By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Polished and fun RPG with mild violence, some mature themes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about strategy in this fun traditional Japanese role-playing game. The combat system makes kids think strategically while considering multiple moves in advance, examining a variety of variables before devising battle and defensive tactics. Keep in mind, though, that the strategies practiced here -- while engaging -- probably won't significantly grow most older kids' reasoning abilities. Bravely Default's tactical combat is clever and polished, but it doesn't provide that much of a challenge for its target audience.
Narrative themes revolve around responsibility, courage, friendship, and loyalty. But these ideas tend to get lost in the game’s frequent battles, which -- although not particularly violent -- don't do much to promote the game's messages.
Positive Role Models
The four main characters are a mixed bunch. One of the boys is shy but responsible and always does the right thing; the other is an amnesiac who's obsessed with and objectifies women, misinterpreting their rebuffs as flirtation. The two female characters also are opposites, one fanatical about her duty to save the world and restore peace, the other a well-trained warrior who doesn't shy from battle. All are flawed, but they also have admirable qualities.
Ease of Play
The combat system is pretty complex and will take kids -- especially those not accustomed to Japanese role-playing games -- a while to get the hang of. Even then, battles continue the challenge. An "easy" mode lets players experiencing difficulty ramp things down, but there likely will be times when the only way to progress will be to grind -- which is to say run around and battle monsters to level up and become more powerful.
Violence & Scariness
Turn-based battles show cartoonish combatants both human and fantastical (goblins, skeletons, giant wolves, huge worms) taking turns slashing with swords, firing arrows, and launching magical attacks. Hits are depicted with flashes of light. More powerful attacks may include extended animations showing forces gathering strength before landing powerful blows, generally depicted by flashes of light. There is no blood or gore, save in a few brief sequences outside of battle, such as in one scene in which a monster is slashed in the stomach, resulting in a mild blood effect.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
No nudity or sexual activity, but the dialogue includes dozens of lines that include words such as "sexy" and even talk of getting into bed with members of the opposite sex. One extended scenario includes a lengthy discussion about what it means to be and dress "sexy." Outfits worn by the game's female characters sometimes have plunging necklines and very short hemlines.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Players can visit a pub, and one scene depicts characters that are clearly intoxicated.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Bravely Default is a turn-based Japanese role-playing game. Its battles aren't particularly violent -- players will see sword slashes and magic spells accompanied by flashes of light -- but they are frequent, with players sometimes spending a couple of hours at a time simply fighting monsters in dungeons. The story, about a girl and her friends trying the save the world, is filled with messages about courage and responsibility. But it's tempered by the combat as well as a main character's tendency throughout the game to obsess over and objectify women. There's also a side quest in which the main group discusses at length, several times, the nature of "sexy" clothing (though without actually talking about sex or showing any of the sexy clothes referenced).
Where to Play
Videos and Photos
Based on 2 parent reviews
Report this review
Great but very dark
Report this review
What’s It About?
BRAVELY DEFAULT is a very traditional Japanese fantasy RPG. It stars four young heroes: a boy whose town was destroyed in a cataclysmic event, a mystical girl whose understanding of her religion may hold the key to stopping the event from spreading, an amnesiac in possession of a book that seems to foretell the future, and a female warrior who decides to turn against her people and her father and do what she believes is right. This quartet of unlikely friends travels among countries and continents via a ship, attempting to restore the four giant crystals that govern the world's primary elements to an active state. Expect plenty of dialogue sequences and towns to explore, as well as lengthy adventures through dungeons teeming with fantastical creatures that throw the heroes into strategic turn-based battles in which they must select attacks, spells, and healing powers to survive and achieve victory.
Is It Any Good?
Bravely Default sticks pretty close to the formula established by the decades of games that came before it and have come to define the Japanese role-playing experience. Fans of such games aren't going to be terribly surprised by any plot twists, and most of the character types are going to seem pretty familiar. Also, fans likely will take to the process of upgrading equipment and changing jobs -- characters can switch among dozens of roles such as time mage, monk, and valkyrie -- fairly quickly. Intriguing StreetPass features allowing players to exchange characters with one another to be summoned for single attacks are interesting but, in the end, largely a novelty.
Where Bravely Default really stands out is in its titular commands. Players can assume a "default" or a "brave" stance on each turn. The former puts them in a defensive position and banks an extra move that can be spent on the next turn. The former lets you spend up to four banked moves at once, unleashing devastating attacks. This system makes possible all sorts of interesting tactics and turns each battle into something much more complex than simply tapping a button to select the same attacks over and over. It's this combat twist that will win over most players and keep them coming back to finish the game's 50-plus-hour campaign.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how girls and women are depicted in games. What did you think of the mission in which the main group of characters talked repeatedly about women's "sexy" clothing? Are the female characters in this game treated with respect throughout? What did you think of Ringabel's obsession with women?
Families also can discuss sharing virtual items with others online. Do you see any way in which a game like this might expose you to something dangerous? What sorts of messages have other players written to accompany the characters they exchange with you?
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release date: February 7, 2014
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: August 25, 2016
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Play
Our Editors Recommend
Role-Playing Games (RPGs) for Kids
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate