Bravely Default Game Poster Image

Bravely Default

Polished and fun RPG with mild violence, some mature themes.

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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. 


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. 


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.  

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Players can visit a pub, and one scene depicts characters that are clearly intoxicated.

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). 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Available online?Not available online
Release date:February 7, 2014
Genre:Role Playing
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol

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Teen, 16 years old Written byKeyboardingChihuahua June 26, 2014

A difficult but incredible JRPG

Bravely Default takes place in the fantasy world of Luxendarc, focusing on four protagonists: Tiz Arrior, Agnes Oblige, Edea Lee, and Ringabel. They end up traveling together for various reasons, Tiz: to help rebuild his destroyed village, Agnes: to fulfill her duty as a vestal (it's similar to a nun), Edea: to spite her father and his army, because she disproves of their violent and sadistic practices, and RIngabel because he is an amnesiac and has nowhere else to go. The story is quite deep and fleshed out, so are the characters. The game itself is quite difficult, actually, I started on normal difficulty but had to turn it down to easy. Which is saying something, because I have a lot of experience with RPG's. The combat system is fairly easy to pick up, although a younger kid will have a very hard time, as the game requires clever, intelligent, and strategic use of the system. You can't just spam and expect to win. Put it this way: it's not Pokemon. You do really have to plan out moves, consider all your options and opportunities, look for weaknesses, anticipate your enemies' actions, etc. It also has a very beautiful art style, and the characters are absolutely adorable. The whole game is eye candy. A treat to look at. And the soundtrack is amazing. Matter of fact, I have a lot of the game's music on my iPod. My only concern with appropriateness is that Ringbel is often going after women and flirting, there is also a sage that takes it further and invites Edea and Agnes in to bed with him. There's also a lot of talk of sexyness and sex appeal, and a few scenes focus on a very racy and skimpy bikini that one of the girls ends up wearing. None of it is extreme, there is no sex or nudity, and if your child is mature, they should be fine. The game is too lighthearted to make a huge deal out of those topics. Overall, though, it really is a great game. If you're looking for something to play, try Bravely Default.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byRedmage July 7, 2014

Good game for kids 10 and up

Parental guidance may be needed for some kids when playing, but it is appropriate for kids ages 10 and up
Teen, 15 years old Written byLucan1010 November 2, 2015

Excellent RPG in the classic style is surprisingly mature and deep.

Violence: combat is very mild, and enemies simply fade of the screen when defeated. Some sad deaths of characters, but rendered mildly. Mature themes are prevalent (but not seen) including genocide, biological warfare, sadistic villains and violent descriptions. Language: mild g-rated insults. Sex: tame romance and flirting between characters, some innuendo. In a twist that's very refreshing, characters do not wear revealing outfits. Alcohol: some references between drinking alcohol, and although characters appear to be young there actually all about 20. This game was a refreshing 60+ hours of nostalgia, and it managed to turn the repetitive game world into something marvelous: each time you explore the world, you learn more and more behind the past of the world, the past of the characters, and even begin to feel sorry for some of the villains, most of which aren't villains after all.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models