Octopath Traveler II preview – if it eight broke

Sq. Enix’s artwork fashion, referred to as HD-2D, is one in every of my favorite improvements in trendy gaming. As a mix of pixelated characters and 3D environments, it evokes the spirit of basic JRPGs like Chrono Set off, Remaining Fantasy VI, and Dragon Quest III; whereas nonetheless letting Sq. Enix create attractive worlds that showcase the graphical potential of the Nintendo Swap.

The unique herald of this fashion is Octopath Traveler, a 2018 launch for Nintendo Swap and a conventional JRPG in each sense. Following the tales of eight completely different characters, The unique Octopath options intertwining tales over a big continent as every individual’s narrative takes them to the far reaches of the world. It additionally has turn-based fight with an attention-grabbing ‘break’ mechanic that means that you can financial institution or use extra highly effective assaults.

Properly, everyone knows Sq. Enix loves a sequel, and right here we’re years on, awaiting the discharge of Octopath Traveller II. The subsequent HD-2D entry from the Japanese writer after final 12 months’s Triangle Technique and Reside A Reside remake, OTII takes you again to the basic JRPG adventures of outdated. However, with a model new forged of eight characters to get to know and love.

Set within the huge world of Solistia, Octopath Traveler II means that you can discover a stunning and meticulously detailed world with a pleasant number of vistas. I selected to start out with Hikari, a younger warrior from the land of Ku, who’s brave with envious abilities in battle. After round twenty hours, I’m accustomed to every of the primary forged’s tales, and I extremely suggest folks start with Hikari. The number of tales is nice, and every feels extra attention-grabbing than in Octopath Traveler, however Hikari is essentially the most gripping and enjoyable in my expertise.

Octopath Traveler II review: a pixelated scene shows a menu, with several different characters ready to be chosen, starting the players adventure

It doesn’t matter an excessive amount of, as regardless of who you select, quickly you get to discover the world at massive with a motley crew of adventurers, every trying to discover somebody or one thing on the earth to assist their very own story. The forged contains Partitio, the service provider, a person obsessive about commerce, out to show his abilities to the world.

There’s the thief Throné, caught in a world of criminals and low lives, trying to escape. In the meantime, one other standout is Agnea, a cheery dancer who merely needs to turn into a star in each nook of the nation. Very similar to the primary sport’s forged, some are stronger than others, and I can’t wait to see which find yourself as fan favourites.

Octopath Traveler II review: a pixelated scene shows a detailed and luscious village surrounded in foliage and bustling with characters

Whichever character you select jumpstarts the story, and then you definitely decide up further occasion members as you encounter them in your travels. You may select to listen to their story and expertise their story to date, which stops your present occasion of their tracks as you play as the brand new hero at degree one, attending to grips with their story and abilities. Nevertheless, in an effort to hurry up the opening hours, there’s the power to skip their story and easily keep it up the adventures of your present occasion. Don’t fear about lacking something, because the native taverns all the time supply the possibility to expertise these opening tales once more any time you select.

To date, these tales have a pleasant combination of peril, epic clashes, and extra whimsical moments that spherical out the forged properly. Every prologue options the identical turn-based fight because the others, however the selection in jobs, abilities, and weapons is sufficient to preserve you in your toes and educate you in regards to the sport’s many mechanics. After a number of completely different tales, I’m often itching to get again on the street with my fundamental occasion although, so I recognize the choice to skip these tales and head straight again into the motion. I’m certain some gamers might have much less endurance than me.

Octopath Traveler II review: a pixelated scene shows a party running through a busy town

Whereas the visuals are the defining characteristic, Octopath Traveler II can be residence to some gripping turn-based fight, and the battles are a blast due to the attractive pixelated fashion and delightful particle results. Every enemy has a collection of bodily and elemental weaknesses, and a shot to a kind of weaknesses exposes them eternally in a field under that enemy. Putting their weak spot repeatedly finally breaks their defend. Some enemies take one hit, whereas stronger ones face up to many extra.

Break an enemy’s defend and also you stun them, which means they’re extra susceptible than regular. That is additionally a unbelievable time to make use of your enhance factors, which accumulate with every flip. Getting into enhance mode multiplies your assault energy as much as 4 instances, so there’s a fragile stability in deciding when to financial institution your factors and when to make use of them. For anybody accustomed to the unique title, none of that is new. Nevertheless, the battles within the unique Octopath Traveler are an enormous spotlight, so there’s little shock they continue to be largely intact.

Octopath Traveler II review: a pixelated scene shows a young girl and a fox running alongside a giant green lizard

What’s completely different is the addition of secondary jobs, as every character finally unlocks the power to tackle a secondary position, giving them entry to new weapons, abilities, and extra. That is along with their fundamental position, so my warrior Hikari can be an inventor in the intervening time, giving him entry to a couple enjoyable new twists in battle. As you achieve expertise, you additionally earn JP to be taught new jobs and help abilities, which means characters don’t simply get stronger but additionally be taught a greater variety of battle ways.

The depth and breadth of various jobs, weapons, and abilities, are all a blast to mess around with. Plus, a really gross crew of enemies are enjoyable to work your means via, together with some unbelievable bigger enemies and some grotesque bosses. The pixel artwork is phenomenal, identical to the primary sport’s, and the bigger enemies are the place it’s most proudly on show.

Octopath Traveler II review: a pixelated scene shows characters stood around a pirate ship

Battles additionally look unbelievable, because the HD-2D fashion is prettier this time round. Extra dynamic digital camera angles, a greater variety of poses for characters, and a gentle stream of particle results imply that this pixelated world feels extra alive than some totally 3D adventures. Sq. additionally improved exploring cities, because the aforementioned digital camera angles are a step ahead for the typically stiff angles of the unique Octopath. That is a completely attractive sport, and given the enhancements to the HD-2D fashion from the predecessor, I’m already greedily imagining the place Sq. Enix takes this fashion sooner or later. That Dragon Quest 3 remake can’t come quickly sufficient.

Talking of exploring cities, the forged’s jobs aren’t only for battle, as every member of your occasion is able to completely different abilities, which change the way you work together with NPCs in every space. Throné is a thief, so is ready to steal objects from of us, although a failure does trigger you to lose your fame in that city. Hikari is a warrior, so can problem cussed townsfolks to a duel, with a victory knocking them out of the best way and probably revealing an extra path. In the meantime, Agnea can attract NPCs into battle along with your occasion, convincing them to hitch you in fights.

Octopath Traveler II review: a pixelated scene shows several characters running around a dock at night

This litany of various abilities makes it a pleasure to discover every new space whereas additionally making it a strategic minefield attempting to stability your occasion each in battle abilities, and overworld skills. Fortunately there appears to be a great stability regardless of who you select, however narrowing your eight characters all the way down to a celebration of 4 is a battle upon getting a number of favourites. There appears to be far more voice performing this time round as effectively (and of a better high quality), making it even simpler to fall in love with every hero.

To date, so good. Octopath Traveler II is a great evolution of every little thing that makes the unique nice, and it seems much more attractive than we thought doable. One main grievance for the unique is the segmented nature of the tales, because it typically seems like these eight tales exist in their very own vacuum, with out a lot interplay between your occasion of misfits.

Octopath Traveler II review: a pixelated scene shows a large locomotive, with a man dressed like a cowboy stood next to it

Sq. Enix is on document saying that Octopath Traveler II goals to stability this, as your characters meet and work together greater than ever earlier than. Nevertheless, as we’ve solely simply obtained to know our new crew, we are able to’t converse a lot about how a lot they work together because the story progresses. They could effectively set off on grand adventures collectively, however to date, we now have solely seen an inkling of this higher connection between the forged. It’s an enchancment to make certain, however we hope to see a transparent step up as we full the sequel.

Should you like the primary entry, a collection of sensible enhancements imply there’s an excellent probability you’re going to like Octopath Traveler II. That is nonetheless a grand, and conventional JRPG journey, so prepare for practically 100 hours of turn-based battles and deep, intricate tales. As we play extra, we hope to see these loveable travellers spend some extra time collectively, however that is already a prettier, richer, and extra addictive entry within the franchise that we are able to’t wait to finish.

For extra content material like this, check out our Octopath Traveler 2 characters and Octopath Traveler 2 launch date guides.