Octopath Traveler Review

Posted July 31, 2018 by Kyle Simcox in Video Games

Developer: Square Enix, Aquire

Publisher: Square Enix

Release Date: July 13th, 2018

Platforms: Switch

When you begin Octopath Traveler, you’ll be tasked with picking one of the eight heroes to start your journey with. There’s the rough and tumble warrior Olberic and the aspiring merchant Tressa but I chose to go with H’aanit. The brave huntress who leaves her village behind in search of her master when his trusty wolf shows up seeking her aid. Even though you start out by choosing one of the eight however, you’re free to roam Osterra recruiting the other 7 heroes to your cause and helping them out along the way. Square Enix has taken a truly unique approach to the story telling in Octopath in that each character has their own individualized story and players are free to approach them in which ever manner they see fit.

Cyrus has a way with the ladies…

This unique approach however is a double edged sword. On one hand, you have thirty two scenarios to play through and that’s not counting the side content. By the time I even started any of the character’s second chapter, I was twenty hours into the game. While your first character is always bound to your party until you finish their story, Octopath Traveler also doesn’t force you into any one role. If you run into any trouble, you’re more than welcome to fast travel back to a town and come back when you’ve leveled up and earned some new equipment.

Now on the other hand, character interactions feel incredibly limited. The heroes only interact through the party chatter feature that pops up after specific scenes in a hero’s story chapter have played out. During Tressa’s Chapter 2 for example, H’aanit asked her what made being a merchant so special. Outside of that though, the eight heroes are lacking for dialogue. They don’t say much at all outside of their own story chapters. Side quests are met with a floating word bubble atop your hero’s head but no words are ever spoken. It’s unfortunate since one of the game’s focal points is on the stories it’s telling.

He’s also amazing at DPS!

Any fan of traditional turn based combat will feel right at home. Battles occur randomly as you make your way between towns and are fought like any other turn based RPGs. Octopath Traveler introduces a couple of new ingredients to the formula though like the “Break” and “Boost”. The break system allows players to exploit an enemies weakness and break through their defenses, weakening and stunning them for the next round. Using the Boost system requires Battle Points(BP) to power up your heroes’ attacks and abilities. Each hero earns 1 point at the beginning of each round but there are ways to earn more before a round ends by using items or specific abilities earned with certain jobs. Using the Boost and Break system strategically is vital if you intend to decimate the bosses and come out on top.

Choosing between who you bring along on your journey is entirely up to you as each character has their own unique talents. H’aanit can capture and summon monsters where as Therion can steal from NPCs in towns and unlock purple chests or Tressa who can find spare cash laying around and purchase various items from NPCs. There’s a secondary job system in the game as well which allows you to further expand on the heroes’ strengths as well by mixing other job types. Despite the fact that your benched heroes don’t gain any experience points from battles, it is easy to over level yourself, especially considering that your first party member is locked into the party for much of the game.

Octopath Traveler is full of beautiful locations.

Octopath Traveler is a beautiful game and it sports a wonderful soundtrack. Many areas feature linear pathways while others open up into larger areas like the desert right outside of Primrose’s starting town of Sunshade. Square Enix made sure to fill Osterra with little details like the sunlight glistening off bodies of water or the axe in a stump that reflects the light when you walk by it in a specific spot. Visuals during battle are also gorgeous to see like when you blow an enemy away after casting a spell and they vanish with the rest of the dust. The voice acting is sub-par though and H’aanit’s dialogue just feels off and out of place with the rest of the cast.

As a gamer who isn’t a huge fan of turn-base RPGs, I’m absolutely addicted to this game. Despite its shortcomings in the dialogue and storytelling department, Octopath Traveler is a wonderful game. The combat is fun and there’s a lot of side content to explore, some of which even unlocks post game content once you’ve completed the story. It’s kind of a shame we won’t be seeing any DLC.

About the Author

Kyle Simcox