If there’s one consistent for a Final Fantasy series, it’s change. One moment, you’re personification a systems-focused role-playing diversion like Final Fantasy V, and dual decades later, that’s morphed into a strange, open-world highway outing of Final Fantasy XV. But this continual shift also creates a clarity of nostalgia. You skip those classical games since they customarily don’t make them that proceed anymore. This is utterly loyal of a 16-bit epoch Final Fantasy games for Super Nintendo, that ushered in a new call of Japanese role-playing fans in a 1990s. There are copiousness of games that have attempted to recapture that sorcery over a years, though few have finished it as successfully as Octopath Traveler, that launches on a Nintendo Switch this Friday.
On a surface, Octopath has all of a accoutrements of a SNES adventure. Its expel of heroes are all cute, pixelated sprites, and they transport a map filled with dangerous caverns, snowy fields, and old-fashioned towns. As we ramble around, you’re bearing into pointless encounters where we quarrel off monsters in turn-based battles regulating swords and spells. For a many part, Octopath feels like a utterly discriminating take on a genre. The fight is familiar, nonetheless it has a abyss that creates it feel uninformed even after dozens of hours. There are also a array of quality-of-life improvements — like abundant save points and warnings about high-level enemies — that assistance it feel like a complicated interpretation of a classic. It even looks new, interjection to a tilt-shift outcome that blurs a edges of a screen, formulating a pixel art universe that feels like a practical diorama.
But where Octopath unequivocally differentiates itself is with a story and structure. Japanese RPGs are roughly regularly linear experiences. You try from one city to a next, completing quests on a set trail to saving a world. Maybe there’s a side-mission or two, though that trail is a same. Octopath is different. It doesn’t have a singular categorical character. Instead — and here’s where a absurd pretension comes in — there are 8 adventurers, and we can pierce behind and onward between their stories as we like. The diversion opens with we selecting a starting place; in my case, we began a diversion in a exhausted strand encampment as Tressa, a businessman who wants to transport a universe training her trade.
Each impression has their possess sold arc, that is divided into a array of chapters. You can proceed these in any sequence or even skip some if we want. You can customarily have 4 characters in your celebration during any given moment, so we don’t indeed need to finish any story. For me, a sold tales were all value personification through. There’s a immature dancer who has spent a decade acid for a organisation who killed her father and a ashamed horseman who is looking for emancipation after being tricked by his best friend. My personal favorite is Ophillia, a eremite advocate who sets off on an ancient event by dangerous terrain.
The stories cover unequivocally opposite ground, and they are kaleidoscopic with a unhappiness that’s common in these kinds of RPGs. Everyone has secrets, and they’re customarily utterly dark. Each section follows a informed pattern: we try to a town, learn about something going on, and afterwards conduct over to a cave to better a bad guy. Once we finish a chapter, a new one will open adult elsewhere on a map. These are gated somewhat. While many initial chapters are playable early on, we won’t be means to tackle section dual of a character’s story until they strech around turn 20. This trend continues with after chapters, so you’ll possibly have to play by all of a characters or do some harsh to get a required knowledge to continue.
As most as we enjoyed this some-more open structure, it did come with one poignant drawback: a stories don’t join in any poignant way. Think of it like an part of Game of Thrones. At any given moment, there are mixed things function simultaneously, clearly away events holding place all over a world, though we can feel a account threads start to intersect as time goes on. That doesn’t unequivocally occur in Octopath. Instead, any storyline feels apart from a rest. While your characters transport together in a same party, they frequency interact. They competence be together physically, though they’re apart narratively. There’s some discretionary discourse where Cyrus a highbrow competence ask Tressa about some new gemstones she’s found, though that’s about it.
This mostly feels odd, generally if we play a lot of RPGs, games that are typically about a organisation of people banding together to accomplish a sold goal. Octopath is some-more like a roving adventurer hostel. Everyone technically works as a group to conflict foes and share resources, though they’re all focused on themselves. Each sold story is engaging on a own, though that incomparable clarity of togetherness has been mislaid in a query to make a some-more open-ended JRPG.
In roughly any regard, Octopath Traveler has accurately what we wish from a classic-style role-playing experience. It offers a outrageous universe to explore, noted characters to discover, severe trainer battles, and a formidable array of systems that let we customize your explorers. And it’s a ideal fit for a Nintendo Switch, as we can absentmindedly grub for knowledge on a go and afterwards soak in a pleasing visuals and soundtrack on your couch. It’s classical Final Fantasy reimagined for 2018. we customarily wish it felt some-more cohesive.
Octopath Traveler is accessible on Jul 13th on a Nintendo Switch.