Octopath Traveler immediately hooks you with its “HD-2D” style graphics, and immerses you further with the varied and interesting characters, gorgeous locations, fun battle system and an amazing soundtrack. Originally released last year for the Nintendo Switch, this JRPG gem has finally made it to the PC. Many called it the true Final Fantasy sequel fans were waiting for it, and in a sense they are right. Octopath Traveler is fantastic.
The name itself gives away that there are eight paths for you to embark upon. This comes by means of asking you to pick one of eight starting characters, each with their own back story, unique class, abilities and personality. As you progress, you come across the other characters and can add them to your party of heroes. Picking different a different starting character gives you a somewhat different mission structure, and really different approach to the combat. Your interactions with NPCs and side characters also change up accordingly.
Firstly, the game looks absolutely gorgeous – there’s a beautiful tilt shift effect that makes the 2D style looks 3D, and brings the world to life. Backgrounds are gorgeously drawn and animated, and the character designs are really endearing. The locations are also varied – sandy beaches, snowy mountains, deserts, and so on. The visual effects that bring these regions to life are truly breathtaking.
Each of the characters you can play as has their own story to tell, and all of them are fairly different since they all don’t have the same end goal. There’s no real big bad to bring down, so the story feels grounded, if a bit anti-climactic. There are some really powerful moments in between for all characters, and it’s worth going back and playing as one of the other characters once you’re done with a playthrough. It is also possible to miss out on meeting certain characters in a single playthrough, making replaying the game an even more appealing option.
Exploring the world is also fun – NPCs can give you some basic quests, but going about is enjoyable and some of the simpler missions makes these NPCs more real, instead of everything feeling grandiose at all times. Paths along the main roads will often split up, leading to caves and other regions to explore. Regardless of the rewards, exploration feels really satisfying, given the beauty of the world.
The combat is the main highlight here – it’s a really deep system that encourages experimentation, and looks really flashy. You need to study enemies, find weaknesses and exploit them using the right party member. It’s immensely fun and leaves you feeling really smart, especially after taking on a particularly tough enemy. The enemies themselves are varied enough to keep the combat engaging throughout. With the right mix of party members, unique skills and abilities, the combat in Octopath Traveler remains fresh through the game.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Octopath Traveler and I am not nearly done with all that the game has to offer. With it’s solid battle system, interesting narrative, wonderful characters, various abilities and absolutely gorgeous world, Octopath Traveler is a near masterpiece. My one complaint – it’s overpriced on PC.