Octopath Traveler II, a follow-up to the original Octopath Traveler, has arrived. Developed by Square Enix, this turn-based role-playing game presents a modern take on the genre while keeping its old-school vibe. Octopath Traveler II is a retro-inspired RPG that successfully captures the spirit and adventure of classic games from the SNES era and despite retaining the same narrative setup, it feels more profound and more exciting, like a true fulfillment of what the original game was trying to achieve.
Octopath Traveler II is set in the continent of Solistia, an industrial and trade-rich world, with eight characters with unique stories and motivations. Although the game attempts to address some criticisms of the original game by creating a more intertwined story, there are still issues with the characters’ individuality. However, the game’s flexible job and party system and the satisfying combat system make Octopath Traveler II worth playing.
The battle system in Octopath Traveler II is turn-based and has Break and Boost mechanics that return from the original game. The game also introduces latent powers that each character can use after filling a gauge, which adds an extra layer of strategizing to battles. The job system in the game is robust, with each character having a primary job and the ability to assign secondary jobs to fill gaps in their loadout, making it fun to experiment with different combinations to build the perfect party.
One of the most significant improvements in Octopath Traveler II is the deeper character development, which keeps even the tritest narrative setups interesting. For example, Osvald’s story of revenge is presented with a nuanced perspective that makes his character relatable, while Ochette’s story tackles the issue of deep-rooted racism against her people. However, the game’s world does not always match the depth of the characters, as players can commit violent robberies without facing any consequences, giving the impression of an RPG playground instead of a living world.
One of the most significant improvements in Octopath Traveler II is the map, which Square Enix has filled with secrets large and small. Players can find hidden dungeons, secret jobs, or abandoned villages with fascinating new questlines that only appear at night. The game’s HD-2D visual style has also grown in medium, and the highly detailed environments and layers of interest are on full display, thanks to the removal of the filter that blurs anything not immediately around you. These improvements result in a gorgeous, rich world that’s a joy to explore.
Octopath Traveler II has some faults in the execution of the intertwined story and character interactions. However, the game’s satisfying combat system and the flexibility of its job and party system make it an excellent game to play and it manages to improve upon the original game in nearly every way. Square Enix has created a retro-inspired RPG that innovates while still capturing the spirit and adventure of classic games from the SNES era.
RATING: 4.0 out of 5.0.
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