Total Games Played
Played in 2023
Recently Played See More
Recently Reviewed See More
I can't really say I'm having quite the same Lack of Content Malaise as a lot of people seem to, although as someone who tends to Generally Like Things I can... sort of see the problem? I feel like there's a lot of doomsaying about ah it's FF16's fault, it's Dawntrail's fault, the game is just on a general downward spiral... and I don't really think that at all, man. I think they're mostly doing a little experimentation that might not actually be working out 100% of the time and also unfucking the onboarding process so new players have more Options and an ARR experience that isn't quite as messy and also Covid happened. Ishikawa's mentioned they're trying to mentor new writing talent so this is probably where the jank is going to be.
Unfortunately this means that the endgame multiplayer experience isn't as good. I'm having fun because I mostly play solo, but people actually looking for a MMO are, perhaps, not enjoying things as much. I really love Variant Dungeons for their own sake but idk the rewards aren't the greatest maybe?? I still have minions to get and friends to help through...
Patch length also fucks with my perception of time. What do you mean Pandaemonium and the actual MSQ story were back in May... Pandaemonium was good as fuck, by the way. What an ending. I support women's wrongs. I had some extreme feelings about P11. I marked out at The Line. It's good stuff, is what I'm saying. I'm not sure where people are getting it but there's some scuttlebutt that the writer for Pandaemonium is writing for Dawntrail and man, I love his stuff, though? He's not all killer no filler (DNC's storyline had okay characters but otherwise sucked) but he's written enough top tier stuff (with Panda being the most recent) that I feel like he's gonna do Great, especially working with Ishikawa.
MSQ is a little weirder because it genuinely kind of feels like. A trial series that had too many important aspects to it that it had to be upgraded to MSQ. It feels both a little too ponderous and a little too rushed. There are, of course, things I am marking out over as a long time Final Fantasy fan but I feel like it genuinely would've worked out a little better as a trial series? Zero's great though. I appreciate that she gets to be goofy and I really hope she's being set up to be a more permanent cast member. It feels like her being in trusts suggests that but I still kind of have to worry...
As for the other stuff, Rokkon was great. I love Hancock. He sucks so bad. The fights were really fun and I love solving puzzles! Perhaps someday I will do Criterion as well (hahahaha I'm a filthy casual). Tataru's Grand Endeavor was the big disappointment which, like, I should've expected because it's Werlyt. But it was a disappointment in a completely bizarre way, which I also should've expected because whoever wrote Werlyt has the strangest priorities ever. I cannot believe Tataru wasn't even in her own questline??? Was she too hard to shoehorn into some kind of tortured mecha anime reference??????
I did not touch BLU yet because it's the one class I haven't gotten to max level because getting spells while being a primarily solo player is a real pain in the ass. I want to do it but they didn't even add duty support as a feature??? What on earth. Why would you do it like that...
Anyway, I'm still excited for 6.5 even if I'm not super excited for the giga lull between 6.55 and Dawntrail. It's gonna be... something, huh... well, there's always big fish and Eureka.
Despite everything, I have a bit of a weird respect for this game. I can’t help but be at least a little fond of the Weird Experimental Second Entries that long-running franchises like Final Fantasy tend to have, even if the experiments more often tend to be… uh… failures… I wouldn’t necessarily consider FF2 a failure, but I feel like it’s a game that’s far easier to appreciate when not actually playing it.
See, there’s a vibe to the game that I think is really great. This game is absolutely grim as hell. Like, yeah, the plot is basically just Star Wars, but I feel like there’s something a little more tangible to the scale of the Empire’s crimes against humanity, you know? On top of the very first thing that happens in the game being your party effectively getting slaughtered and only surviving by the Rebel Army’s intervention and all of the party members who end up dying, you get to see the towns and cities you can visit become depopulated by the aerial bombardments and eventually get reduced to rubble. I don’t remember which one, but I remember a Let’s Play I read a few years ago doing, like, a total body count by comparing the number of NPCs present in towns both before and after and man, a huge percentage of the world’s population just gets wiped out. It’s wild. The melancholy vibe of the world map’s theme fits the mood to a T, imo.
