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Octopath Traveler 2 Switch Review: An Improvement Over the Previous Gameby@harrymour
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Octopath Traveler 2 Switch Review: An Improvement Over the Previous Game

by Harry MourtzanakisMarch 23rd, 2023
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Octopath Traveler 2 was released in February 2023 by Square Enix as a sequel to the renowned JRPG Octopath Travelers. The game follows the stories of eight different characters, each with their own unique background. The plot is split between eight characters, all of whom decide to leave their hometowns for different reasons. With new stories, features, music, and other aspects introduced, I consider Octopath Traveler 2 an improvement over the amazing previous game. It manages to maintain the high-quality elements of Octopath Traveler while fixing any negative aspects it had by adding more interactions between the eight characters and linking the overall story in a fitting way.
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Octopath Traveler 2 was released in February 2023 by Square Enix as a sequel to the renowned JRPG Octopath Traveler.


Octopath Traveler has been one of the most well-received JRPGs of the last decade and has received high praise for its amazing visual and sound effects as well as its satisfying battle system and interesting storylines. The only setback that upset many fans was that the storylines of the eight characters weren’t connected in a meaningful way.


With new stories, features, music, and other aspects introduced, I consider Octopath Traveler 2 an improvement over the amazing previous game. It manages to maintain the high-quality elements of Octopath Traveler while fixing any negative aspects it had by adding more interactions between the eight characters and linking the overall story in a fitting way.


In this article, I will review Octopath Traveler 2 on the Nintendo Switch console by examining the story outline, the gameplay, the graphics, and the audio of the game.


As a big fan of JRPGs, with some of my latest favorite games being Chained Echoes, Tactics Ogre: Reborn, and -of course- Octopath Traveler, I feel almost obligated to try and review Octopath Traveler 2.


Table of Contents:

  1. Octopath Traveler 2 Story: Finally the Characters’ Unique Stories are Linked in a More Meaningful Way

    1. Plot
    2. Characters
  2. Octopath Traveler 2 Gameplay: A Vast Detailed World

    1. World Exploration
    2. Battle Mechanics: An RPG Classic With Some Improvements
  3. Octopath Traveler 2 Graphics: A Beautiful and Detailed World

  4. Octopath Traveler 2: Soundtrack, Sound Effects, Voice Acting

  5. Octopath Traveler 2 Switch Review Verdict


Octopath Traveler 2 Story - Finally the Characters’ Unique Stories are Linked in a More Meaningful Way

Octopath Traveler 2 follows the stories of eight different characters, each with their own unique background. While it is a sequel to Octopath Traveler, it’s not a direct sequel. Instead, Octopath Traveler 2 is a standalone game and you do not need to play Octopath Traveler to fully experience it.

Plot

The plot is split between eight characters, all of whom decide to leave their hometowns for different reasons. Their adventures bring them together and have them explore the world.

Most individual stories manage to maintain immersion from the beginning all the way to the end. For instance, when playing through Osvald’s story or Throne’s story, I was always eager to find out what will happen next and how each scene will play.

Other than the story of Agnea, which felt more predictable and less detailed, every other storyline managed to surprise me and keep me on edge in one way or another. I rarely wanted to skip through dialogues, as every bit of information felt important to the interesting plot.


As for the ending, it manages to wrap up all eight storylines in an emotional way and serves as the perfect form of closure to an amazing story.

However, the game doesn’t explain in much detail how each character decides to join the others at first, and this part feels slightly rushed and vague. Nevertheless, as the stories progress, Travel Banter and Crossed Path stories help everything come together.


Compared to the previous game, the individual stories are equally interesting and unique, with the main difference being that they are now linked together in a more meaningful way. Instead of making the game feel like eight different stories, Octopath Traveler 2 tells one well-connected story.

Characters

Partitio, Agnea, Temenos, and Throne in Octopath Traveler 2.


The game features eight characters, each with a unique background and story to tell. Here are all of them:

  • Hikari - He is the Prince of Ku, a nation that tries to establish peace. However, his warmongering brother takes control of the nation, and Hikari is forced to leave in an attempt to find strong allies who will help him regain control of the nation.
  • Partitio - A merchant who wants to make the world a better place for everyone through the art of trade.
  • Throne - A thief belonging to an organization named ‘Blacksnakes’ The ‘Blacksnakes’ save children and force them to become thieves (one of the darker storylines). Throne manages to break free and tries to kill the leaders of the ‘Blacksnakes.’
  • Osvald - A wrongfully imprisoned scholar who breaks free and tries to find the man who framed him.
  • Temenos - An inquisitor of the Church of the Sacred Flame who investigates a series of murders against the church and tries to find the truth.
  • Agnea - A local dancer who wants to become a superstar and dance at the most popular venues.
  • Castti - An apothecary who lost her memories and travels the world in an attempt to regain them.
  • Ochette - A beastling who wants to become a hunter and protector of her island. Before becoming a protector, she needs to find three sacred beasts from around the world.


Each character has a unique story full of twists and turns and players get to experience it through a first-person narrative.

The best part about the characters of the game is that almost each of them has some unique twist on their story and personality that managed to surprise me.

Partitio, despite being a merchant and always looking for a good deal, is anything but greedy; instead, he’d rather spend all his money in an attempt to make the world a better place.

Osvald, a renowned scholar who thinks before he acts, becomes blinded by revenge and does everything in his power to find the man who framed him.

The most surprising one has been Temenos, who despite being a high-ranked church member, is always ready to question everything, even his own beliefs.


Personally, this applies to every character’s story except Agnea. Her storyline didn’t feel unique but predictable. However, every other character managed to surprise me through the unique twists and turns in their stories.

Octopath Traveler 2 Gameplay: A Vast Detailed World

Unlocking the ship and setting sail in Octopath Traveler 2.

As for the gameplay, for this Octopath Traveler 2 Switch review, I will focus on the amazing and vast explorable world and the satisfying battle system of the game. Let’s examine them in detail.

World Exploration

The world of Octopath Traveler 2 is vast and full of details. Each character’s story takes you to a different place with a different theme: from the snowy and unwelcoming tundra of the Winterlands to the vast desert of Hinoeuma, and the dense forests of the Leaflands, the world of Solistia is full of new biomes to explore.

Octopath Traveler 2 Map.

The best part is that players are free to explore the world in any order they prefer. They can skip certain places completely or check every corner for hidden items.

After all, the game is filled with optional content including sidequests, hidden chests, optional maps, and bosses, as well as hidden secrets.


There’s always something new to explore, and the game will reward you for putting in the extra effort. While the stories mentioned in sidequests are less compelling compared to the main storyline, the rewards are well worth it.

For instance, progressing side quests, optional maps, and bosses is the only way for players to get their hands on the Rusty Weapons, which can then be exchanged at the Armsmaster with some of the strongest weapons in the game.


One minor setback is that, occasionally, players will have to stop exploring around to grind in certain areas. This is because the next quest or area will require a higher level, and even if you’re doing sidequests and exploring around, you’ll still need to grind for a few extra levels.


However, this is just a minor bump. The game’s storylines would feel more connected without it, but grinding has always been a part of JRPGs and Octopath Traveler 2 only has a small/normal amount of it. Especially when following the best tips on how to level up fast, you won’t have to grind as much.

Battle Mechanics: An RPG Classic With Some Improvements

Combat in Octopath Traveler 2.

The combat system is the classic RPG system with a few improvements over Octopath Traveler.


Each enemy is weak to certain weapons and magic attacks, and players have to identify enemy weaknesses. Each time they hit a weak spot, the enemy takes more damage and loses points of their shield.

When the shield is broken, enemies will take more damage from all attacks and lose their next action. Ideally, you always want to break enemies first with weak attacks and then use your strongest moves to damage them while broken.

This is ideally paired with the BP (Battle Points) mechanic, where each character gains one battle point on each turn. At any point, they can spend these points to empower their next move.


Also, each character is unique in the sense that they have a Latent Power. This charges up during combat while taking damage and breaking enemy shields and offers a unique effect when activated based on the characters. These powers can vary from gaining maximum BP in an instant to dealing heavy AoE damage to enemies.

The goal is to fill up your BPs, then break enemies, and hit them with your strongest moves while they’re broken.


Overall, the battle system was extremely satisfying and even the fights against common enemies in the open world were interesting. I wanted to learn the weaknesses of every enemy and was always trying to deal more damage compared to the previous fight.


Each map included a wide variety of enemies, to the point where I needed to use different characters for each boss. Most bosses were exceptionally challenging but in an interesting way.


At first, I went into each boss fight expecting to lose but while trying to find out their weaknesses and attack patterns. Then, I came back better prepared and tried to utilize and experiment with various character combos to deal as much damage as possible based on their weaknesses.

Each boss fight felt unique and brought some new mechanics to the game that can be learned only through trial and error. For instance, there is a boss in the optional Decaying Temple mini-dungeon that has three different phases and can one-shot you if you don’t have the right build.

Octopath Traveler 2 Graphics: A Beautiful and Detailed World

In terms of graphics and special effects, Octopath Traveler 2 manages to create a picturesque world full of detail. It features the classic style of RPG games while also adding small details to make the world feel more alive.


This includes features like slow-moving cloud shadows, lighting changes through the scenes, and dust hovering while moving through certain areas.


The overall image is sharp and full of detail, and Octopath Traveler 2 manages to create a beautiful visual experience.


As for performance, the game runs flawlessly on both the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck consoles. The game never had any FPS drops and the visuals were stunning.

Octopath Traveler 2: Soundtrack, Sound Effects, Voice Acting

The soundtrack of the game created by Yasunori Nishiki, the composer of the soundtrack in the first game, is phenomenal. Overall, Yasunori Nishiki has received high praise for his work in Octopath Traveler as the music is tightly connected to the action and doesn’t feel separated.


The audio always fits the scene and properly sets the mood. It alternates between various themes and helps create immersion. From the heroic tunes playing during battle to the relaxed atmosphere while strolling through the cities, there’s a soundtrack for every scenario.


The sound effects are satisfying and make certain actions feel even more rewarding. For instance, breaking an enemy’s shield or using a fully charged skill is always an amazing moment, even if the enemy is only a common foe.


Lastly, all major cutscenes from the main storyline are voice acted, which makes the game come alive and tell its story in a great way.


The voice actors always managed to deliver the necessary emotion in each scene to make the characters feel alive. I could understand how the characters felt solely based on the voice lines, even without reading the actual dialogue.

Octopath Traveler 2 Switch Review Verdict: 9/10

Overall, Octopath Traveler 2 has everything an RPG should have: an immersive storyline with unique characters, a great soundtrack to accompany it, and great graphics and performance to bring everything together.


Its only minor setbacks - the extra grind and the vague explanation of how each character joins the party - are overshadowed by all the other amazing elements.


Moving on, if Square Enix decides to go for Octopath Traveler 3, the bar will be exceptionally high to the point where it almost feels like a Sisyphean task. However, after finishing Octopath Traveler 2, fans will definitely be asking for a sequel.

Have you tried Octopath Traveler 2 yet? What did you think compared to the previous game? Let us know in the comments below.


If you’re a fan of RPGs in general and are looking for a new game, consider checking out our list of the 10 best Mario RPGs ranked by sales.