Retro Revamped # 1: Bravely Default (3DS)

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Retro Revamped is a series of review articles written about new games that attempt to embody the founding principles of their respective genres, whilst still yielding an experience that feels nuanced and fresh. What constitutes a game that “feels” retro is completely my subjective opinion, and may not have been the intention of the developers.

Introduction

Bravely Default is a spiritual successor to the DS game, Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light, which sought to carry on the legacy created by the original Final Fantasy on the NES. Unlike The Four Heroes of Light, however, Bravely Default, chooses to innovate rather than rely purely on nostalgia and fan-service. This game retains the turn-based elements of antiquity, while enhancing it with an innovative battle system that uses risk-reward as a central tenet.

This game is responsible for reviving my interest in JRPGs, following a 5-year hiatus related to burn out. I grew up in the golden age of RPGs, during the SNES and PSX days and have played hundreds of games in the genre, including some obscure titles. As time went on I had less and less time to spend enveloped in 60-90 hour JRPGs and had to settle for other genres with less daunting playtimes that provide more short-term rewards. Despite lack of time Bravely Default hooked me so fast I was quickly trading valuable sleep for just a “few more minutes,” that quickly turned in to hours.

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