A year after the Switch released, Team Asano—who made its name on the Bravely Default games on 3DS—released Octopath Traveler for the Switch. The fascinating HD-2D art style immediately grabbed people’s attention, while the clever implementation of classic JRPG gameplay quickly stole the hearts of many. Now that it’s been a few more years and a couple more HD-2D titles have gone through production, the team opted to take another crack at the original formula with Octopath Traveler II. We’re happy to report that this is every bit the worthy sequel you hoped it would be, Octopath Traveler II quickly makes a case for itself as one of the very best JRPGs on Switch.
The narrative of this sequel follows in the footsteps of the original, centering around the personal stories of eight people in largely disconnected narratives. Temenos, for example, is an incredibly condescending and sassy cleric who has to solve the mystery of a string of mysterious murders related to the Church of Sacred Flame. Agnea the Dancer, on the other hand, is a small-town country bumpkin with a heart of gold who sets out on a journey to prove her skills and become a famous dancing star like her mother was. Some of the stories here feature quite heavy themes while others are equally lighthearted, but all of them are compelling in their own way. Importantly, these stories still feature their starring party member in an isolated role; the other party members don’t get involved in the plot because you can technically go through any character’s entire storyline without ever adding anyone else to the party.
The stories here feel a little more subversive and interesting than their equivalents in the first Octopath. Therion the Thief, for example, was played as the stereotypically aloof scoundrel who follows their own code, while Throné the Thief is a victim of childhood trauma who is trying to escape the cycle of violence and fear that she’s lived in for most of her life. Though those who were hoping for a more centralized narrative will be left wanting, the collection of character-driven stories here provides a compelling anthology of adventures and drama in the new land of Solistia.
And still, it’s not like the developers didn’t address criticism from some of the fan base over the story in the original. Most importantly, characters can now participate in Crossed Paths storylines, where certain party members will join up for extended side storylines that add more depth to their backstories while giving us plenty of time to see how their personalities play off each other directly. These Crossed Paths are written in a similar way to the main quests and often take a few chapters for each storyline to resolve, which has the double effect of giving you more content to see beyond each character’s main questline while also letting you see party members directly interacting and working together to achieve a common goal.
The structure of chapters is switched up on occasion, too. For example, Partitio has a series of ‘Scent of Commerce’ quests that can be completed whenever which don’t fall within the traditional four-chapter arc. Meanwhile, other characters will have storylines that branch, such as how Throné’s chapter 2 splits into two routes that each are followed up by their own chapter 3. We appreciated this enhanced focus on player agency, as you can often choose to follow the plot threads that you’re most interested in, not to mention that it feels like the scope of the story is wider when entire chapters can be dedicated to specific events and plot devices.
Combat in Octopath Traveler II brings back the same excellent turn-based system, which adds plenty of extra strategic options to basic turn-based combat. Enemies each have various weaknesses to certain magic or weapon types and hitting them with a matching attack or skill will both do more damage and reduce their shield points by at least one. If their shield points drop to zero that enemy “Breaks”, which takes away their current and next turn while making them considerably more vulnerable to all damage types. Unleashing maximum damage requires more than breaking, however, as you also have to balance when to spend your Boost points. Each character gains one BP per turn and can choose to spend up to three when they take an action, which has the effect of either notably boosting the damage output, extending the buff duration, healing more health, etc.
Boost and Break already add plenty of depth to combat, but Octopath Traveler II has added an additional layer now with the new Latent Power system. This adds a custom ‘Limit Break’ to each of your characters that slowly fills a gauge as you take and receive damage. Once full, you can trigger the Latent Ability to cause a powerful effect to take place, like giving your character an immediate free turn or causing a single target spell to affect all targets. Latent Powers are a little more situational in use than Boost points, but act similarly in how they can allow you to massively turn the tides of a fight if you pick your moment well. More importantly, they give each character a little more of a unique edge to consider when team-building; it may well be that anybody can take on the Scholar class, but only Osvald can cause multi-target spells to hit one target for bigger damage.
Take all the above mechanics together, and you have an impressively dynamic and constantly interesting battle system that goes above and beyond what most turn-based RPGs shoot for. Boost points, for example, can be used to either chop away at enemies' shield points faster or they can be stored so you can let ‘er rip a few turns later once you break an enemy. And while it may seem to be most optimal to break every enemy as fast as you can, sometimes it’s better to hold them at one shield point and then knock ‘em over when they’re winding up a big special attack. There are many ways you can choose to approach the combat system and given how suddenly things can change after even one turn, Octopath Traveler II constantly keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat. This is one of the finest turn-based combat systems we’ve ever seen in a JRPG; we applaud Team Asano for its efforts here.
Outside of combat, character growth takes a similar approach to favoring player choice, as you shape the niches and roles that you want each member of your team to fill. Every character starts with a given class, such as the Scholar or the Merchant, and these dictate the character’s stats, weapons, and skills. As you defeat enemies, you’ll accrue Job Points which can then be spent to unlock another skill from a short list for that character’s equipped class, both expanding their combat effectiveness and granting the character a new passive skill that they can equip.
Things get much more interesting when you start to unlock secondary classes. With these, you can not only massively expand a character’s skillset and boost their stats, but you can give them access to passive skills that synergize well with their abilities. For example, there’s an Apothecary passive ability that restores 30% of a character’s HP and SP after the completion of a battle, which pairs well with a Scholar who burns through a lot of SP when casting spells. Unlocked passive skills stay permanently with a character even after you’ve switched to another secondary class, which incentivizes you to keep experimenting with different combinations as you power up your party.
New to Octopath Traveler II is the guild system, which is used to unlock access to secondary classes. Every guild you find will give you a license which lets you equip the new subclass to one character in your party at a time, but you can fulfill quests for the guild to get more licenses so more characters can have that subclass at the same time. These can ask you to do things like collecting a certain amount of rare items from enemy drops, or reaching the end of an optional dungeon beyond town that hosts a secret boss. We appreciated this expanded take on acquiring new classes, as it feels like you’re really accomplishing something meaningful now that you have to work for it to get another license.
Plus, the shrine system from the previous entry is still present, just in a modified way. Scattered across the world are various shrines you can find for each class, and if you have the character with that base class in your party, they’ll receive a powerful EX Skill that’s exclusive to them. These each usually carry a high SP cost, but are equally capable of tearing foes a new one. Unlocking a character’s EX Skills can further help to define their niche, too, as it gives each of them value that no other party member can bring.
When exploring the overworld, there’s now a new day and night system that modifies the environment in subtle ways. You can toggle between day and night at will, while the enemies that attack you and the NPCs you can interact with will change. This ensures that grinding goes a little smoother due to the enemies at night being stronger and giving out more experience, while the switched NPCs help to make each town feel less static and artificial. Some characters also have passive abilities that grant certain enemy debuffs or character buffs depending on the time, which can add an additional element to consider before challenging a tough boss.
The day-night system also affects Path Actions, which are the unique skills each character can use to influence or interact with NPCs. Each character has a day action and a night action, such as how Osvald can scrutinize people in the day to find the locations of secret treasures hidden around town and mug them at night to take their stuff. We enjoyed the kind of morality system at play here, as you can be as respectable or comically evil as you want. Agnea, for example, can entreat that someone give her the items they’re carrying, or you can just have Throné steal from them or have Osvald mug them.
Visually, Octopath Traveler II feels like a step up from the original and manages to consistently impress as the hours roll by and you encounter new locales and enemies. Whether you’re exploring the busy streets of New Delta or the lush tropical ruins of Toto’haha, each biome feels notably distinct from the next and a little more creative than the somewhat unimaginative environments in the first Octopath. Small details like the slow-moving shadows of clouds changing the lighting or lingering motes of dust hanging in the air help to give the graphics a more realistic touch, while the spritework (especially for the bosses!) gives everything that retro appeal. Visuals become a touch less sharp in handheld mode, but that's to be expected. We also appreciated the more dynamic camera in this entry, which can take different angles in battle or certain cutscenes to highlight big moments and frame events in a new way.
The visuals are accompanied by an absolutely stellar soundtrack from Yasunori Nishiki which does an incredible job of setting a palpable mood. Whether it be the goofy, bouncy tune that plays when a rare Cait or Puffer enemy shows up in a random battle or the creepy, mysterious track that plays when you first set foot in the abandoned village, there’s a wide variety of excellent orchestral tracks here to suit every mood and to underline the important emotional moments of each story. It’s tough to definitively say whether this soundtrack outdoes the performance of the first game, but it is at the very least just as good, and we’d be inclined to say that it sounds just a touch better.
Voice acting is another highlight here, especially given that all major cutscenes and interactions are now fully voiced. What we appreciate most is the nuance on display; Agnea, for example, has trained herself to talk like ‘city people’ due to her career aspirations, but in moments where she gets really excited or frustrated, you can hear her cute southern drawl slipping back in. Also, the characters are more vocal in battle now, often congratulating each other on a well-placed attack or expressing concern when someone’s health dips to dangerous levels. This interaction helps to further build the idea of the party being more of a team, and the call-outs feel natural without being needlessly overdone.
The only complaint that we can reasonably make against Octopath Traveler II, if it’s even a complaint at all, is that it doesn’t do nearly enough to establish itself as a distinct successor. It feels bigger, bolder, and more polished than its predecessor, but those who didn't like what the first game was going for likely won't like this entry either. That’s not necessarily a bad thing this time around, but it is something to be mindful of, and—should there be an Octopath Traveler III someday—we hope that Team Asano will feel more ambitious in evolving the series further beyond its roots.
