Octopath Traveler Full Review! – The Game Collection

Welcome back to The Game Collection! I am SuperDerek, and this is Octopath Traveler! For those of you out of the loop, Octopath
Traveler is a turn-based RPG developed by Square Enix’s Business Division 6 & Acquire,
and was published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch in July of 2018. The game was directed by Keisuke Miyauchi,
designed by Kota Osaki, and composed by Yasunori Nishiki, a relatively unknown group of developers. The game was produced by Tomoya Asano and
Masashi Takahashi, both notable for their work on the Bravely series. Upon release, the game sold so well in Japan
that it actually sold out, prompting an apology from Square Enix… twice. During the development the producers and developers
were actually put into a new division all of their own, becoming Business Division 11. But let’s get back to the game. In Octopath Traveler, as the name would imply
there are 8 paths within the game. Each of these paths, or stories, is comprised
of four chapters, and features their own protagonist. At the beginning of the game you choose one
of these eight heroes and upon completing their first chapter the world opens up for
you to explore as you please. Along the way you can visit the remaining
7 characters, and upon assisting with their first chapters you recruit them to assist
you on your journey. The order in which you recruit these characters
is up to the player, and recruiting them is entirely optional. It should be noted that each of these paths
within the game are self-contained, at least on the surface. Because of the freedom to play the game as
you desire, the stories were written to overlap very little, though certain connections can
be inferred after completing several chapters. But because these stories are siloed, not
all of their stories were created equally, though the attempt was admirable. The story of Primrose Azelhart in particular
was the standout of the game. Hers is a story of revenge which doesn’t take
long to go to some pretty dark places. Of the conflicts among all of the other stories,
hers was the one that felt the most real, the one that felt like it was pushing boundaries
that a big-budget Final Fantasy title wouldn’t dare to push. Another standout character for me was that
of Alfyn Greengrass, a traveling Apothecary who’s just out in the world to do as much
good as he can. And while the story does have some dark points
here or there, moments of self-doubt and reflection, overall it is a light-hearted tale about meeting
and helping people because that’s just the kind of guy he is! The result of this storytelling method is
that the game feels sort of like a collection of short-stories that explore telling an adventure
from different angles, and the result is a wholly unique and enjoyable experience. The storytelling within Octopath Traveler
has some slight drawbacks though. It would have been really nice to see more
time and care put into the recruitment stages of Octopath, where characters meet up and
join the party. As things are now, when characters meet, you
are given a brief glimpse of what that character is up to, and then you are asked if you want
to join them. When you choose to join them, there’s no real
interaction to speak of, their chapter simply starts, and you tag along for the ride. It isn’t until later chapters when you’ll
start to see characters interact with one another during optional cut-scenes. These scenes typically trigger in taverns
or after key events when you have certain combinations of party members in your group
of four, and pressing the + (Plus) button allows the interactions to play out. It is within these scenes that characters
interact with one another, learn about each other, and offer advice to one another. These don’t affect the stories of the game
or the direction they go, you don’t make choices within them, but by observing them you can
start to get a better feel for the characters themselves. And in my time with each of the characters,
none seemed particularly grating. The least enjoyable story arc for me probably
belonged to H’aanit, the hunter. And that has nothing to do with her as a character,
and her story was in fact pretty great. But her strange Olde English dialog was difficult
to read aloud, and her voice actress deserves a medal for her efforts. But that dialect is limited only to H’annit
who speaks rarely, and her master who only makes brief appearances, so it’s forgivable. And you know when I have to dig that far to
pull up a negative about a story arc, the rest of the story has gotta be pretty darned
good! The world presented in Octopath Traveler is
a large continent, and covers everything from dense, lush forests to harsh rocky mountaintops,
in all 8 regional biomes for the 8 characters. In each region there are a few towns, and
plenty of hidden dungeons and shrines to be found between each. While the game regrettably doesn’t feature
an overworld map, it does have the next-best thing: Each area is still interconnected by
paths through the world, similar to games like Earthbound or Grandia. Upon visiting each location, fast-travel is
enabled and accessible via the World Map, which is a huge time-saver that I didn’t
locate for longer than I care to admit. And speaking of the World Map, while it is
overall good for the aforementioned fast-travel mechanic, it is not especially helpful for
navigation. So be prepared to use your noggin during exploration. Each of the regions in the game feel very
unique, and each set of towns within them seem to share a similar culture and design
aesthetic that fits in with their surroundings. The cultures feel believable in the contexts
of these regions, helping each region feel defined and cohesive. The transitions between the biomes were nearly
nonexistent though which would have been a nice cherry on top, but as-is the world presentation
is fantastic. Battle within Octopath Traveler is one of
the game’s strongest aspects. On the surface, combat is a simple turn-based
affair that takes presentation cues from Final Fantasy VI, with heroes on the right, enemies
on the left, and gigantic enemy pixel art during boss battles. However, playing the game like a simple turn
based RPG where you’re free to zone out while grinding easy xp will only end in tears. Octopath demands your full attention at all
times. Simple enemy encounters will be the end of
