From the moment it was announced I was entranced by Octopath Traveler (who’s real name we don’t even know yet). For one, it’s hard to ignore the game’s visuals which feature 16-bit visuals like Final Fantasy IV and VI mixed in with modern elements creating a blend of new and old that can only be described as arresting. And then there’s the fact that the game is being developed by the team that brought us both Bravely Default and Bravely Second, two of the best traditional RPGs released in recent memory. So when Nintendo announced that a special demo was available on the Switch, I just knew I had to check it out. Here are my impressions.
The very first thing I thought when booting up the demo was ‘WOW’, there’s no bones about it, this is a beautiful game. The blend of 16-bit aesthetics with modern effects (dubbed 2D-HD by the development team) is truly something to behold in action and not gives the game a unique feel all its own but manages to make moments feel more ‘authentic’ to those of us who grew up playing games before realistic CGI was the standard. It’s also fitting that this era of 2D RPGs was at its peak on the Super Nintendo, so in many ways playing Octopath Traveler feels like a coming home for Square Enix on Nintendo consoles.
Project Octopath Traveler‘s demo allowed us to control two of the game’s protagonists (of which the final game will feature eight), the valiant knight Olberic and the cunning dancer Primrose. While both of these characters essentially play the same way they way they interact with the world at large could not be more different. Olberic for example, being a knight can challenge almost anyone to a duel which allows him to get into places he would normally not be able to access, while Primrose uses her feminine wiles to allure NPC’s into either helping her our in combat or being lured into a trap. It’s a wonderful system and honestly, if it were just these two heroes that would be enough but with the final game going up to eight characters you have to wonder what tricks Square Enix has up their sleeves.
The game’s story also varies greatly between Olberic and Primrose, which, depending on how the final game is set up could essentially lead to Octopath Traveler being made up of 8 different RPGs. While how all of these stories will interact with eachother is still unknown the game does only give you three save slots, so you have to assume that you’ll be able to mix and match each of these adventures into one, unless you really can only choose three stories to follow which would be quite a shame if true. All in all though, the story of Octopath Traveler, at least the bits we’ve seen so far has me intrigued and I can’t wait to find out more.
The Nintendo Switch has been off to a fast start, thanks in part to its solid lineup of games that have come and are coming to the system. Octopath Traveler looks to keep this trend going when it releases for the Switch sometime in early 2018 and you just know we’ll be here, waiting with bated breath for its release.