Octopath Traveler II is a triumphant and confident follow-up to its predecessor, building on the established foundation with welcome new ideas and tweaks that make for an overall excellent experience. A strategic combat system, open-ended character progression, well-written stories, gorgeous visuals, and an incredible soundtrack all coalesce into one of the finest RPGs available on Switch to date. Though it may be more of the same, Team Asano demonstrates mastery of its craft at every turn here. We’d give Octopath Traveler II a high recommendation to anybody looking for a beautiful new RPG to add to their Switch collection.
I find JRPG's so hard to get into. Its great this is a good game for those into the genre though.
This reminds me that I need to go back and play the first. Glad to hear the second turned out well.
Enjoyed the first one a lot, bit too much dialogue though is there more or less or the same in this one?
I just want to know one thing. Does it actually feel like the characters are on a journey TOGETHER this time?
I enjoyed everything but the fact that those eight complete strangers who barely interacted with each other ended up traveling "together" in the first octopath.
@Dom_31 Well it's answered in the review above.
The single storylines for each characters still focus solely on that character but:
"Most importantly, characters can now participate in Crossed Paths storylines, where certain party members will join up for extended side storylines that add more depth to their backstories while giving us plenty of time to see how their personalities play off each other directly."
Looking forward to playing this after I finish Fire Emblem Engage.
@Dom_31 No. The Crossed Paths really help spotlight their relationships through those storylines, but this is still about eight individuals, not one party. I personally love that approach to storytelling, but I think fans are gonna be just as divided on the story here as they were on the first.
I’m so anxious about switch successor and how it will be handled that this is the first game I’ve ‘future proofed’ and bourbon SD instead of Switch. I need to know if the next console will let you migrate your library/backwards compat
@Dom_31 "Heyyy...you're that one guy right? Remember when we did the thing? Good times! Okay see ya!"
It doesn't exactly look like the kind of game I would be interested in, sadly. While I have no problem with RPGs, I prefer mine to be a bit more based on real-time combat than turn-based gameplay.
So games like Zelda, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Skyrim, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Genshin Impact are more of my style of RPG, at least when it comes to gameplay and combat in particular.
@SwitchVogel thanks for replying and sorry for skipping the review, I really just wanted to know about that because I still want to go as "spoiler" free into the sequel as possible haha
I'm sure I'll enjoy this as much as the first game (easy 8/10 from me, if I cared for scoring games lol) but it is a bit disappointing.
If those new side quests/stories end up fleshing out relationships a little bit it's already a good step in the right direction.
Or at least in a direction I like.
@Dom_31 I hated how you had to be at a certain level before you could progress the story for each character
I would like to know if the final boss can be actually beaten this time because my only complaint from the first game was this. Maybe we will know it after some days but please no spoilers if anyone will beat it.
Super stoked for this!! I loved the original enough to play it twice. I’m playing the demo a lot right now to determine which character to main. Characters seem more balanced (...weaker) than before, so likely any of them are fine to have as the main protagonist.
@SwitchVogel Thanks for the review. Will I miss much if I skip the first entry and dive straight into this?
How I'd love to go back 20 years and enjoy all these RPGs. I just haven't got the time these days Anyone of a younger age I envy you. Don't ever grow up.
Want it but knee deep in FE: Engage right now (and that’s gonna be a while since I am not focused on the story.). Glad to hear it is reviewing well. I didn’t have a lot of the gripes others had about 1 (as I enjoyed the story and followed the threads to see how they connected ) so I am mildly worried that the cross paths bits will feel very tacked on/fan service (the non pervy kind). However more world building is always something I enjoy.
I have already pre order it with the steelbook!Too sad this sequel didn't get a collector's edition like the first one.Those diorama book was incredible!And fantastic Rpg by the way.I love that HD-2D style and his beautiful locales!Wish more and more games uses that graphical style!
@Guile it does have a collectors edition! It’s on the square Enix site! It’s around £160/£170 in uk
Wow, this is great! Exactly what I hoped for. I haven't played the first one for what I heard about the plot, so that con won't affect me lol. Looking forward to this!
By the way, a second part shouldn't really change anything from the OG formula, just improve upon it. It should be that the first is about innovation, the second about improvement and polish, and the third goes all for a revolution of the formula. Let's hope they go this way with this series.
@Ryu_Niiyama Took me about 45 hours to do all paralogues and main chapters fyi - so you have an idea
First Metroid Prime and now this. 2023 is off to a cracking start!
I enjoyed the first one quite a lot and it's been long enough since I played it that more of the same suits me just fine. Looking forward to playing it.
