*Originally published in The Argus Friday, August 24, 2018*
An ode to role-playing games of the past Octopath Traveler brings a much-loved style of gameplay, storytelling and visual awe to 2018.
Octopath Traveler is very much a love letter to role-playing games of the past and its roots in gaming history. The game redefines the genre allowing you to experience the story the way you want, with awe-inspiring new picture book-esque visuals and, of course, the time old classic turn-based battle system – with more engaging features to execute unique strategies.
The freedom Octopath Traveler brings to the genre is refreshing, allowing players to pick and choose which characters they start with and what order they add new ones to their party. That sense of freedom continues throughout the game, as each character’s story is marked by chapters, which you can progress in any order. The eight characters themselves are deep and interesting, with each carrying a story worthy of its own game.
Your party can contain four characters at a time, so choosing them wisely is important. Will you want a thief who can steal useful items? A scholar, who can use devastating magic? Or maybe a warrior who can slice through even large groups of enemies? Battles can get tough, but as you’re able to constantly change your group of fighters, you’re able to come up with new tactics to beat even the toughest foe. It’s worth mentioning that the first character you pick will stay locked in your party until you complete their story. Even with one spot almost permanently locked you can mix and match the other three to your heart’s content.
The game’s visual style is pure brilliance, taking the old-school 16-bit era graphics of the Super Nintendo and adding a dusting of picture book magic, it’ll have you in awe every second of the game. The soundtrack is also not one to sleep on, as it features some great tracks adding to the atmosphere of each character’s story.
Turn-based battle systems are an art form in themselves and the updated mechanics of this game make battles equally challenging and satisfying. Boss battles can seem overly hard, but the reward in overcoming them is a great feeling.
Octopath Traveler is pure magic on every level and easily one of the best games of 2018 thus far.