Octopath Traveler Review (Nintendo Switch)
In an age where graphics seem to be more important than game-play or even story, comes a game that takes us back to an era that made us fall in love with the fantasy game genre. Ocotopath Traveler is a walk down memory lane through games of old like the original final fantasy games. Square Enix brings us a perfect mixture of CG, pixel art style, and high definition 2D visuals. Ocotopath Traveler is a game rich with deep character backgrounds and progression as you play through the story.
The player embarks on a journey with eight travelers, each with their own background and reason for their journey. Each traveler has a unique skill set that you can use outside of battle to help achieve certain objectives and interactions with villagers. Enjoy the freedom to choose your own path while experiencing the story through the role you play. At the beginning of the game, you get to choose which character you want to start the journey with. The warrior was a definite first choice for me. The interesting thing about each traveler is their “Path Action”. For Instance, the warrior can challenge NPCs to a fight, which is a great way to level up. Other characters can use actions like stealing, beast charming and recruiting villagers to fight alongside your party.
Having a fresh take on classic games of old was a nice change from the same old same of games nowadays. This homage to classic role-playing games felt fresh and new while still showing it’s rooted. You’ll find yourself going back and forth in areas, grinding to level up your party of travelers so they will have an easier time when a boss battle arises. The combat is simple, yet fluid. Building party compositions never stops being a fun exercise as the adventure presents each new challenge while you progress through the game.
As mentioned earlier, the story progression is what drew me in as a gamer. Octopath Traveler is an extremely satisfying storytelling experience. It is vastly different from other traditional JRPGs that have come out lately. The story is all about the characters, their struggles, the world around them and how they deal with it all. In one instance, you have a warrior betrayed by a former comrade. In another, you’re framed for a crime you didn’t commit. You may also be a student carrying on the legacy of your fallen master. The pace of the game does have some small hiccups here and there, especially as the world opens up between each major act, but it’s a small bump in the road of an otherwise magnificent experience.
With all these moving parts of interwoven stories, it can be a little much to follow, but the experience is there. “Take the good with the bad” as the saying goes. Every game has flaws and the story is a double-edged sword. You can either love it or hate it. Personally, the story is what drew me in. After watching the trailer, the thought was “Sure I’ll give this a try.” My overall experience was one of satisfaction.
Octopath Traveler is a love letter dedicated to the games of the 16-bit era from most of our childhoods. Everyone needs to play this game if only to realize that not everything spectacular needs to be photo-realistic. Not to mention, the real beauty of this game is the character development, the visuals, the music, and combat. All of these combined make this a wonderful experience from the team at Square Enix. What else would you expect from the team that gave us the Final Fantasy, Bravely, Tomb Raider, Nier Automata, Chrono Trigger, and Life is Strange series to name a few.
Note: This review was written based on a purchased copy of the game. Any code or product given to GameOctane by publishers is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Deep, strategic turn-based combat with an innovative battle system
Great character development
Wish there was more voice acting
Needing to grind more than expected to level up