Having skipped the first game, I think I'll give this one a shot.
I loved the first game on Series X so I'll wait a year or so to see if the sequel comes to it as well. I really like how sharp the first game looks on it (easier to find chests, etc.) and playing with the Xbox controller was perfect.
Only played the demo of the first one, and in that time, so many other RPGs have accumulated in my backlog. Definitely felt like it'd be a good romp then, and since II is more of the same, it sounds like this will be a good romp too! To the wishlist!
People complain about all rpg maker games resembling each other, but I think these 2d hd games are doing the exact same thing.
Mentioned it in the other one but i feel my main curiosity is how well the performance holds up through the game, i didnt go too deep into the demo outside of checking out the characters starting areas but was happy with what i saw and hopefully its a sign of how the full game runs.
@SwitchVogel The game looks gorgeous. I don’t recall seeing anything about the game’s length in the review. Is it roughly similar in length to the first title? That was really my only big issue with the first title is that I felt it was a tad bit overlong, but then Team Asano hit the perfect balance with Triangle Strategy’s length.
I will skip this one for now as I felt pretty disapointed with the first one after finishing the 8 story arcs (even though I truly enjoyed its gameplay) and this second entry, altough looking like it solved some of the issues, did not go far enough
Dang, this was a very early review embargo, but I’m not complaining. I’ll definitely be picking this up once it releases. I’ve been needing a good RPG since the brilliant Chained Echoes.
Something about the demo for the original just didn't quite grab me.
I want this so much but I don't really have time to play it. "More of the same" sounds perfect to me, I absolutely loved OT.
@AstroTheGamosian Gameplay-wise I can agree with you. I used to love strategy RPGs but have been having a hard time playing through Tactics Ogre for example, and turn based RPGs have kind of lost their charm for me as well.
Turn based combat always felt like a necessary evil because of a system's (lack of) capabilities, and not so much a feature to be treasured.
Having said that, while the same still sort of rings true for Octopath (especially in the boss battles), somehow they managed to make combat entertaining here, and while still the weakest part of the game for me, the story and general vibe wholly makes up for its weaknesses. You can always try the demo, to see if you like it well enough. I'd recommend at least that.
One of my biggest faults with the original was its woeful story. The threads were disjoint but also uninteresting on their own; the dialogue was consistently ameteurish and cringe-inducing; and the voice acting was cheesy. I'd like to believe that the story in this game is one more worth telling, but we have decades of evidence that game reviewers generally can't evaluate a good story. So I have a very hard time believing the makers of the first Octopath have somehow turned out a good story this time.
Characters interact with each other more? That's reason enough to dib.
Honestly though, the game is worth it for the battle system alone
@Sakai83 Yeah you have right. I have seen it at September when it was firstly announced but I rejected it due to it's rediculous price!Interesting collector's edition with the 8 figures but common..190Euros??And only in square enix store?By the way only the Usa Square Enix store has it. I don't see it on UK/EUR anymore.
This sounds terrific, but I'm going to be knee-deep in other games all year.
At there this one should drop in price over time, unlike the first one.
The fact that the characters interact more is an enough reason for me to get this. Don't care how too little or too much, 'cause that's the one main thing that bothered me after playing the orignal. On top of its ho-hum story that this game thankfully seems to have fixed.
@Dom_31 Apparently the land is called „Solistia“… surely they would have named it “Ensemblia” if there was much more interaction this time around
Thanks for the review, Dom. This has made it abundantly clear that Octopath Traveler II is not for me. I hated how the story completely ignored the party and pretended each member was on some solitary journey in the first game, and it was the thing I was hoping would be fixed the most.
That the second game doubles down on it (I don't care about sidestories that pretend to give them a common minigoal, it doesn't fix the issue) just means I'd be frustrated the entire playthrough because it makes no sense for them to be a party if 75% of your party just... isn't there while being there, isn't accounted for despite having crucial roles or required for you to complete the gameplay tasks in a reasonable time? I find that to be extremely bad storytelling.
Oh well. I'm happy it goes hard in the other areas, but I'm not sitting through 8 stories where the protagonist of each story pretends the others are imaginary friends that they can't talk to.
@Dr_Corndog A approach to storytelling being different from what you expected/wanted doesn't make it "woeful".
The first game may have been a little wordy, but it left such a good impression. The gorgeous style, and incredible music, great combat and bosses. Sounds like more of the same, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Can’t wait.
I put like 50hrs into the first one but never beat it. Had fun with it. Interested in getting this, but my backlog is swamped and TOTK will take my full attention come May. It’s on the wishlist for now.
Loved the first one, but the timing of this release doesnt work for me. I've got Metroid on the go with Kirby coming up, and Golden Sun Lost Age in the background. Octopath is a good game for the Christmas holidays so I'll just wait until then and save myself a good 20 quid from an inevitable sale too.
SE should have got this one out back end of last year. February isn't the worst release window... but there's a lot of competition out there right now and TotK is 12 weeks away.
Meanwhile Q4 2022 was dreadful for new games (no offence to Pokemon and Fire Emblem fans). Even Sports Story couldn't save the day... in fact, that just made it a whole lot worse!
Is the release date still the same? 24th February that is my birthday.
@Dom_31 I’m also curious. An ensemble cast is such a hallmark of JRPGs that it was a shame they didn’t interact more in the original. ‘Participating’ in crossed patched stories is a little open to interpretation. This could be a few lives of dialogue or characters that have a real impact on the story.
@mariomaster96 I think it’s a little unclear from the review what is meant by characters participating in cross-pathed storylines. The characters may be present, but still have very little impact or interactions with the main protagonist like the original.
@BrazillianCara You assume to know what I wanted if you think my complaint amounts to a difference of taste.
I'm at the Point of No Return in the first one, so wrapping up sidequests and tracking down gear I don't yet have, then into the Gate.
Started the demo with Throne, so far so good!
@Dr_Corndog Doesn't make your original reply any less condescending.
I've kept my eye on this, but it seems like more of the same with the boost/break based combat and disconnected stories, so its probably a pass from me.
First one is my favorite Switch game, had zero doubts this would be a home run as well. Can't wait!
I loved the first one, but I haven’t finished my other HD-2D games. Plus last time I got Octopath on day one it went on sale before I even started it, so I will probably wait for a sale with this one. I will definitely be picking it up this year though.
So...does the characters talk to each other in this game?
@somnambulance I'd say it's longer than the first, substantially so if you really do everything and follow all the side quests to conclusion.
@Rossoverde Not at all, this game is set in its own world. I'd recommend starting with this one, I think it's the better game.
Both Octopath 1 and Octopath 2 have "Travel banter", which are small skits where your characters chat about recent happenings. This has not changed.
Octopath 2 additionally has a few "Crossed Path" storylines which involve two of the travelers as main characters instead of one. And within these quests, the two do talk to each other.
Aside from this, no - it seems like it'll be kind of the same as the first game. Character stories are solo affairs.
And it still (from what I know) has scenarios that expect you to suspend your disbelief regarding the other characters (a scene might have enemies say "Hah! You're outnumbered!" despite you supposedly having seven other traveling companions with you).
From the first game -
Battle system - A+++ - Probably the best ever in any JRPG
Characters themselves - B+ Mostly engaging and fleshed out
Overall story - D - There's a story?
Writing - D - Oh my god, why does everybody talk like everything they say is the most important thing that has ever been said by any person in the history of the world?
How does this one look? Battle system somehow got better? Wow. Story might be better with the crossed path bit. But not revolutionary. Maybe the guilds adds to the story. How's the writing? Seems about the same. Maybe some of the characters are more light hearted?
Playing through the demo, I remember the sloggy feeling of being pressured to check every path ability on every single NPC in every single town. That's one of the things holding me back from being super excited about getting this right away.
Preordered it, but not sure when I'll play it considering all the other games I want to play...
Still, love to hear it's better if mostly more of the same than the first game, I'll eventually play this one first then!
@Zeroo I am assuming you are talking about Engage. I’m at 80 hours already. I’m not focused on the story but instead grinding my army to max so it will be a while before I am finished.
@Dom_31 Doesn't seem like it. Unfortunate that they just don't "get" it.
Music, gorgeous art, good battle system, and a nice world to explore. Even if the story isn't improved over the 1st one this is still going to be a treat to play through.
@SwitchVogel Jeez, really? I’m tempted to get it for sure, but I may have to put it on the back burner and hope we hit a lull in gaming Q3 for it then, hearing that it’s substantially longer. The first one was 60-ish hours if I remember correctly.
I'll pick this up in the future. But there is just too much to play.
And why does Square keep launching their own games on top of each other? I just got FF:Theaterythm too
@SwitchVogel Do all the characters have some tie to the final boss or inadvertently help the final boss (Kit’s quests) the way they do in OT1?
@Zisssou it may not be 20 years for me, but I feel this so much. I miss having all that time. Being a grown-up sucks.
I've said it before but Octopath Traveller would be one of the best JRPGs ever made if it had a better story and story connections between characters. The devs seem to stick with the "octo-path" gimmick of the game where you can freely collect any characters. That's way down the list of things that make the game good.
It's a shame they don't abandon or modify this feature and really dive into the world.
That said "more of the same" is perfectly fine for me. Gotta log a good 200 hours before TotK comes out.
