The JRPG genre has been around for quite some time now, although a lot of its features have changed over the years. Mainstream Final Fantasy games used to have slow turn-based battles, but now many of them are more action-orientated.
While casual audiences might like the newer more action-packed Final Fantasy titles, many miss the old games and their older gameplay styles. If you like more old-school JRPGs, you might have an interest in Octopath Traveler 2. This game will remind you of the golden days of JRPGs on the SNES or Genesis.
One of the reasons old-school RPG fans will like this game is because of its retro 2D style of graphics. The 2D sprites may look small, but they look cute and charming. You might see some pixelation playing the game on a bigger screen, but the graphics look perfect on a handheld Switch console.
Even though the game is 2D at heart, this does not mean that Octopath Traveler 2 is a side-scroller. Much like the older Legend of Zelda video games, Octopath Traveler 2 features a vast open world for you to explore. However, you have to complete Chapter 1 first for one of the characters before you have the freedom to do whatever you want.
Not to mention some areas are dangerous at the start because you might be under-leveled at the start of the game. For example, you could be sitting at level 5 for your characters, and there’s a good chance you can stumble into an area full of level 14 baddies. Aside from this, most areas in the game are accessible from the get-go.
One thing that most people will like about the game is the number of playable characters you can be. As the name of the game suggests, there are 8 playable characters and you can start with any one of them at the beginning. Since he looked the coolest, I chose to play as the Samurai warrior named Hiraki first.
Hikari has an interesting story because he’s the son of the king of a samurai clan. Things seem to be going well for Hikari and his family until his brother ruins everything. His brother kills their own father and takes the mantle of the throne. In order to overthrow his own brother, he ventures off to try and find a team to help him.
One other character has a less tragic backstory and her name is Agnea. All she wants to do is become the world’s best singer and dancer much like her late mother. Another character I admired is a cowboy named Partito. His quest in life is to end poverty as he experienced being poor when he was growing up.
The unique thing about Octopath Traveler 2 s that you start off with only one character of your choosing. If you want to see or play as the other characters in the game, you will have to find them via the huge open world. The overworld map shows you where the characters are and some are located much further than others.
The only thing I did not like about the freedom of exploration is that the game does not give you any directions on how to continue the main story at first. I wanted to continue Hikari’s interesting story, but the game didn’t tell me where to access Chapter 2. Instead, I just roamed around the huge areas just recruiting newer members to the party instead.
In terms of gameplay, the old-school RPG mechanics are both a blessing and a curse depending on your own preferences. The two gaming mechanics that dominate this game are turn-based battles and even random battles. The latter is the one I really hate the most.
Turn-based combat is mostly fine because each enemy has weaknesses to certain weapons. There is also a boost option that allows you to attack more than one time in a single turn. Much like other JRPGs, each character will also have special moves that can deal more damage to enemies and bosses alike.
The only problem I have with turn-based combat is unfair RNG combat mechanics. Some enemies can do one hit one kills which can be annoying. Not to mention unlike in action video games, you cannot dodge attacks as you just have to bear the brunt of enemy offense most of the time.
While turn-based combat can be hit-and-miss, random battles are something I still hate. I hated them back in the ‘90s and I still hate them now. Random battles get annoying especially if you’re lost in the open world and want to get to safety. I prefer battles where you can choose the type of enemies you want to face.
Another thing some people may not like about Octopath Traveler 2 is that it has a ton of dialogue scenes. The story is interesting most of the time, but it might get tiresome for those that want to get straight into the action and gameplay sequences.
Octopath Traveler 2 Review Verdict
Octopath Traveler 2: Overall, Octopath Traveler 2 is a decent JRPG if you like the old-school gaming mechanics and turn-based battles, and random battles. If you don’t like these elements, you’re better off playing more modern JRPGs that cater to more action junkies. That being said, this game will give you hours of gameplay as the story is long and there are tons of things for you to do. – jbl316