A discussion on female character tropes in Octopath Traveler

Primethius

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Article by Mashable: https://mashable.com/2018/08/10/octopath-traveler-review-sexist.amp/

Some choice quotes:
There's a clear, gendered difference between how the male and female protagonists storylines play out. We've seen this in the genre before, though JRPGs often get a pass, perhaps because American writers use "cultural differences" as an excuse or simply don't bother taking these stories very seriously.

But I'm tired of excuses for why we should ignore this bullshit.
After surviving her noble father's assassination, Lady Primrose went into hiding as a tavern's prized dancer. She and the other dancers are regularly beaten, starved, and raped by their "master." Yet Primrose is only motivated into leaving these abhorrently abusive conditions when one of the men who killed her father happens to walk in.

Inexplicably, the townsfolk make jokes about the dancers getting raped and lusting for the "private viewings" that their master forces them to do for him at night, if you know what I mean ;)))
One scene encapsulates the weirdly fetishistic vibes embedded into Octopath's depictions of fathers and daughters: A father goes to a pimp with the sob story of how his daughter killed herself after being raped. But he's not grieving for her. He's grieving for himself, for the loss of having a little girl to dress up like his living, incestuous sex doll.

He's elated to be given a sex slave in direct replacement for his "sullied," dead daughter.
Well worth the full read.
 
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Finale Fireworker

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This thread has been rebooted.

There is a meaningful discussion to be had about tropes in video games and the harmful constructs they uphold. Even if you disagree with the arguments presented in this article or the specific framing of this article, keep in mind that different people - especially women, who are directly affected by the nature of those tropes - might have different opinions than you. Treat each other with respect.

We will be monitoring this thread closely so that things don't get out of hand.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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I will say, in my only halfway through chapter two trip through the octo-verse, the game does seem to highlight that different people see the world differently. Also, merchants are pure of heart and capitalism is a super power you fight pirates with.
 

Mobyduck

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So, I want to add to a comment from the previous thread, that mentioned that the character, Primrose, is very badly developed. People say she chose to work at a place where she was sexually abused constantly so she could find the man responsible for killing her father, and as soon as he shows up, she kills the owner and leaves. Does the character show any kind of emotional trauma afterwards? It feels like one of the sticking points, at least for me, with the story is how shallow that part is.
 

Aaronrules380

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Reading the article I definitely think the writer has a point. Although their arguement that tropes and archetypes are different is wrong, archetypes are just one type of trope (and very few tropes are inherently guaranteed to be awful, it’s all about execution)
 

Bartend3r

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Tales of 4 strong women and I'm a big fan of female chars.

People exagerate too much IMO. It's just a game.
 

Barrel Cannon

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I think it's important for us to all consider that tropes of females being victims/hostages is something that has existed in media for a long time, not just games but in Movies, and literature as well. Imagine being a young child playing games and all you see is women being the victims always. It'll definitely shape how you perceive things as you grow older. For me it's something I never second guessed and always found normal as a result growing up. It's only recently where I realize it's a strange trope that we definitely need to distance ourselves from.
 

KRBM

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Some other choice quotes to perhaps better convey the author's charge of sexism:
This results is jarring scenes where, one minute, her master is beating her, calling her pet names like "kitten," telling her where she should put her mouth, threatening to rape and kill her unless she finds more patrons -- only for Primrose to saunter outside and obey by performing an adorable, winky, coy dance animation for a man on the street. [...] At one point in Chapter 2 of her story, she gives a little "hehe" giggle while talking about the things that used to happen at the tavern.
Maybe this focus on their youth, appearances, and fathers wouldn’t feel so gross if it happened to literally any of the male characters. But it doesn't. Youthful beauty and male masters only seem to be prerequisites for the women heroes of Octopath Traveler.
By the end of Primrose's story, the game seems oddly self aware that it gave her absolutely zero character motivation or personality outside her father. (By the way, her mom's barely mentioned, as usual.) She climatically goes to [redacted by KRBM – Spoiler], and all but shrugs because now that Daddy's been avenged, she has no idea who she is or what she even wants.
 

