Is it just a grind fest?
After a few weeks have gone since Octopath Traveler was released it’s crucial to see the game past the hype and attention it’s received and continues to get from press outlets and reviewers. I’ve been playing the game for little over a week now on my physical copy of course, pumped in about 20 hours and can honestly say it deserves every wonderful compliment it’s being dished out. However this game isn’t for everyone but we’ll get to that.
Much like almost every other review or discussion on the internet I’ll be discussing what I’ve played so far. This game is too long and I want to take my time with it. Developed by Square Enix along with Acquire Ocotopath Traveler hits all the notes with a typical JRPG. Why I think it hit a nerve with everyone is how close to reality it is. Though this game has the scale of Final Fantasy 6 yet it carries the strong personality of Chrono Trigger, characters and situations true to life and rarely see a true happy ending not without hardship and the will to strive.
Everyone’s first impression of the looks department of Octopath Traveler jumps to nostalgia. While it does capture the 16 bit magic of yesteryear there is more than what is on the surface. At first I thought of 3D Dot Games Heroes, yet this takes that palette and turns it into a world. At 30 frames per second its breathtaking to roam through the forest and look out into the draw distance and see something that actually looks like people lived there for years and not just illustrations animated for video purposes. The way how the sun reflects off the water and appears blurry to the naked eye is something to marvel at. When your characters are moving and how your destination may appear out of focus at first until you get there seems interesting. At that point, the smart color choice takes over and send you in a wave of eye candy. This game is very sexy.
Though I’m glad that Square went the route of turn based battle systems it’s not without it’s drawbacks. This will beat you into the ground if you let itor even if you wander off somewhere with enemies that will blow you away with one strike. The boss battles are dragged out a bit. At first I thought it was because to make your opponent seem stronger and badder to go along with it’s height. These CPUs are clever and have plans rolled up their sleeves. With some boss fights especially with Ophilia’s it feel like your winning until they throw something at you after 15 turns and throw everything off. This game will test you and your patience, true to real life somethings can only be achieved by simple endurance. Grinding I feel only happens when you’ve hit a roadblock. Grinding in a RPG should only feel like a chore when the battles aren’t effective. Here though battles create a sense of fun knowing that the wolf hiding in the snow is actually worthy your time.
The double attack is a highlight as well as each character’s special ability to use. The secret ingredient to your success is figuring out the multiple weaknesses of your opponent. This makes all the difference in the world as it can decide the flow of the battle and make you think clearly on how to attack while picking which member of your current party to attack at.
The best way to describe the flow of the story especially at the beginning of the game is to compare it to Marvel’s Avengers. Each character you pick up along the way introduces themselves by diving with you into their lives and guiding you through their everyday routine. Though part of a team, this makes them standout as individuals and not supporting actors in a nutshell. When you meet someone and add them to you party you have to play out their backstory first, giving you a glimpse at who they are, and why they do what they do for whatever reason. Embracing their struggles free of judgement rings true to life in so many ways. Some of which has hit me on a emotional level.
One party member you pick up is a man named Alfyn whose jobs deal in Apothecary. He is a person who has never left home and takes on this mantle of being the caretaker of his town. While being healed by a man who asked for nothing in return as a child inspired him to take on this trade. Along with his friend Zeph they aid the sick and wounded of their town. It’s truly touching before Alfyn joins your party and has him at the cemetery of their town with his deceased mother. Zeph joins him and convinces Alfyn to depart and see the world, giving him a chance to explore and not settle. Not since Chrono Trigger has a game made me shed tears at such a touching scene between two life long friends parting ways.
Octopath Traveler is for those seeking a full gaming experience. I must warn this is for hardcore fans of RPGS and wanting a RPG to play. Anyone outside of that field of interest would find the game to be overwhelming, as with typical RPGS this game is drowning with content. Though this is the nature of RPGs and those who welcome a challenge will get it here. Even Square themselves didn’t figure the success of it as writing this review the game has sold over a million copies. Stories of the physical copy being sold out in most retail stores and completely in Japan says a lot of this juggernaut of a game.
I hope you enjoyed this article, comment below on what you think of Octopath Traveler. In other news Tekken 7’s Season Pass adds a character from the Walking Dead. Octopath Traveler is currently available for the Nintendo Switch.