Octopath Traveler II

Octopath Traveler II

released on Feb 24, 2023

Octopath Traveler II

released on Feb 24, 2023

This game is a brand-new entry in the Octopath Traveler series. It takes the series’ HD-2D graphics, a fusion of retro pixel art and 3DCG, to even greater heights. In the world of Solistia, eight new travelers venture forth into an exciting new era. Where will you go? What will you do? Whose tale will you bring to life? Every path is yours to take. Embark on an adventure all your own.

Also in series

Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent
Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent
Octopath Traveler
Octopath Traveler

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I was so excited for Octopath Traveler when it came out. JRPGs are my favorite genre of games. I absolutely fell in love with the art style and thought the premise of 8 different stories was a cool concept. Unfortunately Octopath Traveler under delivered in every aspect for me outside of art. That is why I waited so long to really give Octopath Traveler 2 a try even though I bought it the week it came out. I’m very happy to report that Octopath Travler 2 succeeds in every aspect that failed in the original.

Let’s start with the story and characters. In the original I only like 3 of the 8 cast the other 5 I didn’t even care about. They felt soulless and I didn’t care about anything going on with them. In Octopath 2 I struggled on who to keep in my party as I loved all 8 characters very much. Each one had motives, struggles, and real emotions that made me care about them. But what really made this game so much better was the story. In the original the stories were so disconnected with chapter after chapter being a boring slog fest. Characters didn’t have any relevance at all unless the chapter was about them. No inner party connections and at times you wondered if they even knew each other were there together. It felt like there was no purpose, no over arching story. Now I’m not going to lie to you and say this is a great story and that the party was as connected as some of the greats in the genre. But I will say it was a Grand Canyon size difference from the original. The story’s were entertaining with no throw away chapters. As the stories unfolded you could see there was something connecting these stories that was drawing closer to being realized. The party grows together, have real conversations, and care about each other. These small things made a world of difference in the quality of the games.

The battle system is very similar to the original but with minor changes that make all the difference. For one the battles felt faster and more snappy. My second biggest problem with the original outside of story is it blatantly didn’t respect the players time. If you wanted to beat the original plan on running in circles for hours to grind out EXP from random encounters. With Octopath 2 you can change at will whether you are playing at day or night. When it is night you fight tougher enemies leading to more EXP thus killing the need for grinding as well as making you use more strategy than just hit X to kill the enemy but gain no EXP. My final major upgrade is the boss fights. In the original literally EVERY SINGLE BOSS FIGHT was a DPS race with each side one a timer. It wasn’t fun or satisfying. Octopath 2 is much more strategy based finding weak points and exploiting them to gain an advantage. Again simple things can make worlds of difference.

The art style is one thing that didn’t change and thank God for that. The game is a beautiful masterpiece with wonderful set pieces and great character designs. I love thier take on 2.5D and wish many more games made use of it. The music is equally sublime and many tracks stand out as greats in the medium.

All in all if you were turned off from Octopath 2 because of the extremely average Octopath Traveler please don’t be. Give this game a chance if you are a JRPG fan, it is worthy of your time.

My 2024 ranked. (It’s been a supberbyear in gaming for me so far)

It's been a really long time since I played an RPG that felt this much like doing chores. The pace of this game is actually insulting in how sluggish it is.

While not perfect itself, Octopath Traveler II is a huge step up from the first title. Yes, most of the stories aren't connected, which was a huge complaint from the previous game, but now we have bond events called Crossed Paths. Featuring two protagonists working together on a common goal. It's not much, but it does add flavor and flesh out the characters in ways the past title had not. Not to mention, most of the stories presented in this game are a lot more interesting. As a result, I was more engaged with this cast and looked forward to their development. Mostly. Some stories, coughAgnescough, I felt were stinkers and had me bored for the ride. Nevertheless, there were more fun adventures here than bad, so overall, I can't complain too much there.

Let's talk about how much fun the gameplay was, because if you had the right setup for your characters, wiping out enemies can be both engaging and satisfying. See, the game presents itself as a traditional turn based RPG, but it also has mechanics called "Boost" and "Break". Each turn, your party members accumulate boost points, which gives them multiple actions to use per turn (depending on how many points are collected). Because enemies have several weaknesses, it's best to boost several times and then "break" your enemies shield points until they finally give, making them dizzy and weak for the rest of the cast to get some hits in without doing neutral damage. What a fun mechanic! Every battle had me planning out my attacks, trying to outsmart the AI whenever possible.

New to this game are "latent powers", giving each character their own unique ability to use in combat. In example, Throne's power allows her to make two actions in one turn. This could be devastating for the opponent, depending on how many boost points are accumulated and how many buffs she has.

That's not all, either. The game has a class system, giving even more control and customization over the core cast. Agnes, while her story was kinda mid, could be an absolute monster in combat due to her main class, the performer, and a secondary class like the white mage which could keep the party buffed and ready for any situation. The gameplay is incredibly deep and is honestly one of the best turn based systems I have ever played.

Outside of battle, the game offers a large, beautiful overworld to explore. The artists over at Square Enix really gave it their all to make this game pop, and I commend their efforts here. Even when out and about, each party member has an ability to interact with the various NPCs. Some characters can steal items, while others can retrieve valuable information used to give more depth to the world or lead players in a certain direction. In addition, thanks to the night and day system, each ability has a different effect depending on the time of day.

Octopath Traveler II was a very fun time. While I did have issues with some of the character's stories, I cannot understate just how fun playing the actual game is. I recommend it for all JRPG fans out there.

Not as good as Bravely. Better than the OG for sure.