It should come as no surprise that Square Enix, one of the most recognized RPG developers in the gaming world, would take a very basic concept that they made popular and change it up in a different way. Octopath Traveler on the surface seems simply like another turn-based RPG that people are familiar with, but in fact takes it in a creative new direction. Octopath has players adventuring in one of eight traveler’s shoes, each one containing their own story to see and explore with every unique path taking them on a grand journey.
At the beginning of Octopath players take on the role of one of eight, but there’s no need to fear on entirely missing out on another character’s story. As this character begins to explore the world, they will meet the other travelers and eventually have a full party of up to four at once. Each character has their own unique path action to aid on the journey, such as being able to recruit a villager for temporary help in battle or revealing an enemy weaknesses in battle. No two characters play similarly, making them all worth trying out to see what team works in each scenario or change them around when time best calls for it.
Combat is of course turn based, with speed being the key for when enemies and allies can take their turn. Enemies, however, each have a select amount of weaknesses. Hitting them enough times with their weakness will break their guard, causing them to lose a turn and be wide open to attack. The cast of characters on the other hand have the ability to boost their skills by taking a pass in combat, building up to much stronger attacks and ones capable of breaking enemies much easier. As enemies don’t have any health bars, the only way to guess their damage is simply by appearance. The monsters of Octopath are incredibly strong though, so each fight can feel a bit like a puzzle trying to find the best way to approach them. Some strong enemies will often telegraph when they’re about to use a strong attack, which can be a great time to break them in order to keep them at bay.
Octopath Traveler is a familiar, yet different take on the world of turn-based RPGs. It opens up a wonderful 3D world similar to a pop-up book with sprite work that makes everything simply pop with how unbelievably gorgeous it is. There’s a long journey that awaits, and a story that will unfold before each character on the path laid before them. Those who want to dive into Octopath Traveler can download the new demo available on Nintendo Switch right now and look froward to its full release on July 7.