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Review | Octopath Traveler 2

"The journey of 8, the 8 paths, the octo way? Well, yes! Journey that some already experienced but improved and changed for the better. It’s still the same different game, mind you that!"

by Foggy, 03-05-2023, Edited by: No one (Yet!)

Wow, back again, but this time with a sequel of what turned out to be my first game review (well, the official one). It’s a honour to do another one; and the better one, to be exact. For those who are wondering – yes, Octopath Traveler 2 is everything you already love, loved or want to love. Tune in for another pixel art journey, we will say a few words.

First things first. This time around, you are not limited to Switch, you can freely choose PlayStation or PC as your preferred platform to play the game. It’s a wise move, releasing on most of the platforms sounds like a good idea, not just money-wise, but fan-wise for sure. I, for one, like to play my games on my PS5, and getting trophies along the way helps.

If you’re looking for a connection with this and the first game (which, btw, got multi-platform release later), look no more! Tomoya Asano is still the producer, and everything you remember from the first game is back, just better.

Welcome travelers, stay a while, and listen. First chapters are all about 8 stories and meeting your travelers. Both in combat and outside of it.

Yes, you again start with any of 8 (Octo, get it?) characters. The one you choose first will be your main one, which means you can travel the world of Solistia and gather other ones while playing through their chapters and hearing their stories. They all evolve around one connected premise, and that will reunite the team to get rid of the shared evil.

I like the stories better this time round. Some are really good (Throne the thief, Castti the apocatery for me). Hikari was my main, and he has a good one too. They resonate perfectly with the soundtrack; it carries much of the story on its shoulders. The era is somewhere around 19th and 20th century. For example, Partitio the marchant is following an invention of the steam engine and introducing it to the world. If you remember the first game, it took place a bit earlier, with less modern approach, but more of a medieval setting.

You might wonder, but what about the jobs? You know, the warrior, the scholar… Yes, that part is exactly the same – you start the journey with 8 familiar jobs from the first game. Each character comes with one. I vaguely remember the similarities, but I do remember it was very much almost the same. Don’t worry though, beating 5 chapters per chacter, and their crossed chapters (a new thing, something like a combined story chunks); feel fresh and with a lot of neat stuff along the way.

I've found my favourite 4 as soon as I started the game and looked at their chapters. Although, Throne was a surprise in terms of how good her story is, but overall, I loved getting familiar with each class that comes with certain character.

Before leaving out the story behind, I must admit that some chapters dragged on a bit. Some I enjoyed more, some less. The problem is that you can freely play the chapters in any order, so sometimes I got struck with few mediocre ones in a sequence, then I forgot some parts before I again continued the other chapters… I guess I’m a bigger fan of more linear approach where you follow one line and just roleplay along the way.

Overall, I can say that the story is decent, nothing revolutionary, but enjoyable. When I mentioned jobs (classes), I can maybe add that main classes you start with comes with additional skills (warrior can learn a dozen of skills in towns and use a secondary skill pallet). Hunter was my favourite one as it comes with capturing monsters, which can then turn the tide of almost any battle. I know I mentioned this part as a downside of the first game (simplicity of main classes and how you get stuck with them for the most of the game), but here you can soon learn multiple jobs you already possess, and start combining (using as a secondary and final job). There are even unique classes (4 of them). I loved these.

Now, you can do all kinds of stuff in towns. You can use 8 different terrain skills like getting info from NPC’s, stealing items, buying items… And switching trough day/night in towns and dungeons that also switch between your day and night area skills. This is not connected with battles, but I will get to that part later. For exploring towns and doing sidequests, you will simply have to challenge NPC’s, steal items, gather info… Even changing day to night shift NPC’s and their conversations. It can get really hard solving a side quest (which are more than solid here), considering you can find 10-20 NPC’s in a town a do 4 different actions on them (challenging can be done with 2 characters, stealing/buying with 2…).

The part where you talk to NPC’s and do the sidequest is good, I never skipped one. I did spend a lot of time trying to solve some of them, but I like that. You might end up reading a guide to progress faster, it’s not easy for some. Don’t worry, the story is pretty straightforward and comes with markers (sidequests as well, but the solutions are not marked on the map).

You can again challenge NPC's to learn their skills, steal from NPC's; you can even polish classes by getting mulitple secondary jobs or just visit class shrines to learn unique class-related skills. Every new skill openes more possibilities in battles.