I do like the demo just stink only 3 hour limit just when I was about to get the thief sword it quits. I still have to finish the first one as that one took grinding to get enough coins to give the dancer her cloak and find the treasure goblin and keep getting killed by the serpent at every try. I did get Preorder GameStop and BestBuy for steelcase but the site for the $200+ that was a killer on the wallet. It looks great but the price....ugh....
"thanks for replying and sorry for skipping the review, I really just wanted to know about that because I still want to go as "spoiler" free into the sequel as possible haha"
thank you for saying that: people jump straight to "RTFR!" but you don't always want to be spoiled even that much! in fact if I'm going to play a game (as in, I already know I want to play the game) I'd rather not read any review first, but sometimes you just need a bit of info!
I might get this one, after skipping the first! so I only read the conclusion onward (as I often do.)
this game comes out next week friday.
@Dr_Corndog I completely agree with you. My two big hobbies are video games and reading fiction, and I'm shocked at how rarely a game has writing at the level of even a mid-quality fiction book. I think games get graded on a huge curve in this respect. I loved everything else about Octo1, but the stories were hackneyed in my opinion, and the writing was really bad: characters stating their motivations directly, saying the same thing 3 times in the same conversation, etc.
@BrazillianCara Hope you can find a good doctor to remove that chip off your shoulder.
I loved the first game so I'm sure I'll love this one too. I get the complaints about disjointedness, but I don't mind having to suspend my disbelief when it comes to the disconnect between story and gameplay. And honestly, I thought OT1 had a pretty good story and cast altogether. I found its story at least as satisfying as several other popular RPGs, like Xenoblade.
The main star of the show, in my eyes, is Yasunori Nishiki's incredible compositions. OT1 had one of my all-time favorite soundtracks, and judging from the demo, OT2 does not disappoint at all. The music in these games is both expertly arranged and melodically rich. It's gorgeous, hummable, and elevates the rest of the game(s) significantly.
@Manguy888A You're spot-on talking about a curve. And, to be fair, creative writing probably isn't the strong suit of a lot of people who get into reviewing video games, anyway. But it's also for that reason you should always take their recommendations regarding story with a grain of salt.
I should add that Octopath did have some real positives (excellent combat system, beautiful graphics) but these made its shortcoming even more disappointing in a way.
It's cool we have the crossover events now but it's still too weird to have people in the same party that do not interact. Really makes it an odd experience. If they don't want these characters to interact then give each character their own unique party members that can interact with that main character.
In the end the presentation and combat save this have game for me.
It frustrates me to no end to see how many people are unable to gel with this style of storytelling and decide to label it as bad. It's like giving a bad review to an Italian restaurant because they don't serve sushi.
@BrazillianCara It reminds me of how some people just don't jive with Dragon Quest's episodic storytelling. I think many gamers prefer a longer-form serialized story than a collection of smaller stories for whatever reason. But I'm a big fan of both approaches.
I liked the first one, but the voice acting was awful and the dialogue was stiff and awkward. I’m hoping there’s some improvement there.
@MatthewTaranto Everyone's got their preferences. I'm almost done with persona 5 and I haven't even opened my Bravely Default 2 yet, but I'll definitely be picking it up sometime! I love these games and project triangles demo was amazing as well. Another one I plan to get
@nkarafo I would also like to know this. The BS final boss in the first game was insanely and stupidly hard. And that wasn't even the worst part. The final dungeon also had zero save points, so you had to redo the entire thing again if you fail (and you will) against the final boss. If the sequel has the same problem, I'm out.
@BrazillianCara I wont say the concept is bad but some of the writing felt stifled by cramming itself into that package in Octo 1 and I never felt 'swept away' by any story, maybe Haanits. I actually loved playing it in 2 hr blocks per chapter, but there was no depth to the characters and lots of the melodramatic "gee golly let's not give up hope" dialogue didnt make up for it. Wasnt funny or touching or mysterious or much really. Still put 90 hrs into it and this review gives me hope, though doubt I get it for a while
Even though I liked the first one for me it got a bit repetitive and I ended dropping it before I beat all 8 stories. I only ended up finishing Ophelia's and Cyrus's path. The HD 2D looks amazing though and it's certainly on my to play list at some point.
Loved the first, it felt how I remembered JRPGs from the 16-bit days. But it's a tough sell to get someone else into a game that really doesn't hint the greater story until 50 hours in and you can easily miss the cohesive narrative if you didn't complete certain side quests.
The original was a big risk, new graphics, different story, with sophisticated battle, and they hit more often than they missed. Refinement is good, I just wish I wasn't crushed under my own backlog.
While I loved most of the first game, the last boss demoralized me after failing to beat its second form several times and repeating that final dungeon one too many times. Still, I appreciated the design of most of the game and felt I didn't need to beat the game to consider it a worthwhile experience.
So I'm thinking I'm going to go ahead and jump into the second game like an abused partner who keeps trying to see the good in the other person...haha.