you if you let your guard down, well into the final act of the game. In order to fully master the battles, you
will need to plan out your moves in order to maximize damage using boost points, a feather
taken from the cap of earlier Bravely-series titles, similar to what was seen in Watermelon
Games’ Pier Solar. Boost points are accumulated by each character
during battle, one per round of battle. Points are spent in order to boost the number
of strikes per turn, or boost the overall strength or duration of special attacks such
as spells, skills, or creature summons, and so-on. Up to 3 boost points can be pumped into a
single turn without affecting Skill Point consumption, so pumping one boost point into
a heal skill is more efficient than using a heal spell twice, for instance. At later levels boost points must be used
to enable the character’s best attacks and skills, making BP integral to the flow of
battle. Additionally, as you explore the world you
will uncover shrines which unlock secondary job classes that may be applied to any character,
opening up weapon types, skills, and stat bonuses. In doing so you can create some extremely
powerful characters with skill combinations that could break most other games. However, these game-breaking mechanics have
been balanced for, encouraging if not requiring the player to try to outsmart the game during
the final bosses of the game. Each character also has unique abilities during
battle, some of which are completely independent of character classes. For instance, only Alphin is able to concoct
medicine on-the-fly during battle, which is immensely helpful during battle. Even characters who take on the Apothecary
secondary class will not have access to these skills, making each character feel wholly
unique and irreplaceable. If you’re a veteran JRPG fan whose been
looking for a challenge designed to put your abilities to the test, while also bringing
fun to the table, look no further because this game was made for people like us. And mastery of the system is both challenging
and highly rewarding. However, battle encounters are random rather
than scripted, which will be a turnoff to some. There are skills and items that can be utilized
to reduce the encounter rate, though I didn’t use any during my playthrough, and as a result
didn’t need to do too much grinding until the final hours of the game. Gameplay outside of battle, Octopath Traveler
is competent, though less impressive. There aren’t any mini-games to speak of,
and side quests are a little repetitive, following the same blueprints of find a person, bring
the person somewhere, or fight the person, or steal an item from that person and return
to the quest giver. The game isn’t straightforward in telling
you which of these options you need to do, or who those people are that you need to locate,
so you need to be diligent about looking for context-clues. Each character of the 8 have unique skills
for use outside of battle. Therion can steal from and Tressa can buy
from NPCs. Alphin can inquire while Cyrus can interrogate,
and so on. Each of these skills has a mirror, a nice
way to do things, or an underhanded way to do things which may harm your reputation in
towns. Not all options are equal. Therion for instance during my playthrough
was able to steal the winter coat off NPCs during a blizzard and they’d never notice,
whereas Tressa would need to spend tens of thousands of leaves, the in-game currency,
to acquire the same item from the same NPC. Sometimes during the main quest-lines, characters
would need to rely on these skills to move the story forward, which was a nice touch. However, when the battles are so much more
fun and engaging, I often just wanted to skip ahead to the fighting again! Octopath Traveler has a way of giving me a
big stupid grin every time I hear the main theme song kick in. And the character’s theme songs are evocative,
they perfectly fit the characters they represent, and looking back over the stories of each
character, the music has become inseparably linked from those stories in my mind. Tressa’s theme in particular has become
one of my favorites; the carefree and optimistic harmonica resonates with my love of stories
on such a deep level. While the music isn’t necessarily wildly
impressive on a technical level, they’re impressive in how expressive they are. I don’t know who this Yasunori Nishiki is,
but I’ll definitely be keeping my ears out for more of their work in the future! Another of the main strengths of Octopath
Traveler is just how gorgeous this game is. In the past I’ve described the game as looking
the way SNES RPGs feel, and I stand by that one thousand percent. The game features a top-down aesthetic reminiscent
of SNES RPGs, but take place on a polygonal field. Blur is added to the background and foreground,
resulting in a quasi-tilt-shift photography aesthetic, helping the 2D objects within the
game feel like tangible miniatures you could reach out and touch. Special care and attention has been paid to
the lighting of the game, which adds to the effect. God-rays and bloom effects were added in such
a way that helps keep the game from feeling like just another sprite-based indie title,
and creates a look that feels like an evolution of the PlayStation era RPGs like Grandia and
Xenogears aesthetic, rather than just another retro throwback. Octopath Traveler is fantastic, and will be
a game that sticks in my mind for years to come. I hope that this game becomes a trend-setter,
and encourages developers to explore this newly-created space for turn-based RPGs that
Business Division 11 has carved out. The story of the game has its drawbacks, but
is sufficient to deliver the player to the meat of the game: It’s combat. And players will be treated to an immensely
charming audio-visual presentation that feels reminiscent of classic RPGs, yet entirely
unique. Is Octopath Traveler the Savior of RPGs? Well maybe not, but it’s the game that I
needed right now, and I think it’s the game the industry needed right now. And for all these reasons the game has easily
earned itself a spot in The Game Collection! If this game has piqued your interest I recommend
checking out my review of Pier Solar, which features a similar boost-mechanic in its fighting
system. An alternative recommendation is my review
of Grandia which I talked about earlier in this review, and captures a similar mood of
adventure that cannot be beaten.

