The new role-playing game Octopath Traveler is better than the Switch original

The new role-playing game Octopath Traveler is better than the Switch original

Three evil tyrants overlook the continent of Orsterra.

picture: Square Enix

Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent, newly available on mobile, is a worthy sequel to the original 2018 Switch RPG. I was expecting a watered-down combat system and menu hell like many other gacha games on mobile. Square Enix proved me wrong. master retains the visuals and music that were made octopath a unique title in a field of pretty RPGs, and its The streamlined combat is a massive improvement over the grindiness of the original game. octopath is even better on mobile than ever on the Nintendo Switch.

In 2018, Square Enix released the original Octopathic Traveler on the Nintendo Switch. Located on the same continent as Orsterra, master is a prequel set an unspecified time ago octopath. While the protagonists of octopath appearing in some side quests, the narrative revolves around a group of cheerful adventurers united by the sacred ring worn by the first “Chosen One”, your first player character (who is randomly swiped through the gacha). It’s an interesting take on the first game’s narrative system, in which eight characters randomly banded together for even more tenuous reasons. While side quests revolve around each of the characters, the main campaign focuses on three themes: wealth, fame, and power. Each main quest line revolves around overthrowing a tyrant that exemplifies one of these qualities. The adventuring party can also earn points in each of these qualities, which affect NPC recruitment and resource gathering.

Sofia hangs out with an architect and her cat.

screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Critics generally praised the first octopath the game’s art style, combat, and music, but some found the progression difficult and the story uninteresting. So I was a little nervous when I found out master was a mobile game. Many gamers used to premium console titles often find the mobile grind too frustrating to endure. Having played games on mobile for years, I have a tremendous amount of patience, but even I remember feeling that Octopathic Traveler was a bloated time sink. I was prepared master to exacerbate the original problem.

I was also concerned about how good the octopath The art style would adapt to a mobile game. The character designs are quirky, effectively tapping into the nostalgia many players feel for the 16-bit JRPGs of the ’90s, but they’re not exactly fancy or flashy. With the exception of dancers, the characters wear pragmatic clothes in earthy colors. I couldn’t imagine being obsessed with fanart octopath Characters like I did with Caenis Destiny/Grand Order or the dragon maid Ch’en in Arknights. when i started masterI hardly remembered what the Octopathic Traveler characters looked.

Those were the concerns I had before actually playing the game. Eight hours later, those concerns largely forgotten, I realized that master is my absolute favorite way to play Octopathic Traveler. The auto-travel feature, where you flick the screen to automatically dash across the landscape, feels intuitive. There are buttons to stack each character’s moves at once, making ordinary fights go by much faster. If I only faced a few weak opponents, I could end the fight with two taps.

master also introduces the concept of reserve party members in the background who can swap in and out at will. If someone was hit by a status effect, I would just put them in the back row and use the reserve members. Benched characters also recover both health and SP (mana). With up to eight characters present in each battle, it’s easier to spread experience points across more characters.

In both games, combat mostly revolves around targeting enemy weaknesses to break their shields. This was difficult in the original game. Multiple enemies in the same fight often had different weaknesses (e.g. polearms, daggers, or fire), and boss fights became torturous when bosses changed their weaknesses. in the masterHowever, since my party was split into two lines, I was able to arrange my front line to break through enemy shields with multi-hit basic attacks on the first turn, and then use my back line of powerful characters to increase the enemy’s health on the next destroy round. I marveled at how master managed to do octopath feel less grindy by making very small changes. It didn’t need an overhaul, and combat still works much like it did in the Switch original.

The Orsterran party members are fighting a snow fox.

screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

But wait, there’s more! Status effect effects are now greatly reduced, a wise decision that allows champions to do away with inventory management entirely. I was able to obtain equippable weapons and armor, but no longer had to juggle recovery or status ailment items. I didn’t have to think about the difference between Herb of Clarity and Herb of Awakening, which was a truly hellish experience when I finished octopath last year. The NPC summoning system has also been greatly simplified. Summons are no longer tied to specific characters – you can now temporarily recruit people by fighting them or paying them, regardless of who is in your party. These might be sad changes for RPG fans who enjoy managing their inventories or enduring the consequences of status conditions, but they’ve given me a more enjoyable RPG experience.

master is also true to the stunning visuals, soundtrack and story that were made Octopathic Traveler so unforgettable in the first place. I felt so peaceful and relaxed walking around the city HD 2D landscape to the sound of Octopathic Traveler‘s energetic soundtrack. And I didn’t have to worry about character attractiveness – I loved every single person I recruited through the gacha system. The return of octopathThe character-centric questing system of has allowed me to connect with the characters at my own pace. While some RPG fans might feel that octopath Characters aren’t morally gray or complex enough, I admire how humble, relatable and genuinely likeable the characters are. I’m used to recruiting highborn nobles, legendary warriors and even gods in other gacha games. And while the cast consists of up to 80 playable characters, the writing makes each of them distinctive and personable in a down-to-earth way. Instead of everything being incredibly high at stake and intense, I’ve spent a lot of time just helping people feed their kids or figure out their research project. The characters in both games are motivated by altruism or an inherent appreciation for worldly wonders rather than revenge or malice. It was relaxing to see characters getting annoyed with small misunderstandings or easily resolved human struggles. I love JRPG melodramas about secret bloodlines or whatever, but sometimes I just want to chill with people who have normal human weaknesses. master fills this niche perfectly.

The slimmer master Experience allowed me to return to my game whenever I felt like it, and I didn’t have to relearn a complicated system to progress. It offers the perfect balance of being accessible enough for those who have never gambled Octopathic Traveler and faithful enough for those who will master be a direct successor.

While mobile gacha games often get a bad rap for grabbing cash, it’s clear that the developers of master thought very carefully about designing a turn-based RPG that feels good. And many of the new combat and quest system redesigns are intended to improve the single player experience rather than the monetization aspect. The new features, the way the themes intersect with the game systems, and the relatable characters make master a greatly improved single player experience compared to its predecessor.

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