As an avid JRPG fan, i was anxiously awaiting the release of Octopath Traveler. There was a lot of hype built around this game and I am beyond thrilled to say that the hype was real. My 60 hour journey through Octopath was one that I will not forget any time soon. Octopath Traveler did many things well with one thing I feel should have been improved.
To start, I absolutely loved the freedom right from the get go. You can choose any of the 8 characters to be your lead character. Each character also has their unique sets of abilities or “Jobs” that pertain to them. After you complete their intro story you can then pick and choose who you want to travel with next in this epic journey. The map displays where each character is and it is up to you to pinpoint where you want to go next. Each character has their own intro story that gives you time to test to see if that is a character you would want in your main party as your journey continues. The only character you must keep in your party is the one you pick in the beginning. Besides that, it is your hands to decide what best suits you. Each character has 4 chapters that you must beat to fully complete their journey.
Another thing Octopath did well is create a beautiful environment that’s a complete joy to explore. Each area was beautifully crafted and the smallest details are what made it great. From the glimmering waters in the background of a pixelated coast, to your main party character holding a glowing lantern in every dungeon. The paths that are needed to take to your next destination are artfully designed, unique, and full of treasure to find. Each explorable area also has hidden dungeons to explore and hidden shrines that offer your party secondary jobs that can be equipped to further power up your party. The music throughout the entire game also fit each environment incredibly well. Honestly one of the best soundtracks from a JRPG in years.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a great JRPG without a fantastic battle system. The system resembles Bravely Default with how you can stack attacks but also expanded it a bit with how you can “break” enemies to prevent them from hurting you. Each enemy you fight has a weakness, that expands from weapon-style weaknesses to elemental vulnerability. The key to success in each battle is to break the enemies and unleash Hell on them. When enemies are in “break” status attacks deal much higher damage and is a requirement to exploit if you want to be successful in Octopath.
But with all the great things Octopath does well, there was one thing that drove me insane. This was the fact that none of the characters interacted together during main story quests. It’s as if your full party isn’t involved in whatever characters chapter you decide to complete. The only person involved is the person who that chapter pertains too. Interactions with the main characters of the game only pop up as a side story option in towns you visit but are completely useless and unnecessary. The lack of the main characters interacting took away from some of the more interesting stories.
Besides that one gripe, Octopath Traveler is one of the best JRPGs I have played in years. There is much more depth to the game than what is explained here, but I’m hoping this inspires you to pick up Octopath if you haven’t played it already. It’s a journey I would love to dive into again years from now and a journey I won’t forget anytime soon. Thank you Square Enix for proving JRPGs are far from gone!