#1 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19367 posts) -

It's pretty incredible.

I genuinely loved this game from chapters 1-4. Bravely Default wasn't initially spinning the most riveting of tales, but the world was interesting enough and I came to like the characters, despite Tiz's obsession with Agnès and Ringabel's obsession with the ladies. I actually didn't have much of a problem with the English voice acting, with the big exception being Airy (part of why I hated her from the outset).

Accurate

For everything else: the music is awesome, I really liked the job system and the battle system and acquiring new asterisks from side quests was fun because of the unique bosses that held them and how they filled in the game's story and world.

Chapter 5

But then chapter 5 happened. Awakening the four crystals didn't end up saving the world, but sends the heroes into a parallel world, which is alright in itself. But how the game decides to handle this is by recycling a bunch of scenes that happened previously in the game, with side quests which literally involve fighting the same bosses that one fights in the previous chapters, but sometimes with different story bits accompanying them in some kind of boss rush. These side quests are not mandatory to continue the story (thank god), but I still did them all anyways because I didn't want to miss any potentially important parts of the story or be confused concerning what came next.

In any case, chapter 5 is about awakening the four crystals again because that didn't save the world last time, so it must save the world this time, right? WRONG. After going through all four of the dungeons again and facing the bosses that come from the four crystals and then awakening these crystals, the team shifts into yet another parallel world and into chapter 6. The team's reaction? "Well, that didn't work, so I guess we should go awakening the four crystals AGAIN."

Chapter 6

So, chapter 6 goes underway and the side quests of chapter 5 are back again, which means one can subject themselves to practically the exact same bosses again if they so choose. Oh, and did I mention that these side quest bosses, starting from chapter 5, usually don't give out any cash or experience points when defeated? Well, that's what happens; they only give out "job points" which is useful, but not useful enough to justify going through them all again unless one really needs to see the 1-2 lines of dialogue that have maybe changed in these side quests.

"Screw it", I tell myself after doing one of the side quests and realizing it's the exact same thing. On another player's recommendation, I do at least one of the new side quests introduced in chapter 6, which was at least a bit refreshing since it involved all new story segments and an entirely new boss. Other than that, though, I decide to rush my way through to awaken all the four crystals again, ignoring the side quests in the process.

Guess what happens after chapter 6's crystals are awakened? Is the world saved? Haha, no.

Chapter 7

The team wakes up in another parallel world. Again. Airy, the fairy who's been pushing for the team to awaken the crystals the most throughout the whole game, gives the EXACT same excuse she's given before: "I don't know what happened. I'm sorry." So, logically, the team goes: "Well, guess we should go awaken the crystals again." ...NO, WHY!?

Same side quests are back, but to the game's credit, the encounters are at least a bit different than the previous chapters with different bosses teaming up with each other, with different motivations and story segments, making for a different kind of challenge. Not enough for me to do more than 2-3, though.

So I go awakening the crystals again, and after that's done...

Chapter 8

Team wakes up in parallel world. Airy goes: "I don't know what happened. I'm sorry." Team goes: "Well, guess we should go awaken the crystals again."

*Sigh* I'm on this chapter now, and at least I believe this one's the final one. Side quests are back; not doing any of those. Out of rebellion, I decided to break the first crystal I reached instead of awakening it, which led me to what I think is a "good ending" but not the "true ending" (which, to get, requires awakening all four of the crystals again... again. Again.)

Basically

This is a prefect example of a game that fucks up the more it goes on. Why force the player to go through one hundred cycles like this? The game was plenty long (about 30-40 hours) at the end of chapter 4, so why pad it out like this?

What makes it even worse is that, as the parallel worlds go on and on, new story bits start to pop up that make the characters question the origin of the crystals and, particularly, their fairy companion, which makes for one of the coolest parts of the game which is how choice words on the title screen turn red and disappear after a scene:

Still, they choose to go on awakening the crystals over and over and over again, and it's the epitome of rote. If that's how they wanted to tell the story, then fine. But it's practically an insult to the player to literally recycle past scenes from the game as well as side quests and... well, everything else, just to pad out their adventure. It's dumb, and it made one of the coolest JRPGs I've played into one of the most frustrating.

#2 Posted by SpunkyHePanda (1700 posts) -

What? That can't be what happens. It can't be.

#3 Posted by HeyGuys (540 posts) -

@spunkyhepanda: The latter half of the game is quickly becoming sort of infamous unfortunately.