93 thoughts on “Octopath Traveler Full Review! – The Game Collection

  1. Another fantastic review. The game looks amazing and I cannot wait to play it. I need to finish a few other games, Persona 5 mostly, before picking this up. Keep up the great reviews and other content.

  2. I do absolutely love this game but there are a few things that I've thought would be nice to add, looking back at when I first played it.
    One such thing would be making the minimap a bit more useful as it's more of just a waypoint pointer in a black space which just feels a bit off-putting, having a proper little map there of the area would've been so nice.
    The stories all being their own separate thing is also sliiightly disappointing. The stories themselves were all great (and Tressa's was so heartwarming) but it doesn't feel right having your party go through this ordeal, a huge boss fight, only for the game to then act like the main character of that story just did it on their own.
    Lastly, the final area put me off from finishing the game, as I took it on while (debatable) being under-prepared and under leveled for some of my party members. This meant that after I went through the whole boss rush and then got wiped out by the final boss I'd have to reload a save from before I entered that last area to grind, knowing that I'll have to return to do the boss rush again.
    All in all, I still absolutely loved the game… but I'd say that DQ11 is a bit better, cuz I love me some character interactions.

  3. This game has amazing water graphics imo. nice review. It's nice to see you getting back into the swing of things after the move, review wise.

  4. Awesome video. Even with all the games that came out this year including DQ11. Octopath Traveller is my GOTY for 2018. Beside from the lack of interaction with characters and the final dungeon being stupidly hard to find. The music, graphics, battle system and the individual stories are amazing (well most of the stories). The bravely team is the only team I care about right now in square.

