Octopath Traveler is a RPG masterpiece
Nintendo Switch owners, the wait is over! After two glorious demos and months of counting the days until release, Octopath Traveler has arrived. As a big fan of role-playing games and Square Enix, Octopath Traveler has quickly become one of my favourite games of the year. Featuring turn based battles, non-linear gameplay, and the ability to play as a one of eight unique characters—Octopath Traveler is a truly unique experience.
Let’s take a look at what makes Octopath Traveler so intriguing and a must own game for role-playing fans.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Square Enix, Acquire
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Eight travelers with eight unique stories to tell
Octopath Traveler is unique in that you can choose from one of eight distinctive characters to start your journey out as. Not only are the characters unique looking, they all have a story to tell that is vastly different from the next. Each character’s story is composed of four chapters and the game allows you to explore the vast world of Osterra in any way that you want.
Along the way you’ll encounter other characters, whom you can recruit, with their own stories to tell. Each character’s story plays out without the help of the others in your party. While I was a tad bit disappointed that the stories weren’t more closely knit, I actually enjoyed each character having their own distinct story. In turn, this makes Octopath Traveler feel as if it’s a collection of eight different stories rather than just one.
I found it refreshing that Octopath Traveler doesn’t use fancy cut scenes to tell each character’s story. Instead, each story is told through the in-game engine and includes spoken dialogue in major areas of the story.
I was drawn in and genuinely invested in each of the eight character’s stories. Whether it was Olberic who is looking to settle a score with a former friend turned traitor, or Tressa a merchant that sets out to travel the world—there were many times that I had to tear myself away from Octopath Traveler in order to take a break after many hours of playing.
Classic turn-based combat with a twist
As mentioned earlier, Octopath Traveler features turn-based combat as opposed to real-time combat. Producers Tomoya Asano and Masashi Takahashi who started development of Octopath Traveler, also headed the Bravely series and thus certain gameplay elements are seen in Octopath Traveler.
For example, characters in Octopath Traveler have Boost Points they acquire at the end of every turn. This allows for stronger attacks, increased potency of an ability, or increased defense against attacks. Additionally, each of your enemies have weaknesses that you can expose and use to your advantage. Once you learn these weaknesses, you can effectively break their shields thus putting them in a stunned state where you can do some serious damage.
In order to advance to the next chapter of each of the character’s stories, the game gives you a recommended level that the character should be at. This is great in the fact that it allows you to build up each of your character’s stats while continuing another’s story. More over, Octopath Traveler has a multitude of side quests for you to complete that reward you with mostly money upon completion.
Path Actions add a wonderful layer to the game outside of combat with each character having their own specialty. For example, Therion can steal from NPCs, while Primrose can persuade NPCs to join your party. Furthermore, you’ll earn Job Points as you battle, which allow you to unlock skills. In turn, these unlock passive Support Skills as well as Secondary Jobs. As you can see, gameplay is very deep but never once did I feel overwhelmed.
Magnificent HD-2D graphics that won’t dissapoint
Without a doubt, one of the first things that will draw you in to Octopath Traveler is its HD-2D graphics. Powered by the Unreal Engine 4, Octopath Traveler exquisitely combines sprite based characters with lush 3D environments and spectacular effects. Many times I found myself stopping to marvel the fabulous visuals through out the world of Osterra.
Not only does Octopath Traveler have magnificent visuals, the soundtrack is simply amazing. Composer Yasunori Nishiki did a phenomenal job in creating a soundtrack that reminded me the Final Fantasy games on the SNES. The perfectly orchestrated sound perfect complements the on-screen action and gets your blood flowing in tense situations. Moreover, voice acting is well done and adds to the overall enjoyment of the game.
Octopath Traveler is without a doubt one of my favourite RPGs of all time. I feel as this game is the perfect love letter to the fans of the 16-bit golden era of JRPGs. Each and everyone of the eight playable characters feel unique and the non linear gameplay allows you to explore the game’s vast world in anyway you see fit.
Gameplay is deep, and never once did it make me feel overwhelmed. In addition to the intriguing stories, Octopath Traveler has a ton of things to do and see. I applaud Square Enix and Acquire for taking the risk on creating a game with such charm and charisma.
I hope we see more of Octopath Traveler in the future. If you’ve been looking for a role-playing game for your switch that will not disappoint, Octopath Traveler is one of the, if not the best on the Switch.
+ Amazing HD 2D visuals and soundtrack
+ Intriguing gameplay
+ Ability to explore and play as you see fit
+ Eight different characters and well-written stories to complement them
+ Lots to see and do
– Limited character interaction within your party
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5