After Octopath Traveler’s announcement in September of last year, Square Enix released a demo allowing the player to select two of the eight branching paths that will be in the final release. These two paths follow Olberic the aging knight and Primrose the dancer. The characters act dramatically different in and outside of battle, allowing for multiple playthroughs to not feel redundant. Now that two more characters have been announced in the March Nintendo Direct, it is almost certain that all eight characters will have varying skills and abilities.
Along with unique gameplay, each character has their own story line. There will most likely be some over lap of certain characters’ stories, but it is doubtful that it will be so much that differing stories will feel too similar. However personal their stories are, we can assume that all eight protagonists will join forces for some epic final battle. Whatever happens, the story is sure to be unique and engaging judging by what little unfinished story we saw in the demo.
The music of Octopath Traveler is superb. The title screen music alone is beautiful, and the music throughout the rest of the demo did not disappoint. This is honestly the part of the game I am most excited to see fully fleshed out. The music is that good!
The art style is odd, but in a good way. It has beautiful 16-bit style sprites in 3D environments. The scenery looks like an extremely high-quality pop up art book. This game is nothing short of beautiful.
The presentation of this game is enough to suck a player into this adventure, but the battle system and overworld interaction is what will keep you playing for the long haul. The boost system, a similar system to the brave and default system from Bravely Default, has player characters saving up and spending boost points to increase the effectiveness of their actions in battle. For instance, if Olberic uses a boost point, he can preform two consecutive attacks, or he could choose to defend and save a boost point. If he saved the boost point, he could then unleash an even more devastating flurry of attacks, or power up one of his special moves using multiple boosts. That is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the battle system goes.
Enemies are always on guard, meaning they take less damage from attacks. But, that guard can be broken. When broken, the enemy also loses a turn of action. Every enemy is weak to some sort of attack. It may be an attack from a sword, lance, dark magic, etc. If an enemy is hit with their weakness enough times, their guard will go down. It is as this point that they begin to take serious damage. This makes the boost system even more important. If boosts are used correctly, the enemies guard can be broken every turn. Battles can literally be won with out the enemy ever making a move.
On the overworld map, characters can interact with NPCs. But, each protagonist interacts with them differently. Olberic, being a knight, can challenge anyone to a dual. Primrose can entice NPCs to join her team and help her in battle. These small differences make a world of difference in making each character feel unique.
Octopath Traveler’s demo has a lot to offer, even if it is just a taste of the whole game. An engaging battle system, unique characters, and great presentation are going to make this one of the best JRPGs in recent memory. Get pumped for July 13th. I know I am.
Adam “tenders” Henderson is an avid gamer and YouTuber. Check his video on Octopath Traveler!