Metascore
85

Generally favorable reviews - based on 67 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 67
  2. Negative: 0 out of 67
  1. Dec 5, 2013
    86
    Fans and open-minded newcomers will enjoy a substantial adventure that proves the JRPG is alive and kicking.
  2. Dec 14, 2013
    80
    Despite that unwelcome intrusion and the lacklustre storytelling, Bravely Default is one of the finest RPGs Square Enix has been involved with in recent times.
  3. Jan 29, 2014
    90
    A terribly entertaining, meaty adventure that stumbles slightly with too much boss fight repetition near the end.
  4. Jan 28, 2014
    80
    Despite being plagued by a slow pace and late-game repetition, Bravely Default’s core mechanics kept me engaged until the credits.
  5. Dec 3, 2013
    80
    The core conceit adds new capacity for strategy; it's a genuine and interesting invention. And despite the now completely lifeless use of mystical crystals as a plot device, as the game progresses, scriptwriter Nataka Hayashi begins to subvert the clichés in unexpected ways. What's easy to dismiss as by-the-numbers plotting will delight and surprise you in time.
  6. Feb 13, 2014
    80
    It comes so close to greatness that it's possible to overlook its glaring flaws. Just be warned that it'll be a slog to get to the end.
  7. Jan 28, 2014
    91
    If you have any affinity for the Final Fantasy brand, you’ll absolutely love Bravely Default.
  8. Dec 11, 2013
    80
    Bravely Default breaks from the traditional JRPG mould time and time again, providing dozens of hours of clever adventuring.
  9. Feb 3, 2014
    90
    Bravely Default is an RPG for everyone.
  10. Dec 25, 2013
    78
    Great if you're a stickler for tradition, but progress can feel overly slow at times. [Jan 2014, p.84]
  11. Dec 3, 2013
    96
    Bravely Default is a superb game, plain and simple. Fans of the genre will love every second of it and newcomers will definitely understand why the genre is so much loved all around the world.
  12. Jan 8, 2014
    80
    Bravely Default is ambitious without being unconventional: an effective, engaging addition to a genre often hamstrung by tradition.
  13. Dec 2, 2013
    95
    This is an outstanding game in every aspect, that also adds very interesting ideas. If you've ever enjoyed an Japanese RPG, this is a title you cannot miss.
  14. Dec 3, 2013
    80
    This is a game that skilfully blends the safe with the courageous in an alchemical fusion of old and new, somehow brave and default all at once.
  15. Jan 28, 2014
    95
    Bravely Default stands currently as my first big game of the year contender and while there are a few minor missteps along the way, it’s still a giant leap forward for what a traditional JRPG should be in the modern age.
  16. Dec 4, 2013
    70
    If this is what Square Enix can do when they outsource the Final Fantasy property (even spiritually) we hope to see the core series go down this route, too; it’s a damn sight better than the numbered entries’ recent efforts.
  17. Dec 2, 2013
    95
    An excellent classic JRPG adventure in the vein of the 8, 16 and 32 bit master gems. A great new addition for the always growing 3DS catalogue and an exciting new IP for Square Enix.
  18. Jan 29, 2014
    98
    Bravely Default is one of those games that we knew was going to be something special when the first previews started showing up in Japan. The final product is nothing short of Game of the Year material. It may be too early to call it, but for now, it's definitely a front-runner for such distinction.
  19. Dec 3, 2013
    90
    It would be a crime not to play this little gem of a JRPG, that shows to everyone (to Square Enix in the first place) where the Final Fantasy saga should have gone. In fact, even not owning a 3DS would be a valid excuse: go out and buy one.
  20. Jan 28, 2014
    75
    Bravely Default’s combat combines the best things that old-school JRPGs had to offer with some new and welcome additions, and its social features are incredibly forward-thinking. However, its sluggish pacing and over-reliance on repetition and genre conventions holds it back from being the Final Fantasy replacement we all wanted it to be.
  21. Jan 28, 2014
    90
    If you like JRPGs and own a 3DS, Bravely Default is easily one of the best available for the system.
  22. Dec 19, 2013
    90
    Bravely Default is a masterpiece within the RPG genre. A title that combines nostalgia and modernity firmly and gently and offers a truly unique experience.
  23. Dec 23, 2013
    85
    This is a classic but very entertaining RPG. The framerate drop is one of the minor flaws in an otherwise nearly perfect game.
  24. Nov 24, 2013
    90
    Bravely Default is one of the best traditional JRPGs and the best new IP from Square Enix in years.
  25. 90
    Bravely Default is a massive game, and one of the best examples of the genre available on the 3DS. While it harkens back to a simpler time, it still offers more than enough complexity to keep players engaged for a long time.
  26. Dec 1, 2013
    90
    Any 3DS owner with even a fleeting interest in role-playing games and a desire to get lost in an incredible, engaging adventure would be doing themselves a huge favour by picking up Bravely Default without delay.
  27. Dec 5, 2013
    90
    Bravely Default is the best Final Fantasy game since part nine. Traditional JRPG-elements are perfectly combined with good new additions in the combat system. Bravery Default also utilizes the 3DS's capabilities quite well.
