For the most part when you play a demo for an upcoming game your character customization is extremely limited and you have a microscopic area to explore. You are expected to play through a demo that takes about 30 minutes to complete and come to a decision on whether you want to purchase the game or not. This is where Bravely Default is completely different. The Bravely Default demo encourages you to experiment with character classes and offers several hours of gameplay with barely any restrictions so you can really get a feel for what the full version will be like. Although your character progression and items do not carry over to the full version there are still plenty of bonuses to be earned.

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First off the demo is almost not even a demo at all. All the quests you are given in the demo are completely separate from the full version, and for completing these quests you will receive bonuses for when you start playing the full version. The first bonus you receive simply by playing the demo. To start you off there are a few simple quests involving killing common enemies and collecting a certain amount of their remains. These quests are then followed by 3 mini bosses. For defeating each mini boss you will receive a bonus in the full version. Once the mini bosses are completed the real fun begins. There are two more bosses in the demo, both require quite a bit of grinding and levelling to defeat. Once the bosses are complete that will give you 6 play bonuses in total, leaving 1 more which I will get into later.

Now to give you a breakdown of what makes the game itself so great. Bravely Default is your classic turn based JRPG with some unique twists. You control a party of 4 and it’s up to you to decide what job class you’d like them to be. This is similar to some Final Fantasy titles such as Final Fantasy Tactics. In the demo there are 7 classes to choose from (many more in the full version), each with their own support abilities and skills that you will unlock as you level up the job levels. You are encouraged to experiment with all the job classes so you can mix and match these abilities and skills to find out what works best for your party.

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The most unique feature of the game is the Brave/Default strategy element in combat. During a battle you have what is called Battle Points, which can be gained by a party member “defaulting” their turn. Having BP will increase your characters defense and can be used to chain up to 4 attacks in one turn. This can be done by choosing to “Brave” for a turn with a character. If you are feeling risky you can spend BP that you don’t have and put yourself in the negative, but that also puts your character out of commission for as many turns as it takes to bring your BP balance back to zero. The flip side to this feature is enemies and bosses are in the same boat, which means they can raise their defense and chain their attacks on you as well. Strategy becomes a big factor when picking the key moments to plan your attacks and when to defend.

The last play bonus is received by helping to restore a village. The village is a simple overview of a map with markings of objectives and shops. You must assign villagers to these objectives, and they will be completed while you play the main game. These tasks can take several hours but each villager you assign to a task will cut the time in half. You can also assign villagers to upgrade shops which will unlock new items and equipment for you to purchase. You can obtain villagers by adding your friends or by StreetPass.

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The Bravely Default demo is packed full of hours of gameplay and is well worth the download. If Japanese Role Playing games are your thing and you’d like to get a little head start when picking up the game on February 7th I definitely suggest you play through the demo and unlock these bonuses. Be sure to come back to Slimgamer for a full review on Bravely Default next week.