Octopath Traveler 2 Review
Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler 2, a traditional JRPG that was released in February 2023, is the third in a series that began in 2018. Created in collaboration with Japanese developer and publisher Acquire, the franchise immediately drew in fans of fantasy RPGs with its appealing graphical style called HD-2D. It combines retro-style character sprites reminiscent of the Super NES with layered environments and high-def visual effects. But the first game also attracted people through its unusual story presentation and engaging turn-based combat.
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Octopath Traveler 2 delivers more of the same, so much so that it feels like a continuation of the first game rather than a true sequel. The graphics are slightly enhanced but otherwise almost unchanged, and even the UI, combat, and gameplay loop seem to pick up right where Octopath 1 left off. The soundtrack, composed by Yasunori Nishiki, introduces a number of new themes, all of which are immersive and skillfully done. But mostly, Octopath 2 offers a few quality-of-life and gameplay tweaks that imply an “if it ain’t broke” approach, which works because most aspects of the first game were already pretty top notch, though those who were hoping for a more appreciable overhaul may be disappointed.
Octopath Traveler 2 introduces eight new characters, or travelers, with varied jobs, backstories, and ambitions. Like the first game, each job comes with unique combat abilities, as well as skills known as Path Actions that can be used while roaming around town. For example, Osvald is a Scholar who can cast elemental magic in combat and also Scrutinize townsfolk during the day to discover the locations of hidden items. Ochette, as a Hunter, can Provoke NPCs to fight for some extra experience, and Temenos the Cleric can Guide people and summon them to help in battle a limited number of times.
These abilities will sound very familiar to those who played Octopath…