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    Octopath Traveler

    Game » consists of 5 releases. Released Jul 13, 2018

    A role-playing game developed exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Throughout the adventure, the player can recruit eight different heroes, each with their own unique storyline.

    After 30 hours of Octopath Traveler I'm thinking of giving up mostly because of the excruciating story.

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    bigsocrates

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    Edited By bigsocrates

    There are a lot of things to like about Octopath Traveler. It has fantastic music if you like the fantasy orchestral style, which I do. The combat is extremely tactical for a JRPG, focusing around enemy weaknesses and managing your character’s boost points to “break” enemies by damaging them with weakness sources until they get stunned and become vulnerable. This makes fights much more engaging than in most classic RPGs. Status effects really matter, meaning that buffs and debuffs are actually useful and not just wastes of an action. Party composition also matters and there is no perfect party composition for all sections of the game, and the fact that the story is split by character means that if you want to progress all the party members’ stories you need to use them all, which means you learn how to use them effectively and are more likely to rotate them in than in games that don’t make you do that.

    Overall it’s a well designed RPG from a gameplay perspective with one of the best purely turn based combat systems I’ve ever used. It’s also pretty good aesthetically. I mentioned the music as a highlight and while I don’t love the graphical style I don’t dislike it either. Square managed to create art that both looks modern and clearly echoes the pixel art of their past 16 bit glory. The UI and world maps are also well-designed. They’re easy to navigate, clean and readable, and avoid burying information in hidden sub menus that way some old RPGs did. It’s a very playable game in a polished package.

    Figuring out enemies' weaknesses and exploiting them to put them in a stunned state is the core twist on combat and it works really well to force you to manage your party and your extra action points.
    Figuring out enemies' weaknesses and exploiting them to put them in a stunned state is the core twist on combat and it works really well to force you to manage your party and your extra action points.

    Of course there are also gameplay issues with Octopath, mostly stemming from how stubbornly it sticks with outmoded conventions rather than just calling back to them. The biggest is in how your party composition is managed. You can only swap party members at a tavern in one of the towns, which is a really bad decision by the designers. For one thing it severely damages the tactical choices aspect I just praised. You won’t know what party composition makes the most sense for a given area or its boss until you explore them. While you can make an effort to make sure you have variety in your party’s ability to exploit weaknesses, you won’t be able to cover everything and it’s very possible to wind up at a boss with a party member who is close to useless because she just happens not to have anything that matches up to the boss’ somewhat arbitrary set of weaknesses. Oh you brought the thief with you and nothing in the boss encounter happens to be vulnerable to swords, knives, or fire? Too bad, so sad, enjoy either teleporting to town to change party members and trekking back through the whole dungeon, or having to level up enough to eke out a victory while at a major disadvantage. This is even worse if you happen not to have leveled up (or even recruit) the characters who would be able to effectively exploit the boss’ weaknesses, since you can progress without recruiting characters and character do not gain XP while they’re back at the tavern. All this is made worse by the fact that whoever you picked as your first character is just stuck as the leader of your party forever, and some of the characters are extremely situational. I happened to choose the warrior, and he works pretty well in basically every fight, but if you picked the merchant you’re going to have a rougher go of things.

    Bosses look fantastic and are mostly fun fights, though they, like all fights can drag on too long. Bring the wrong party and you're going to have a bad time, though. You should be able to switch without returning to town.
    Bosses look fantastic and are mostly fun fights, though they, like all fights can drag on too long. Bring the wrong party and you're going to have a bad time, though. You should be able to switch without returning to town.

    Even more annoying, each character has one or more special outside of combat abilities, and you can only use them when they’re in your party. So you might need to challenge a ruffian to a fight in order to complete a sidequest, but if you don’t have the guy who has the challenge ability then you’ll have to trek back to town to get him, and because those battles are solo fights you’ll also have to hope he’s of an appropriate level and has the right set up for fighting solo if you want to beat the sidequest. All this is further exacerbated by the fact that equipment is very important in this game, and all the best equipment is found not in dungeons or stores but in the inventory of random NPCs in the towns and scattered around the world, and you have to steal or buy it off them. Don’t like the idea of playing a thief who robs everyone, including the people you just helped? Enjoy being at a massive disadvantage for the whole game. And you need to grab the thief/merchant and apothecary (who can make ‘inquiries’ and do a loop of every town checking for items and inquiring with random people if you want to get all the subquests etc… There are also locked chests in some of the fields and dungeons that only the thief can open, and these are the only chests with anything of value, like decent armor or weapons, in them (everything else just has money or random healing items you can get elsewhere) so if you’re not currently using the thief you’ll have to go grab him and bring him back to unlock stuff.

    Some of this is made better once you unlock some subclasses. These can be equipped and unequipped whenever you want so you can at least use them to make otherwise useless characters do valuable things in a boss fight (by, for example, giving them a healer subclass or a subclass that can exploit one of the boss’ weaknesses.) All of it could have been avoided by just letting you swap active characters whenever you wanted, which is what almost all of the old Square games that this is paying homage to did, because it makes the game much less of a slog. You could still force the player to recruit a character before having access to their abilities, as those games did, so they wouldn’t be totally useless and you wouldn’t lose anything. Does anyone think that a game is made more fun by having to constantly go to taverns to manage party composition, especially for random sidequests in towns? Does anyone enjoy the feeling of getting to a boss and realizing that even though you’re properly leveled to take them on you’re completely screwed because you failed to predict their random suite of weaknesses, or because you happen to have taken the healer who heals one character at a time instead of the one who heals the whole party, and the boss and his resummonable minions do sweep attacks that your healer mathematically cannot keep up with?

    Don't you hate in games where you buy new equipment or find it in dungeons or after killing bosses? Wouldn't it be better if all the best equipment was held by random townsfolk and you had to go around buying or stealing it from them, tediously and with a chance to fail and lose reputation?
    Don't you hate in games where you buy new equipment or find it in dungeons or after killing bosses? Wouldn't it be better if all the best equipment was held by random townsfolk and you had to go around buying or stealing it from them, tediously and with a chance to fail and lose reputation?

    It’s just a stubborn insistence on archaic design choices that made sense when games had to be artificially lengthened because of cartridge memory constraints and fear of the used game/rental market but are irrelevant in 2021. It’d be like putting limited continues into a platformer. All it does is suck time and lead to frustration.

    But those aren’t Octopath Traveler’s biggest flaw. The biggest flaw is the story, which is absolute trash, ranging from boring but moderately tolerable to excruciating. Octopath tries to split the difference between the very earliest Final Fantasy games, which had a very basic plot with nameless characters you created, and the later 16-bit games that told specific stories intimately tied up with the game’s characters. What it settles on are incredibly generic stories with incredibly generic characters, and I don’t see how that could possibly make anyone happy. Every single character in the game is the blandest possible interpretation of an archtype imaginable. The cleric girl? She’s an orphan taken in by a bishop and raised alongside his daughter, and she undertakes a journey for the church in her adopted sister’s place so she can be with her ailing father. Along the way she meets people and helps them because she’s purehearted and true. The merchant? She’s a young girl who just wants to see the world and learn to be the best darn merchant possible, and along the way learns to help people and be good. The thief? He was betrayed by his closest friend and now he trusts nobody, but when captured by a noblewoman and forced to help her recover her family’s inheritance he will learn to…

    Uhhh....this guy doesn't really match his description. When the game's writing is at it's best it's all still incredibly generic and boring.
    Uhhh....this guy doesn't really match his description. When the game's writing is at it's best it's all still incredibly generic and boring.

    It’s all utterly predictable and boring and none of the characters have any personality whatsoever. Even worse it drones on forever, with incredibly lengthy conversational sequences that never get to the point. You have endless conversations that go something like:

    “You’d better come with me.”

    Okay, I will come with you.”

    “We are going to go now to the place. Are you ready?”

    Yes. I am ready for anything!

    “That’s good, because the place is quite dangerous.”

    I know that it is dangerous but I am ready.”

    “Okay let’s go!”

    I’m coming!

    Some of it has full voice acting, which is the worst because you can’t just read ahead in the text and skip the dreadful and generic performances without missing what was said because hitting the button just advances to the next line instead of revealing the whole speech bubble (which uncovers itself along with the voice actor) and some is partially voiced with generic and repeated voice lines meant to represent the text that it shows, but it’s all very bad.

    I haven't even mentioned the horrible faux-middle English that some characters speak. It's embarrassing.
    I haven't even mentioned the horrible faux-middle English that some characters speak. It's embarrassing.

    I have played a number of old RPGs in the past two years or so. I played Grandia and Final Fantasy IX, and I really liked them both. I played Xenoblade Chronicles, which is an incredibly talky game with tons of dialog that I thought was great even though I didn’t love the combat in that. I am not looking back on JRPGs of yore with rose colored glasses because I still like the genre, and even old versions of the genre. This game has a bad story. A lot of people have complained because there’s a lack of interaction between the player characters (a choice almost certainly driven by the decision to let people advance without recruiting some characters and the aforementioned terrible choice to only acknowledge characters in the active party) and that’s definitely a problem, but it’s not the chief problem. Is it dumb that in the cleric’s story when you save two young boys from a ravenous wolf monster the boys claim that the cleric “kicked the snot out of” the wolf (that horrible line is actually in the localization, like this was a bad 1995 fan translation) even if all she did was heal and the actual damage was done by other party members? Yes, that’s stupid. But I could deal with that if the cleric’s story was at all interesting on its own terms. Instead it’s like a generic RPG opening story to establish the character, but it’s her second chapter (out of 4) and there’s just nothing to it. I could also accept if the game just wasn’t story focused so it had brief little vignettes to give the idea of the character and then just let you engage with its combat, but these story segments go on forever. They can last 10 minutes while just repeating the same themes and the same boring generic ideas over and over again until I was tempted to just skip the story in an RPG, which is not something I ever even consider in any game.

    Do you remember fan translations from the 90s? This game's localization has all the modern language and none of the charm.
    Do you remember fan translations from the 90s? This game's localization has all the modern language and none of the charm.

    It’s so bad that I thought this game was perhaps aimed at young children and so wanted to impart basic life lessons without too much complexity, like something along the lines of Quest 64. Except that Quest 64’s story has more identity, and one of the main characters in this game is more or less a stripper and her story explicitly deals with themes of murder and prostitution, so unless the people at Square are psychopaths this is not a game aimed at young children. It’s rated T for teen and its throwback style is clearly aimed at people with nostalgia for the 80s and 90s, so that’s not the explanation here. I think the explanation is that the writers are bad at their jobs and whatever they were trying to do they did quite poorly.

    If this game is aimed at children then it's even worse. It would make it much worse.
    If this game is aimed at children then it's even worse. It would make it much worse.

    I like a lot of what Octopath has to offer and I haven’t been feeling well these last few days and really want to just sit and play an RPG. When I’m getting to a new town fighting random encounters or delving into one of the short dungeons (dungeon design is also one of the game’s weakpoints because they’re all incredibly small and straightforward) to get to a boss it’s mostly a good time. I don’t even mind grinding that much. But sitting through these story sequences is excruciating and I may stop playing because of them. I’m almost always the opposite with RPGs. I enjoy the story but get put off by the grind or a particularly unfair boss fight. It’s a testament to Octopath’s game design that I’m willing to put up with the story to get to the gameplay, so far, but a testament to just how bad that story is that I might stop playing an RPG with some of the best combat I’ve seen because I don’t want to spend another 15 minutes listening to these terrible stories that stretch 1 minute of plot and character into a quarter hour of mindless yammering.

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    eccentrix

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    That last screenshot is very funny to me. Also the weird Ye Olde English; it looks like a joke.

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    Onemanarmyy

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    you make a compelling argument.

    I do like the look of this thing, but having a rough idea of the story and the characters is what keeps me away from it. I do enjoy me some RPG mechanics, but the main reason i play these games is to get attached to a party of interesting characters and guide them through an interesting storyline. This game just seems so focused on trying to be a throwback, that it forgot to put a new story that's worth telling in. I have similar gripes with a game like Dragon Quest, that also seems more interested in giving you that shot of nostalgia to the system instead of trying to tell a neat story and introducing memorable characters.

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    noboners

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    I beat this and couldn't tell you a single plot point. Little was memorable to me outside of the combat, music and art style. But I remember being incredibly frustrated talking to every villager in every town to see if they had an item worth stealing and I felt like the game was almost requiring me to do so. It could have been just my fomo taking over, but it also felt necessary to leveling up all the characters.

    Which is a shame because, like you, it released at a time where I really needed a long jrpg to just kind of sit down and relax with. I know this isn't the point of your reviews, but did you play Bravely Default 2?

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    bigsocrates

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    @eccentrix: The game does have a sense of humor at times but this scene is played entirely straight and is supposed to make you have all the feels. I screenshotted it because it made me snort with laughter. The writing is just so bad!

    @onemanarmyy: That's the thing. If this were an actual throwback I'd be okay. But those old RPGs, generic as they were, didn't have 10 minute cut scenes. It's like they combined the two downsides of modern and old square. The longwindedness of the company as it is with the utterly generic writing of the old style. Those are not two great tastes that go great together! The characters have no character and the story has no depth but it takes forever telling it and that's the problem.

    @noboners: As I mentioned I also found the whole "steal everything" manner of equipping your characters to be incredibly tedious. It's not just FOMO; the stuff you can buy or find is inadequate and equipment matters much more than level in this game so if you don't do it you'll be seriously underpowered and have to grind for more time than stealing the equipment takes. I understand the intent; to force you to use the party's abilities, but it's a dumb way of doing it and they could have at least let you steal with a character who had the thief subjob so you don't have to constantly switch to the thief in every new town.

    I haven't played Bravely Default 2. I got this for Switch when it came out but never played it, and then it came on to Game Pass so I played it there. Bravely Default 2 is probably better because it's more of a throwback to the 32 bit games, and as I've mentioned I think a lot of those still hold up. I played Final Fantasy IX and Grandia in 2020 and had a lot of fun with both games.

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    rorie

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    #5 rorie  Staff

    I really did want to like this when I tried it out but I think I lost a save after an excrutiatingly long boss fight in the early game (a frog that kept on poisoning me, I think?). Just couldn't pull up the desire to go back and do it again.

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    bigsocrates

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    @rorie: Are you sure it was a frog and not...a sssssssssssnake? I don't remember an early frog boss. Too bad it was not a puppy or you could have gotten past it with one big chomp.

    Either way boss fights in Octopath are very very long. I understand why you dropped the game after losing a save; I've had to put it down after getting wiped late because I ran out of powerful healing items or whatever. I understand why they make them as long as they are to ratchet up tension and put the player under pressure but yeah it does make something like a corrupted save pretty brutal. Sorry that happened to you.

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    denisxcore

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    Played way too much of this game during the first lockdown, but gave up because the story is not good.

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    Undeadpool

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    #8  Edited By Undeadpool

    Having just played (and reviewed on this very website) Ys IX, it's interesting to be hearing about this again so soon after I too bounced entirely off it.

    It's interesting because this tried to do an intentionally throwback game, but decided not to integrate ANY modern improvements (this entire post could've started and stopped with "half of your playtime will be spent grinding, just like 16-bit and 32-bit Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star games") while Ys IX is almost proud of its genre tropes, but has made massive leaps forward in playability and, frankly, charm.

    It feels old in terms of plot and characters, but not in gameplay, which makes it feel like a throwback without actually BEING one.

    Honestly, I'm incredibly gratified, I remember Octopath getting REALLY talked up at the time, I just didn't see it. I assumed the stories got better or deeper, maybe some of the character interactions really "made" them, but it honestly just sounds less like "Chrono Trigger" and more like "Saga Frontier."

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    noboners

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    @bigsocrates: yeah I'd highly recommend BD2 based on the games you mentioned liking. It also handles a much better class system and the story is, at the very least, your typical jrpg storyline - so it's fine. The voice acting isn't that good though.

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    bigsocrates

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    @undeadpool: I haven't played Ys IX yet, but I did play XIII and I think it's pretty similar in the characteristics you cite. I loved it. I also played the first two Ys games and Memories of Celcetta and almost all of Oath in Felghana (stopped playing right at the last boss but I will finish it) and enjoyed all of them. The Ys games all have tolerable stories and characters and wild world building full of weird specificity that makes their generic anime plots much more enjoyable.

    It's not the old plots that I object to because a lot of them were very good. It's the fact that this game is painfully generic. Say what you will about the Final Fantasy games during the SNES and PS1 era, but their stories were anything but generic. They may have been insane fever dreams, but they were very specific.

    Octopath is really not that grindy of a game compared to its foregoers. The way the game is structured you have multiple places to go at any given time and many of those areas are at similar recommended levels so if you grind in one spot or just explore looking for optional chests and side dungeons it's easy to get overleveled, which is it's own problem.

    I'm glad that my rant made you feel good about your decision not to continue the game. The stories don't get better and deeper as far as I can tell and if you weren't getting what you wanted out of the first part I doubt the later areas had anything more to offer.

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    Justin258

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    #11  Edited By Justin258

    Oh you brought the thief with you and nothing in the boss encounter happens to be vulnerable to swords, knives, or fire? Too bad, so sad, enjoy either teleporting to town to change party members and trekking back through the whole dungeon, or having to level up enough to eke out a victory while at a major disadvantage.

    I haven't finished reading the post or the rest of this thread so maybe this gets addressed, but have you tried changing any of your character's jobs? This game has a FFV-esque job system, where anyone can be anything to a certain extent. That doesn't mean you can just plop the Warrior role on someone who started as a Cleric - but you can make sure your characters can all do a variety of things and all you have to do is go in the pause menu and change jobs around. I don't remember the fine details of how it worked because I played this game for... I think seventy hours at launch? Anyway, it's been a long time.

    EDIT: Nevermind, you brought this up eventually, you just used the term "subclass" instead of "job".

    Still, I feel like this game is more than flexible enough to accomodate any reasonably varied party. Items can make up for lack of certain abilities, especially for those that get rid of status effects and such, etc.

    I'm not terribly fond of the idea of just changing out party members anytime in an RPG. It sorta feels cheap to me, like you don't have to figure out how to live with a decision you've made, just one simple swap and everything's all good. I also really like SMT games, where you have no idea what a boss is going to be like and that first fight is really a test run to find out what kind of party comp you need to work on before attempting again, so maybe I'm just a masochist or something.

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    bigsocrates

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    @justin258: The "secondary job" system as I said works okay if you have the relevant jobs but that's pretty arbitrary unless you scour the whole map for them, and some of them are in mid or high level territories so you'd have to grind anyway to be able to do that. It makes things better as you go but it's far from a complete fix for the issue.

    I don't think the game is nearly as flexible as you're giving it credit for. Items for example can't make up for not having the right melee weapons, especially because you can't BP boost to get multiple hits with items so they're substantially less useful for "breaking" opponents. Also the boss fights take forever and will quickly drain your items as bosses and their summons spam moves that hit your whole party with things like silence and curses that substantially reduce what you can actually do.

