Octopath Traveler 2 Review – IGN #GeekLeap

After I reviewed the unique Octopath Traveler virtually 5 years in the past, I completely beloved it. I used to be fully smitten with its artwork model, its religious and inventive connections to the 16-bit JRPGs I grew up with, and its superb battle system. Taking part in Octopath Traveler 2, I used to be excited to see the whole lot I beloved concerning the authentic return. What’s shocking, nevertheless, is how little it is superior within the final half-decade. In reality, exterior of the particular tales being advised, Octopath Traveler 2 is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor. Meaning it’s simply as nice in some ways, however that lack of novelty additionally makes it a bit much less magical the second time round.

As a result of Octopath Traveler 2 is so much like its glorious predecessor, there’s no motive not to return and play the unique first. However the tales aren’t immediately related both, so in case you are contemplating beginning the journey right here, you must know that after once more the title ”Octopath” refers back to the eight playable characters and the paths they observe via the world. You may select to start out with any of them, and after taking part in via the primary hour-long chapter of their story you are caught with that character for the remainder of the marketing campaign – that means you may’t take away them out of your celebration. You are then free to wander the gorgeous tilt-shift world, however areas are roughly locked out by their issue degree. For instance, if you happen to enter an space with a “Hazard Degree 16” and also you’re at degree 5, you are going to be murdered just about immediately upon your first encounter. You may assume to your self “Ah, however I’m a seasoned JRPG veteran, I do know a factor or two about how one can method high-level zones,” however I am right here to inform you you are incorrect. If the realm says it is 16, you finest have a celebration of characters at or above degree 16.

When you do start wandering in your level-appropriate areas, you’ll come throughout new cities with new characters. Upon assembly a brand new character you are given the choice to play via their first chapter or simply add them to your celebration. I preferred that it provides you the selection, since I choose powering my approach via video games and asking questions later, however what I did not like was discovering pretty late within the marketing campaign how essential it’s to really play via every chapter your self. You are simply going to need to belief me to keep away from spoilers, however it’s too unhealthy it finally ends up feeling like a misleading selection.

This time round, every character has a pair of particular talents: one for the day and one for the evening. Day or evening might be toggled at will, so it’s extra like switching between modes than one thing it’s a must to wait round for. It is fairly cool, as a result of there are some characters you have to work together with who solely present up at evening, so you may simply swap between the completely different variations of the world somewhat than drudge throughout city and go to an inn or no matter.

The tales are all fairly completely different in tone and scope.

Throné, the thief I selected as my beginning character, pickpockets individuals in the course of the day and “ambushes” them by evening, placing them to sleep. The ambush talent is helpful when, say, a doorway is blocked by an NPC, wgile pickpocket is an effective method to load up on gadgets with out having to go to the retailers. It is win-win! Different characters’ talents embody recruiting townspeople to summon throughout battles, combating townspeople to study particular fight strikes, and capturing monsters to name in throughout encounters, to call a couple of. A few of them are mainly reskins of different characters’ talents – recruiting followers is the most typical of the talents, for instance, however it is useful when you’ve gotten two or three further units of arms to summon in a battle. I just like the system as a result of it enables you to choose and select companions for future fights, however you may as well simply steal their stuff, too, and so they do not even thoughts!

The day/evening cycle is most essential in cities, however it additionally makes a distinction within the overworld. Enemies are harder at evening, which suggests extra expertise, so it may be a good suggestion to vary to the evening throughout your travels if you happen to’re feeling assured.

Journey between cities is completed by way of connecting paths somewhat than an open overworld. It is extra like touring round in a Mana recreation or Chrono Set off, versus a Remaining Fantasy or Dragon Warrior recreation. That is not a foul factor although, and I like {that a} recreation referred to as “Octopath Traveler” makes you actually journey by way of paths from location to location. Past the cities and cities, there are temples to go to, which bless a personality with a brand new “EX” capacity. I like to recommend monitoring down all these temples, as a result of these talents are extraordinarily useful to have and make the late-game rather less arduous.

Every character has their very own multi-chapter story to progress via, however I did like how they’re all fairly completely different in tone and scope. For instance, Hiroki’s story begins off with what’s undoubtedly essentially the most epic and open of all of them and commonest of what you’d count on in an enormous 80-hour JRPG like this, whereas Partitio’s is way more humble – and but this straightforward service provider’s story stunned me and ended up being my favourite out of all of them. I particularly loved the best way Cassti’s performed out, with some entertaining fourth-wall-breaking moments. In reality, I discovered all the particular person tales’ conclusions satisfying, however the paths main as much as them did not all the time resonate with me, notably those with much less at stake. Once more, it is smart as soon as you’ve got accomplished them, however it’s tougher to savor a narrative a couple of clumsy dancer making an attempt to change into well-known within the second when another person is combating to take again the stolen throne of their nation. All of the tales are no less than an enchancment over the unique, though not a lot that HBO goes to be optioning any of them for a gritty drama any time quickly.

The turn-based battle system returns virtually unchanged.

It’s lucky that I’m nonetheless an enormous fan of the wonderful turn-based battle system from the primary recreation, as a result of it returns virtually unchanged right here. Every enemy has a number of “weak factors” to uncover by hitting them with the fitting weapon or elemental assault. (It is not a glowing orb on the again of their head such as you is perhaps considering for weak factors in video games, it is some extent of weak point.) When you uncover the weak level of an enemy sort, it is displayed for each subsequent encounter. I beloved the system within the first recreation, and I am not stunned to see it return. Nonetheless, it will probably get irritating in a few of the greater boss battles, as a result of you find yourself losing so many assaults simply making an attempt to uncover weaknesses. Nonetheless, I actually take pleasure in the additional dimenson it brings to fights as I attempt to line up my weak level assaults in a approach that stuns a goal so my strongest common assaults can do extra harm, whereas additionally aiming to stop the strongest enemies from getting an opportunity to assault me again.

Nonetheless, lifetime of taking part in turn-based JRPGs means I’ve grown accustomed to a sure predictability with the character of a weak level, and enemy weaknesses right here usually really feel solely random. In the event you encounter an enemy that is clearly made from ice, the vocabulary of JRPGs (and, you recognize, physics) would counsel that creature could be weak to fireplace… however in Octopath Traveler 2 that is not often the case in any respect. That frozen elemental is definitely weak to mild magic! Or ice for some motive! If there is a connection between enemy sorts and weaknesses it isn’t instantly clear, which suggests the primary spherical of every battle with a newly found enemy is an train in guesswork (exterior of the few character talents that may present a little bit beginning intel). You are fairly secure taking pictures flying enemies with arrows to show their weak point, however not all the time. It appears very arbitrary.

I’m glad I didn’t need to uncover weaknesses each time as a result of there’s a truthful quantity of grinding concerned in Octopath Traveler 2, which I do not necesarilly thoughts. Clearly opinions differ on this topic, however I discover grinding in RPGs virtually meditative, so long as placing in a little bit further effort earlier than a boss battle pays off ultimately. You will not progress your celebration if you happen to do not spend a while on that grind, because the leveling required to get to the subsequent a part of the story is not achieved just by following the trail laid out. You are going to need to do some forwards and backwards and working in circles and leveling up earlier than you may transfer on.

That being stated, if you happen to enter right into a “Hazard Degree 14” space and attain the boss with a celebration at or close to degree 14, you must be capable of defeat it, so I all the time had a transparent concept of how far off I used to be. You may brute-force your approach via a few of the earlier bosses, identical to in any JRPG, however the talents methods, weak point exploits, and battle-point bonuses compelled me to get fairly strategic with my considering so as to take action. After shedding a boss battle greater than as soon as, I might instantly check out my celebration: What strengths have they got? What complimentary expertise can I make use of to enhance their talents? Am I equipping the fitting secondary jobs and weapons? In different phrases, you can’t stay by the grind alone. As soon as I struck the fitting steadiness of all of the completely different parts, I used to be in a position to retry and convey down even the trickiest bosses, and it was much more rewarding due to it.

That being stated, the ultimate boss sucks a lot.

With out spoiling something, I’ll say that I went into the ultimate boss combat assured in my workforce’s talents and strengths, solely to be defeated time and time once more. Of all of the RPG boss battles I’ve performed through the years, Octopath Traveler 2 gave me essentially the most bother. I used to be one try away from making a spreadsheet – and no, that’s not a joke. The one motive I lastly beat the boss wasn’t as a result of I used to be over-leveled (which I used to be… by lots), however as a result of I took a deep breath and actually wrote out battle notes earlier than my ultimate try. I struck a steadiness of expertise, weapons, character matches, and merchandise use and gave extra thought and group to that ultimate encounter than I believe I’ve ever finished in a recreation, ever. No joke, I spent greater than 10 hours making an attempt, and failing, to defeat the ultimate boss. It was essentially the most astonishingly brutal JRPG boss I can keep in mind combating, and after I lastly bought that victory, it was a pleasure like no different. It sounds loopy, however the best way I needed to rethink and plan out my whole method to that ultimate battle really improved my opinion of this sequel.

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