro...

Can we throw Thexder on that list?

ClockworkHouse wrote:

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

That article nicely sums up the things I've been impressed with in the demo of Bravely Default.

The one feature the I found frustrating, at least in the demo, is the reliance on Street Pass to gain workers for the base building mechanic. Living in Western Montana, I only receive 4-10 street passes a month and none of them have had the demo installed.

I had given up on JRPGs with the last one I played being Final Fantasy 10 on PS2. The ability to tweak settings to make the grind a little more palatable has given me hope for this game. I look forward to digging into the job system and the story when it releases.

OMG HOW DID YOU GUISE MISS THIS ONE

http://store.steampowered.com/app/26...

I think Jazzpunk might just be on my game of the year list. For serious.

pyxistyx wrote:

I think Jazzpunk might just be on my game of the year list. For serious.

That's getting some pretty good reviews, so I'm definitely checking it out at some point. At this rate, I'll probably just need to dedicate an entire month to just playing all the notable $15 games that released in the last year.

wordsmythe wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
RolandofGilead wrote:

What I don't get is..
How is it that 2D mech side scrolling action has come back when it never left because it never existed?

No, it definitely existed:

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/ass...

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/fro...

Can we throw Thexder on that list?

I was so hoping this would result in some games to track down and play yay!
I totally forgot about Thexder, I have Thexder Neo on a wishlist somewhere.

shoptroll wrote:
pyxistyx wrote:

I think Jazzpunk might just be on my game of the year list. For serious.

That's getting some pretty good reviews, so I'm definitely checking it out at some point. At this rate, I'll probably just need to dedicate an entire month to just playing all the notable $15 games that released in the last year.

That name conflicts me. I mean, I love punk, but—perhaps because I'm a lover of punk—I really have a hard time appreciating jazz.

Therefore, in short: What is game?