The world of Solistia is dived by few continents, which consists of towns and multiple dungeon areas. Each character comes from a different town, so following all stories will guide you through most areas. Some, on the other hand, are entirely optional. You can always check the recommended level for each dungeon – the ones above your level are usually deadly and better left for later visit.

My favourite part is sailing with ship. That part brings back the nostalgia. Remember how we explored the world maps in early RPG games like early FF titles? You sail exactly like that, and if they do the third game, they can bring back this to the rest of the map. The rest of the map is filled with markers that you can view, but travel only to towns and ports, and then walking through other areas to reach other ones.

Dungeons are where you find chests and often great equipment that you then don’t need to buy in shops. Usually red chests are harder to find, but give weapons and other equipment. I like how you need to carefully explore to reveal hidden path, so when you find a chest you feel a bit proud, plus the rewards are great. With so many jobs and combinations you can always micro-manage your party in different ways. Exploring makes worthwhile because of that reason, plus finding duplicate classes and special skills with each starting class make the game so much fun. Oh boy, I need a picture and we are on to the most fun and best part of the game – the fights.

Exploring Solistia is so much fun. Dungeons will always reward you for exploring, and leveling up is fun when the combat is great. You can even speed up the combat double the speed from the regular one for easier grinding. It's also not bad to do some side quests and enjoy the world.

Yes, yes, yes! Turn-based combat at its finest. I always loved Bravely Default games for the combat system, and as this game drags a lot of that stuff here, it’s only natural to fell in love again (and again, and again – I played all mentioned games).

What comes with classes, secondary classes, unique main job skills and few weapon types? Unlimited obliteration combinations. Every enemy comes with a weakness, so it’s on you to plan you moves carefully. The main turn order is always visible, but with different skills you can turn that in your favour easily. Well, not easily until you experiment s bit, but the main idea is to reduce enemy armour points to zero by attacking with weakness attacks. That can be either a double slash with your sword, or some magic attack. When you reveal that sweet crushing point of an enemy armor crashing, the next turn can be your winning one.

There are HP, MP and BP points. BP points can increase if you don’t spend them, which means each new turn you get one. 5 is the maximum, so better to use them, right? Yes, exactly. If you pump the R1 button you can use up to 4 BP points, which either multiplies your hits, or, well, always increases the damage. When you have all 4 characters on that turn, you can combine multiple hits to crush the defence, or you can do that first and then pump everything when you have that extra turn, which means more damage.

It's always welcome to come prepared. Getting the strongest 4 classes is what you should do, and then you can work on transforming your party to obliterate anything and everyone. Breaking damage limit is such a cool thing for later boss fights. You can enjoy in the freedom of job system.

Did I mentioned latent gauge (let’s call it a limit break)? That is also here, and each character comes with different limit breaks. This bar charges slowly, but once you get it… Hikari the warrior would use Hienka limit break, that one does 2 hits and gives you one more turn at the end of the turn. Castti can combine up to 5 potions for free and raise BP, HP, SP and give perks divided to everyone. Thief can do 2 attacks… The possibilities are phenomenal, and I had so much fun with the fighting system.

The only issue was that the reserve party members don’t get any JP/EXP, unless you switch them to your main party of 4. That sometimes forces you to grind a bit, but overall, it was not a problem for me personally.

Boss fights and the ultimate hidden optional boss – sometimes hard, and challenging, especially the hidden end game boss which was killing me for 2 days. Loved it, loved surviving and dealing that killing blow that just shovels enemies of the screen.

What more can I say? Let's get a sequel that will be as good as this one, plus some new thingies and we are good!

I went on and on in the above section, I’m sorry for that. I just love the battle system. 85 hours of pure fun and developing different strategies to overcome all challenges. That’s how long it took me (exacly like the first game!).

I hope you got the grasp of what this game is about – more of the same, just better! If that never tingled you in the right spots, this will neither do. Me? I’m tingled real good. And if you feel that way just by looking at this game, and more when you start playing it – go for it and enjoy. Octopath Traveler is my favourite franchise from these guys, much better than Bravely titles and other recent games. I need some time to get rid of the frustrations with the optional end boss, and I’m off to a good night sleep, well deserved for beating that nasty, unforgiving piece of crap. After 2 days.

"Turn-based lovers can again enjoy the beauty of job system and multiple combinations that will feed every lover of the genre. Don’t think much, find more free time to spend your 80 hours here."
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