Octopath Traveler for the Nintendo Switch Review | 72 Hours Later | Backlog Battle


Greetings, fellow travelers! Alex here! Today, we’ll be venturing to the continent
of Osterra and picking up new faces along the way, as we review Octopath Traveler, hours
later! Octopath Traveler asks you to choose one of
the eight playable characters to start with on your journey. You’ll be traveling the continent, gathering
the other characters along the way, and learning the purpose of their story, as the game eventually
leads you to explore further parts of the continent, uncovering new towns, locales,
and biomes. The most striking aspect of Octopath Traveler
is its unique blend of 3D terrain and 2D sprites, blending the best aspects of 16-bit sprite
work with the technology afforded by modern game engines. This “HD-2D” look – as its producers and
developers coin it – allows for Octopath Traveler to look like a digital pop-up book, where
things near and far appear blurrier, and various NPCs and characters look like figurines found
on top of a board game. This tilt-shift effect not only gives Octopath
Traveler a unique identity, but is also used to obscure areas that are farther off, much
like the visual limitations we had while playing older 16-bit games in the genre. In other words, it’s a modern RPG, with
roots dug deeply in both the past and present. Given the producers’ past experience with
the Bravely series, Octopath Traveler’s progression system continues to tweak the
Final Fantasy job system even further. You no longer have to level up each individual
job to earn skills. Rather, you accumulate a pool of Job Points
on each character, and you’re freely able to spend these points on any job, provided
you’ve unlocked them. Jobs, and the entire job system by proxy,
are unlocked by visiting each jobs’ respective shrines found around the starting towns. Each character in the game has a unique job
that they cannot change, but they can equip a secondary job which allows access to the
weapons and any unlocked skills they’ve learned. By spending Job Points to earn new skills,
you eventually unlock that job’s passive abilities, which can be mixed and matched
with other unlocked passives, regardless of the secondary job you have equipped, and up
to four passive abilities can be equipped at any given time. These slight tweaks in the job system provide
an unparalleled level of accessibility than ever before. Best of all, this doesn’t make the progression
system feel too much of a grind, as you feel like you’re always able to unlock something
that you’re going to use for your characters. The progression system isn’t the only thing
its producers brought from the Bravely series. Each round provides a Boost Point for your
entire party to use at your leisure. These Boost Points can be used to add an extra
hit to your attack, power up the potency of your skills, or even extend buff duration. The difference, however, is that Boost Points
aren’t spent when doing your first action. This means that you will never lose a turn
due to negative Boost Points like in the Bravely series. The twist to this is that each enemy is now
protected by a shield with a number on it. This shield can be removed by attacking the
enemy with the correct attack or skill that it’s weak to, lowering the indicated number
until the shield is Broken. When this happens, you’re able to hit the
enemy with a ton more damage that you did before. Thankfully, your enemy’s weak points will
be shown forever once you figure it out. This mix of figuring out enemy weak points,
blended with the Boost Point system and the new Shield Break system, creates a battle
flow that is quite unique in the genre, and put to rest my fears that these systems would
feel more tedious than fun. In fact, I will say that Octopath Traveler
has one of my favorite job and battle systems to date! One of the points of contention that some
people have about the game is that the encounter rate is too high, but I felt that it’s appropriate
given the sizes of the dungeons in the game. Most dungeons are only one floor, with a boss
at the end. Sure, these floors may vary in size, but I’ve
never felt that a dungeon was “too big” or that any overstayed its welcome. It’s true that most of the dungeons feel
samey with regards to their presentation, but you’re often in and out of them so fast
that it’s a fair compromise. Awaiting at the end are boss characters represented
by beautiful and huge sprite work that makes you want to see what the next ones look like. Not only do they look great, but later bosses
fully take advantage of the tweaks on the battle system, making you think twice about
rushing into battle just because you think you can power through them. Octopath Traveler is an anthology, with stories
told in the viewpoint of each character. Each individual story is broken down by Chapters
and these stories feel like they could very well stand alone as their own game. Stories of redemption, revenge, and enlightenment,
are just some of the themes that these stories touch upon. Along with their own stories, each character
comes with an exclusive job action which lets them do various things to NPCs, such as steal
items, employ them as extra party members, or even hear about discounts and hidden wares
in stores. From time to time, travel banter can occur
between several characters, where they provide commentary and discussion on current events. These short bits help piece together the puzzle
of why these people agreed to help one another. I just wished that when you’re on your way
to gather the characters that their decisions to join you wasn’t just handled by one or
two sentences and never revisited. That said, it’s a small complaint compared
to the depth of each characters’ story. Because of the nature of the storytelling,
you’ll definitely find that some of the characters’ stories are to your liking and
some too predictable. Also, the producers’ choice to not truly
tie the stories of all the characters neatly in the end is a highly risky and divisive
choice, one that will make you ask the question whether the entire experience will be worth
pursuing or not. Personally, I reveled in the stories of each
of the characters and found that I didn’t need something at the end to cap off what
has already been an incredibly well told set of stories. Ultimately, this is a game about different
people trying to achieve different goals, and their relationships are often at an arms’
length rather than an arms’ reach. Much has been said about how Octopath Traveler
looks, but it should be noted that its soundtrack has some of the best compositions this year
so far. Soaring at its highest highs and dark in its
lowest lows, Yasunori Nishiki’s soundtrack also reflects its lineage from the past and
where the genre currently is today. The variety in music is astounding and highly
appropriate for every scene and location. From the icy, snow-capped sounds of The Frostlands… (“The Frostlands” plays in the background) to the jovial, Italian port stylings of Rippletide… (“Grandport, City of Commerce” plays in
the background) it’s easy to find yourself humming and singing
a tune here and there, and it’s even easier to associate each area with said song because
of its addicting loops and notes. Simply put: it’s an already masterful soundtrack
that is enhanced even more by the eye candy of the game’s visuals. With regards to the English voice acting,
I found that the actors really tried to embody and imbue a lot of personality onto their
characters’ sprites, and for the most part I feel that they’ve succeeded. My personal favorite voiced character is Tressa,
and hearing her cheery voice represents everything that is right about Octopath Traveler’s
voice acting. Tressa: “Leave it to me, pa!” Given its commercial success on the Nintendo
Switch, Octopath Traveler probably won’t be the last game we’ll see from this collaboration. The producers and developers have much to
learn and glean from criticisms of this game, and I have no doubt that they’ll be offering
up a fantastic follow-up in the future. But for now Octopath Traveler is, in my opinion,
THE definitive Nintendo Switch JRPG and makes this platform a must have for fans of the
genre. Its stellar progression system, its crafty
battle tweaks, and the stories told in this anthology are perfect for gaming on-the-go
or for sitting infront of your couch, and its design and gameplay are so elegant that
it complements the platform its on really well. Tressa: “I don’t know what lies beyond
the horizon…” Tressa: “But there’s only one way to find
out!”

