The original Octopath Traveler was announced alongside the Nintendo Switch to great fanfare. It had a unique art style that mixed pixel art sprites and buildings with HD assets like flowing water, swirling sand, and amazing lighting effects. It really was a sight to behold.
That name, however, was very confusing until it launched. But, now we understand that is explains the formula for the plot and gameplay. The game features 8 protagonists as they gather together and travel across the world to complete their stories. This was a novel concept but left a lot to be desired.
Octopath Traveler 2 fixes all of the first game’s deficits. The art style is gorgeous (in fact the lighting on the PS5 version is among the best I have seen). The protagonists are all very interesting (they include a merchant who wants to end all poverty, and a mage who wants to prove his innocence after being framed for murder!)
I’ll start with the obvious. OT2 is a turn-based RPG where you build a party of characters and move around on a map dealing with random encounters as you go from place to place. This is a tried and true formula that has been in place since the Nintendo era. This is an archaic design compared to modern RPGs that often put the monsters on the map itself to encounter (and potentially avoid), but it was very nostalgic for me.
Once you get past the archaic parts, the game’s design sings. The goal in combat is to overcome each opponent’s defenses and “stagger” them. You do this by damaging them with attacks that they are weak against (Like spears, or ice magic). This makes every fight into a puzzle while you poke at the enemy to find their weaknesses only to exploit them. This is particularly fun in the epic boss fights where you need to Stagger the bosses in order to prevent them from pulling off massive (and often fight-ending) attacks.
The story is also more interesting this time as the characters interact with each other’s stories more often. They aren’t exactly entangled. But each of the eight stories comes to an interesting conclusion (even if they aren’t all surprising).
Once the stories are complete there is an end-game segment featuring a series of boss encounters that are among the most challenging fights I have ever had in an RPG. They are long, and tactical, and really pushed my knowledge of the game mechanics to the limit. (When you get here… don’t take them lightly. One of them was more than a half-hour long!)
Can Kids Play Octopath Traveler 2?
This is a challenging game that requires a lot of reading and navigating menus in order to play. This, at the very least, makes it impossible for anyone without advanced reading skills.
Advanced readers will be in better shape, but then will then have to contend with puzzle-like combat. This is no small feat as each enemy in the game needs to be hit by a specific combination of weapon or magic attacks in order to “Break” and take more damage. This is particularly important for the game’s boss battles. They are all but impossible to beat if you can’t figure out the puzzle.
Should Kids Play Octopath Traveler 2?
Octopath Traveler 2 was rated T for Teen by the ESRB. It was assigned the rating descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco.
The ESRB Rating Summary is available on the entry on the ESRB site. But, the highlights are below.
There is some mild violence in the game. The violence is abstracted by pixel art, but it is there.
Cutscenes sometimes depict small defenseless characters killed by bladed weapons. Swords or bags are sometimes depicted with blood stains.
The suggestive material is likely where a lot of parents till take issue. Octopath Traveler is not a Pokemon game. These characters are, mostly, all adults so they do encounter some mature situations. Nothing graphic is shown, said, or discussed, but the passage from the ESRB description below should explain the worst of things.
The game contains some suggestive material: a female character designed with low-cut clothing and deep cleavage; dialogue such as “…another brothel girl…[H]ow about entertaining us instead? I’m sure you’ll find us more satisfying than the lord himself”; “After you downed three full glasses of wine, you and I got up to all sorts of naughty hijinks”; “Why don’t you come have some fun with us?…[W]e were told we could have our way with you…”).
There are some alcohol and cigarette references as well. These are abstracted by pixel art in a similar way that violence is.
Characters are sometimes depicted drinking liquor and/or hiccupping and drunk; one scene depicts a character smoking a cigarette.
There is mild language spread throughout the game, but nothing appears in OT2 that hasn’t been in most Marvel movies.
The words “p*ssed” and “bastard” appear in the game.
This isn’t going to be a perfect game in every house, but any families that have an affinity for old-school JRPGs will definitely want to check this one out. It’s a great experience.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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