Right around a week ago - January 2nd to be precise - Nintendo put the demo of the upcoming Square Enix RPG Bravely Default up on the American 3DS eShop, and in the days since it's garnered a moderate amount of positive attention both from gaming media and owners of Nintendo's portable console. I'm one of those players, and I'm telling you (yes, you) that you should drop what you're doing right now and give it a play. Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons, several of which I'd be more than happy to share with you:
It's Final Fantasy V
A party of four heroes fighting various bizarre flora and fauna in turns with mix-and-match class features? What's not to like? Final Fantasy V didn't introduce the concept of switching classes to the series, but it refined the concept enough to make the game a fan favorite to this day by letting you carry over class features from one class to another. Like the dual-wielding ability of a Ninja but also like the damage-dealing spells exclusive to Black Mage? Why not have both?
It's more than Final Fantasy V
It may be based primarily on another game by the same developer, but Bravely Default adds a few things to the time-tested system, most notably in the form of the Brave and Default actions; This is a game that emphasizes turn manipulation, and through appropriate use of the aforementioned commands you can choose to take multiple turns in a row or store up actions for later turns respectively. Deepening matters of class interaction, Bravely Default also introduces passive bonuses that unlock with progressive levels of class mastery, adding new surprises to each of the numerous classes and making intelligent management of experience gained that much more important.
The demo is free
It may only allow for thirty uses, but it won't cost you a dime. Placing a set number of activations on a demo may seem strange until you realize...
The demo's not your usual demo
...that the demo isn't simply a chunk of the completed game. Instead, Squenix put together an original set of quests for the downloadable preview, and enough to last through several hours of gameplay at that. It introduces you to the new bits added to the combat and leveling system while also breaching the concept of town development, how it can effect your progression, and how it interacts with Street Pass and other 3DS functions. Time, thought, and effort were clearly put into this, and it deserves proper recognition for going above and beyond what's generally expected of demos.
Square Enix thinks we don't want it
Bravely Default may just be coming to America next month, but the rest of the world has been enjoying it for a while now: Its original release in Japan was back in October of 2012, and the tweaked rerelease Bravely Default: For the Sequel (which the American release is derived from) saw store shelves in Japan, Australia, and Europe in early December 2013. Mild censorship issues pushing back the date aside, it's no secret that classic-style JRPGs are far from the genre of choice around here, so there wasn't the same fervor to push the game to American audiences as there was in other regions.
Well, here's your chance to prove Square Enix wrong. Do you miss turn-based RPGs? Are you a fan of older Final Fantasy titles? Do you own a 3DS or are looking for an excuse to buy one? Find a way to get your hands on the Bravely Default demo. Buy the game when it releases. Vote with your wallet and tell your friends. Prove that there's still an audience for games like this.