Octopath Traveler 2 Review – A Worthy Follow-Up with Substantial Improvements
Square Enix has once again proven its prowess in creating remarkable Japanese games with the release of Octopath Traveler 2. Although the sequel may not have the same fresh allure as its predecessor did five years ago, it doesn’t need to bring anything groundbreaking to the table. With numerous new features and enhancements, it undoubtedly earns its place as one of the finest games of 2023.
As a follow-up, Octopath Traveler 2 can stand on its own two feet, much like the newest Final Fantasy or Persona game. Its eight playable characters offer distinctive personalities and play styles, making choosing between them a critical decision for players. The title of the game itself reflects this aspect and establishes the gameplay formula that sets the series apart.
Octopath Traveler 2 invites us into a world filled with intricately woven tales and captivating characters. While initially, the threads of its narrative may appear disjointed, the game’s vast landscapes and the characters’ personal stories come together to form a breathtaking work of art.
The introduction of new companions throughout our journey offers a chance to delve into their past and see the world through their unique perspectives. Although this may slow the pace of our adventure, it is a journey worth savoring, as the intricate tapestry of this world gradually unfolds before our eyes.
For those who have traversed the paths of the original Octopath Traveler, returning to this world may feel familiar, but there are plenty of discoveries to be made.
Gone are the days of simplistic combat and linear exploration. In Octopath Traveler 2, each character now possesses a range of abilities that are influenced by the time of day. This newfound complexity adds a thrilling layer of strategy to both combat and exploration, as players must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing these abilities at different times. However, players must also be wary of the challenges that arise with the veil of night, as enemies become stronger and more cunning in the darkness.
I must say that one of the most significant improvements in Octopath Traveler 2 is the level of intricacy and complexity infused into the characters. Their character development has been elevated to new heights, which allows us to invest even more in the story. While there have been attempts to improve the pacing of the story and offer a more coherent plot, certain elements seem to be solely connected to multiple characters. Nonetheless, it is fascinating to witness how each character perceives this world. Gaining information from a different perspective opens up the idea that not everything is as it appears.
Exploring the vast landscapes of Octopath Traveler 2 is a sight to behold, thanks to its stunning visuals that utilize the HD-2D engine. The game’s flawless presentation offers a blend of retro visuals and modern aesthetics, making it an unparalleled experience. While it is not a fully 3D world, there are limitations in place when traveling between towns. However, interacting with NPCs and discovering hidden areas scattered throughout the map makes exploration fun and exciting. These hidden areas may lead to new quests or common items and can also grant access to altars that provide new EX abilities for the characters, making them more useful in combat.
The combat system in Octopath Traveler 2 remains largely unchanged, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Its basic design of exploiting enemy weaknesses is still intact, with the bonus of stunning enemies when you do so. The new boost point system provides an element of strategy that is both engaging and fun. Whether players choose to use their points as they accumulate or save them up for a powerful blow, the system is easy to understand and enjoyable to use.
One area where players must exercise caution is the level of their characters. Venturing into high-level areas without proper preparation can spell disaster for your party. Thankfully, the ability to change the time of day makes it easier to grind for upgrades and level up characters before taking on tougher enemies.
In terms of difficulty, I found the game to strike a fair balance. Grinding for levels didn’t feel like a chore, and the combat system was neither too difficult nor too easy. However, some players may find the lack of innovation in the combat system disappointing.
Octopath Traveler 2 is a superb follow-up that maintains its unique qualities while gradually refining others to enhance its overall cohesiveness. It is undoubtedly one of Square Enix’s best JRPGs and a strong candidate for 2023’s game of the year. Despite some pacing problems, the game’s central narrative demands a bit of persistence, and when everything comes together, it creates a lasting impression. Whether you are a newcomer or a returning fan, this game promises to please and keep you engaged for hours on end.
Octopath Traveler 2 Game Information
- Price: $59.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Acquire
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher