Why I stopped playing Octopath TRAVELER (Octopath Traveler review)

Why I Stopped Playing Octopath Traveler
My Octopath Traveler Review

Octopath Traveler is a beautiful but repetitive old school RPG love letter. Some fans will be head over heels and blissfully run through the 60+ hour campaign. Yet at 40 hours, I am finding it hard to finish the remaining twenty. I started playing this game and was really excited by the battle system and gorgeous graphics but the grind and bland storytelling has made me want to stop playing all together.  

The main problem is the format of the game, with 8 separate stories that all have the same format, you feel like you are watching a serialized anime that has the same format for every episode. Character enters town, character does fetch quest for townsfolk, something goes wrong, walk through perilous path to a boss fight and repeat. This would be fine if we were telling some compelling stories but each one of the 8 character stories are just long character arcs with predictable endings and small character moments. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy a few characters here (Hannit, mostly) but the grind of it makes it so you have to play through everyone’s stories and there are some characters, mainly Tressa, that are so damn annoying that I had to felt the need to skip through their stories.

The battle system is compelling and it is fun but the grind is not. The battle system emphasis on discovering your enemies’ weakness and exploiting it make each battle a little RPG battle mystery and it’s why I put the time I did into the battles. Each boss fight has a new way to battle and it keeps these fights fresh, for a while. Too bad they get as repetitive as the story. Some are real standouts like Lord of The Forest, but the rest get old quick.

The boss fight that just made me stop playing was the Dragon. I had grinded so most of my team were above the level of the path that lead up to the boss but it was still a tough road leading to it. Which is something Octopath uses often. Lengthening the level to make it “harder” but really just padding the experience out. When I finally got to the Dragon and it wiped me out the first two times. I shook it off as luck. On my third go I realized that I didn’t stand a chance and would need to leave this area to go grind, come back, and repeat this area again. This broke me. I had already done a lot of grinding, just repeat random battles with woodland creature enemies just to get there and it still wasn’t enough. This game wanted me to keep grinding just to get through a very generic dragon boss fight and I realized that I didn’t need to know the endings to any of these character’s stories.

The main reason to buy this game is the beautiful graphics. I love the now copyrighted “HD-2D” style. It breathes life into this mostly stale RPG world. If only they used this style in a game with actual nuance like the games it is drawing inspiration from. I would love to see some Final Fantasy remakes with these graphics, I think those would play more to the nostalgia that Octopath is trying to tap into here. Each of the 8 characters are just an archetype of an old character classes, nothing you haven’t played before. My favorite parts are when they actually innovate on the formula, but said innovation is few and far between.

My favorite character in the game was actually the first one I picked: Hannit. The hunter from the village of people with the weirdest accents in the game. At first I was like “ I hope not everyone in this game speaks in Middle English” Then when I started the other stories you realized that everyone else talks normally and only this village has this quirk. It’s kind of like how cockney accents aren’t high class but they want to be. I loved that about Hannit and the village. It added this great layer to her story. She also stands out because of her ability to capture normal enemies. You weaken them like Pokémon and then capture them with her ability. She can then use them and their powers a number of times to battle others. You’re basically a Pokémon wizard and I love it. This little skill is the reason she never left my party and became my main. She’s the reason I stuck around for as long as I did.

Octopath Traveler is an interesting game that falls apart due to its own format. It makes everything repetitive and the grind can be a real haul. Having to play through all 8 character’s stories, you will fall in love with some and want to just skip the rest. I know some will really love this game and this will be a worthwhile buy from them. If you’re not nostalgic, it might not be the best fit for you. The graphics are real pretty doe.

Rating: 6 out of 10 fetch quests

Galaxy Of Geek Breakdown

Console: Switch

Price 30% off at eshop sale ($42)

Hours Played: 40 (Act 3 or more on most of the 8 Stories)

Recommend for: Lovers of classic turn based RPGs.

Not Recommended for: If you don’t have as much nostalgia for older RPGs and are looking for something more innovative.  

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