I originally wrote this post in March on Polygon’s forums, but news regarding the sales of Bravely Default made me think the thoughts were worth revisiting.
Bravely Default. Literally everything I love and hate about JRPGs wrapped into a frustrating little package.
On one hand: Great character system? Check. Entertaining combat? Check. Interesting (if cliche) story? Check.
On the other hand: Right as the story starts to get intruiging (the end of Chapter 4, beginning of Chapter 5), the gameplay becomes incredibly grindy. I’m sure back when I was 11 or 12 I wouldnt’ve cared, but now that I’m a Grown Damn Adult ™, it’s become inexcusable when a game shows absolutely no respect for the player’s time. “Of course you have 5 hours a day to play our game!”, the developers say to me with their terrible design choices.
It doesn’t help that the game is juxtaposed against Titanfall, a game with nothing in common gameplay-wise, but that says “Oh, do you only have 30 minutes to spare? Want to run and jump around like an idiot and pilot a giant robot?” Why yes. Yes I do.
It’s not just an “I hate JRPGs” thing – I played through Persona 4 Golden and it never felt like a grind, perhaps because I was more drawn in by the story and the characters. It was long – very long – but I felt like it at least respected my time and would reward me for spending a few minutes with it here and there.
I know I’ll return to it and finish it eventually, if only to justify the time I’ve already spent playing it, but right now, it’s hard to find a reason to do so.