In an age the place remakes and retro-inspired initiatives attempt recreating what basic video games of previous felt like, Octopath Traveler II accomplishes one thing spectacular. Regardless of being rooted in fashionable design with a number of conveniences, it effortlessly captures the spirit, fashion, and sense of journey of one of the best RPGs from the SNES period, whereas nonetheless innovating and exhibiting there’s life in turn-based battles but. The feat is much more outstanding, contemplating Octopath II’s most vital adjustments are small and refined.
On the floor, Octopath Traveler II looks as if a clone of the unique. You decide certainly one of eight adventurers to begin with, accumulate the remaining seven as you go alongside, and ultimately see how their tales join, albeit considerably loosely. A sequence of enhancements, together with refined storytelling and extra complicated characters, make Octopath II really feel deeper and extra thrilling, just like the achievement of what the unique recreation tried to attain.
Even narrative setup that ought to be trite have sufficient nuance to maintain them attention-grabbing and the characters relatable. Osvald’s is your normal story of revenge, for instance, however he’s so damaged inside that he hardly ever speaks besides in inner monologues. The evil going through Ochette, the blissful hunter, is an historical power that threatens to destroy the world – but additionally deep-rooted racism towards her individuals.
The characters are deeper, however their actions exterior battle are nonetheless at odds with the world. You possibly can commit theft with violence towards a whole metropolis and face no penalties, amongst different issues, which gives the look of an RPG playground as an alternative of a dwelling world.
Fight fundamentals additionally stay the identical, although that’s no dangerous factor. Enemies have weaknesses that, when exploited, scale back their defend factors till they break and enter a surprised state. Allies can save enhance factors and spend them to extend their assault energy, and you’ll combine and match secondary job lessons to create highly effective hybrid warriors.
Whereas the construction is unchanged, Sq. Enix made some welcome tweaks to most job lessons, together with just a few new skills that alter the circulate of battle and handle to make fight really feel contemporary. One in every of these new enhancements is every character’s Latent Energy, a capability that augments their different abilities in highly effective methods. Encounters really feel higher balanced, with a tense rhythm of good selections timed proper, they usually don’t outstay their welcome.
Grinding to lift ranges is less complicated now, because of a day and night time system, the place stronger monsters emerge at night time. It’s price wandering round at nighttime anyway, simply to see how the world adjustments.
Octopath II’s map is a major enchancment over the unique. Sq. Enix crammed secrets and techniques massive and small into virtually each nook of the continent, and it’s all the time price monitoring them down. For each frequent treasure and restorative merchandise you discover, there’s a hidden dungeon, a secret job, or an deserted village with a captivating new questline that solely seems at night time.
Sq. Enix’s HD-2D visible fashion has grown as a medium, and the proof is demonstrated via the sport’s extremely detailed environments and layers of curiosity. It’s actually on show as properly, because the filter that blurred something not instantly round you is, fortunately, gone. The results of all this can be a beautiful, wealthy world that’s really a pleasure to discover.
Octopath Traveler II does what a superb sequel ought to. As a substitute of breaking new floor left and proper, it improves on the unique in almost each approach and feels extra assured concerning the tales it tells. There’s nonetheless room for enchancment in a few of its stiffer areas, however Octopath II is a sterling achievement throughout.