For those of you that have visited HYDMS before, you’ll know that playing video games is one of my favorite things to do, when not writing for my blog of course. Typically, I like to feel that I’m getting the most for my money, so I tend to gravitate towards JRPG games.
I grew up with SNES and some legendary RPGs, so needless to say, my standards are pretty high. Recently, I wrote about Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and for my latest endeavor, I tried Octopath Traveler on the Nintendo Switch.
Before buying any game, I check out as many reviews as I can. Octopath Traveler got good to great reviews across the board, so I gave it a try. Here are my thoughts.
Octopath Traveler Graphics
Obviously, as gaming has evolved, graphics have continued to get more and more realistic. As mentioned earlier, I grew up playing SNES, a whopping 16-bit system. Octopath Traveler has the look and feel of a SNES game, but with a modern system.
I love the way the game looked overall. Even with the retro look, it had a modern aura to it as well. Additionally, the game was still able to incorporate a 3D aspect to dungeons, caves, and other areas you explored. On top of that, it was on you to explore every inch of areas to make sure you weren’t missing any hidden paths to get to key treasure chests.
Octopath Traveler Gameplay
As far as the gameplay is concerned, Octopath Traveler hits the mark on how a “retro” JRPG should play. Turn-based battles that didn’t require you to think all too quickly, but with enough strategy needed to get through many battles.
In addition, Octopath Traveler throws in a similar aspect as Bravely Default II, with Battle Points, or BP for short. After each turn, the character will store up additional BP which can be used later on to unleash multiple or much more powerful attacks, cures, etc.
These were a fun twist that let you really strategize how you wanted to use each character in battle.
Octopath Job System
Another strong suit in my option is the job system. Each character has their main job or class. Warrior, cleric, thief, etc, the usual suspects. As you progress through the game, you can unlock the ability to assign secondary classes to each character.
Each character can learn different skills for each secondary job when equipped. As they learn more skills, they can also use that jobs support skills as well. These as passive skills characters can keep even if the associated job is not equipped. These passive skills might help boost physical strength, weaken enemies, boost magic power, etc.
The job system is enough to keep you level grinding, but not so complicated that you once you go down a path you are essentially committed for good. There is enough time in the game to get most characters to learn 75%+ of the skills available without too much grinding.
Octopath Traveler Sidequests
If you like sidequests, then you’ll love Octopath Traveler. After you complete the mission of the town you are currently visiting, you’ll typically unlock a few sidequests in that town. As the game moves forward, you’ll have the need to revisit a few locations as more sidequests will unlock.
Some side quests can be easily and quickly completed, while others might take you a better portion of the game to accomplish. In either case, they are full of useful items, money, weapons, and armor, so make sure you don’t slack on these.
Octopath Traveler Storyline
The storyline is where Octopath Traveler not only gets its name but also is very different from any other RPG I’ve played. My feelings on it are mixed, to be honest.
At the beginning of the game, you pick your main protagonist and start with their story. From there you travel around picking up each of the other characters, with the options of playing their origin stories as well. The only reason your main character matters is that you won’t be able to remove them from your party until you finish their storyline.
In the end, you’ll have eight different stories that unfold in front of you, hence the “octo” part of the title. Although you could technically finish each story before moving on to the next, that is not how the game was designed.
Each story has four chapters, each requiring a higher level to complete. More than likely you’ll rotate through chapter 1 for each character, then chapter 2, and so on.
Although each story in itself was interesting, I don’t know, I missed the lack of an overall arching story. None of the characters’ stories intertwined and I kept waiting for some “main” villain to appear that would bring them all together, but that didn’t happen. Hell, some of the characters’ stories didn’t involve a villain at all.
I don’t think I got as invested in most of the stories since they were so segmented and it took a little bit of the satisfaction away from me in the end. Also, because there is no exact order you need to finish the stories in, each of the final chapters have the same level requirement of about 45. By the time I finished two or three characters stories, I had many of my characters leveled up into the 60s. This meant the final few chapters I completed were far too easy, basically taking away any real need for strategy and could simply use brute force.
Octopath Traveler Overall
Overall, I liked Octopath Traveler. I enjoyed the style, gameplay, and most other aspects of the game. Really, the eight different stories are what makes the game totally unique, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of that part. Don’t get me wrong, I logged over 100 hours of gameplay, making sure to beat most sidequests, unlock the secret jobs, and be super leveled up, so it’s not like I wasn’t enjoying myself.
If you are like me and love old-school SNES RPGs, this one is definitely worth picking up. There is an unofficial sequel in Triangle Strategy coming to the switch in the near future I have my eye on.