    I'm fine with the first fight being a test of what you need to take down a boss but what I'm not fine with is having to trek back to town to get the right party composition. The old games didn't make you do that and it's just a waste of time, not a challenge of any kind. It's just boring to be like "Well this guy is only vulnerable to daggers so I guess I need to go get my thief" or whatever.

    All that being said, as I think I made clear my main beef with the game is not the gameplay design. Those choices are what they are and they're all defensible in their own way. The story is just awful, and while you could argue "well it's not a story focused game" tell that to the designers who keep stopping the game for 10-20 minutes just to tell the terrible story.

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    SethMode

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    This fucking game man. So much about it seemed tailor-made for me, between triggering nostalgia for old favorites like Final Fantasy VI, to many different hero characters with different stories (although I was super disappointed just going in that these branches didn't intersect in a meaningful - or really any - way). And then the final product is a mess, with just a terrible story, mostly atrocious writing, and just a ludicrous amount of bloat. I want to say I put like 50 hours into it and still felt nowhere close to finishing it, and I just gave up eventually because I couldn't take it anymore. What a letdown it was for me...so much is done so well (as you perfectly described), but the game just can't bear the weight of its awful, meandering, and terribly written plot.

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    BananaofDoom

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    Octopath is a strange one to me. I did 100% it eventually because I'm a completionist slut, but I agree that the story and lack of any real character interaction is a big bummer.

    It's strange how I feel like I should really like it, but it feels so shallow. The art and music (Especially the music) are fantastic, and the actual mechanics seem about as good as they can be for a modern take on a classic JRPG, but without the glue of story and characters, they're just... pieces without a cohesive (that word again) whole.

    Music is still DAMN good, though.

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    ArbitraryWater

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    Octopath would probably be a *better* game, straight up, if it compromised on its structure and actually assumed you had all the characters during story moments. I respect the ambition of what they're going for, but like Bravely Default it feels like every throwback RPG that Square produces never fully nails what it's trying to go for.

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    wollywoo

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    I really wanted to like this game, but I played the demo and I too found the story... off-putting. The voice acting was pretty terrible. I really feel that these kind of games can be hurt by voice acting. Imagining, say, Final Fantasy VI being remade with the same dialogue but voice acting sounds awful. For some reason, in my mind the dialogue is witty and charming, but when you put those words into a human mouth it might make it sound... amateurish. Maybe because I start comparing it in my mind to more naturalistic dialogue in TV or movies or just people I speak with, instead of taking the medium on its own merits. The same thing happens in film adaptations of books sometimes, where dialogue that seems great on the page sounds very strange when a real human says it. It's also very unnatural in some games where there's always a pause between lines because you have to press a button to move the dialogue along. Of course, that said, the story in this game might still be pretty bad either way; I didn't play enough to judge.

    Still, I'm really looking forward to Project Triangle Nonsense, or whatever it's called, because the battle system seems so interesting.

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    Nuttism

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    Wow. That final dialogue bubble might be the best (worst) thing I have read all week, and I spend my days scouring Giant Bomb forum posts ;-)

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    clintlandon

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    I’ve never understood the vitriol toward Octopath’s story, partly because I think most RPGs have paper thin stories hidden behind pretension, obfuscation and production values. But what I appreciated about Octopath was two-fold.

    1: the stories are personal, involving individual characters and their own hopes and aspirations. It doesn’t rely on the boring-as-hell “world ending threat” that virtually every RPG (and game and movie at this point) has run into the ground. Using those kinds of stories lead to the only real way to explain the ending is “you win.” Very disappointing. But without that, you instead get invested in and talk about the ordeals the characters go through; how they change and how that effects their initial goals. I won’t deny that it’s simple, but I’m happy to have something more involved than “they beat the thing.”

    2: I LOVE that each chunk is about 2 hours long. I can’t usually finish 100 hour RPGs because I know when I reach the end, I’ll be disappointed and feel like I wasted my time.

    Not with Octopath.