  28. 80
    A brave game indeed as it attempts to marry the best of old school Japanese role-players with new and modern ideas… and generally succeeds.
  29. Feb 7, 2014
    85
    For all of its strengths, Bravely Default’s best quality is its underlying enthusiasm that permeates almost every aspect.
  30. Dec 2, 2013
    95
    Square Enix delivers one of the best JRPGs we've tried on 3DS. The new battle-gameplay mechanics are fun and immersive, and the story-line will keep us close to the 3DS for as long as the adventure lasts. It's a must-have for every 3DS owner and by far the best of its genre, plain and simple.
  31. Dec 24, 2013
    79
    Most of the game is absolutely brilliant, looking back at classic RPGs while also pushing the genre forward. But sadly, the final hours of the game, those that should be the most memorable and climactic, are tedious beyond words, and undermine everything great that came before. And this is something that’s hard to forgive.
  32. Apr 8, 2014
    70
    It's got a lovely fresh coat of paint, but underneath that Bravely Default is the same old thing.
  33. This is the road the Final Fantasy series should have taken; a refreshing new take on JRPG that will have fans of the genre giddy with excitement.
  34. Dec 5, 2013
    100
    More than a testament to JRPGs timeless traditions, Bravely Default represents the contemporary quintessence of this genre through the inspired use of technology and its audacious gameplay mechanics.
  35. Jan 28, 2014
    100
    Bravely Default is a flagship series in the making and worth exploring even for the uninitiated; its craftsmanship is simply too good a testament to the medium to pass up.
  36. Dec 28, 2013
    80
    Anyone with any sort of love for the JRPG-genre should definitely give Bravely Default some attention. This is as close to classic Final Fantasy as it gets without actually being classic Final Fantasy.
  37. Dec 12, 2013
    90
    The fans of RPGs will be delighted with this game.
  38. Jan 28, 2014
    90
    Its shameless implementation of 90s-era mechanics and design does mean that participants will need to have a love for conventional JRPGs—and perhaps a bit of patience to endure the homogeneity of the first part of the game—but beyond that, Bravely Default is a great experience.
  39. Dec 6, 2013
    83
    Some elements like microtransaction feel inept, but most of the time the symbiosis of random battles, turn based tactics and time manipulation works surprisingly well. If you cherish old rpg virtues this is definitely for you.
  40. Feb 16, 2014
    90
    Bravely Deafult is the best game from Square-Enix in a long time and a must for fans of classic Final Fantasy. The battle and work system, as well as the history and the graphics is natural progresses of a gamemaking many deemed nostalgic.
  41. Dec 18, 2013
    78
    Bravery Default is mostly built on a strong foundation that Square Enix built up over the last several years with RPGs. It does do a few unique things though. The Brave & Default system is well thought out and the 3DS-functionalities are put to good use during this enormous adventure. Too bad the story is a letdown and it starts of too slowly.
  42. Dec 10, 2013
    80
    Some say that this is the best Final Fantasy in many years, and it may be a great way to describe it: Bravely Default is a love letter for the old JRPGs, but it also has some good new ideas.
  43. Dec 5, 2013
    80
    Bravely Default is a classic j-rpg experience that doesn't aim high, but delivers where it matters, featuring robust gameplay and stunningly artistic visuals.
  44. Dec 30, 2013
    75
    This isn't the next big JRPG, but it'll certainly take you a long time to complete.
  45. Dec 30, 2013
    95
    For 2013, Bravely Default is easily the best RPG of the year that will keep fans of this genre extremely happy as they join these characters in their fight for freedom.
  46. Dec 23, 2013
    80
    Bravely Default is classic Final Fantasy in everything but name only.
  47. Jan 28, 2014
    80
    My major bugbear with Bravely Default is it drags on by the end. Not because of length, but rather because the story forces the game to retrace its steps in a way that's not as clever as it thinks it is, or at least not clever enough.
  48. Feb 3, 2014
    60
    Bravely Default's more interesting ideas, particularly the mechanics behind the battle system, breathe some life into a very traditional RPG. However, the game is also let down by its fair share of derivative and less ambitious features. Bravely Default disappointingly wastes a lot of its potential, but Square Enix will get another shot with the already-announced sequel.
  49. Dec 12, 2013
    85
    Bravely Default is a role-playing game that tries to match the old school with new ideas, giving the player a good combat system, a mature story, but also a lackluster exploration. Mission accomplished.
  50. Jan 29, 2014
    90
    Bravely Default really is something special.
  51. Dec 30, 2013
    80
    It is suitably complex mechanically to be challenging on a level beyond simply long fights with tough enemies, and tells a solid story reminiscent of the older Final Fantasy games from which it draws design elements.
  52. Feb 6, 2014
    95
    Enthusiasts will love the throwback gameplay, and the unique spin on battles complements both veterans and newcomers. There are plenty of reasons to keep playing and replaying the game, not the least of which being the variety of jobs available to test.
