I begin Octopath Traveler in snow. The whitewashed white cover screen surrounds cobblestone stones and churches in a sleepy winter town with a massive cathedral in the city center. I occupy the role of Ophilia, a priestess, the adoptive daughter of the church's eldest. It's time to go on a dangerous pilgrimage, but the oldest is on his death bed, so I perceive the role of my sister, who was originally going to pilgrimage, and start the rituals so my sister can stay here with her father, finally.
I begin again in a city state in the north, like a teacher with a penchant for detective work. Things are peaceful here, the relaxing type of spring. Except I have been framed, now, and a source of great knowledge is missing. Then I start an attempt to track down the missing tome and correctly set what has been committed.
I'll be back ̵
Octopath Traveler A new Japanese role play released by Square Enix for Nintendo Switch, is an unusually structured game. To put it simply, it is stuck at first, like a disc that jumps and plays the first song over and over again. The game has eight main characters, as the name implies, and a large part of the game is used to find these eight characters and experience the opening actions of each of their stories, one after the other, before you move on. It is an innovative structure, but eventually crumbles and the rest of the game is broken.
Like Bravely Default before it, Octopath Traveler exists as a tribute to the Japanese roleplay of the Super Nintendo era. The pictures, the matches, the grades and the wide storytelling gestures draw everything from Final Fantasy Chrono Trigger and their ilk. These are cover songs like games, loving imitations that do not shoot as much as they look back. Nevertheless, Octopath tries to separate itself. The battle, based on its ancestors, is fast and smart, with a sharp mechanic: a gradual reappearing resource that allows you to greatly encourage your single-character signs and speed up what may be long-term meetings. The battle system is actually the game's only best item. One might imagine another game with this system being engrossing, even brilliant.
The visuals also work to distinguish themselves from the predecessors they too deeply want to imitate. While drawing and sample art is handled with classic 2D pixels, the environment is rendered in a hand-held 3D, with vocalized buildings and natural formations that magnify the small characters. It is a strange choice; The effect is almost like a diorama, with characters living in worlds that are not built for them. It gives the whole affair an unintentional artistry, like playing the JRPG community theater. Worse still, the environment makes useless at times, the wide 3D environments lack to convey how to effectively navigate in a room. Trails are often hidden behind voxel monoliths; You should spend a lot of time walking in the walls.
Octopath Traveler has no central conflict to talk about, no drive pushes its main characters together. A band of happy adventurers without adventures, a Rashomon tribute told in slow motion.
All this, in service of a story that just knows how to begin. The story starts with one character you choose and encourages you to track the other seven, experiencing the stories one by one while adding them to your number. Why do they tie together? No reason, really, other than gameplay contrivance. Octopath Traveler has no central conflict to talk about, no drive pushes its main characters together. They only meet each other and decide to grab each other's travels, barely interacting. A band of happy adventurers without adventures, a Rashomon tribute told in slow motion.
But instead of the fact that these collisions are expressive, they are just boring. I used a form of "sleepy" to describe both character openings and it was not a mistake: the primary emotional attachment that every narrative bow pulls from the player is drowsiness. They are wide and accused stories, throwing men as fantasy helmets and warriors and women as victims and holy daughters, women obsessed with loving or asserting or killing their fathers, without real development for themselves. For fans who loved older Japanese role-playing games for their narrative complexity, there's nothing here.
And yet there are so many moments when it's easy to see how Octopath Traveler could have been good. If the environment had been clearer; If the characters had been better written if a central conflict had pulled them together in a way that really made their eight-fold way felt intertwined. Instead, Octopath Traveler is a tribute with only his love for his ancestors to carry his weight.
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