Bravely Default is a turn-based role-playing game. The story, characters, and combat have a classic, old school feel, sticking to the traditional ways of JRPGs.
Pro Unique risk reward combat system
The combat in Bravely Default revolves around a risk reward system where the player can choose to take up to four turn sanctimoniously, which will leave them turn-less for the next three turns. This can of course open them up to numerous attacks where they will be unable to do anything, even heal. On the flip side one can choose to take a singe turn in order to build up the amount of extra turns they can take when they do want to take a risk. This balance is what makes for strategic gameplay in that one needs to weigh if the risk outweighs the reward.
Pro Beautiful visuals reminiscent of classic JRPGs
Bravely Default has a gorgeous art style that feels like a throwback to older JRPGs from the 1980s and 90s. The chibi-style characters have a certain elegant design to them that's doesn't come off as childish. The medieval-style towns and landscapes all have a nice, hand-painted aesthetic that makes the world feel familiar and lived-in. The browns, blacks, and golds in the menus, UI, and font are also really well-done, making the game feel grounded. Overall, it's a great look that attracts younger and older players alike, and JRPG veterans especially can find a lot to enjoy here.
Pro You have a lot of freedom to explore starting early in the game
Quite early on, you unlock an airship that lets you fly around wherever you want on the world map. You can go pretty much anywhere you want with ease, as long as it's on the general overworld. There are some restrictions beyond that, but you can generally use the airship to quickly get from place to place without needing to run there on foot.
Pro Cool multiplayer feature that helps you out in battle
There's a key optional mechanic you can try out through the limited multiplayer features. You can upload a "copy" of your characters with their specific job, skills, and stats, and other players can "download" your character to help them out in battle in a pinch. If you're stuck at a crucial part of a hard fight, you can use this option to get a friend's specific character or a random one from other Bravely Default players. It's a neat feature that encourages interactions between friends and even online players you've never met before, strictly through helping each other in battle.
Pro View cut-scenes starring certain characters with AR cards
The AR card implementation for Bravely Default allows one to view cut-scenes starring a particular character that is on the card. While not instrumental to the gameplay it is a nice feature that allows one to learn more about the characters in the game.
Con Exploration can get blocked off at times
Even though you unlock the airship early on, you're restricted in just how much you can explore. Going off to faraway lands and venturing into the dungeons you find isn't an option -- the game will block you from entering these high level areas, saying that it's not time to go there yet. This may be part of an effort to lock off those high level treasure chests, since there's an option in the config menu to turn off random encounters entirely and to run around freely. It's understandable that there are some limitations to exploration, but it's still disappointing.
Con Voice acting is hit-or-miss
Technically, the voice work is fine -- it's more that the way the characters sound can be a little off sometimes. Sometimes they have weird inflections or tones that don't quite fit, meaning the problem is more with the voice direction than the actors themselves. They may have tried to stay too true to the original Japanese dub, but things end up sounding unnatural in English. It's not consistently bad enough to be a huge problem, though.
Con The story is mostly standard JRPG fare
While there are some standout aspects of the story, most of it is pretty predictable by JRPG standards. You start off with a world-ending scenario, and it's up to you and your companions to find a bunch of crystals to help restore everything. There's a reasonable amount of depth in the way that not all is at it seems, as well as some dark themes with the villains, but you don't really find out about this until later on in the game. By that point, you may already lose interest and not care about the nuances.
Con Gets repetitive in the later half of the game
Things start to drag in the later chapters, where the story begins to repeat itself. You're forced to do the same thing over and over again without much variety. If you hate that sort of thing, but you still want to give the game a shot, then you may want to set your expectations accordingly in order to prepare.