  53. Feb 9, 2014
    90
    Bravely Default is a joy to play for old school JRPG fans. The music, graphics and mechanics all blend together perfectly and it continues in a already strong lineup of RPGs on the 3DS. This little handheld is becoming quite the powerhouse for these kind of games.
  54. Nov 25, 2013
    90
    Ironically, Bravely Default is one of the best Final Fantasies in years. Taking the very best of 8/16-bit entries of the series, and bringing them up to date with some beautiful graphics, clever features and engaging gameplay, this is a must for someone looking for a more traditional JRPG.
  55. Feb 12, 2014
    80
    A JRPG that only occasionally gives into the genre's worst impulses, and one that rewards strategy and dedication. [March 2014, p.70]
  56. Feb 8, 2014
    80
    Bravely Default is a reminder that classic Final Fantasy themes and gameplay elements are timeless in the right hands. Unfortunately, its later segments are some of the worst examples of unnecessary padding in RPG history. All told, it’s a flawed masterpiece that shows more potential than any other current Square Enix RPG property.
  57. 90
    Bravely Default is so full of old time good RPG fun that you could literally shake a stick at it and it wouldn’t change a thing given how much quality is in this game.
  58. Jan 30, 2014
    80
    It feels like the product of many years dedicated to the crafting of JRPGs — and the team at Square Enix and Silicon Studio have nailed it this time.
  59. Dec 30, 2013
    80
    Bravely Default is a triumphant blending of a classic template with some fresh ideas and modern user-friendliness, albeit with a few areas that could still be refined before going on to the next level.
  60. Jan 28, 2014
    94
    Bravely Default is the best JRPG you could play on the 3DS. If I were Square Enix, I would give this same team a Final Fantasy-sized budget and let them make a proper, numbered entry in the series.
  61. Apr 14, 2014
    100
    It sounds like a lot, and it is, but not in an overwhelming way but in a fantastic, three in the morning, I can’t stop playing this game kind of way. When it all comes together and you destroy a boss that gave you troubles just a few job levels ago, it feels great.
  62. Bravely Default‘s combat system sits comfortably among some of Square Enix’s best including those within games like Chrono Trigger, earlier Final Fantasy games, and Dragon Quest VIII. It’s that good.
  63. Jan 28, 2014
    100
    It's a return to Final Fantasy's roots, and it's beautiful.
  64. Jan 23, 2014
    85
    With everything you could want in a JRPG, Bravely Default is a must play for fans of the genre.
  65. Dec 9, 2013
    90
    Bravely Default matches all the cosy warmth of traditional themes and familiar role-playing customisation systems with fresh concepts and interesting twists that use many of the 3DS most underused used features. The game provides the JRPG genre with a much-needed shot in the arm.
  66. Feb 5, 2014
    88
    Bravely Default represents a solid revival of Square's old-school JRPGs with an extremely competent execution and rich, elaborate combat mechanics. However, it suffers from narrative stiffness, bad dialogue, unsympathetic characters and an altogether tiredness in it's cliché-ridden story.
  67. Feb 10, 2014
    80
    Square Enix may be taking its signature Final Fantasy series to new places, but Bravely Default shows that they still know what makes a good, traditional JRPG.
User Score
8.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 308 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 80
  2. Negative: 8 out of 80
  1. Dec 6, 2013
    8
    Awesome game, near perfect. People will hate on the voice acting and script, but that's their opinion. CG: 9.5 PR: 9 VI: 10 AU: 10 GP: 10
    LA: 10

    9.6/10
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 9, 2013
    10
    Wow, the atmosphere is classic, the scenery is elegant. I am waiting for such a game so long time. Maybe I am a bit out of date, but this is really my style. The only thing I don't like is the character setting, too cute. Full Review »
  3. Feb 8, 2014
    6
    The game's visuals are great. The soundtrack, a masterpiece. The gameplay is engrossing, but highly repetitive. To complete random battles without crippling yourself you will have perform anywhere from 16 to 64 commands in a single turn. After a short while, it gets repetitive. Repetitive are also all the dungeons of the game. The Job system is the star of the gameplay, but if you played FF3, FF5 or their derivatives, this is just more of the same. Bosses will often perform the same 2-4 moves in order, being almost impossible to defeat for the wrong combination of jobs, but extremely easy for the right one, which doesn't really allow for any emergent gameplay, despite the jobs' apparent potential for it.

    Finally, the rating is only 6 because story is to me the most important part of an RPG. Bravely Default tries to include higher depth and coherence than the usual JRPG fare, but fails to introduce any new structure to the game, which is an unforgivable flaw. Each dungeon concludes with a boss or event. If you are walking somewhere and there is a cave nearby, be assured that's your next story destination. There are 4 crystals and 4 continents, plus you can guess the order in which you will visit them from the very beginning. The game is, in short, extremely linear. While the plot tries to throw twists and mysteries at you, you will see everything coming long before it happens. The characters themselves are pure stereotypes. As a final blow, the endgame is already famously jarring and repetitive, involving forced grinding through the same content multiple times for a good ending.
    Notably, though, the english voice acting is remarkable. You will probably still hate Agnés.
    Full Review »