Octopath Traveler Nintendo Switch Review

Octopath Traveler won't win over any new fans but those who love JRPGs will find more than enough reasons to continue playing till the end

By Grayshadow, Posted 19 Jul 2018

Octopath Traveler uses 2D sprites and low-resolution 3D models to create an RPG that faithfully combines retro and modern aspects in many ways. The graphics create a distinctive atmosphere that is complemented by artistic touches that bring every town, character, and enemy to life. Extravagantly drawn visuals not only captures the essence of old-school RPGs such as Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, and Earthbound but provides its own unique identity thanks to incredible writing and characters. Octopath Traveler hits you with its charming graphics and beautiful art style before sucking you in with its densely packed adventure that truly captures the essence of a great JRPG.

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Octopath Traveler doesn't shine the light on one or a handful of characters. Instead, it's about everyone, with stories sprouting from not only your party but the people around you. Ordinary NPCs pepper the environment and thanks to strong writing learning about their past they serve of a purpose than simply filling up the area. What is strange is that the characters only acknowledge one another at very key points. For example, Therion has no problem stealing from anyone but Ophilia Clement who is a noble person with strong morals has no problem with it. You don't have to collect all the characters and can miss some since the story is about individual tales instead of a "save the world" adventure.

Much of the story begins in a central town before spreading out to other regions. Each tale is unique to that person, meaning that the other characters are completely ignored during that person's cutscene and appear when a battle begins. Banter does occur between the characters but these are limited and far between. This is meant to keep each tale contained and less complex but is also creates holes within the plot of why exactly these characters are together with their contrasting personas.

What's surprising is how well the voice-acting is. JRPG's are notorious for having subpar voice-acting but here it's actually well done. The issue is that the voice samples for specific actions can become repetitive but are easily dismissable.

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Path actions give the NPCs of the world much more significant. Since each character has their own unique abilities such as Olberic Eisenberg able to challenge NPCs to a duel for gold and experience this provides them with vital roles that the player can choose. Other Path Actions can be used to complete side missions but some actions are much more nefarious. Such as Primrose able to seduce her followers to fight on her behalf but if you fail 4 times then you get blacklisted. This risk versus reward encourages players to determine which Path Actions to use. Do you act nobility such as Tressa's Purchase ability to buy the NPCs inventory or do you risk stealing it using Therion? If you happen to fail too many times the entire village to ostracize you unless you restore your reputation either by completing the chapter or playing a large fine.

The battle system is turn-based battle system found in retro RPGs. You create a party of 4 characters, each with unique skills and strengths. Everyone is straightforward with their talents such as Olberic the Warrior dealing heavy physical damage and packing strong defense, Opheilia acting as one of the best healers, and Primrose able to buff allies with extra damage and defense. Each part member is distinctly useful and there's no real wrong build as long as you think prudently. Obviously not having a healer in your party will lead to some trouble or using a lot of magic focus characters against an enemy with a high magical defense isn't wise. You do gain access to secondary jobs that allow one character to take on small aspects of another character but not enough that they can fully replace that other person.

Class and party build are important because all enemies come with a shield. Each enemy has a specific vulnerability that must be exploited to destroy their shield. Shields range from single to double digits and when destroyed the enemy is completely at your mercy. Boost points are available for those dire moments to increase damage or support skills but determining when to save or use these points becomes critical during the difficult fights.

What brings Octopath Traveler together its the outstanding soundtrack. A true masterpiece that rivals some of the best RPGs ever made. Everything from exploration to boss fights become charge situations that engulf the player in a mixture of musical instruments. The developers went above and beyond to ensure that the story, gameplay, and soundtrack all complemented one another for one unbelievable adventure.

Octopath Traveler is a true JRPG from start to finish. It doesn't try to be something else or adapt to both casual and hardcore gamers. The dense story, turn-based combat, and challenging gameplay all channels the best elements fans of this genre love. Octopath Traveler won't win over any new fans but those who love JRPGs will find more than enough reasons to continue playing till the end.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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    Octopath Traveler PC Review

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General Information

Platform(s): Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Square Enix, Nintendo
Developer(s): Square Enix, Acquire
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2018-08-13

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