Have you ever wondered how hard it would be to play soccer with no experience? When I read the reviews for the newly released Inazuma Eleven, I thought I'd be getting a quirky JRPG based around random encounters and battles based around soccer. Weird, but charming portrayals of larger-then-life characters who are one-part sports anime and one-part Dragonball Z enthusiasts.
What I got was a difficult to master soccer RPG with a lot of anime story. The kind of story where the outcome of your match doesn't matter because its pre-determined how things will go. Like how a team will concede defeat after achieving certain shadowy goals or how you'll always leave halftime with a 1-1 score.
The hardest aspect of the game is trying to score goals. Goalies will take every chance they can to block shots and unless you actually approach it with an idea of actual soccer strategy, you won't score goals. You'll have to shoot for the edges, pass between two strikers, or spend tech points into a special shot to have a hope in scoring even one point.
Past all that, the entire experience is somewhat engrossing. Seeing miniature skirmishes unfold as your players dribble past other players or slide into ones with possession, then watching elaborate skills like the fire tornado kick or doppelganger ball steal trick makes the entire match or battle really fun to watch. There's a big sink or swim mentality though since the game only shows you how to play the game through text boxes and not through action, so you better be good at making some critical thinking and leaps. Its harder on the touch screen since the tactical response of dragging routes sometimes doesn't register on the tiny, moving characters. I've learned that most of the time, I should just let the AI move the ball as it needs to and only input commands when I need to make a strong play, such as positioning for a pass or for a shot.
I'm nearly through with Bravely Default and have some really lovely class set ups. I think everyone's heard of the swordmaster/pirate combo where you max out both classes and use the swordmaster's Free Lunch move in tandem with the pirate's Amped Strike. That move is a 4x damage move that consumes 50% MP but Free Lunch makes all MP cost 0 for two turns. This combo behooves you to save up BP by defaulting and you'll take chunks off with a 4x brave Free Lunch Amped Strike.
Anyone who's used the ninja knows the damage it's capable of. Throw in Hawkeye and Precision from the ranger class and you boost its capable damage without needing to add much. My ninja is also a thief, in order to steal rare items from bosses, so the set up is useful for extra damage without resorting to tacking on sword magic. My ninjas always carry Turn Tables too for the guaranteed Ustusemi/Turn Tables evasion combo. I also have two Fox Tails, high end axes that have huge agility bonuses. I always want my biggest damage dealer to move first and with some clever skill sorting, I've made quite the potent dark knight. By giving him axe lore, increasing his axe skill to S, and making his secondary skill ninjutsu for access to Utsusemi, I have a dark knight capable of more damage then a ninja for the same survivability. Just give him a Fox Tail then for skills:
- Axe Lore
- Turn Tables
Then your choice of a fifth skill. All the skills right there in tandem with a Fox Tail gives you the massive damage output for a dark knight with all the speed of a ninja. Since dark knights already have Adversity, gradual buffs as you lose health, Comeback Kid is unnecessary, which is 25% buffs per evade. Sometimes I just give him a flat 10% Attack bonus. Other times I give him Transcience for for counters to stack the damage output. Whatever the case, by far my favorite strategy is pairing him with a spiritmaster who can give the entire party immunity to elemental damage (for a huge cost of 3 BP!) then brave a bunch of Dark Nebula, the dark knight's strongest attack. An attack that hits for 4x damage against everyone for two drawbacks: 1) it drains 20% just like Dark Bane and 2) it hits everyone indiscriminately, friend and foe. For some reason, that includes the caster himself, even though his health is already being drained by 20%. Having the spiritmaster cast Enigma for immunity is important, because with the dark knight two-handing his axe, being boosted from Adversity, amping his dark attacks with Gloom, and finally having the resultng attack magnified by four, simply cutting the damage in half with Greater Fairy Ward won't cut it. It needs to be Enigma or else people will die on you.
I also finally finished up the knight and templar classes. It's funny how such defensively oriented classes have access to attacks that convert that defense into pure offense. Take the templar's Desperation for example, which adds your defense to your attack and throws it out at the cost of reducing your defense for one turn. The drawback isn't even that bad since usually the templar is moving last anyways. It has zero cost to cast which means you can invest in a shield. Most of the time, I equip Two-handed or Dual Wield for more damage over survivability (everyone has a healer after all). A templar or knight can legitimately run a shield to increase defense and still attack for tons of damage.
Speaking of tons of damage, templars sound like an upgrade to knights with more specialized defensive skills and attack but by the end, I changed my templar back to a knight. Knights actually have more defensive potential then templars. Combined with two more abilities they can turn their superior defense into potent attacks. Dual Shields allows you to equip two shields for impenetrable defense at the cost of pitiful attack. Super Charged is a battle skill that takes 1 BP and attacks by using a score that's double your defense. Math isn't my strong suit but most set ups will have a higher number on doubling defense compared to adding defense to your attack. I don't think I've ever seen my knight go down ever since equipping the Dual Shields ability. In addition to attacking with huge defense, it comes with the utility of being able to revive your healer if they go down with phoenix downs.
The 3DS is so good now. Can you believe its been three years? Can you believe it looked so sketchy three years ago? And now its one of the hottest systems available. Hotter than even the now current gen consoles!