  5. Great review! We share many similar thoughts about this game. Even now I'm kinda itching to play it again with a new lead character.

  6. hope things are getting back to normal for you derek.

    waiting for the inevitable ps4 port. i would be shocked if this remains a switch exclusive.
    edit: sounds like nintendo published the game in the americas so a ps4 port seems very unlikely. that's ok, can't win them all. i've got other jrpgs to play anyway 😀

  7. Hey Derek. I was really excited for this game. Sadly I got bored by the lack an interesting story after the first parts for each of the characters. I was really craving an old school RPG. Luckily I got DQ11 shortly after. I just loved that game!

  8. I'm just glad the gaming community overwhelmingly showed developers that there is still a hunger for games like this

  9. Great to see you back and making review videos Super Derek!

    I'm looking to get a Switch soon and Octopath Traveler is top of my list

  10. I loved octopath’s town segments so much. It just felt so cool to run about, interacting with the world and characters, and being truly rewarded for it. Just so cool. Great review derek, you’re so classy with your conversation about games. I know you’d never explain the game under false pretences and then claim it as a negative, (won’t name any names 😉)

    Superderek for rpg king!

  11. I wish I had started with Alfyn, because I relate to him so much; too bad my love of archers got me to pick H'aanit instead.

  12. Well, I’ve gone almost 20 hrs past Octopath Traveler so far and I am amazed and constantly looking forward to unveiling the next chapters. The game is so addictive!

  13. That box of Tales of Eternia uwu. In the next JRPG news don't forget to talk about the fan translation of Shin Megami Tensei If was released yesterday.

  14. Very well written and presented review, Derek.

    Just a couple of things. As I’m not fully sold on the game’s art work, I heard that there are some customisation options (bloom, depth of field, vignette, etc). Is that so? Also, you mention all random battles are tough. How so? Are they longer than the norm? Is it possible to over level or does the game feature level scaling?

    Great to see a few shelves up and stacked with games. Keep up the good work.

  15. Great to have you back, my dood! I feel like this was the perfect game for your comeback

  16. Fantastic review. I have the exact same preference of character stories, with Alfyn and Primrose at ththe top and Hannit at the bottom. I'm super glad to hear you enjoyed this game as much as I did.

  17. Great review Derek! I’m thoroughly enjoying the game myself I’ve gotten a little distracted with the wealth of switch content. I’m just meagerly making my way through the game savoring and enjoying much the same as others. Nice to see the game collection! I’m glad the nightmare is over. This channel is of my favorites keep up the great work!

  18. I can’t help but compare this game and DQXI. It is hard to believe both games were published by the same company. The music, art and gameplay are so focused in Octoand so all over the place in DQ. I can’t believe I prefer Octopath… but I do. A lot. I wanted to play Octo all the way through. Halfway into DQ and I wanted to just get it over with and never hear the soundtrack again.

  19. Also of note, is the way each story is broken up into chapters, each taking an hour or so to accomplish. This made a big difference to me. RPGs can often feel overwhelming with the amount of things that need to be done or where to go. I liked being able to pick up and put down this game an hour or two at a time.

  20. Nice NEW game room, good to see you get your stuff back and on the shelf even if they broke your good shelves and lost things that are irreplaceable, documenting your bad experience will hopefully help many people in the future during their travels, keep up the good RPG work

  21. I find it odd that the final boss can only be reached by doing certain side quests first, which mean you must know exactly where they are and what to do. The last guy is tough, but honestly, since there's no trophy or achievement to get upon beating him, I find little point in doing it. I hope there'll soon be a title as beautiful as Octopath Traveler but with a more traditional story.

  22. This game may honestly be my favorite of all time. During my initial playthrough I couldn’t put it down. The characters, music, visuals, and battle system all combine into a complete gem of a game. I found the storytelling to be refreshing, and when it all comes together at the endgame it was so worth it. Also, Tressa is the best char, free.