There are a few character highlights for such an early game. The plot mandated rotation of the fourth party slot is a cool idea, although I feel like it clashes pretty horribly with the way that stats work because whenever you get a new person you have to figure out what spells you want to dump on them and try and train them up to be actually workable. Please, game, there is literally no reason I cannot have Cool Pirate Girl back, why do I have to start on these two new guys... I guess Leon comes with a lot of weapon masteries and he’s kind of a glass cannon but come on…
Also I gotta say that while he’s absolutely not deep by any means, Emperor Mateus really has the moxie to be an all-time great. You can argue about how easy or hard his boss fight is (it was one of the harder ones for me, though I had more trouble with certain random encounters than any of the bosses) but you gotta admit the dude has style. Emperor David Bowie depopulates the whole fucking world and then you kill him and then he takes over hell. It’s a real shame the Pixel Remaster doesn’t have the Dawn of Souls storyline as well. Like come on I want to see the part that elevates him even further.
It is kind of a slog, though, so I can kind of imagine not having the patience for Dawn of Souls after FF2 proper. The final dungeon pulls a few dirty tricks (SHIELDS SEEM LIKE A DPS LOSS BUT THEY ARE ACTUALLY YOUR FRIENDS AGAINST INSTAKILL ENEMIES), but honestly I feel like the way stats and spell levels work just makes things feel like they drag more than the dopamine hit of gaining an actual level. It doesn’t really help that equipment is… weird and the Optimize command does not take your weapon levels into account so you have to do more manual fucking around than in the original. I’m sure people who like the fiddly bits might enjoy that aspect but man that is not the part of the RPG I enjoy.
Anyway I guess maybe I’ll play the GBA version the whole way through someday. Maybe. After I’ve forgotten enough of the sloggy bits. I do think it’ll be a bummer not to have the Pixel Remaster’s beefy OST remixes if I do, though. I’ve been playing Theatrythm pretty routinely and man, comparing the original beeps and boops to the Big Orchestra and Choirs is really something. I feel like occasionally you get instances where the beeps and boops have a better vibe but I gotta admit I love how extra this stuff is. Can’t wait to see what they do with FF3’s OST, which imo is truly the Good Shit of the NES trio.
So like I know the original Octopath isn’t particularly beloved among the big RPGheads on Backloggd and while I do kind of get it due to it having some pretty significant flaws, I still liked it a lot. I mean you can read it, it’s not like I went too deep into it but my opinion was pretty positive! The weird way the travel banters were handled kinda messed with the characters feeling connected at all and while I do think the way everything was connected was pretty neat it felt kinda underbaked and the way you figure it out is kind of bullshit. It was a pretty good foundation to me, though; I enjoyed the gameplay and the individual characters and their stories a whole lot, the game looked great, and the OST fucked. I wasn’t sure if it would ever get a sequel, but I’d kind of hoped for one.
Then they announced a sequel with a cool new setting featuring like, desert Chinajapan and a cowboy and some smarmy-looking white haired pretty boy cleric and a furry and I was SO stoked. Octopath II doing the Final Fantasy thing with a different setting every game is extremely good to me, and it basically polished everything I enjoyed about the first game while addressing the problems I did have with it and adding some fun new stuff! I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect improvement, mind; the way that the different storylines are handled could theoretically still mess with the pacing a bit, and I did want a little more than just four Crossed Paths storylines.
