Eight heroes, pixel diorama style, battles with boost mechanics – in many respects Octopath Traveler 2 is very similar to its predecessor, but in some respects it is surpassed by the sequel.
All screenshots and video scenes are from GamersGlobal
It feels a bit like yesterday when I was already in June 2018 the test version of Octopath Traveler (in the test: grade 8.5), because the JRPG, which was initially released exclusively for Nintendo Switch the following month, was and is an adventure of a special kind. Because I play eight heroes in it, because it has beautiful, detailed pixel graphics and also because the round-based battles, including the booster and crusher mechanics, keep you entertained over the long term and don’t lack tactical depth.
So far, I could do exactly the same about the sequel Octopath Traveler 2 write, because the basic concept of the sequel changes – at least at first glance – nothing. You can find out what becomes apparent at second glance and why I like the successor (which I played on the Switch this time) even a touch better in the following lines and in the test video embedded above.
|Similar to Part 1, crusher mechanics and booster points are used to overload attacks and most other abilities. Each hero also has a “latent power” that can also be partially overloaded with a booster.
Eight times boost and break
In Octopath Traveler 2 you also choose one of the eight heroes, experience their history and then “collect” the other seven playable characters in the world – the structure of the story works like in the first part. Everyone not only has their own story, but also their own skills and their own profession. The classes, called “races,” determine which weapon branches you can equip and which skills you can unlock for them (in more or less any order). Significantly earlier than in the predecessor, you can now choose an additional career.
This is particularly important because you should cover all damage types with your maximum of four active party members, whereby the JRPG distinguishes between weapon types and separately between fire, ice or other magic. You use them specifically against the individual weaknesses of the enemy types in order to “break” them, i.e. to crack their defenses, knock them out for a round and make them more susceptible to damage. In connection with this, booster points are important again. This allows you to amplify most individual actions up to four times or hit them with a sword up to four times in one character trait or shoot an arrow at an opponent with a bow. Only if you don’t use up a booster point beforehand do you get an additional point for the following round. When and where you use the points collected for each hero is tactically very important. Players of the predecessor know this and the system is still good and fun!
|This full-screen fireball hits all enemies. The flames only lead to a defensive breach in the two front ones.
New in Octopath Traveler 2 are a few new so-called path actions, more or less individual abilities of the heroes, who can then, for example, buy special objects from NPCs or steal them (partly depending on the time of day, which can be changed at any time). However, you shouldn’t get caught with the latter – it’s unwise to start the action if you’re not strong enough to succeed. Otherwise your reputation in the towns and villages will suffer. And it can be expensive to restore it. In addition to these and many other path actions and a very individual passive talent, each hero has a latent power that can be used in battle after charging – the charge is not reset after the end of a battle.
For warrior Hikari, the power is called Shadow Grip. With it, you ignite various, extremely powerful attacks that even the bosses don’t leave unimpressed. In the case of Händler Partitio, on the other hand, the so-called exhilaration ensures that the booster point bar is completely filled up in one go, whereby you can use a maximum of four of the maximum six points at once, as usual. Apothecary Castti can thus create remedies in combat without requiring skill points or even ingredients. Dancer Agnea, who can otherwise only buff one competitor with her hip swing, is able to do this to all party members at once with Latent Power.
It would be an exaggeration to call Latent Forces a revolution compared to its predecessor. But that adds another tactical component that can be worth its weight in gold, especially in bossfights. I certainly find them an asset, although I rarely used a few of them as they ultimately aren’t quite as effective as, for example, my chosen leader Hikari’s aforementioned Shadow Grip attacks.
|You don’t have to love the graphic style, but I really like the detailed pixel graphics. The soundtrack also creates a powerful atmosphere – and when all the characters at a jetty switch directly from walking to small boats, I’m in love for my part.
Nice story, strong atmosphere
As for the story, I don’t want to spoil any details. I like the characters and their backgrounds definitely arouse my interest. For me personally, however, as is so often the case in Japanese role-playing games, a lot is rolled out too broadly. And I don’t think it’s up to date if loosely a third of the text boxes are filled with blah blah or a groan. Although I can skip entire dialogue sequences and cutscenes, I would prefer less unnecessary filler.
What is once again great is the general atmosphere. I like this diaroma look with pixel art that’s lovingly animated all over. Whether it’s splashing water from fountains or my hero and his companions automatically switch to small boats at the end of a jetty. On top of that comes a fantastic soundtrack (although a lot seems to have been recycled from the predecessor) and good voice acting. However, I only played a little in English, almost exclusively in Japanese. The length of what is said shows that the German version is either very free or based on the English dialogues. But the German lyrics are good, you don’t have to worry about that.
Author: Benjamin Braun, Editor: Hagen Gehritz (GamersGlobal)
Opinion: Benjamin Brown
Octopath Traveler 2 is so similar to its predecessor that I can recommend every fan of part 1 to buy it with a clear conscience. At the same time, apart from the story and the new hero octet, there are some fresh elements that refine the already great combat system. In addition, comfort is increased, certain restrictions of the predecessor are eliminated, while freedom is also increased in other areas.
The visual style may not be for everyone. I like the often diorama-like scenery in combination with a high-quality pixel look. With the atmospheric soundtrack alone, the game also provides a wonderful acoustic backdrop somewhere between fairytale-dreamy and heroic-adventurous. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve played the first Octopath Travler yourself or are considering joining the series with part 2, in both cases you’ll get a really good JRPG that even slightly surpasses its extremely successful predecessor.
Octopath Traveler 2
- Hero prologues (apart from the leader) can initially be skipped
- For a JRPG comparatively little grinding
- Comfortable fast travel to places already visited
- Various enemy types…
- Eight interesting playable heroes
- Great round battles with fine booster and crusher mechanics
- More tactical depth through “latent forces”
- Lush main quest and several side missions
- … which are often too similar on the outside
- Mainly invisible opponents (random battles) in the world
- Too much blah blah in dialogs
- Beautiful graphic style
- Lots of lovingly animated details
- Colorful effects in battle
- Many, albeit short loading times
- Good English and Japanese speakers
- Fantastic soundtrack
- Cool sound effects and sayings in battle
- Good, apparently very free German text translation
- No German voice output
- Mouse keyboard
- steering wheel
- Oculus Rift
- HTC Vive
- PlayStation VR
- Copy protection-free GoG version
- Epic Games Store
- Manufacturer Account Connection
- Constant internet connection
- Internet connection at startup