Since my comment in this thread
has recieved some attention, I decided to make a more complete Preview of this game. I have experienced the game only halfway on my first playthrough in progress, so I cannot provide you with a complete review but rather impressions and comments I recieved from another player who has completed the game several times.
(Changing font size did not work with my browser configuration, so bold text for headers will have to do, unfortunately. And sorry for blurry screens, since fitting ones I found on the net were trademarked, I had to make my own, with an old camera)
For those who don't know, Bravely Default is pretty much your standard Final Fantasy from the early days, with different characters, classes, equipment, spells and an overworld.
If that was all the game had to offer, I would have stopped playing a long time ago. Luckily, there's more to it, a lot actually.
Assuming that people interested in this game already are familiar with J-RPGs, I'm going to focus on the very welcome additions this game offers to a functional, but dusty formula. I'll not lose a word on the story except telling you right here that it is engaging, so as not to spoil anything and help keep this preview short.
To get it out of the way, here are the basics you probably already know: Bravely Default is, at it's core, Final Fantasy 1. After the opening you get introduced to the four characters which you will control for the rest of the game. Each have their own stats and can be outfitted (which will not change their appearance) with gear. They travel around the overworld to enter cities and dungeons, oftimes using an airship which can also travel by sea. Neat! There are random encounters and tough boss battles which test your preparations, and stats determine in which sequence characters and enemies act, how much damage they take etc.
Let's move on to the things which make that game great.
That one has already been mentioned and made appearent in aforementioned thread: Bravely Default looks awesome. Art design is wonderful, staying true to older final fantasy titles and boasting some very beautiful vistas like an impressive clockwork city and delicate gardens. Elemental attacks have quite detailed effects attached to them, and costumes look great, reflecting the class of the respective wearer very well. Which brings me to...
Jobs. That's a big one. Let me explain.
Throughout the game, you will meet optional and nonoptional bosses, which after defeat, bestow upon you (unwillingly, those poor sods) an asterisk, which holds the wisdom required to use their job (equals class). As an example, after defeating the time mage boss, every one of your characters can change their job to time mage, right here, right now, as long as you are outside of a fight. Jobs influence your stats (typical example, mages have weak armor, duh), as well as your appearance. The character equipping an bosses job will look just like the ex capo, but with a prettier face. So go clip them.
Jobs allow you to use active and passive abilities but you can't use all of them.
For one, you have to level up your jobs in order to recieve an new active or passive ability for every job level. Secondly, you can only equip two jobs at a time. The main job will level up if your party defeats enemies, while you can use active and passive abilities from the secondary job you have equipped. E.g., you can have White Mage as main job, leveling it up by defeating enemies which grants you job points (in addition to XP which level up character level, in turn improving stats), while at the same time using abilities from the Black Mage Job. Passive abilities are limited to one at the beginning of the game, but you will get more slots by progressing the story.
That one addition makes the gameplay very engaging, because you can combine jobs so passive abilities are in harmony with your active ones and within the entire team. Job levels are independent to character levels and between each other, so you are not at a disadvantage when learning a new job late in the game, leveling wise. Developing a job from level 1 to level 2 always takes 30 job points, no matter when, no matter if it is the first job you learn or the 21st. The game invites you to experiment and witness the fruits of your labors, very much so when you pwn a boss, be it because you learned awesome new abilities or because you just combined them in a more fitting fashion, the latter one probably being the thing when playing in
After beating the game, you can start it all over in new game+ modes, which allows you to hunt jobs you could not get before or steal powerful items from bosses. I can't tell you much more, but since there are so many people playing their 6th or 8th playthrough, it seems to be engaging and worth your time :)
The Wii Ledge
You get to rebuild an entire village on a separate screen, by removing blockades and rubble, and by leveling up buildings which grant you gear, special moves, ingredients and items. Any action will take some time, between one and 99 hours. You start out with 4 (?) villagers, and for every villager you add to a task, building time gets cut in half (there are diminishing returns though after the 3rd villager added this way, else it would be very easy to race to overpowered rewards)
You can increase the number of villagers, one of many features including...
Once every 24 hours, you can connect to the internet and invite up to 4 players around the world, which add village population and grant you one move of any of their characters they chose, which you can use as an action in any battle. There's also some stuff you can do with friends connected to you directly, but I can't report on that, sorry.
Connected to the village, invited players will send nemeses to your village (those black flying imbeciles with tiny wings on the upper screenshot). Think of them as viruses which grant XP and job points (no money, darn it) upon defeat. They are very tough and will make you forget any intentions to never switch difficulty to easy.
Last but not least, do consider that this type of game usually doesn't draw me in enough for me to get one hour in, with very few examples like Last Remnant, which I nearly completed. But these points I mentioned keep in engaging and entertaining, and you will notice that most of them will stay relevant even after the first playthrough, so you get a good bang for your bucket. Buck. I don't know if you can pay in buckets though.
Thanks for reading, I hope you have even more reason now to look forward to that game, even though you just read a very rough review. As a responsible whisky taster I am most certain that looking forward to something is as tasty as actually trying it, so - slàinte mhath (spoken: sluhnge wah), and enjoy.