Octopath Traveler is a game designed by Acquire and headed by the producers of the much heralded Bravely Default and Bravely Second, two amazing RPGs on the 3DS. Fittingly so, this game has received some serious hype as a Switch exclusive for months before its release. Not only that, its unique style of art and old school JRPG feel were giving it serious buzz within the community. Basically from the get-go it was designed to scratch an itch that many have been craving for a long time. Suffice it to say, from what I have played of the game thus far, Octopath Traveler bsolutely does not disappoint.
Gameplay-wise, it feels like a mix of Square Enix’s SaGa series and also games like Final Fantasy 4, 5, or 6, and yet somehow it deviates from each of those games just enough to make the whole experience feel fresh. When you boot up the game for the first time you choose one of eight characters to play as, and from there you play their introduction or Chapter 1. What’s cool is that you can go just about any direction you want once you complete Chapter 1 of the character of your choice. You can eventually acquire the other seven characters as you go along switching between them all at a tavern, which most towns in the game have.
I wish not to give away too much detail on how the game works or how each of the stories eventually end up intertwining, but I will say this; I can tell already that this game has an absolutely huge world to explore, and that every story for each of the characters already shows a lot of moving aspects to them.
This is not your standard, by-the-books RPG fare whatsoever even though you’d think otherwise at first. The battle system is old-school, turn-based goodness, but with a really nice twist. When you attack you build up energy points which can then be used to either hit an enemy up to four times in one turn, power up a character’s special attack, or boost a spell.
Graphically. you would be hard pressed to believe that this game was designed on Unreal Engine 4. It does not have the standard look of an Unreal Engine game at all.
If anything it shows how scale-able Unreal Engine 4 truly is, because this game uses a mix of old school spites akin to Final Fantasy 6 and bright, detailed environments that use a pseudo-3D look to create something that reminds you of those JRPGs of yore, and to a point, reminds you of a pop-up book.
Simply put, the visuals of Octopath Traveler are very charming.
The soundtrack is composed by Yasunori Nishiki, known for his previous compositions to Konami’s Bemani series as well as other game and anime OSTs. Every piece of music you hear in the game somehow fits the mood perfectly from quiet, tranquil towns to the several pieces that you hear as you traverse the over-world, and the incredible battle themes. Not a song feels out of place. If you can, pick up the soundtrack separately as well because it is just that damn good.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Octopath Traveler is living up to the hype. When it pulls you in, it pulls you deep in. I cannot wait to play more in the very near future. If you have the Nintendo Switch, this is one of those once in a lifetime games you just need to play.