Planning to be a traveler this July? Octopath Traveler that is


#1

First and foremost, I am sorry for the topic title. There are definitely better jokes and puns to be made but I drew a blank and that’s the best I could do.

We are a week away from the release of Octopath Traveler for the Switch and some initial reports have been published today: Octopath Traveler is Nothing Like Final Fantasy VI (Kotaku), Is The New Switch RPG Octopath Traveler Living Up To Expectations? (GameStop). That, and four new job classes have been revealed.

I have been looking forward to this game and thoroughly enjoyed the demo and the kind of open-ended dreamy quality of the world/game play. By “dreamy quality” I mean that the story (stories) seem to unfold very very slowly and what is more important is exploration and simply wandering. I do not know if I describe myself as “hyped” but I am definitely looking forward to playing this at a slow pace. The above articles have reinforced my sense that this is going to be a more laid back sort of game to play–that I won’t need to pay too much attention and there won’t be too much plot to keep track of; honestly, coming off of Hollow Knight, I am looking forward to something I can mentally veg out to.

What say y’all on Square’s first Switch foray? Looking forward to the game? Having a different reaction to these recent articles? Also, of course, who is everyone starting with?


#2

I’m excited! I’ve been itching for an old school Square-ass RPG for a long time and this looks like it tries to strike the right balance between classic and new. It’s the first game I’ve pre-ordered for Switch and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Reminds a little bit of Live A Live, which I always wished had gotten a release in the States.

By the by, Amazon preorders back when I grabbed this were $47 for those with Prime. Not sure if that’s still a thing, but it’s a great deal. And this strikes me as one of those games that will become scarce in a year.


#3

I got well inty that timed demo. I got way more than I ever expected from Cyrus’ intro, the concept of universities and similar institutions keeping a monopoly on knowlage is something that has been on my mind lately so seeing it tackled here was a nice surprise. And the fights have a great rythem to them, attacks are snappy and stylish, don’t feel like they’re wasting time. And making enemy sprites like 4 times bigger and more detailed than you is brill.

My demo ended in the middle of the preistess lady’s intro and I’m eager to get back in after loving both Cyrus and the Merchant lass’s intros. Their path actions are both very clever, especially Cyrus’ examine. I expected it to be very restricted, giving limited info on just a few people every now and again, but basically everyone has a lovely little backstory that fleshes out the world and makes the towns feel so much more real. Love it.


#4

I really want to play it, but I’m not going to get a Switch unless Tokyo Mirage Sessions gets ported.


#5

Re:Four secret jobs

I guess Dodecapath Traveler didn’t roll off the tongue as well.


#6

I don’t think there is anything in the forum rules against… There is currently a Google Express deal for 25% off the game using this link and code EXTRA25–total ends up being $44.99. While it looks like the game won’t arrive on release date, I thought this was a pretty hard deal to beat (and also gives me a few more days to finish Hollow Knight).


#7

Kotaku has published a follow-up to last week’s piece on the game: How Octopath Traveler’s Structure Actually Works. Biggest takeaway for me isn’t in the article itself but a comment Jason Schreier made in response to the question “do the paths converge into one ultimate chapter:”

“Not sure if there’s some sort of bonus once you’ve beaten all eight (I’ve only finished four so far - mopping up the rest today), but they are all entirely standalone stories.”

I will admit I am little dismayed to learn this especially as I feel like the game has been kind of marketed to suggest that everyone’s paths lead together / your party members will influence various paths. Or, perhaps it is more fair to say that publications and fans have been making this assumption and Nintendo/Square has done nothing to counter the narrative.

I am going to withhold full judgment of story mechanics until I read some reviews (and play the game myself) but thought this was worth sharing now.


#8

Question, if anybody knows: does the character you choose to start as become your “lead” character, like they’re the one handling dialog with NPCs, or does it depend on the chapter?

I started the demo with the hunter, and dear lord, is it one of the worst writing/localization decisions I have ever seen. Just stuffed full of fake medival-isms, but not even in a consistent manner.

I could deal with them changing “-es” to “-eth”, despite the fact that evidence suggests that “-eth” was actually pronounced “-es” (just like the “ye” in “ye olde” was pronounced “the”). But then they add random "-eth"s and "-en"s to every fourth word and it is just totally insufferable. To their utmost credit, the voice actors actually manage to pull off making it sound natural, but it’s still painful to listen to.

So, if I keep the hunter as my starting character, am I stuck with that throughout the entire game? (I’m assuming it’s just that character, but that may be a bad assumption.)


#9

Well it’s not a problem for the stories as they are all sperate; however, if like me you can’t even stand her voice in battle, then you will want to restart because the character you start with cannot be switched out like other party members.


