33 – Bravely Default
Developer: Silicon Studios
Initial Release Date: December 5, 2013
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: This list is predictably heavy on the Final Fantasy games for a good reason–they’ve helped inspire and shape the genre more than any other series. Bravely Default was the Final Fantasy devs’ attempt at creating something similar but new using familiar systems. While you’ll recognize the item names, spell names, and the Warriors of Light tropes, Bravely Default introduces the Brave and Default mechanics. You can “Default,” or defend, to built up power, or use that same power to attack multiple times in one turn, at risk of depleting it too far and being unable to do anything for several turns.
Though that’s Bravely Default’s claim to fame, its best feature by far is its trippy plotline and meta ending, where game mechanics become integrated into the story itself. Though many lamented the agonizing final four chapters for their repetitive nature (thank God that got fixed in the sequel, Bravely Second), the payoff in the ending was worth the patience. Promise you’ll stay, until the very end.
Next: 32 - Skies of Arcadia