#4 Posted by Sinusoidal (1643 posts) -

Sounds like par for the course for the past and current generation of JRPGs. They've been on a downhill slide into the shitter since the beginning of the 360/PS3 generation. Now they mostly seem to consist of a few good ideas hampered by steaming piles of bullshit. Oh woe for the bygone days of good JRPGs!!

Online
#5 Edited by benspyda (2038 posts) -

Yes to get the true ending you need to play through the game over and over and over. You can just break a crystal in chapter 5 and end the game that way to get the basic ending.

It is easily the dumbest part of that game but the side quests in chapter 8 were fun facing off against all the job sidequests together which was tougher than the final boss.

#6 Edited by Zeik (2536 posts) -

@sinusoidal said:

Sounds like par for the course for the past and current generation of JRPGs. They've been on a downhill slide into the shitter since the beginning of the 360/PS3 generation. Now they mostly seem to consist of a few good ideas hampered by steaming piles of bullshit. Oh woe for the bygone days of good JRPGs!!

There are plenty of JRPGs this gen (or last gen, whatever) that are much better than the latter half of Bravely Default.

#7 Posted by Hunter5024 (5805 posts) -

Yeah I finally wrapped it up and man... just man. I didn't mind the boss rush the first time, it was kind of interesting getting to fight all of those dudes over again at a higher level when I had access to all of the jobs, which I think is a testament to how well the bosses were designed in the first place. But then it happens again, and again, and again. Ugh. By halfway through the second cycle I'd already mastered every job I ever intended too, and eventually the fights stopped even giving experience! The annoying part is that the game was already long enough. 40 hours is huge, even compared to jrpg's from back in the day, you can beat most of those in like 20. I really wonder if maybe everybody's just ruining it for themselves by doing all the side bosses every time. It couldn't take much more than an hour or so to just awaken all the crystals, and with the lack of experience, you aren't really getting anything out of the fights anyways aside from some semi interesting character stuff.

I don't want to speculate about behind the scenes stuff (though that's exactly what I'm about to do), but I really wonder if the game just didn't have the budget or the time to match the scope in their heads. I can't imagine that this was a design decision they would've made if they'd had the resources to just add a few more dungeons. Just seems like a shame that they have to resort to stuff like this in order to make their game feel "complete" to them, presumably due to how much it costs to generate assets compared to the old days. None of the games I played back in the snes era ever recycled content like this, and while this is a particularly egregious example of it, it's certainly not the first or only game to do this in the past few years.

#8 Edited by Encephalon (1282 posts) -

WHAT?

That's what I have to look forward to? Repeating the same content I've already done three more times? What in the world were they thinking?

My god, I'm only in Chapter 5 right now, and I basically thought, "Haha, that was a pretty good twist, game. Now let's hurry on to the endgame, and never ever do that to me again." Little did I know...

#9 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11904 posts) -

What? That can't be what happens. It can't be.

Oh, it totally is. I haven't finished the game yet because I can only take so much Boss Rush at one time, but essentially at the halfway (or 2/3rds, depending on how you operate) mark the developers decided that the best way to pad out a game that was already 40 hours long was to make you fight the same 27 or so bosses again... FOUR TIMES IN A ROW. At this point I might just awaken the crystals instead of padding my way through with more inanity.

#10 Posted by audioBusting (1612 posts) -

Hahah, what??? It sounds like a joke, but that kinda sounds like a good spin on a New Game+ sort of feature.

#11 Posted by eskimo (477 posts) -

I got to the fourth crystal on what is apparently the first time round, and stopped play. For better or worse, reading this has made me decide not to go back. I'm thinking it's for the better.

#12 Edited by Encephalon (1282 posts) -

OK, so I've read up on this now. I just can't fathom what would possess a competent developer to make those decisions. Even if one accepts that their story is compelling enough to justify repeating content, there's still no reason to belabor the point to the degree that they have. One repeat would be enough. I would be willing, perhaps, to accept two. But four times?

So at what point can I end this game, if I wish, assuming I don't care enough about the story to pursue the "true" ending? Would I be missing out on any sweet new content, like dungeons or bosses?

#13 Posted by Petiew (1353 posts) -

So at what point can I end this game, if I wish, assuming I don't care enough about the story to pursue the "true" ending? Would I be missing out on any sweet new content, like dungeons or bosses?

You can end the game at chapter 5 by breaking any of the crystals. Though unless you get far enough in the story the resolution won't make as much sense. There's an optional final dungeon, but I was so tired of the game by the point it unlocks I never bothered with it.

I will say that the final boss is the best part of the game though. It's unfortunate you have to slog through so much boring crap to get to it.

#14 Posted by hollitz (1556 posts) -

As someone who really didn't care about the story from the jump, the latter half of the game hasn't bothered me. I adore the combat and leveling up jobs and mixing up abilities. The extra hours of gameplay give me an excuse to do that. I could see why others would be upset by the post-chapter 4 stuff, but I'm not. And I really don't think it's even close to being as bad as the Tiz/Egil stuff was. That section of the game was almost unbearable.

#15 Posted by MEATBALL (3319 posts) -

I fucking loved the game, and then the cycle in those last chapters just killed all of my interest in continuing. It wasn't even a conscious decision, I just eventually stopped picking my 3DS up to continue playing.

That said, with how much I loved the game up until that point I'm still really satisfied with it? It's an odd thing. Just a shame it really dropped off for me. Still looking forward to Bravely Second.

#16 Posted by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

Yeah, it sucks. Dunno what they were thinking. Still, I really like the combat system, so I'm still looking forward to the sequel since given the response there's no way they'd try that again.

That being said, I think it would have been much better if they had made the "break a crystal" ending the best one. It would have fit better thematically, and then the player could have chosen how much of that bullshit they wanted to tolerate.

#17 Posted by oldenglishC (970 posts) -

You're a better man than I am. I got about half-way through chapter six, fought a strong urge to bounce my 3DS off a wall, and vowed to never look at the game again. I did really enjoy the first four chapters, so I guess it wasn't a total waste.

#18 Edited by Epidehl (305 posts) -

This is pretty damn sad really. It was weird for me because while I didn't get it, my brother did and I've basically gotten to watch his reactions to this in real time. He was LOVING the game, got to the "plot twist" in Chapter 4, thought it was pretty cool, but then every day since is just "I can't believe they're really doing this." And now he's just playing Pokemon again instead. I was planning on picking it up at some point but man, I don't think I can deal with that.

#19 Edited by Rolkien (85 posts) -

Yeah that latter half brings it down but I was still a big fan of the game either way. Hopefully they don't do anything like that in Bravely Second.

#20 Edited by Jrad (624 posts) -

Sounds like Endless Eight. Is the true end 'worth it'?

#21 Posted by IrrelevantJohn (1083 posts) -

That's such a bummer that it ends that way.

#22 Edited by cloudyimpulse (225 posts) -

Since this is a spoiler zone, I'll just go over my experience.

I played the game and didn't have an issue with the parallel worlds. The first time it happened I didn't think much of the world mechanic as an issue. I went about my business trying to figure stuff out. And all the bosses are marked as side options (except for the crystals). So after fighting a few couple of the bosses again, I proceeded to go forward with the story part.

By that time, I was about 20 to 25 hours into the game. Talking to the Sage and reading through the Journal and piecing things together, I was able to figure out by the time I hit the 2nd Parallel world that I should not be doing this again (which again the Sage ask if you have the courage to go against the grain). So with that I was able to quickly pick up on the overcharging the crystal. I thought it was a great mechanic.

Like audioBusting mentioned, after the first world I started to look at this as a weird new game plus built into the game, made for job and power leveling. I get the feeling people just played through it dismissing information that was given to them.

I ended up going through it again and completing everything, getting the True Ending. I loved every minute of the game.

Just my two cents.

#23 Posted by Hunter5024 (5805 posts) -

While I'm in total agreement about this part of the game being terrible, I think maybe we're getting a little carried away. The vast majority of this content is optional, and it doesn't add as much time as people seem to be suggesting. I was 46 hours in when I got to the twist, did literally everything I could do, and beat the game at 62. So 16 extra hours for me, about 2-3 hours of that was new content, and I'd say maybe 4 hours of that was recycled content that I had to do, the rest was just me doing all the optional bosses, which I recommend people don't do. Just set the encounters to -100%, awaken the crystals, and get to the end.

#24 Posted by TheBlue (393 posts) -

The nice thing is really the ability to set encounters to zero. I spent a lot of time grinding jobs so I don't feel bad about blowing through Chapter 5 and so on. I do like what they tried to do with the story, it just...doesn't work from a gameplay standpoint and it's very off putting to have to complete the same tasks over and over. It is optional, which is nice, but it still feels like needless padding. It's why I have yet to complete the game. I really want to get to the ending and see the story through, but the slog of doing everything again is just so tedious. Though, I have gotten really good at killing bosses fast. In a way, I see it as an opportunity to try new strategies very quickly.

I read that they were taking a lot of fan feedback for Bravely Second, so hopefully this was all considered. I really do like this game and hopefully based on the mostly positive response it got in the west, we'll get the sequel too.

Online
#25 Posted by MajorMitch (533 posts) -

That's pretty much how I felt, and it's such a shame. The first 4 chapters were great, but once I saw what happened after that, I had no desire to play anymore. I don't see any redeeming value to those last 4 chapters, definitely seems like the worst kind of padding. It created a weird love/hate with the game for me- I played 4 chapters and stopped, and enjoyed that, but it still feels kind of empty without any real closure.

#26 Edited by believer258 (11984 posts) -

@hunter5024 said:

While I'm in total agreement about this part of the game being terrible, I think maybe we're getting a little carried away. The vast majority of this content is optional, and it doesn't add as much time as people seem to be suggesting. I was 46 hours in when I got to the twist, did literally everything I could do, and beat the game at 62. So 16 extra hours for me, about 2-3 hours of that was new content, and I'd say maybe 4 hours of that was recycled content that I had to do, the rest was just me doing all the optional bosses, which I recommend people don't do. Just set the encounters to -100%, awaken the crystals, and get to the end.

So... let me get this straight. You finish Chapter 4. You get knocked to a parallel world. You can go re-fight all the bosses if you really want to, but you could just as well turn the encounters off, do the thing with the crystals, start chapter 6, do the thing with the crystals, start chapter 7, do the thing with the crystals, start chapter 8, do the thing with the crystals, and fight the final boss? And since you're not getting much experience from all of the bosses, I can assume that you don't have to grind to get up to a level suitable for fighting the final boss at?

That doesn't sound so bad. The rest of you guys are making it sound like you absolutely have to fight all of the game's bosses, again, four times. Instead, that sounds like an optional "it's a parallel universe so here's an excuse to go fight all the bosses with your endgame powers if you want" kind of thing. I mean, it still sounds like bad design, but not as much of a deal-breaker as some of you are making it out to be. It's probably a completionist's nightmare, though. And if anything, it sounds like something to do while you're listening to a podcast.

#27 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4826 posts) -

It's terrible. Disgusting. It became pretty clear that the majority of reviewers had only played maybe ten hours or so when I was playing it for review myself.

#28 Posted by Hunter5024 (5805 posts) -

@believer258: That's basically right, except there's a boss at each crystal that you do have to fight again. Those 4 all have pretty obvious weaknesses though, and if you were just fighting them, it couldn't take more than like an hour per world.

#29 Edited by Encephalon (1282 posts) -

@believer258: I don't believe anyone in this thread claimed that the game forced you to fight every boss again. I'd say as people who have actually reached that point in the game, we're all well aware of what the game is asking.

The real issue with the last four chapters is that it defies the brisk pace established by the first four. For about 40 hours, the game does a nice job of motivating the player with the promise of new stuff: new environments, new equipment, new bosses, new jobs, new scenarios. The last four chapters state pretty up-front that it has exhausted its supply of new stuff, which is why many people in this thread seem to have lost their motivation to continue.

Regardless of how quickly one can blaze through the crystal scenario four more times, that doesn't change the fact that the game has essentially turned itself into a chore. That is, as you said, bad design.

#30 Posted by Hunter5024 (5805 posts) -

@encephalon: This is true, though there's a big difference between a third of the game being recycled content, and 4 hours of the game being recycled content. So for the sake of anyone who hasn't got to this part yet, I felt like I should address these chapter's length.

#31 Posted by believer258 (11984 posts) -

@believer258: I don't believe anyone in this thread claimed that the game forced you to fight every boss again. I'd say as people who have actually reached that point in the game, we're all well aware of what the game is asking.

The real issue with the last four chapters is that it defies the brisk pace established by the first four. For about 40 hours, the game does a nice job of motivating the player with the promise of new stuff: new environments, new equipment, new bosses, new jobs, new scenarios. The last four chapters state pretty up-front that it has exhausted its supply of new stuff, which is why many people in this thread seem to have lost their motivation to continue.

