Where’s the strategy guide for Bravely Default?
Yes, I’ve heard of the Internet, and I realize there are many walkthroughs posted on various sites. And, no! I don’t NEED it … I’m doing quite well, actually, when work and family life allow. I just want it.
Bravely Default has been accurately described as the spiritual successor to old-school Final Fantasy games, which had lavishly illustrated companion books that appealed to completists who wanted to find every single item and defeat every single nemesis in every far-flung corner of those imaginative worlds.
Back in the era of Nintendo Power magazine, subscribers could get bonus player’s guides for hot games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Ninja Gaiden II and Final Fantasy. That led to higher-quality publications like the NES Game Atlas (still mostly intact on my bookshelf) and many more game-specific strategy guides for various titles on various systems, sold in game stores and eventually online and at the large retailers.
And, yes, the World Wide Web has diminished the need for such publications — if you define that need by the game walkthroughs, inventory lists and bestiaries. You can get all manner of walkthroughs, wikis and cheats all over the place for free, including from big-name strategy guide publishers like Prima. But I remember being as enthralled by the intricate level map design and artwork as by the pages and pages of cheats.
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy — the game’s original Japanese incarnation — does have a strategy guide, but aside from the language barrier there’s a host of possible differences between the two games that could make using it problematic for U.S. gamers.
And the game itself does a fairly good job of guiding you through its fundamentals, as well as keeping detailed records of the many characters, items, spells and sub-plots players will encounter. But it just isn’t the same.
If any current-gen game deserves a printed guide, it seems Bravely Default would be a natural choice. Maybe JRPGs just aren’t mainstream enough. When I went to purchase the game on launch day after being captivated by the free demo I downloaded from Nintendo’s 3DS eShop, I had to talk the electronics staff at Target into hunting it down because it wasn’t on display yet, even though it was advertised as available — and the guy running the department had never even heard of it.