Last night I got to the credit scroll in Octopath Traveler: I finished my protagonist’s story. The story was charming and I’m interested in seeing how the other 7 will go.
There will be NO SPOILERS below.
While Octopath Traveler has been generally well received, it isn’t the amazing JRPG that some people were expecting; the lack of a larger story that involves the full cast, as well as the seemingly isolated stories for each character (despite traveling in a party of 8) can be a major turn off for many people.
However, in spite of (or because of) these “flaws,” I’m still enjoying the game immensely. My approach to the game has been to focus on 4 characters (including my chosen protagonist, Tressa) and finish their stories first before tackling the other 4. On occasion I’ll switch the party up to do some leveling, but otherwise my focus has been on Tressa, Primrose, Alfyn and Therion.
Octopath’s chapter system was definitely done with the Switch’s portability in mind. Each chapter will always begin with a short message that recaps “the story so far,” encouraging the player to vary the order of character stories played. The chapters are also relatively short, made for bursts of game play.
As noted earlier, the stories are mostly isolated from one another. This is especially so with cutscenes, where only the story’s character appears. However, the optional travel banter scenes will involve the story cgaracter as well as another party member, and the two will always be talking about story events that just occurred. It is quite strange and can definitely break the player’s focus, but isn’t a deal breaker, at least for me.
Having gone through Tressa’s story, I will say that, generally, it’s fine. It isn’t a novel plot so people hoping for something ground breaking or emotional will be left disappointed. However, as someone that enjoys the quieter, “slice of life” stories that are about the personal journey instead of world-breaking events, the story was nice and quaint.
I still have many more characters to finish, as well as many more side quests to do. The game has charm, and it leans hard into that charm. Unfortunately, if grand, emotional stories are your thing, then Octopath Traveler will leave you wanting. If you’re averse to cliché, then you’ll probably find the game boring. If really weird design choices (solo cutscenes but party banter regarding the cutscenes) turn you off, probably not for you.
If you want something smaller and rich in world lore? Then pick a character and go roam the world. Oh, and if you see a Cait, just use a soul stone, it’s worth it.