In a world of modern graphics and one track story paths, Octopath Traveler is unique. With its premise of telling eight different stories in one world, Octopath Traveler gives you the opportunity to choose the order and flow of how you want to play through its interesting seperate stories, with the choice of playing as many as you want at a time offering a custom gameplay experience. While having to level up your characters each time you want to try a new one from its eight can make the experience run a little long, it makes each experience feel like a journey of its own in this world harboring its own lore that leaves a connecting thread to each story if you play them all, but also has each one stand well enough on its own. All of its unique storytelling partnered with a great battle system that makes finding and exploiting weaknesses a rewarding process and its class actions that make each character useful in different ways make Octopath Traveler a satisfying JRPG with no shortage of things to do and a great world to play in.
the Dancer Primrose and had my journey start with her darker story and motives, but the main story flow is, on a base level, the same no matter who you choose, with an introduction, conflict and boss battle conclusion being a common thread in all of Octopath Traveler’s chapters that works in keeping each one interesting and moving. While the choice doesn’t have much impact into the rest of the Octopath Traveler journey, it does serve as a good introduction to how you can play however you choose, as this is the first choice of how you want to play out of many more along the way.
These choices are necessary as it’s not exactly easy to go through one character at a time as I had expected to. With Primrose’s second chapter having a level requirement of 21 on the map after I finished her first chapter at level 4, I quickly realised that playing through one story at a time wasn’t the best way to go for me unless I wanted to solo grind a lot, so in a way Octopath Traveler encourages making your own journey by playing in whatever order you like, whether it’s full of more grinding or story. All the characters stories are available to access anytime on the map and to have a full party, it’s necessary to play a few. It’s with this I came to appreciate the stories of other characters - I expected my journey to be full of Primrose and her path of revenge, but very different characters like the caring Apothecary Alfyn and the curious Merchant Tressa were characters I came to know and love that I had little interest in when I started. Although for me it seemed like a necessity to get other party members, it never felt like a chore to play through their chapters and while some stories are naturally better than others at different points in each one, all the characters growth in their journeys in each one were interesting to get to know overall.
A notable aspect of Octopath Traveler is its presentation, with its nostalgic retro aesthetic mixed with modern effects and elements giving it a look of its own. The sprites running across lovely, pixelated kingdoms contrasted with gorgeous, flowing, real-looking water and deserts and caves with dirt that shimmers and glitters gives Octopath Traveler a real beauty that pops off the screen. These beautiful visuals partnered with a big soundtrack with stunningly orchestrated battle tracks and boss themes, and voice acting that expressed character’s emotions well make Octopath Traveler really live up to its 2D-HD idea and I would happily play another game in this aesthetic again even though I generally prefer games with a more modern visual style.
But in saying that, there were so many fun boss battles with every character along the way and in bonus caves and areas that I didn’t mind so much. In fact, with many quests and secret jobs and areas to find, there’s probably a whole other playthrough worth of content that I can go back and do and the custom nature of Octopath Traveler means I can do it at any time. I love that thanks to having so many different ways to play, I can go back and do these things now, but I also had the option of doing them during any of the stories and whether I want to get more secondary jobs or do more quests will be the next choice I make in how I want to play.
Keen to go back and get all the jobs and spend another 70+ hours!
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