Let’s find out together, in this dedicated preview, our first impressions on the initial three hours of Octopath Traveler II, the Aquire title arriving on March 24th and of which a demo has also been released on Nintendo Switch
February 24 is very close now, the day in which we will finally be able to get our hands on the full version of Octopath Traveler II, sequel to the 2018 title at the time exclusive to Nintendo Switch, but which this time will also arrive on Sony consoles and PC. Developed by Aquire and published by Square EnixOctopath Traveler II will return to tell the story of eight different protagonists with distinct paths and strands, but which intertwine with each other creating a decidedly interesting amalgam on paper.
From last night’s Nintendo Direct came a new trailer for the game with which the developers announced the release of the Prologue Demo, available on Nintendo eShop. A bit like we did with Triangle Strategy and Bravely Default II, Square Enix puts Octopath Traveler II in our hands to give us a taste: three hours of play, during which we will be able to complete the first chapter of any character we want (the only exception is Osvald, who has two chapters up his sleeve). We have therefore spent our three hours in the world of Octopath Traveler II and we want to give you our first impressions with this dedicated preview.
Octopath Traveler II: A Sneak Before Launch!
What Square Enix had managed to build with Octopath Traveler was an excellent JRPG, with a solid combat system and a huge world to explore, but which lost its edge over the hours due to a narrative too fragmentary and dispersive. Simultaneously following eight different strands, with completely different supporting actors and protagonists, wasn’t particularly difficult, but it inexorably lengthened an already very long stock.
Even if the player chose to follow the story of only one character at a time, this was precluded from the same game as it imposed important level-gaps between one story mission and the next, which required extreme grinding or, more simply, following how the developers had developed the narrative. And so off we go, a leap towards a new hero.
We stayed in EIGHT… | Octopath Traveler II preview
The underlying concept remained intact in Octopath Traveler II: eight different heroes, with completely different social backgrounds, places of origin, backgrounds and even classes are eyed by our camera. We follow their vicissitudes by discovering their past and present and accompanying them in what will be their story. For our test with the Prologue Demo we decided to follow Hikari, a young warrior who lives in the kingdom of Khu, in the desert of Hinoeuma. The country is constantly at war and Hikari is the son of a king, with a noble and valiant soul, who will find himself mixed up in a plot bigger than him and will be forced to leave his land.
Equally trivial is the incipit of the other adventurous man we met shortly after in the Wild Lands. Partitio is a young and skilled merchant who has witnessed the rise and fall of the country founded by his father. Seekers of silver at the beginning, his family was initially enriched by managing to create a community based on mutual aid, only to fall into the deepest poverty due to a subterfuge by a powerful man. We are deliberately remaining vague to avoid ruining the little that is ruinable.
Begins banalOTTO | Preview of Octopath Traveler II
Indeed, as you can imagine, the narrative incipits have remained at the level of the first chapter of Octopath Traveler and deal with rather simple and basic themes, without particular narrative flashes. Obviously we have only seen two out of eight and, equally obviously, we don’t know how the adventures will continue, but even just delving into the characterizations of the protagonists, all rather trivial, makes us lose faith a lot. What we hope is something more, a quid that makes us understand that Square Enix has seriously listened to the players.
Everything Else, from Octopath Traveler II, exudes a terribly captivating charm. Starting from the combat system, which juggles exactly like that of the first chapter. Each character will be able to carry a variable number of weapons based on the class they belong to, with which they can inflict damage on enemies in turn-based combat with a party of up to four players.
Domination and Power Points | Octopath Traveler II preview
The choice of weapon obviously varies according to the enemy’s weaknesses which, provided they have already been revealed by fighting previously, will always be visible in a grid below the sprite. In Octopath Traveler II tthey also adorn the concepts of Domination and Power Pointstwo techniques that are particularly useful for increasing the damage dealt to enemies.
If you exploit the weakness of the enemy you are facing, you will be able to decrease its defense. By resetting it, you will enter a state of Domination, a sort of Stun that lasts a couple of turns and in which the damage inflicted will increase dramatically. And it is precisely at this moment in which it makes more sense to take advantage of Power Points (or PP) which, similarly to what was seen in Bravely Default with the Brave command, increase the number of hits inflicted by standard attacks or the damage of techniques and skills. Each hero accumulates one PP per turn and can use up to a maximum of four each time.
And so far, all the same as the prequel. A curious addition we found in Octopath Traveler II it’s the Latent Powers mechanic, of the techniques that can be used once the respective bars (small circles at the top right) have been filled. They are particularly powerful skills that vary from character to character and can easily turn the tide of a particularly difficult battle.
Exploration and NPCs in an Impressive World | Octopath Traveler II preview
As far as exploration is concerned, however, we have remained roughly at the level of the previous one, but greater emphasis has been placed on the day / night alternation. There are many NPCs that we will be able to meet in the cities and they will vary according to the time of day we visit them, both in terms of dialogues and unlockable side missions. Everything is made even more profound by the Talents of each protagonist, actions that can be carried out against NPCs and which can markedly influence the reputation in that given village. Hikari, for example, could bribe NPCs or challenge them to a duel, while Partitio can buy them specific items or hire them as mercenaries. In short, even in this sequel exploration plays a primary role and occupies a large part of the time we will spend controller in hand.
We don’t have much else to say and what is left out we will deal with in more detail in the review. In closing, we just want to underline how much the settings of Octopath Traveler II have fascinated us, both from an aesthetic point of view and from how they are rendered reactively speaking. The use of HD-2D has now become a trademark for Square Enix, masterfully used to make characters, landscapes and cities come alive as if not more than their 3D counterparts. Excellent work, for now, from this point of view.
We reserve the right to tell you more about it in the review, so we conclude this preview of Octopath Traveler II here. Net of everything, the Square Enix title currently seems to have the same combination of elements that characterized the first: we want to see if the developers have really listened to the user, filing everything wooden there was, especially from the point of narrative view. However you can say what you want, but we Octopath Traveler II are waiting for it very much, with heart in hand.
Octopath Traveler II will be available starting February 24th on PC, PS4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch. Let us know if you will buy it below in the comments, we will continue to keep you updated with all the videogame and tech-themed news, guides and reviews! And if you are interested in game keys at advantageous prices, we suggest you take a look at the Kinguin catalogue!