Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 19, 2021

Replaying Octopath

I’ve decided to replay Octopath. It is the first time I’ve replayed it since the game came out. I am replaying it on Switch.

I own Bravely Defaults on the 3DS and Bravely Default 2 on the Switch. I simply can’t get into those games. The art style just brings me out. I know the battle system is similar, but I put down the controller and say, “I do not want to play this.”

Octopath Traveler absorbs me… but not in all ways.

HOLY MOLY! Those intro chapters are CRINGE INDUCING BAD WRITING. With the exception of Primerose’s tale, the chapters are all coma-inducing-insomnia-solving exercises on the player. Story is NOT the strength of Octopath Traveler.

Other minuses are the stupid map design. Ooohhh, optical illusions are hiding the treasure chest! …stupid. I feel stupid every time I get one of those treasure chests because the trail is ‘hidden’ by the 3d-2d bullshit. They’re not hard to find, they’re simply not fun. And the items inside are always a stupid healing grape or something.

Minuses and pluses of Octopath I can see after doing all intro chapters (15 hours of playtime):

-Story

-Exploration

-Map Design

+Spritework

+Battle System

+Music

+Graphics and production work.

What makes Octopath Traveler ‘fun’ is the ‘growth’ and goals as well as experimentation that comes from building up your characters. I don’t mean in levels. I mean in gaining new skills, job skills, and skills from other jobs, as well as new weapons and armor.

Levels don’t tend to be that big of factor in this game. Weapons, however, are huge. I dislike how this game encourages so much ‘cheesing’ as in spam stealing everything and everything… even at 3% steal rates. Hello GrandPort! (Yes, I know how you can boost the Steal Rate in the cities. But you need more Scrutinize and Provoke skills, some of which are hard locked at certain levels.)

The monsters are uninspiring. The world atmosphere is well done, but none of it is imaginative. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

Americans and Japanese have two different definitions of the JRPG… and it is due to a split caused by the 16-bit Era.

Japanese believe the JRPG experience is Final Fantasy V (systems, job classes, mix and matching…).

Americans believe the JRPG experience is Final Fantasy VI and VII (story, atmosphere, character, plot twists…).

Final Fantasy IV came to America as an ‘easy mode’. So Final Fantasy IV, which I think is the flagship definition of the JRPG, is seen by Americans as story, adventure, and characters.

Octopath Traveler will not appeal to those looking for adventure, story, or characters. It will appeal to those looking for a better battle system over the 16-bit systems.

Of all the games that Switch brought us, there are a few I consider ‘top’ games such as Breath of the Wild. Octopath Traveler was on my list. When initially replaying it, I thought I must have been nuts. The writing is so boring. But as I passed the intro chapters, I realized why it was addictive. The battle system and growing your character skills are very fun and something I haven’t seen in a long while.

Why is the writing bad? First, they use words where there shouldn’t be any words. They have characters declare their friendships and love for each other for some reason instead of using visuals or stagecraft to imply it. Too many words!

Story writing requires extremes for it to be entertaining. Primrose’s tale works because it is so extreme. A bunny ranch with murders with a villain preposterously evil that you want to hate. The other stories are nowhere near extreme. They are boiler plate, not spicy enough. Hence, they become boring.


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