Octopath Traveler 2 REVIEW (PS5)
''10 is terrified of 7 because 7,8,9''
Release Date: Feb 24th, 2033
*Review copy provided to me by SQUARE-ENIX*
Octopath Traveler 2 is a heavily anticipated sequel in this new beloved IP, and is developed and by published by Square-Enix. Coming hot off the press with the success of the original Octopath Traveler a few years ago, Square-Enix now aims to try to up their game and bring us an experience that's just as good, if not better, than our previous journey. Do they succeed in this attempt? or does it fall short of expectations fans have for it? Only one way to find out, so lets go!
The story takes place in Solistia, a land comprising an eastern and western continent divided by the sea. It is a bustling era, wherein large vessels navigate busy sea routes and the power of steam gives birth to new technologies. Join eight new travelers hailing from different regions and who venture forth for their own reasons and witness this winding tale of the ages through their own eyes and discover an adventure of a lifetime that links them all.
''Were just normal men. Were just innocent men''.
As stated previously, Octopath Traveler 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Octopath Traveler and one of the main games that is usually credited to starting the movement that has revived the turn based RPG genre. The game itself in my opinion owes its success to Plumbers Dont Wear Ties, if were going to be honest, because if that game went from FMV to RPG? wrap it up kid, its over, but alas, not all dreams come true. Taking place in the same world as its predecessor, but with a new cast of characters and a brand new storyline, Octopath Traveler 2 allows us to retread some of the main mechanics and story beats we got accustomed to in the previous entry, but also at the same time, allowing us to experience brand new stories from the perspectives of 8 brand new characters that all have their own reasonings, hardships and lust for power that grips you to the edge of your seat. Yes, even more edge to your seat than you sitting on the toilet reading the back of a Lysol bottle and accidently dropping the toilet paper, which causes you to reach down with anxiety and frustration as you desperately try to grab it. Quite a lot huh?. See, this is why you need to be like Randy Marsh in South Park and get a self cleaning Japanese toilet, then you wouldn't have this problem, now would you? just... watch out for those pesky snipers. Alongside the old gameplay mechanics from the previous entry, this game also boasts a wealth of new features and improvements, all designed to enhance the overall gameplay experience. I mean, duh, it had better do so, otherwise, you can't really call it a sequel. One of the most significant improvements in Octopath Traveler 2 I feel, is the graphics. I'm not one that usually harps on about graphical detail a lot in my reviews, but when something beautiful is actually beautiful, then it deserves to be recognized, unlike me when I'm sick and look like death has come for me twice but rejected me because even that's a sight they do not wish to see in hell. True story. While the graphical upgrade isn't a monumental leap in this entry, you do however notice really great changes to the character models - while they do keep the same traditional design as the original game, however they are now with some slight more detail on their lighting and their animations, not to mention the world itself looking more vibrant and looking as if it itself is breathing life. These may seem like small improvements to most, but when you're in the game, experiencing the small changes for yourself, it definitely immerses you more in the world and the experiences lived within it.
Aside from graphical upgrades and improvements, the battle system has also been upgraded a bit too, offering more depth and strategy than the previous game, and in my humble opinion, is actually a tad bit harder in difficulty this time around, even with save points littered around everywhere. Heck, I think I even lost my first major battle of the game that I engaged in, and I was like ''wait what?'', I was so confused, but then remember, oh ya, I sucked crap at the previous game, so why am I surprised that I'm getting dropped like my name is Hercule Satan in the Cell Games. It all makes sense now. The turn-based combat system is obviously still intact, no crap right? don't fix what isn't broken, but it now features more diverse character roles and abilities for you as a player to experiment with and utilize to your advantage. For example, players can perform team-up attacks, which allow them to combine the abilities of multiple characters for devastating effects that can make an unbeatable enemy, turn into a weak pathetic fool as you make fun of them for being as lame as a GIF edited Eagle for Birdemic. Google it, I dare you. As I also stated previously, the enemy difficulty has increased this time around and they also pose more of a challenge, forcing players to think strategically about their actions and party composition. Planning perfectly can also be both a headache and a blessing if you are a person that either over prepares, like myself, or under prepares, which causes you to get mollywopped in the booty like your name was Milo. Huh? yeah, don't ask about that one, you'll be better off. This title also introduces a new "Path System," or ''Path actions'' if you wish to call it. These are features like knocking out NPC's with specific characters like Castti and Hikari that allows you to access new areas, rooms or even secret treatures, Ochette's path action of Befriend that allows her to use caught monsters in battles you partake in that are similar to summons, etc. The variety here is pretty insane, with each character in the game having their own set Path Action and abilities to use. In a roughly 30 hour or so RPG, wanting to play and use everyone's abilities is definitely going to take you multiple playthroughs, and honestly, I totally recommend it in order to get all endings and experience all the game has to offer you as the player.