Regardless of how quickly one can blaze through the crystal scenario four more times, that doesn't change the fact that the game has essentially turned itself into a chore. That is, as you said, bad design.

I didn't say that it wasn't shitty - it is shitty - but when @hunter5024 posted his bit above, my reaction went from "Guess I'm not getting this game ever!" to "Guess I'm still interested in getting this game, but I'll have to grind my way through a few hours of late game content while listening to music or podcasts, and that's OK if the rest of the game is as good as everyone says it is!"

I'm just saying that it doesn't seem that bad. I wouldn't play the game for 40 hours and then throw it away because the content abruptly turns into a grind towards the end.

#32 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19367 posts) -

I didn't say that it wasn't shitty - it is shitty - but when @hunter5024 posted his bit above, my reaction went from "Guess I'm not getting this game ever!" to "Guess I'm still interested in getting this game, but I'll have to grind my way through a few hours of late game content while listening to music or podcasts, and that's OK if the rest of the game is as good as everyone says it is!"

I'm just saying that it doesn't seem that bad. I wouldn't play the game for 40 hours and then throw it away because the content abruptly turns into a grind towards the end.

And who said that?

#33 Edited by JamesJeux007 (479 posts) -

@fluxwavez: From reading your previous posts as well, we seem to have a pretty similar view of this game (enjoyed the demo and all that). And yeah obviously, I totally agree.

@believer258: The problem I had, is that the game does nothing to tell you that, yes, it is going to be a grind and the same thing over and over again. To the opposite, they build up the moment at the end of chapter 4 as the "point of no return" most J-RPGs have. So, like the completionist I am, I decided to do every quest on the map and grind my levels and all my jobs to the max. And then when the game sent me back to redo everything, although it didn't take me too long since I was completely overleveled, it still took me several hours to go around the world and redo EVERYTHING. Because, again, the game does not tell you its last chapters are going to be the same thing. It's part of the moment they are building up when you have enough of it and decide to blow up the crystals instead of saving them. And to their credit, it worked. I had enough of it and wanted to get it over with so I said "fuck it". But in the end, you still got me super frustrated with the game.

I agree that grinding for at least a dozen hours at the end of the game is inherent to RPGs, and whether this is good or bad is another discussion altogether. The frustrating part is that the game didn't need those extra chapters, and up until now, it was actually a pretty good game. It's like the game said "Okay, you had a lot of fun with this and want to see the end ? How about you play 20 hours more and maybe I'll give it to you". And that's not even particularly accurate since the game does not tell you anything about it becoming a grind of recycled content. I guess if someone warned me beforehand, it would've been way less bad since I could have decided to skip it. But again, having someone tell you "Hey ! Turn the game off once you hit the Chapter 5 title screen because it turns to crap" is not a super enthralling way to start a game.

In short: Said like that, yes, it probably doesn't sound that bad. But it's worse when YOU play it and completely sours a pretty good experience up to this point.

#34 Edited by Kidavenger (3582 posts) -

I just finished the game, having to defeat the 4 crystal bosses over and over sounded like a drag, but they don't get much stronger from world to world so it ends up being a cakewalk by the end of it, it sounds a lot worse than it actually was.

I think the idea behind it for the story makes it worthwhile.

#35 Posted by believer258 (11984 posts) -

Well, now that this thread has been bumped, it's worth mentioning that I actually did buy this game from Amazon. Not going to actually play it for at least a month, but hey, I own it now.

#36 Posted by Aeyt (2 posts) -

I played the game from the beginning with the encounter rate at 100% and my level was already in the high 70's from farming JP to work on getting all jobs maxed by the time I hit Chapter 5, so it's been just fun for me trouncing all the bosses over and over again to get quick JP. I'm almost level 99 now and have 2/3 of the jobs mastered and I'm not in chapter 8 yet. I think the game is great from a mechanics and gameplay point of view. I love the story too though, and the differences between worlds intrigue me. It's all about perspective.

#37 Posted by TheHT (11507 posts) -

That sounds TURRRRRIBLE.

#38 Posted by StarvingGamer (8370 posts) -

I thought it was perfect. The extra content was there if you wanted to flesh out the villains and experience some encounters that were actually challenging. And if you didn't you could turn encounter rate to 0%, skip almost all of the mandatory repeated cutscenes, experience the new content and reach the endgame in a couple of hours.