  23. I may be the only person who thinks this but I actually think an FF6 in this style wouldn't do much for the game. Not much would really be changing about the game at all. I would much prefer a ff4 ds style of remake. Just my opinion though. Side note: it's so funny how everybody connects with different characters in this game. Very unique!

  24. I don't know why, but the cheeseball thumbs up makes me smile every time. Also glad to see this review out, I know stuffs been crazy.

  25. I don't have a Switch but my mom does, so I talked my dad into getting this for her for their 50th wedding anniversary. She had gotten more than half way through the game when she accidentally erased her whole file.

  26. I know what you mean Derek. A big reason I bought this game is because it embodies what the 90's RPG felt like. Very moody and atmospheric.

  27. You capture the essence of this wonderful gem so well m8. Team synergy and combat was beyond thrilling. Only complaint I had was the grinding equired to beat the optional dungeon boss. Had to draw the line there sadly

  28. 1) the music in this game is jawdroppingly beautiful. 2) game’s only real weakness IMO is the narration dumps. Way too much text that I just wanted to skip through. Show don’t tell, guys!

  29. The other thing about the ''dark abilities'' is , they don't need a level, they are based on probabilities, so as a lvl 1 character you can get an item from an NPC that would need level 60 from a ''light ability'', so yeah they lower reputation, but gives you an enormous advantage if you get those items

  30. primrose's story made least sense to me… lets become a prostitute for years because there might be a small chance that one of my fathers killers comes by. so I can then start following distant storys about them to take my revenge! oh sorry master I'll but my mouth back where it belongs…

  31. Not convinced about this game. From what i've both seen and heard, it lacks personality. Which is the worst offender and RPG can do imo. Especially if it's turn based.

  32. Octopath Traveler is one of the best RPGs I've ever played. I put 120+ hours into it and now that I have fully completed it, I still want to go back and play it again (I will do so after playing Zelda). The stories could have been more intertwined, sure, but I felt that it was pretty cool having 8 individual stories to complete in one game.

  33. This game felt like work. No fun at all. I‘ve stopped after 25 hours and started xenoblade chronicles 2. This game rocks!

  34. Just wanted to drop a comment to say that your review's presentation and execution were exceedingly pleasing to watch and listen. Looking forward to watching your other videos! Subbed.

  35. This game has the most painful characters and story, also the world is one of the most uninteresting worlds I've ever had the misfortune of wasting time on. Only redeeming feature is the combat. Most overhyped game I have ever seen.

  36. I want Final Fantasy VI to be remade using a graphical mixture of Bravely Default, Octopath Traveler, and those 3D Final Fantasy III and IV REMAKES.

  37. Character zero interaction even when their party member meet with life and death situation is really unnatural and stupid. There is a scene when a character got stab. What are other party members doing ? Let her bleed to death? Then appear some Banter scene. Come on!! Banter is just a cheap shot at giving false illusion of interaction but doesn't has any impact on the overall story. And at the end, all 8 characters plot doesn't have direct connection. Then what brings them together ? Might as well let random villager woman looking for her son into the party. Why these specifically 8 characters ? Makes no difference.their plot and life are not link anyway. Every chapter is mindless and repetitive. Jus go to some spot mark on map then follow cutscene. Sucks.

  38. I was disappointed by this game, I got bored half way through, graphics and battle system is over the top but bad story, no hidden characters or puzzles the world felt too small, FF6 still the best and I hope to see a remake with this graphics or at least a similar game that close to FF6 or maybe a Lunar remake or just remaster.

  39. great review! a side note, I absolutely love that tales of destiny 2 box in the background! 😀 ive been playing it lately so it was exciting to see

  40. As a big fan of SaGa series and Saga frontier this game makes me ache for a switch. Its actually the only reason I'm looking for one.

  41. Why are there always like 5 ads that play during your videos? They aren't even that long (your videos) but so many ads.

  42. Never been too much into depth of field but it looks like with this game it's essential. I love the graphical style and art direction. Looking forward to playing it when it comes out on pc.
    Thanks for the review.

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