Octopath Traveler 2 is a retro-styled RPG, set in one other steampunk-esque fantasy world. Sq. Enix isn’t reinventing the turn-based RPG for this sequel, as an alternative increasing and (mildly) correcting among the weaker components of the unique. There are new battle dynamics and strikes, a well-utilized day-and-night sport mechanism, and shared tales that try and convey a connection between the eight narratives. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless an off-the-cuff one. If Last Fantasy XV was about 4 finest buddies occurring a road-trip, then Octopath Traveler 2 is extra like an Uber Pool rideshare. There may be pleasant small speak, however there’s nonetheless not sufficient of a significant connection between the eight protagonists.
Octopath Traveler 2 doesn’t provide any technical graphical upgrades I want to clarify, though there appears to be slightly extra element to each the sprites and environments. It’s nonetheless a fairly sport. Half of the attraction is how video games like this coax my recollections of 16- and 32-bit video games.
Having mentioned that, the workforce behind this sequence has realized they’ll play with the dimensions a bit extra: that is the Nintendo Change, not a SNES. In among the opening scenes for Hikari the warrior, characters rush previous a crowd of 40 or so combating in a desert. Builders Purchase and Workforce Asano have amped up the cinematic cutscenes slightly extra, too. Cameras will pan out and round your characters, as they brood on cliff faces, or as they’re pressured to kill their abusive dad and mom.
OP2 tries, solely ever so barely, to convey the concept you’re on a collective journey. When you’ve chosen your predominant character (who can be ‘locked’ into your occasion till you full all 5 chapters of their story), you’ll stumble upon different vacationers. Then you definitely’ll be given the choice to play by their origin story, or circle again to it on the native tavern at a time that’s appropriate for you.
Sometimes there can be some minor banter components, known as “shared tales” the place two characters will share just a few scenes collectively. These typically join tales and provide up some rewards. Nonetheless, it’s slightly too rare – and never sufficient to get the impression it is a workforce of heroes serving to one another to save lots of the world from varied calamities – or change into a worldwide dance famous person. (Sure, that’s somebody’s goal.)
Osvald, the scholar, begins his journey in jail, accused of killing his spouse and baby. He’s this sport’s defacto black magazine,e with an array of elemental assaults. Nonetheless, this time, given his gritty backstory, his path actions (skills and interactions you can also make with non-playable characters in cities, and customarily any time exterior of battles) aren’t your typical black mage traits. One is scrutinize, a dangerous means of gleaning data from characters, whereas the opposite is mug, the place you may duel just about any NPC you come throughout, and steal their possessions in the event you win.
Nevertheless, with eight characters, many path actions overlap. Castti, an merchandise knowledgeable and apothecary, can inquire for a similar data you will get from scrutinizing, with none danger – she simply needs to be a excessive sufficient degree. In the meantime, Throné, the thief, can steal throughout daylight, giving the identical outcomes of a mugging with out the combat.
Alongside these expertise, every character additionally begins with a novel expertise, providing battle skills or passive expertise that others received’t be capable of use, even after unlocking secondary lessons.
Like the unique, the battle system comes into its personal as soon as you may swap round job roles. To take action, nonetheless, you’ll want to search out the guild for every job to unlock it. Some are straightforward sufficient to search out – I got here throughout two of the ‘secret’ jobs totally by chance – whereas others are eluding me even now, 60 hours into the sport, at roughly degree 60 throughout my occasion. The place are you, hunter guild!?
Extra effort has been made to tonally differentiate the eight tales of Octopath Traveler 2 in comparison with its predecessor. With Temenos the cleric, who works as some type of blasphemy hunter/thriller solver, will get just a few scenes the place he’s attempting to unravel crime scene mysteries. It’s not precisely Phoenix Wright, with all of the clues there, twinkling away, ready so that you can stroll as much as them, however it helps to make the chapters really feel completely different to the others.
Partitio, the service provider, likewise, has a narrative that looks like some whimsical Okay-drama, as this entrepreneur makes buddies of enemies and travels the world hanging offers. He will get an oddly weird montage of his remaining deal hanging, hopping on ships and visiting just a few secondary characters you in all probability already forgot. The aforementioned Castii begins the sport with amnesia (ah that online game basic), and if there’s something shared throughout many of the characters, it’s the sense that almost all of them are unreliable narrators. Rounding out the solid you will have Agnea, the dancer, and Ochette, the hunter. (Not all eight will resonate with everybody, will they?)
Even the ultimate chapters for every of the eight characters solely leads to just a few further banter scenes. I’m taking part in by the ultimate chapters for every character, and if it is something like OP1, it will in all probability unlock a real remaining space, dungeon and boss. At this level, I doubt all of the themes and story will coalesce right into a satisfying conclusion — there’s been some allusions to a ‘shadow’, however that’s true of 90 p.c of all RPGs. /I’ll be pleased with one other difficult boss.
The battle dynamics observe the identical formulation of the final sport: you goal to interrupt the enemies’ defenses by making use of elemental and weapon weaknesses. Break them, they usually’ll cease attacking — or reset the charge-up to their excessive harm skills – permitting you to do elevated harm, or rigorously heal and put together for the subsequent a part of the combat. As soon as once more, you’ll be capable of increase assaults as a battle continues, augmenting harm or extending the size of strengthening spells and different boons.
The sequel provides latent powers, a limit-break styled tremendous assault distinctive to every character. For some, this enables them to handily carry out two actions without delay, whereas others will deal augmented harm or supercharge spells and bodily assaults. This was how I discovered my favourite characters they usually appeared to stay across the squad longer. (Thanks in your service, Throné.)
Day and evening have an effect on your entire sport, and fortunately it’s a simple set off button that you may faucet at any time exterior of a battle. There are advantages to combating throughout evening, relying on the characters. Throné and Temenos provide debuffs and buffs firstly of nighttime fights, though it looks as if fights are typically harder than throughout the day. Additionally, you will come throughout completely different enemies relying on the time of day. This transition can even transfer NPCs across the city, or make them disappear totally. The music additionally thoughtfully segues between the 2 states, which is a pleasant contact. But once more, OP2 has a refined soundtrack, stuffed with orchestral bangers and several other battle-theme earworms.
OP2 builds on the strengths of the primary sport, with plenty of non-linear choices to the story, with sufficient of a distinction between chapters to interrupt all of it up. Nevertheless, there nonetheless isn’t fairly sufficient cohesion between the vacationers and the tales they weave.
Octopath Traveler 2 launches on Change, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 and Steam on February twenty fourth.
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