@BrazillianCara I'm not sure how characters in the same party with little to no interaction with each other and barely any influence into each other story arcs can be considered a "style". As you surely remember even the writers of the game at some point decide to intermingle the stories, the problem is that it really doesn't work narratively, because the story is basically 8 dudes that fight for a lot of times together, risking each other life in quests that are of ni interest to them, just to discover in the end that these quests are intermingled.
It's a beautiful game with wonderful music and graphics and an interesting premise, the writing is not great.
@MARl0 Yes you are right! I remember. It's like sadists made the whole final dungeon - boss battle! I tried twice and then I gave up to the game!! I watched the ending in youtube and I wrote an email to Square Enix about this. It was a fantastic game but in the end, they left to us a bitterness. I hope it's easier now in the sequel..
@Dom_31 I think the dude literally said no. The chapters apparently play out exactly like the first game, meaning it treats the main chapter focus character as completely alone, but it adds side chapters that are group activities. I'm unsure how long or how extensive these are and im sure group conversations are still in. And if you beat the game even though the characters didn't interact, the plots of the stories all tied into one main thing. It was just text crawls and suffered from a bad case of tell don't show but it's interesting going back through the game again and seeing all the crossovers between characters stories
@negw That's the main issue. The problem isn't that the characters don't communicate outside side chats, it's that they have no reason to travel together at all. At least saga frontier gave you separate parties entirely and live a live you are dumped into hell dimension and the characters don't have much choice but to work together. I hope the side crossover quests at least build a dynamic that justifies why there's a party to begin with. Like the idea was that you could go do a characters chapter totally alone. That's a good idea, but that cuts out literally 85% of the game so no one is actually going to play that way. Saga frontier probably had the best way of handling it. Characters appear in other chapters and events are mentioned but they are completely stand alone
I'm...honestly not sure what to think. I put a few hours into the first demo + game and liked aspects of it, but for the most part the stories were ho-hum (though Cyrus and Primrose both stood out IMO) and were completely separate from the others; it seemed like a group of eight strangers were traveling together with very little interaction. The review seems to indicate this was partially addressed via crossovers, but not fully going by the text. Coupled with the spongy bosses and amount of grinding, I dropped the original and sold it to a friend. Gameplay and exploration both go a long way for me in JRPGs, but story and compelling characters are king in my book.
I might wait for a deep discount before even contemplating getting this one. I love JRPGs, but the sheer amount of them, the lengths of many, and limited free time (Yay adulting) all mean that I have to be quite picky these days.
Have any reviews mentioned the pacing at all? The first one was cool but I felt like it took too long to do anything. My ADHD prefers Dragon Quest and indie RPGs due to getting things along pretty quickly.
interesting to see the contrasting reviews of my 2 favorite nintendo sites this one and nintendo world report.. they only gave this game a 7.5 they said the uniting of the stories falls flat and the music was not as good as the first game..
@RiasGremory this game comes out next week friday.
It can't come out fast enough as I was stopped 3 hours into the demo right when it was getting fun. Now I have go back to DQ Treasures stalling from getting the last item.
@Tyranexx What sucks is that the individual stories are good. The issue is that there is no justification for there being a party at all. You just go up and suddenly you're helping a stranger for no reason. I hope the cross quests are substantial and give some sort of cast dynamic, but really there's no reason that these guys would travel together or any real indication that they aren't doing their quest completely alone. It's really the only problem I have with the first game because the gameplay, while grindy, is fantastic and the stories are genuinely compelling. I also don't like having to go to inns to change party members, but that's another thing
@johnedwin That's disappointing because that was the main issue with the first game. I think the actual come together moment was cool, but it was all text exposition. It made each story better knowing the overarching thread, but it felt a little tacked on
@Vexx234 I love JRPGs but 100% see where you’re coming from
@Taro Oh no disrespect. It's just a mixed genre for me. I'm glad though for a good review regardless as it let's fans like you have a new experience, and it allows for newcomers to try something well...new.
Was never impressed with the first but I'm just not a big fan of the split party system. Give me as many people as you can and let me decide how to set up my party. Not a handful of bland people forced into linear setups.
For some reason I thought Octopath 2 was coming out in March. It's a very packed week between this, Metroid, and Kirby.
People didn't read the panels of the boss rush in gates of finis and it shows. They connected the storylines at the end but not everyone played that far into the game and i understand why. It was very meta to get the "true ending"
Enjoyed the first game a lot, banter between party members and their stories was there but a bit hidden. I think this is similar to stories in real life, we don't always participate in our friend's lives every step of the way and help them achieve their goals in totality. But we are there in some way for key elements. My personal take which is why I love the series so much. Will definitely pick this up. Hope it comes to GamePass too!
