Bravely Default feels less like a demo, and more like a game made as proof of concept. Now this is not to say the game feels unpolished, quite the opposite actually. It isn’t like that video Squaresoft made way back when showing Final Fantasy VI characters on the technology of the N64; it is an oddly complete package that shows in full the promise of the systems contained over a longer narrative. What is even more impressive about this package is that while the systems are (from what I am guessing) abbreviated, they are by no means anything short and easy. This is a demo that requires genuine effort to get through (which in RPG terms usually means grinding), and from what I can tell, gives the player an accurate prediction of what the final product will be, while not giving any of the plot away.
That is really the key here for the Bravely Default demo; it is not a piece of the game cut up and given for free for people to try. From what the demo says at the start, and from what I have read elsewhere; the fine people at Square-Enix and Silicon Studio crafted a unique adventure for the demo. This adventure comes complete with its own story; which is a little shallow, but gets the point across. This also allows the experience to remain entirely self-contained, spoiling nothing in future play. It also has its own system of upgrades and leveling that keep the demo tightly contained. While in most longer JRPG’s, going from a Long Sword to a Mythril Sword isn’t often a big deal (it happens usually very quickly in most Final Fantasy games), this small, 6 hour adventure made me feel like a badass when I finally got access to those Mythril weapons. The combination of the equipment and Job Class leveling loops allows the demo to keep expectations right where they should be in terms of scale, and time reward for time invested. While I have no doubt the proper game will have an expanded loop of equipment and skills to gain, the demo does a good job of giving us just enough items and new abilities to make the time sink of grinding and using the social features worth it. Continue Reading