Octopath Traveler was one of the first games revealed for the Nintendo Switch. A year and a half later, we are now getting close to the full release of the game. So take a seat and let me tell you about this upcoming title.
Octopath Traveler Preview
At the start of Octopath Traveler, you will get to choose from eight different characters. You will ultimately get to recruit all of them to your party, but at the start, you can only pick one. There is a knight, a thief, a hunter, a merchant, an apothecary, a professor, a dancer, and a cleric. For the Prologue Demo, we ended up picking Alfyn the Apothecary. As a young boy, Alfyn got sick and was healed by a traveling doctor. Due to this, he has been training to become an Apothecary to create healing elixirs. When a snake poisons one of the villagers, it is up to you to heal her. The only way to craft the antivenom is to get the venom from the snake.
Alfyn may be a healer, but he is also versed in ice magic and axes. Gathering herbs is dangerous work, and he needed a way to defend himself. When you leave town, you will be in the wilds and run into enemies. Octopath has a turn-based combat system, meaning you take turns. The key to winning combat is finding enemy weaknesses, and exploiti them. If you break through an enemies armor with their weakness, they will be stunned. When they are stunned, they cannot act, and you get a free action. To break through some of the tougher enemies, you will need to use your boost attacks.
Boost attacks are just what they sound like: boosted attacks. Each turn, you will earn a boost that you can use to power up your actions. You can use up to three boosts in one turn. They can be used on weapon attacks, magic attacks, skills, or when defending. If you can use your boost abilities correctly, you can get out of fights without being hit. If you use them wrong though, it can make for a quick end to your journey. Even with the limited time in the demo, I could tell that the boost will be the key to combat.
Being that Octopath Traveler is an RPG, there are plenty of side activities to do as well. Each character has a unique Path Action that they can use on NPCs. Alfyn can Inquire with NPCs. Inquire will get him info on some hidden treasure, side quests, or even discounts at shops. There are others as well, such as thieving and dueling, depending on your character at the time. Side quests get you extra cash and loot, and you can complete them in different ways. With Inquire, you can use the info you get to complete quests without fighting sometimes. Other characters might have to defeat enemies to get the same result. The Path Actions give you extra options to let you play the way you want to play.
Octopath has a unique look to it as well. It is classified as HD-2D. The art is 16 bit, super Nintendo era style, but the environments and effects are more high definition. It might sound bizarre, but it works well, especially in handheld mode. No crashes, no glitches, and no frame drops were experienced during both docked and handheld play. The soundtrack is also very strong from what I got to hear. It gets stuck in your head, and each new zone or town is brought to life with the background music.
While the demo only gave us a small slice of Octopath Traveler, we like what we’ve played so far. Octopath Traveler releases July 13 for the Nintendo Switch.