#10

The character you start with is locked into your party until you finish their final chapter. However, you can pursue the other chapters and story lines of the different characters you encounter and when you do those that character will be present in all the dialogue etc. So, in your case, you cannot change the hunter out of your party until you finish her final mission (if I am reading the reviews correctly) but if you recruit the thief, any time you do a mission from the thief’s story the thief will feature in the cut scenes–you will not have to see the hunter act in the thief’s place.


#11

I’m a couple of hours in, playing the hunter, and agree with the goofy medievalisms being too much. However I’m really enjoying the game play. I’m finding it kind of relaxing and having the right kind of grind for me so far. Also, it’s really pretty!

I did just encounter the cleric and thought that the playthrough of her intro story was perhaps a little laborious, though I like the story itself. I’m playing the demo, so will have to decide soon whether to go for the full game.


#12

About 12 hours in and really enjoying it. I think it takes a little too long to go around and pick up everyone and play through their intro stories, but otherwise there’s a lot to like here. And even though there are no overt ties between stories so far, I really like the way things are subtly interweaved, i.e. Cyrus being fascinated by Hornsburg and Olferic being a former knight of that nation. I’ll be interested to see how it all plays out.

Pro tip: Make sure to go back into each town after you’ve completed a character’s intro quest to get some fun little side quests that will give you some money and stat-boosting items.


#13

I had this initial reaction as well; started with Cyrus and wanted to try and quickly grab everyone else before I really set off and “started” my game but those intro chapters are pretty slow and trying to do two or three in a single play-session is a slog. Having said that, the pacing “issues”–that every character’s chapter feels the exact same and that first chapter is slow–of the game make it really good for short bursts of play. I think I have found this nice balance of playing for 30-45 minutes at a time focusing on a single character’s chapter, side quest, etc. The combat and soundtrack is really really really wonderful and I am enjoying playing the game on a whole.


#14

The mechanics and visuals (though going a little too hard on the depth of field effects) have been the most entrancing part of the game. It’s taking ideas from both Bravely Default and the recent Persona entries to make a system that is supremely satisfying to interact with. I just found one of the job shrines and I’m excited at the prospects of finding more.

But, whew…the story writing is just terrible. I only just finished the last of the chapter 1s and I’m consistently underwhelmed at each one of them.

There’s already been talk about the lack of meaningful interaction between party members in the introductory chapters, and yeah, it’s weird and awkward that no effort was made to incorporate the presence of the other characters into those intro vignettes. Though even something like Final Fantasy VI had an ensemble cast that were constantly fighting for screentime.

But Octopath’s big problem is that there’s no sense of thematic throughput, narrative gravitas, or even a binding thread tying the disparate vignettes together. And the pretenses for why these characters choose to uproot their lives are either very run-of-the-mill anime fantasy, or totally flimsy. It might be an unfair comparison, but think about the inciting moments for most of Persona 5’s main cast and how much heavy lifting the narrative did to fully realize those moments.

I looked up the three credited writers for this game, and across all of them, they have next-to no prior writing credits under the belts. That’s not to say that you need experience to write a compelling story (indie games like Undertale exemplify this), but when you’re staffing for a major JRPG of this scale which is meant to be a franchise-starter, you need at least one senior writer on the team to bang on some of the habits of the junior writers.

I’m hoping that in the long-term, this won’t be unfairly attributed to the English localization, or just compartmentalized into the “the characters don’t interact much” criticism. Fixing the latter would not help much with the story writing’s core problems.


#15

I agree that so far the writing has been uninteresting in a lot of places. They even have fairly fun / atypical archetypes here to play with (apothecary, professor, merchant, etc) and don’t do anything very exciting with them, and even manage to have ancillary characters upstage them (i.e. the reformed pirate captain in Terra’s quest). I’m hoping that the second chapters of each story will add something but I’m not optimistic at this point. Still, the mechanics have kept me hooked and the most fun I’ve had has been roaming the world in between character recruitment, although I wish some of the job skills were a little more exciting. (e.g. Cyrus…fire ice lightning + more fire ice lightning)

Where should I be looking for the job shrines, by the by? Are they in higher level areas? So far all I’ve found in the starting zones are the caves with bosses and some loot at the end, which admittedly are pretty fun.

Also re: Primrose’s intro good christ do they ever lean into the whole pimp thing harder than I expected from a game like this.


#16

The couple job shrines I’ve found have all been along the way to folks’ second chapters.

In terms of the story, I really like how much small detail there is about every person in the world. Even pointless NPCs have backstory and motivations and weaknesses. I appreciate the idea these aren’t all Chosen Heroes united on a sacred quest, but just eight people with their own personal struggles. It would be much better if the writing was better, but I’m trying to take it as an opportunity for my imagination to fill in the details and create backstories and undercurrents between characters.

All in all, I’m really liking it.


#17

Pretty sure they’re all in the second tier level 20-25 areas.

It’s so bad. When I played it after they dropped the very first demo, my level of enthusiasm for the game just completely cratered. This is exactly the sort of thing a novice writer would think was dark and edgy.