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Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler is a beautiful JRPG that feels and looks like the classics of old.
But like most classic games, it is certainly not perfect and left something to be desired.

I won’t go too much into the story.
Just know that you play as 8 different characters (4 in your Party at any time) and that they have their own story, that, very rarely and sadly very poorly, intermingles with that of their teammates. In fact, the story is the most disappointing part about this game. It doesn’t have the ‘epicness’ of Final Fantasy VI or the intrigue of something like Chrono Trigger. It feels… empty? Something is certainly left to be desired.
The same sadly goes for the characters as well; most of them are more like caricatures, archetypes or stereotypes, rather than actually fleshed out characters.

The game-play on the other hand makes up for everything bad about the story and characters.
It’s your classical turn-based JRPG that we all know and love. Specific characters can use specific weapons or spells, thus making every party member valuable. Square Enix also carried over a modified version of a mechanic they used in their other game “Bravely Default”, where, after you chose to ‘default’ (defend) your character would gain an action point and they could be used to move several times in one turn. In this modified state however, you gain a point every turn, and you can not only go several times per turn, but also power-up your spells and techniques to make them even more deadly.
The enemy variety is also quite big, thus making combat less repetitive and actually fun, no matter at which point in the game you are.

The sound design is also amazing.
Both Japanese and English voice acting is pretty good, but there are some exceptions in the English VA, which is why I would personally recommend playing with the Japanese VA.
Sound effects and BGM are really good and crisp, especially the BGM.
The OST in general just… perfect. Go listen to it when you get the chance!

Finally, the graphics.
This game has an 16-Bit graphics style alongside some modern VFX, and it is an absolutely beautiful blend. Even on the Switch with 720p in docked mode, this game looks amazing! It is at 60 FPS, which makes it even better!
16-Bit graphics have always and will always look good in my eyes, however that pushed the game over the edge are the VFX. Spells, Water/the Ocean, Dark Caves… They all look so much more impressive thanks to the amazing VFX.

Tl;Dr Octopath Traveler is a beautiful nod to JRPGs of the past, specifically SNES JRPGs, and it’s really good at what it’s trying to accomplish, even though it does have some hiccups in the story department. Overall, most certainly worth a purchase, if you don’t own it on Switch already. If that’s the case, wait for a price drop, since there is nothing new here except for improved graphics and framerate.

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