Editorial: Bravely Defaulting with Predictions

Let it be known that I think this a dumb costume.
The hair in this game is just atrocious.

Yet another week’s end is breathing down my neck, and I feel like I just got done with the last one moments ago. With a new job (both in real life, and in the game), and thus, a new schedule, time really does seem to fly by, leaving me little opportunity to actually finish a game and graduate one of these editorials to a full figured review. As has been mentioned, my spare moments were, and indeed still are, utterly dominated by Bravely Default as I squeeze a final bit of juice out of my Old 3DS XL. Since I am still harboring jealousy toward the New 3DS owners and their swaths of disposable income, I thought it might be fun to try and predict some points of interest at the end of Bravely Default.

Unless I am completely misreading the game, I am nearly in the final throes of the story. Victoria and Victor just fell by my hand, and if that was any sort of spoiler, then it would be best to stop reading immediately. Otherwise, I was actually quite disappointed with their little story arc. With all this build up of those two being sides of the same psychopathic coin, and Victoria’s apparent health issues, I suppose I expected a more gripping reveal to their history. It felt rushed and awkward the way it was delivered, however, that did not stop me from harvesting the pleasure of hammering that poisonous little twat into the ground first just to see if Victor reacted mid-battle. He did, with a few lines and some useless support spells, in the end, thanking me for “the gift of death.” Now I am curious if Victoria has a reaction if Victor dies first, and how that plays out. Hmm. Where is that time mechanic from Teen Angst is Strange?

One of my biggest curiosities regarding the story has become Ringabel’s past. I will admit to having spent a large portion of the game assuming he was Alternis, either posing as a man with memory loss, or actually being afflicted with a split personality at the will of the Grand Marshal as a sort of sleeper agent. His journal is one of the things that throws me off of this line of thinking, even though ‘Ringabel’ is a play on words for the amnesia, and ‘Alternis’ is an absurdly lazy play on words. The journal vaguely predicts the future, so if Ringabel was really Alternis, this whole mess should not be happening in the first place if the Eternian forces had the ability to know what stood in their way. Something else that is rather niggling, but less so than the journal, is that I get the impression Edea and Alternis had a little thing going on for a hot second there. If this was the case, it would follow that Edea would have recognized Ringabel, only because she would have likely seen Alternis with his armor off. Then again, I have to remember I am playing a game where the characters do not even use the bathroom, as there appear to be none, so who knows how their sexy time behavior might play out. It is not really something I care to analyze.

I hope his real name is just something normal. Like John. Or Bill.
Oh, who am I kidding. Ringabel is Alternis.

My arrival to Eternia ended up being exactly as I had expected. Once there, I had to visit the hospital which served to confirm the obvious idea that there would be a risk of upsetting something with this crystal hullabaloo and innocent people might die, or some such ethical dilemma. This is typical, but not entirely without merit. While I did assume that this would be the case, my question is what will the compromise be? I suspect that Agnès does not know the whole story behind the Orthodoxy, and will have to confront this in her usual breathy manner while battling the demons that tend to spawn from the meeting of devout practice and new information. That is not interesting. What would be interesting is if she turned out to be so wrong that she is the last remaining pawn of a diabolical, but failed plan to keep the world dependent on the Orthodoxy and its crystals, a situation which would probably piss off Eternian forces more than anyone else since their hospital requires one to operate. Maybe that is a little too much social commentary for a game rated T for Teen, but what do I know, aside from said teens needing to get off my lawn? I have only seen hints in the dialogue to support this Orthodoxy Dependency Theory, and I also cannot see what their gain would be since toiling over a few floating new-age wet dreams seems rather tedious.

While I am discussing crystal conspiracy, I could swear there was a cut scene featuring a meeting of the Council of Six where the Sage’s voice interrupts them from off camera. I was battling a Drowsy that kept casting Sleep on me, but I am pretty sure I caught that just before I decided it was past my bedtime. If that was the case, then compromise will likely be the name of the game, as Agnès would probably be totally cool with letting some crystal power be leached to save a hospital. Well, that or she finds it…unacceptable. Groan. In the end, I think a solution will be found that does not require one or the other side to be completely obliterated, but I am pretty sure Edea is still going to have to fight her dad. Whether he dies at the end or not is up for debate, considering this will take place in a town that has a hospital powered by white magic, which I hear is pretty good stuff.

...in some ancient language no longer spoken in the world.
This is where they explain what species Zatz is…

There is just one final question I have not come up with an answer to; what the Hell is Zatz? A rodent? A rejected muppet? Some kind of new Pokemon? As far as I can tell, he is the only non-human looking NPC in the game, and if there were hints as to his genus and species, then I completely missed it. For now, I will just ride on the joke that he got pummeled so much when he was younger that he is no longer recognizable as a man.

So, with all that out in the open, I will now retire to my busted couch and fleece blanket to see just how very, very wrong I probably am on my predictions. I will not demand there be no spoilers in the comments, as I will simply avoid reading them for the time being (that is a lie), and carry on playing the game. So go ahead and chat it up about Bravely Default, perhaps what you liked and disliked about the end, and I will eventually return to join the conversation.

6 comments

  1. ” Otherwise, I was actually quite disappointed with their little story arc. With all this build up of those two being sides of the same psychopathic coin, and Victoria’s apparent health issues, I suppose I expected a more gripping reveal to their history.”

    This sums up the game’s story failures to me. The whole thing reads like a script written by a talented high school student. The type who has enough creativity and talent to come up with compelling themes and ideas, but doesn’t have the maturity or life experience to handle them with any sort of nuance, insight, or a wider sense of coherency. I know not everybody is in the same boat, but I wasn’t impressed by the writing in the least. Some decent set-ups though.

  2. I left off at the end of Chapter 3 (the one with the volcano or whatever, where there’s 2 rivals cities), so I had to skip most of the article fearing spoilers! But I must say, despite its faults Bravely Default is a fine portable JRPG, and one of the best to come out on any Nintendo handheld. See how far we’ve come since Final Fantasy Legend and yet, somehow back at the beginning again. It really reminds me of what a portable RPG is versus a console RPG, and the writing emphasizes that point. I like it for that reason, and plan on getting back to it soon.

  3. @Ethos: I went into the game with the expectation that the story would have its moments, but not be anything mind-blowing, so I should be good. My plan is to finish things up tomorrow, then grind and purge Norende of those nemesis, and I’ve only been able to deal with two. I’m actually looking forward to that part for some reason.

    @Dancing Matt: BD really calls me back to the same thoughts I had with FF: 4 Heroes of Light. Is it the best game I’ve ever played? No. Am I enjoying it despite its flaws? Absolutely. It has that classic structure that I always seem to be drawn back to, no matter how far I stray, and it honestly feels like home.

  4. My 3DS has been dusty of late. Majora’s Mask threatened to wake it from hibernation but my bank account fixed that problem.

  5. @Lusipurr: sent via UPS Ground, because it is simply too cold to roll them over to your house.

    @Mel: Weird, a lot of my problems get that fix. We must have the same bank account.

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