Anyone who knows me will know that I am rather a large fan of the JRPG genre, in fact, I normally will drop pretty much any other game I happen to be playing to pick one up. Furthermore, in that genre, I consider Bravely Default to be one of the best. So when I found out that some of the guys behind Bravely were making a new JRPG, I was all for it. Enter, Octopath Traveler.
The demo of Octopath follows the initial segments of two of the upcoming eight characters, with Primrose seeking revenge for her father’s murder and Olberic seeking redemption for his failures earlier in his life. This game then places the player in the world with the control of whichever character they choose, unravelling the narrative of the game world with each character’s story through their interactions with it.
Speaking of interactions, they form the core of the game’s mechanics, with each character having a different way of manipulating the world around them. For instance, Olberic, being a warrior class character, can challenge almost any NPC to a duel, resulting in battles of varying difficulty and temporarily knocking the character out in the game world.
Battles are another place that Octopath Traveler shines, with it’s use of a unique Boost/Break system. Every turn the player is granted an additional attack, which can be stacked up to a maximum of four attacks. Furthermore, every enemy can be put into a ‘Break’ state if they are hit with a certain amount of attacks they are weak to. These two mechanics combine to make incredibly strategic battles where, if the player thinks about each turn, they can have battles where they don’t hit at all.
The next area in which this game excels is in it’s aesthetic. The artwork surrounding the game, as you can see above and in the featured image, is of a similar phenomenal level to the Bravely series. The artwork is breathtakingly colourful and full of character and lends a fairy tale feel to the proceedings.
The artwork in the main game comprises of beautifully retro sprites in stunningly realised locations. The 2.5D nature of the gameplay uses the Unreal 4 engine in quite an interesting way looking both retro and unmistakably modern. The music in the demo is already of the same incredible standard I’ve come to expect from the Bravely guys too, with an infectiously catchy battle theme and moody and atmospheric music fleshing out the locations.
So, how is the Octopath Traveler demo? It’s a fantastic proof of concept so far and has me tremendously excited for the main game. Clearly the Bravely guys know what they’re doing and have managed to make lightning strike once again. Bring on 2018.