Yesterday, I finally beat Bravely Default, a game which has taken me roughly 16 weeks to finally finish. I started playing the game at the beginning of January, from then until now, I was treated to what was basically an endurance round of pedestrian characters, annoying voice acting, and repetitive plot that goes on for eight chapters.
Two months ago, I already wrote a definitive review for this game. But back then, I was on Chapter 5, and my party was around level 52. However, it’s also important to know that I already knew how the game was going to end (I found it while looking for game guides).
Before I explain what happened afterwards, let me describe what a horrible pain the first half of the game was.
The prologue was a painful way of introducing you the gameplay. You start by learning the basics, but after a few tutorials, you are pushed into a boss battle against a monk and a white mage. It’s the very first boss battle, it was way too hard, mainly because you only have two party members, and you’re expected to defeat two bosses at once, and one of them can already use Protect.
Over the next three chapters, I would have to endure several horrible bosses, and get job classes from mediocre villains, who it turns out aren’t villains at all, after it gets revealed that Airy is the real villain all along.
Oops! I think I just spoiled the entire plot.
Here’s how the plot goes for the second half of the game. After you defeat Alternis Dim at the Holy Pillar in Chapter 4, you find yourself in a copy of the world, and Airy somehow ropes you into awakening the four crystals all over again, except this time you don’t need to fight the job class bosses.
In Chapter 6, all the pieces that imply that Airy is actually “the Evil One”, whose role is to herald the coming of Ouroboros, an inappropriately named god of destruction. Of course, now that you know all of this, you can choose to thwart Airy’s plan immediately. After I defeated the Sage Yulyana and acquired the Conjurer job class, I went out to destroy the third Earth Crystal (though not before a pitifully tedious fight with the Gigas Lich).
After I destroyed the crystal, Airy turned into a larva-like monstrosity that proceeds to wipe out my party, before they miraculously revived. I then went to the game’s final dungeon to kick her sorry ass, and thus earning the Normal ending, with all my party members at level 69.
It should be worth noting that after the start of Chapter 5, the game gets much easier, depending on whether or not you actually decide to fight any of the optional bosses again. Because I felt my party members were too weak in Chapter 4, I chose to do the optional “vampire side quest” in Chapter 5, with the boss of that quest kicking my ass over and over again.
After defeating him in Chapter 5, I decided to focus on the main quest, at around level 64.
Of course, on Monday, I felt satisfied that I finally got to beat Airy. However, I knew that it wasn’t the real ending, even though it should have been the real ending, so I decided to spend the rest of the week working hard to get to the true ending.
In Chapter 7, after awakening the four crystals for the fourth fucking time, I decided that in order to beat the real final boss, I need to grind up to level 82. Naturally, that sounds impossible, but I found a way. If one of your party members has learned the Obliterate ability from the Conjurer job class, and all the party members are level 76, you can equip it onto whoever has it. With it, all the enemies outside Eternia will be immediately killed before the battle even starts, earning you masses of EXP, money, and job points every hour. Eventually, I got to my goal and proceeded to Chapter 8, skipping all the optional bosses.
After finishing Chapter 8, Airy basically tells you what you probably knew already by this point, and proceeds to fight you in much the same way as she would have done in the normal ending, except that the attack pattern is different, and more dangerous.
Airy’s third and final form ranks among the hardest bosses in the game, and for very good reasons. I’ve had at least two game overs from this fight. Eventually, after much patience and careful strategy, I beat the boss, and prepared for the lengthy, much-anticipated bout against Ouroboros, the game’s final boss, who thankfully isn’t a windy old hack like some of the other hackneyed Final Fantasy villains.
After about 2 or 3 hours, with no game overs, I beat the final boss, (earning enough EXP for the entire party to level 87), and I could finally relish in the satisfaction of having beaten the game.
Given that the true ending wasn’t really much different to the normal ending, I thought that the whole thing was basically just the writers taking the piss. Why bother writing two endings that are virtually the same? In fact, why even have four chapters that basically consist of doing the same thing over and over again?
Finally, let’s talk about Bravely Second, the official sequel to Bravely Default which was teased after the true ending credits. All we know about it is that it will still be set in the world of Luxendarc, many years after Bravely Default. I’m not saying it’s going to suck, but at some point, can’t Square Enix just fuck off?
Seriously, the age of Square Enix is over. It’s time for Square Enix and Japan’s other big game companies to let the next generation of game developers continue to keep the traditional JRPG alive in the games industry of today. It’s better than letting jaded relics of the 90’s like Square Enix hog all the fresh ideas.
In conclusion, even though I sometimes liked to call Bravely Default a shitty ass game, it’s actually not bad, but it’s massively overrated. It’s way too drawn out to be simple, classic JRPG like Final Fantasy V (the game it’s trying to imitate), and the plot was incredibly stupid, but at least it kept me going for as long as it could.
Bravely Default had a good run, but now that I’ve actually finished the game, I can lay it to rest, knowing that I at least beat the game fair and square.