7 thoughts on “Octopath Traveler for the Nintendo Switch Review | 72 Hours Later | Backlog Battle

  1. Yooo, you and I are set out on a journey to prove to everyone that the nintendo switch is definitely the greatest console ever lmao.. Keep up the quality content!

  2. finally another video. The first thing i get from reading the title of octopath traveller is that its a game about a traveling octopus… is that the case?

  3. Great review! Like you said, Octopath's soundtrack in particular is absolutely stellar. Most of the game is right up there too, of course, but these tunes are gonna stick out in our memories for a loooong time, I'm sure!

  4. Another great review 😀 You were very clear on your pro's and cons 🙂 I do have two suggestions though; Firstly, I felt when you went into the combat section of the game, you very a bit to heavy on the references to other games, but this is from the point of someone who hasn't really played any JRPG's, so for a noobie, it was hard to grasp. Secondly, I was really happy at your comments about the music, as I was actually very interested in looking it up. I was thinking perhaps you could make a written notation in the corner or so, of the title of the soundtrack used, when you use it. That way people will know it's from the game and where to find it, if they like it 🙂

    Not ment as backlash, but (hopefully) helpful critic and suggestions ^^ I give this review a very good ;D

  5. Great review. I've watched nearly every video review for this game on YT and this one touched on a lot of things that many others didnt. Namely the praise for the soundtrack and how the game primarily serves as an anthology before all else. I still have to complete 5 more stories as of now (50hrs in). One of my favorite games in many years. im glad it sold the amount of copies it has.

  6. I've heard a lot of mixed things about this game. It kind of made me lose interest especially since it feels like the bar was raised by Persona 5 for me and a bunch of other people.

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