Once I finish with the demo then I'll be jumping right to this one.
@Xansies I will admit that I didn't even recruit all the characters before dropping. Some of the stories I did delve into were great, while others were "been there, done that". To be fair to the latter point, I've played quite a few RPGs by now...and I had a late start compared to many; I didn't properly get into them until late high school/early college outside of childhood series that used the mechanics, like Pokemon. I was a huge multimedia target as a kid. XD
I did quite like the gameplay overall and, having played both Bravely entries on 3DS (haven't played Bravely Default II on Switch yet), could easily see that the team involved with those had a hand in Octopath Traveler; knowing that team was involved was half the reason I picked up the game. The clear difference for me was a compelling story in both 3DS Bravely titles, interesting characters, frequent, mostly organic party banter/interactions, and some nice modern QoL improvements like the encounter slider. I was more put off by the encounter rate, grinding, and the fact that I realized early that I'd be putting up with the gameplay loop of story/problem > town > dungeon > overworld travel > repeat for a long time. Which is still something I could've lived with - maybe - if I didn't already have other and arguably better games waiting for their turn.
@Zisssou Same. Got a family now and have to read a lot to stay current in my field. My only comfort is knowing that if I ever arrive at a place in life where gaming can be a main hobby again, I’ll have one helluva backlog!
@Dr_Corndog - "One of my biggest faults with the original was its woeful story."
To me, that sounds like practically every Final Fantasy game 😆
Pretty much what I wanted from the sequel. I enjoyed the first game and I am looking fwd to this. Cheers for the review.
@Acein210 that and it seems like there was an obsession with everyone having long drawn out conversations beyond what happened in the taverns. Which then makes me wonder how side quests which are at their core just randoms helping randoms are ok. Plenty of old school JRPGs had recruitment that was little more than random is free or needs muscle for something and joins up. Or the other party members are basically drafted to help the chosen one. I never understood the story complaints. Especially since the game does tie them together to the final boss. And there are threads in each quest that hint that there is something bigger going on.
@Ryu_Niiyama yeah its not marvel level of connections but it's there
@Daniel36 I might consider the demo. The only problem now is that I think my Switch's fan is dying. It's making a high-pitched whine whenever I boot up a game, such as Splatoon 3.
I'll either have to get the fan replaced or buy a new Switch altogether. And I just blew $600 on an Xbox Series X bundle. Here's hoping that the rumored Tears of the Kingdom OLED Switch is real. I'd buy that, even though I mainly play in Docked Mode.
another performance related question is the IGN review mentioned noticable hitching on certain bosses and cutscenes on the switch version which were fixed upon resetting, wondering if the reviewer here encountered anything similar.
@Xansies That's what it felt like playing the first game. They seemed disconnected and stories didn't merge or have connections that could make for deeper storyline.
@Zisssou Just turned 30 recently and it feels like there's even more time for games as we grow up and have more options/resources.
A week has 168 hours. If you work a full week and an hour drive each way (this is way more than most people), lets call that 50 hours. Perfect 8 hour sleep schedule (also way more than most), that's 56 hours. So 62 hours of free time isn't enough to handle small things like errands, gym, social life, etc. while still getting a ton of time to game?
I've just never understood this. Most people aren't sleeping a perfect 8 and a lot of people are working remotely, so that often leaves upwards of 80+ hours of time not working or sleeping.
At that point I only have to wonder how much you actually like gaming lol. Maybe you just like the idea of gaming more. There's so much time, even on a maxed out work/sleep schedule.
@ItsATM do you have kids?
@Ryu_Niiyama Yes, there is a final chapter that brings them all together, though I can't share any further details!
@SwitchVogel thank you for your response!
@Zisssou Hahahaha, that was literally the first thing I was thinking of. Also, 30 is really the last leg, after that it aaaaall goes downhill anyways, kids or no.
"More of the same" means I'll likely skip this one. I wanted to like the first but it was such a huge disappointment.
@SwitchForce Supposedly the stories tied together with the "true ending", but it wasn't worth the severe level grinding IMO.
@TheCold0ne These types of games requires grinding if you want to progress with time to enjoy the game.
@SwitchForce I get the impression you didn't beat the first game, or at least didn't find out about the true ending.
@TheCold0ne Does one have to finish the game to fit your category? One plays ask they feel they like.
@Jey887 I tried the first and got bored. I know I'm in the minority here but just couldn't get into it, and love RPGs. Think it's the segregated stories that couldn't keep my attention.
Got this at launch wanted too finish Engage first, that didn't end up happening the pull for this game was too strong. I'm having a blast so far. My only issue is it's much easier than the first game, usually I wouldn't mind but their isn't an option to change the difficulty, just today I fought an optional boss where the bulk of my party was 9 levels below the recommended for example.
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