Not skimping out on mechanics, the game also features a Tavern System that allows you to visit taverns throughout the world to recruit new characters, learn new abilities, and interact with other characters. For example you may head to a Tavern across the world at specific locations to change your party lineups, manage your equipment and abilities, hear a tale of a character as long as you have not begun one chapter beforehand , that allows you to continue a story of a character when a specific one in question is ready to move forward or progress themselves, bribe the Tavern keeper with your money in order to spread some good propaganda about you to boost or restore your reputation, just like celebrities and politicians do via mainstream media all the time. Yeah that's right, I'm looking at you Fox News and CNN. I've got my all seeing eye on you guys, illuminati confirmed. That aside, there are still some basic gameplay mechanics that may seem small, but are also pivotal to your progress too, and ones that definitely need to be kept in mind, such as, breaking bosses defense when they're charging up. Normally you would think to throw up a defensive spell or try to beat them as fast as possible in this situation, but because main villains special moves can hit you anywhere in the realm of 500 to 600 HP, your best bet is to utilize a move that hits your enemies anywhere from 2 to 4 times to break their shield, which when broken, will temporarily stun them for one turn, allowing you and your party members to buff up or heal up for the next barrage of attacks. Paying attention to danger levels of foes and enemies is also a priority, as in other RPG games, there's always areas with a set recommendation of what level you should be at in order to properly traverse.. and while that is the same here, its honestly not the only thing you need to worry about. No, there's no need to worry about breaking some sort of ''leveling law of RPGs'' that will get you stopped by someone screaming at you ''STOP YOU HAVE VIOLATED THE LAW'' and hoping you rot like a criminal scum, and no no, you also don't run into any wolves that turn into cops to bite you down to size, none of that. But what you do have is the need to put equipment management OVER your actual character level. That's right, I said it, in Octopath Traveler 2, even if you're like level 40, level 50, whatever high level you want to be, you still can't beat every fight or muscle your way through unless your equipment is up to snuff and properly organized to their best stats per character. Think of it like Final Fantasy 14 with i-lvl being a priority over character level. In Final Fantasy 14, if your character is level 90, but your characters i-lvl is only at like a 240 rating, you lose out on HP, cooldowns, strength, Int and all other stats, and will struggle to no end. The same holds true here in Octopath Traveler 2. Strategy over power wins you the battle here and you had best remember that and keep it mind.
''We built this city on ROCK'N'ROLL''
At the end of the day Octopath Traveler 2 does a lot of the same things its previous entry did, but at the same time, doing just enough to make it stand out and make it an even more enjoyable experience than you would think after stating something like that. Is it a perfect game? I wouldn't say that, with some storylines feeling a tad bit on a tedious side do to uninteresting gameplay elements or you as the player only really needing to focus on 3 or 4 out of the 8 characters to experience most of the games content or breeze through it, even so with those slight negatives, it doesn't change the fact that this is definitely another top tier RPG to hit the market. With its wealth of improvement on its new features and combat abilities, beautiful styled graphics, head bopping music that will get stuck in your head for days, engaging stories that have you fight for justice, revenge or for those you love, It hits it out of the park on everything it needed to. If you have a PS4, PS5, PC or Nintendo Switch, then I highly recommend you at least giving this one a rental if you are little bit curious, but for the people who want them some good ol turned based RPG goodness without a doubt? well, with everything having been just said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW