Octopath Traveler Review - Read Before Buying

Octopath Traveler Review, octopath game review
Octopath, The Start of a Great Adventure

From the moment Octopath Traveler was announced, JRPG fans around the globe were spellbound. The first trailer showed us stunning graphics, gave us a glimpse into a gripping story, and reintroduced the classic turn-based combat system we all know and love. But does the game live up to the trailer’s promises? When I heard about the game, I kept myself away from all information about it until I got my hands on it, so I’ll be able to give you a fresh, unbiased perspective on what to expect before you buy.

About Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler is a JRPG game with a massive world. It takes players on a journey through the continent of Orsterra, which is full of dense forests, vast deserts, frozen mountain ranges, quiet plains, and much more, all of which are swarming with tons of unique monsters to encounter. As you play, you’ll explore a gorgeous 2.5D environment with pixelated characters and NPCs, giving the game a modern, yet retro feel.

The game was released on July 13th, and the minute it launched, gamers squabbled to get their hands on it. It was so popular, in fact, that Square Enix underestimated how many physical copies they’d need to produce, and ended up apologizing for a shortage of supply on Twitter! With the same team that made the acclaimed Bravely Default games as the developers, and with over a year and a half since the first trailer, it comes as no surprise that everyone wanted a copy. So, did it live up to expectations?

Octopath Traveler Story

The game’s story follows eight main characters, each of which has their own separate journey. The really cool thing about this is that you can choose whoever’s story to follow. There’s Cyrus, a mage-scholar in search of an ancient tome; Tressa, a young merchant who wants to travel the world; Olberic, a knight who lost his kingdom in a war and no longer knows his purpose for wielding a blade; Primrose, a dancer who seeks revenge against the men who killed her father; Alfyn, an apothecary who wants to travel the land to aid the sickly; Therion, a thief with a mysterious past; H’aanit, a huntress who is seeking her missing master; and finally, Ophilia, a cleric who decided to take on a treacherous journey in place of her adoptive sister. The order you follow their stories is up to you. 

It all sounds pretty awesome, but to be frank… each story is a little lackluster. Well, they’re not that bad, but they all leave something to be desired. Each character’s motivation can be a little confusing or not-so-compelling. You might wonder why one character is so concerned about something, or what another’s real goal is in the first place. Not to mention the voice acting is a bit on the awkward side, with some characters sounding much better than others in terms of emotion. But that’s not to say everything’s terrible. In fact, many of the concepts behind each story are interesting, and you do end up wondering what will happen next in all of them. Some moments will even take you by surprise or leave your jaw hanging. I wouldn’t discredit the story completely.

Octopath Traveler Gameplay

Each of the eight characters in Octopath Traveler has their own unique class, as mentioned above. But there’s an interesting little twist: each character also comes with his or her own “Path Action,” which affects how you can play the game outside combat. For example, Therion can steal things from NPCs, and Primrose can allure them into following her. You can use these Path Actions to complete side quests or just have fun. The NPCs themselves have much more depth than you’d expect. They each come with their own stories, which you can find out about through Path Actions or side quests. And the real kicker: every town has its own reputation system. If you fail to steal too many things or pester the townspeople too much with interrogation, they’ll all come to distrust you and won’t let you interact with them anymore. Luckily, there’s a way to restore your reputation, though, if you don’t mind paying a price.

When it comes to the world itself, it’s huge. And I mean huge. It has one of those maps where you have to scroll a good distance just to find the edges. You’ll never run out of things to explore, and the world even feels like it scales with your level. No matter where you go, you’ll always be met with a challenge. The game as a whole is definitely replayable. There’s a near-infinite amount of ways to grow your characters, even though each is restricted to a single primary class. You choose the order in which they learn skills, and the earlier you recruit them on your quest, the higher a level they’ll be than the ones you recruit later. And every single cutscene is skippable!