    Since each segment has its own individual mini story that feeds into a given character’s overall goal, each is enjoyable on its own while also moving me toward the completion. Usually, I hit a point 50 hours in where I’m not having fun anymore, and there’s no telling how much longer I have to go, and I’m not going to have fun anymore because it’s just an unending slog, so why continue?

    In Octopath, I just need two hours a day. I might get an annoying story, I might get something that makes me question the ethics of a situation, or I might just be traversing from one area to the next to start a new adventure tomorrow. But either way, every day’s session ends up different than the last.

    It ended up making me think of Breath of the Wild a lot, in that it was a game that let me have a set chunk of fun time, and if I didn’t want to continue what I was doing, I’d just go somewhere else and find something that did entice me. Much preferable to me, compared to the usual “keep going forward until it’s done, and if you’re bored, TOUGH, keep going” RPGs I typically burn out on.

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    bigsocrates

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    @clintlandon: I sort of laid it out in my post so I'm not sure what wasn't clear, but to be very explicit, the problem with Octopath Traveler's story is not the concept of a bunch of (kind of) intertwining tales or the smaller scale stories that don't involve some giant threat to the world. Both of those ideas have been done before in RPGs and other games and done well.

    The problem with Octopath is entirely in the execution.

    These stories and characters are incredibly bland. They're "personal" tales in that they don't always involve some grave threat to the whole world (though sometimes they do), but they're not at all personal in that they just involve archtypes in archtypical scenarios. It's all stuff we've seen a billion times in a billion different forms of media and there's never any kind of twist or interesting spin on it. It's all surface level interactions where everything is pretty much exactly as it seems and goes exactly where you will expect it to go.

    Which would be much less if a problem if it took less time to go there, because all these stories are also incredibly verbose and poorly written (or at least poorly localized, or both.) If you're going to tell a simple, bland, story then tell it quickly. Not Octopath. Instead every character prattles on for minutes at a time often taking a half dozen exchanges to get across a simple idea that could be communicated in one sentence. And those exchanges aren't witty or interesting or clever, they range from boring to cringeworthy.

    In addition to all of the above there are no substantial relationships in the game. Your characters barely interact with one another and they also don't interact with NPCs in meaningful ways. Sure, some of the characters have parents and mentors and rivals and friends, but those relationships are all paper thin and never really evolve. There's no character development beyond the most basic of possible arcs.

    It feels like playing through the Wikipedia summary of an RPG story only padded out to be longer than most RPG stories but in the same dry and flavorless style. Some of it verges on okay at times, but so much of it is outright horrible and it's all so very very long.

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    Ben_H

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    #20  Edited By Ben_H

    I ran out of steam playing this one about 25 hours in. The combat is fun, it looks good, and the music's great but I just found everything else around it to be incredibly dull. The story and setting felt like the writers just chucked every stereotypical RPG plot and character trope into a Markov chain generator and had it spew out a story for them to follow.

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    Undeadpool

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    @bigsocrates: Maybe I just stumbled into a rare situation, but I definitely recall being stuck somewhere at drastically too low of a level to attempt the next zone, but also too high to effectively grind anywhere because battles weren't giving me enough. It honestly felt like Breath of Fire 2 all over again, the first time I played that, I didn't think much of one of the party members, only to be stuck with ONLY that party member at one point in the story, who was too low-level to even be able to grind against random battles.

    Then it turned out, I sorta saved myself because the final dungeon is hilariously high-level and there's NOWHERE to effectively grind in the endgame. Still can't believe people fondly remember that game.

    And it might not be "quite as bad" as its forebearers, but games like "Cthulhu Saves the World" and the legendary Ryan Davis/Patrick Klepek Chrono Trigger Endurance Run really exposed how much of a game lengthening crutch that required grinding is, and how it can muddy the waters of what's actually "challenging" VS "impossible without high enough numbers."

    In ANY case, even without that: the point sounds moot as this sub-Crystalis storyline belongs nowhere in a modern RPG from a major developer.

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