However, man, just having all the travel banters accessible in the journal after you finish a chapter instead of just hoping you have the right party composition to activate the banters fucks, and I think it was pretty cool how a lot of the characters had split chapters that you could approach in any order (even if the recommended levels made some orders pretty, uh, obvious). I also really enjoyed all the storylines! There was a nice balance of fun, more lighthearted storylines and The Horrors. And, uh, barely anything in between. Like, I laughed a lot, I cried a lot, I was impressed by just how many characters were just, like, super gay? Like, damn. You got wholesome yuri. You got toxic yuri. You got useless lesbians. You got tragic yuri. You got old man yaoi. You’ve got a BL scenario where a straightlaced young knight must choose between his childhood friend and the obnoxious white haired pretty boy who keeps teasing him. You’ve got the most deranged heterosexuals on the planet. It’s great.
Anyway while I loved the first game’s cast, this game’s cast is, like, so excellent, and the party chats are real treasures. The more serious-seeming characters like Castti and Osvald have some of the funniest shit in the game, and I really love the friendships that develop like the one between master thief Throne and her gay best friend Church Detective Temenos. (btw starting with temenos was great, but every character gets to shine and i’m sure some alternate starter character decisions would have produced some truly wild scenarios, particularly once you’ve completed every character’s storyline and encountered The Thing That Comes After…) It’s like, the difference between sensibly enjoying the first game and wanting to grab the second game with my teeth and shake it around like an excited dog with their very favorite toy.
Anyway while I… think I might still prefer some specific tracks for specific scenarios in the first game, the music still rules, and the boss sprites are somehow even better than in the first game? They all have at least one unique animation to go along with a special attack, which makes them feel even more special. But god damn some of them are wild. Some of the things that happen are wild. I just kind of stared in horror through one of the most fucked up cutscenes in the game and the battle starts and I see this guy posed like a Renaissance statue with his big fat titties out for all to see and I just start laughing about how I want to cover Ochette’s innocent eyes (she’s like 20 so she’s probably had sex ed from her lion dad but she wasn’t really paying attention because she was busy thinking about lunch).
But what is an RPG without the battle system? God it feels good, though. Like I love turn-based RPGs but I have rarely found a gameplay element in a menu-based RPG that has the feel of breaking enemies in the Octopath games. Like the sound effect, the vibration from the controller, the slowdown… it just feels REAL fuckin good, dude. It’s pure dopamine. I liked that the first game ensured every character felt unique to a certain extent because they had one “base” class that they would always have access to and then you’d assign them a secondary class on top of that, and Octopath II keeps that system. However, it further gives every character their own Latent Power which gives them extra unique utility and sort of functions as a limit break, and I truly love that. It’s great.
The new secret classes are also pretty fun, with the added quirk that two of them require doing sidequests to unlock all their skills rather than requiring job points. I ended up using a guide to figure those out, which I haven’t really been big on doing but the game is chunky enough that I don’t really consider it to be cheating for me… also the improvements to the base classes! The hunter character went from having a talent that honestly kind of sucked to one that is honestly kind of OP? Ochette can use monsters as often as she wants, gets several permanent bonus monsters that have Big Limit Break Summon potential, and whenever you want to add a better monster to your roster you turn the old one into an item? It’s great!
Speaking of said items, the day/night system and the impact it has on path actions is pretty neat. It feels like they’ve kind of divided each action into four categories: percentage based, combat based, level based, and resource based. So, for example, to get items from NPCs, you have a percentage based chance of stealing them with Throne, a level based means of… I guess busking for them with Agnea, a resource-based means of buying them with Partitio, and a combat-based means of mugging them with Osvald. It’s neat! Some options feel obviously better than others, but I don’t know, I kind of liked them for the roleplay opportunities. It was fun to try and figure out a NPC’s moral character with Castti or Hikari’s inquiry-related skills so I could determine whether I wanted to pay them money for their items or if I just wanted to rob them blind. Sometimes you just want to play the moral arbiter of things, you know?
Anyway in conclusion this game rules, it was released at an unfortunate time so I hope it sold okay, I want Octopath III. I love what the Octopath team has been cooking and I hope they get to do even more in the years to come.