Octopath Traveler Review – The Best Switch JRPG is Now On PC
The best Nintendo Switch JRPG published by Square Enix, Octopath Traveler, is now available on PC. It is surprisingly pricey on Steam however. Is it worth your money? The short answer is yes. The long answer is our whole in-depth review.
RM200 (Nintendo Switch)
RM190 / USD $59.99 (Steam)
+ Enthralling storyline
+ Colourful cast of characters
+ Non-linear gameplay experience
+ Combat system has plenty of depth
+ Overall refreshing experience with unique twists
- 2.5D graphics may not appeal to many
- Not beginner-friendly
- Progressing through the game may feel a little awkward at first
Octopath Traveler Review
What is Octopath Traveler About?
Set in the land of Orsterra, there exists a group known as the Order of the Sacred Flame. They believed their world was created by thirteen deities before twelve were forced to seal the fallen god Galdera, who refused to relinquish their creation, within the afterworld that can only be accessed through the sealed Gate of Finis.
Gamers take on the role of eight different characters, each with their own unique skills and quests which eventually intertwine in the grand scheme of things. At the start, gamers can choose any of the eight characters and the chosen one will act as the primary protagonist of their gameplay. To complete the game, you have to recruit every single one of them and complete their stories.
When all character quests have been completed, gamers will be thrusted straight into the epilogue section of the game, which involves the fallen god Galdera. Little did the heroes know that their personal struggles are all part of a larger problem which poses a threat not only to the world, but the survival of mankind.
A Refreshing Twist to the Standard RPG Formula
In many ways, Octopath Traveler follows your standard Japanese role-playing game formula. You have a storyline, a bunch of side quests, turn-based combat, and a variety of playable characters. How all these elements are implemented are what makes the game unique compared to other games in genre and also gives it a very refreshing feel.
For starters, there is no actual main protagonist as all eight playable characters are equally important. You have to choose who you’d like to start out with and eventually make your way around the world map to recruit every single character. Each character has their own personal storyline which will later tie in to why all of them are brought together.
This gives the gamers freedom on how they would like to approach the game as opposed to the standard linear approach. This can seem rather daunting for beginners as you will need the game sense and independence to explore the world map on your own. This can be especially confusing when a specific character’s next chapter location is mentioned, but your party is still too weak for the area.
To alleviate the problem, the developers have included “Recommended Level” labels for specific parts of the world map. It will also show which chapter for which character specifically so gamers will have an easier time identifying which is the best way to go about the game accordingly with their own play style.
As for side quests, it can be found in every town and village in the game. It will be given by random non-playable characters (NPC) in the area. It can be as simple obtaining information to doing battle with specific people. However, a number of side quests won’t tell you outright what you need to do. For example, for the “Love Unrequited” side quest, you will have to do battle with the quest giver and intentionally lose despite having no indication to do so.
Modernizing the Classic Turn-based Combat System
The combat system utilized in Octopath Traveler is the classic turn-based combat system featuring a party of four like old school Final Fantasy games. It does have its own twist to it which gives combat noticeably more depth than usual. You still have your standard attacks, magic / skills, defend, and item use commands but how you go about it is different.
For starters, we have the Boost System which everyone in the party has access to. In each turn, characters will acquire a boost point that can be used to improve defense, power of special skills and items, or to increase the number of normal attacks a character does. It’s akin to executing actions multiple times at once. There is a limit of five Boost Points per character, and you can only gain a point if you do not use Boost Mode in that particular turn.
Another unique element is the Break system. Each enemy has a certain weapon or elemental weakness. When those weaknesses are hit, their Break Points will be reduced. Upon reaching zero, enemies will enter the Break state where they will not attack for a turn and are more vulnerable to attacks. When combined with Boost Mode, you can dish out tons of damage to enemies.
After each battle, characters will earn Skill Points which can be used to learn new Skills. Each character will have their own set of Skills that are determined by their character class. Learning some of these skills will lead you to acquiring bonus support skills which further augments the characters.
Incorporate all of these into the classic turn-based combat system and you have yourself a refreshing role-playing game experience with a surprising amount of depth. It will have you seriously consider who to bring to your party for maximum efficiency in battles, and plan out your upgrades not only for easier battles but also for the sake of synergy in your party.
Octopath Traveler Verdict
When you first start playing Octopath Traveler, the open-ended style of progressing through the game can feel a little awkward. When you start putting in the hours and get to know the land of Orsterra better, the game starts to really pick up and it gets a lot more entertaining. You will definitely need to be familiar with the genre in order to truly enjoy the game.
The combat system itself has a surprising amount of depth without being an overly complicated mess. Like most role-playing games however, grinding for levels and experience is pretty much a necessity especially when moving to a new chapter. Regardless, it is still a game that role-playing game enthusiasts should not miss out on. As such, I award Octopath Traveler with our coveted Gold Pokdeward.