A popular JRPG from 2018, Octopath’s Traveler’s HD-2D graphic style combined retro-inspired pixel art character sprites on top of highly-detailed 3D environments. This aesthetic combined with the turn-based battle system using a boost system similar to Bravely Default led to the game that checked all the boxes for a classic JRPG but was also contemporary enough to to appeal to multiple generations of gamers. Octopath Traveler II will be released later this month, and even though the few hours of playtime have only scratched the surface of the sequel, it’s clear to see the potential it has in building upon what made the original great.
Like its predecessor, Octopath Traveler II gives players a choice between eight different heroes in which to start their adventure. They are scattered about the world, each with their different abilities and motivations for adventuring away from home. Dancer, scholar and merchant are but a few of the backgrounds of each hero. Aside from having different combat attributes Path Actions return, but with the new day and night system each character has two different actions they can take depending on whether the sun is out. Castti the Apothecary can obtain information from townsfolk during the day, but at night she can heal the citizens and let them get some rest.
Octopath Traveler II is about eight separate heroes whose stories can connect and intertwine as the game progresses. Because of this there isn’t really a wrong character to pick when starting a game; just select who’s circumstances seem the most interesting or which character class seems to fit the preferred RPG playstyle. The result ends up being a story with eight individual heroes with their own unique story, but tying everything together creates a sense of community where each of them end up being part of something much bigger.
While the characters are new and unique to this entry, some of them will feel familiar to fans of the original. Warrior Hikari was the initial hero chosen during the start of the preview play session. His story and personality is different, but there are many similarities between him and Olberic Eisenberg. He wields a sword and spear as his default weapon, and even some of this learnable skills will be familiar to fans of the original. His daytime Path Action allows him to challenge villagers to battle, but at night he puts his weapons away in exchange for his coin purse in hopes of loosening lips about what nefarious deeds may be happening in town.
The new world of Solistia offers advancements from the original system but keeps things familiar enough where it has the comfort of seeing an old friend after an extended absence. The new Latent Powers feature adds more depth and another layer of strategy to battle, but the system of boosting attacks and breaking one’s enemies is just as it was in the original. It’s early to say how well this will measure up to the bar set by its predecessor, but after a few hours there’s optimism about this being a worthy sequel. Octopath Traveler II will release on February 24 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Switch.