Octopath Traveler Combat

It may be classic turn-based combat, but somehow it’s still more exciting and creative than almost anything out there. If you’ve ever played Bravely Default, you’ll feel right at home. And if not, the learning curve is really easy, and before you know it you’re concocting crazy strategies like a master. Personally, I never thought turn-based combat could be so thrilling.

There are tons of factors that come into play in battle. A character’s speed stat determines how likely he or she is to go before others each turn. And, of course, you have classic stats like attack, magic, crit chance, evasion, and more. As characters level up, they’ll learn skills that pertain to their classes, and in the order you choose. You can fully outfit your characters in whatever equipment you can find, too, to enhance their capabilities. Unfortunately, armor and weapons aren’t displayed visually, but the freedom and the variety are more than satisfying enough. There are countless items to discover, and lots of slots on each character so you can customize how they fight. If you want a mage who can clobber enemies with his staff harder than he hits them with magic, you can do that. The visuals and animations during combat are, to say the least, stunning. No, really, even though the whole art style is retro, you’ll be taken aback by how awesome your attacks and skills look. Not to mention the voice acting during combat is actually surprisingly good, compared to the rest of the game. If an attack hits hard, it’ll feel like it. And the whole user interface is very clear and easy to understand, too. Well, most of it. But everything is easy enough to figure out.

Octopath Traveler Quest/Mission System

Each character has one main questline to follow, and there are tons of side quests throughout the game. When it comes to the main storyline, you can choose to complete it in any order you want. You can’t, however, just follow one character’s story alone. If you try to do that, the quests will be too high leveled for you to complete. Instead, you have to complete chapter 1 for each character, then chapter 2, then chapter 3, and so on, staying even throughout the game. This can be a little tedious, because chapters will take place on completely different places on the map, and you can’t invest too much in a single story at a time. Fortunately, though, fast travel to towns you’ve already visited is available, and the game recaps you on each story every time you start a new chapter. As for the side quests, there’s no shortage of them. However, they’re a bit different from most games. When an NPC gives you a side quest, you aren’t told what to do at all. Instead, you’ll simply run into a person with a problem, and you have to figure out how to help them. It’s a nice twist that keeps the game interesting, and makes the world seem authentic. And if you figure out how to complete a side quest, you’re sometimes rewarded handsomely. 

Octopath Traveler Graphics

One word: breathtaking.

 Don’t let the retro style fool you. If you’re looking to explore a beautiful world, you’ve come to the right game. Not only does the environment look captivating at every turn, but there’s so much variety in it, too. The world really feels like a world, with all sorts of climates and colors and hidden places to discover. Every place you visit is unique, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, the game proves you wrong.

Octopath Traveler Developer

Again, Octopath Traveler was developed by Square Enix, by the same team that made the Bravely Default games. And it’s pretty easy to tell. The games feel very reminiscent of each other. But that’s not to say it’s repetitive at all; on the contrary, it’s an entirely new experience. From a top-quality company comes a top-quality game, with no bugs or design problems to speak of. Everything works seamlessly. There also won’t be any DLC or major updates to the game, which is refreshing to see in the gaming industry these days. Square Enix even threw some shade on other developers, saying Octopath Traveler would not have any DLC because it is “a finished product.” Ouch.

Octopath Traveler Price

Octopath Traveler is currently available for the Nintendo Switch at stores and in the Nintendo eShop for $59.99. There aren’t any in-game purchases. You get it all in one package!


  • Beautiful graphics
  • Immersive gameplay
  • Exciting and creative combat system
  • Huge world to explore
  • Tons of freedom
  • Nostalgic and modern at the same time
  • Seemingly limitless content
  • Fairly replayable


  • So-so story
  • Voice acting of variable quality, usually awkward
  • Can feel really slow, especially at the start

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Eve has been a gamer ever since she got her first PC back in the year of 2000 and loves a good strategy game on a rainy day.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Xcom 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Prison Architect, Tropico 5, Sid Meier's Civilization V