Farrac

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So, I want to add to a comment from the previous thread, that mentioned that the character, Primrose, is very badly developed. People say she chose to work at a place where she was sexually abused constantly so she could find the man responsible for killing her father, and as soon as he shows up, she kills the owner and leaves. Does the character show any kind of emotional trauma afterwards? It feels like one of the sticking points, at least for me, with the story is how shallow that part is.
She was intentionally working there because she had heard rumors about that man ocassionaly visiting the place, which is why she endured the situation. Once that man appears she leaves to follow him, but her "master" got in the way and killed her friend so she retaliated. The article doesn't seem to provide the whole context.
 

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I think it's important for us to all consider that tropes of females being victims/hostages is something that has existed in media for a long time, not just games but in Movies, and literature as well. Imagine being a young child playing games and all you see is women being the victims always. It'll definitely shape how you perceive things as you grow older. For me it's something I never second guessed and always found normal as a result growing up. It's only recently where I realize it's a strange trope that we definitely need to distance ourselves from.
Absolutely, and that's a big issue with the portrayal of women in media in general.
Even when they are not helpless hostages, too often they are only defined in relation to the men in their lives.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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I seriously disagree with the article. While Primrose's story does accentuate the seedy sexist nature of society. She is a strong character who fights to stop it. She uses their misconception against them by flirting her way to the information she needs. The villains being disgusting is completely intentional. You are meant to hate their disgusting actions.

The point about Ophilia and H'annit is ultimately not sexist either. Ophilia goes on the pilgrimage to allow her sister to do what she wants and stay by her dying father's side. How is that sexist? H'annit is going to try to find/save the guy who raised and taught her everything about hunting and ultimately saves his life. Not sexist. Both of these characters are on very important quests for them. They both show how strong they are throughout the game. H'annit even does what her teacher fails to do proving she is capable.

Just for completion sake, Tressa is just on a journey to better herself and follow the journal that fascinated her.

The only one that really has any claim to sexism is Primrose's and in a way it shows her overpowering those evil people.

The article feels like it just wants to complain about it based on one scene as opposed to the game aa a whole. The whole cast is portrayed well and evolve throughout the game... I respectfully disagree.
 

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The story overall is really bad. Characters are also very poorly written. So yeah, I can see why people would see it this way.
 

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I seriously disagree with the article. While Primrose's story does accentuate the seedy sexist nature of society. She is a strong character who fights to stop it. She uses their misconception against them by flirting her way to the information she needs. The villains being disgusting is completely intentional. You are meant to hate their disgusting actions.

The point about Ophilia and H'annit is ultimately not sexist either. Ophilia goes on the pilgrimage to allow her sister to do what she wants and stay by her dying father's side. How is that sexist? H'annit is going to try to find/save the guy who raised and taught her everything about hunting and ultimately saves his life. Not sexist. Both of these characters are on very important quests for them. They both show how strong they are throughout the game. H'annit even does what her teacher fails to do proving she is capable.

Just for completion sake, Tressa is just on a journey to better herself and follow the journal that fascinated her.

The only one that really has any claim to sexism is Primrose's and in a way it shows her overpowering those evil people.

The article feels like it just wants to complain about it based on one scene as opposed to the game aa a whole. The whole cast is portrayed well and evolve throughout the game... I respectfully disagree.
Yeah, I feel like most of this article either misrepresents the context, omits important information, or wilfully misses the point in trying to convey its central point.
Which is a shame, because as I said in the other thread, there are absolutely meaningful things we can discuss about how Octopath handles its portrayal of women and sexuality. All of that is lost in how muddied the waters are thanks to this article.
 

BassForever

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So, I want to add to a comment from the previous thread, that mentioned that the character, Primrose, is very badly developed. People say she chose to work at a place where she was sexually abused constantly so she could find the man responsible for killing her father, and as soon as he shows up, she kills the owner and leaves. Does the character show any kind of emotional trauma afterwards? It feels like one of the sticking points, at least for me, with the story is how shallow that part is.
One of the first lines in her story is that “there is no low that I won’t sink to so I can accomplish my goal”, why would she show emotional trauma after finding 1 of the 3 guys who murdered her father? Primrose didn’t accidentally become what she is at that start of OT, she deliberately chose that lifestyle as a child because she knew it was her best chance to get her revenge. The only time it would make any sense for her to have some kind of retrospective of her life is after she’s murdered all 3 members of the crow.
 
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The problem with Primrose is not that rape is glorified (which it's not) but that's it's treated like just another bad thing the bad guy does. It's not treated like something severe (like murder), it feels like even the victims treat it more like a "boys be boys" kinda thing.

If you took the rape out of the game and replaced it with "he was really mean" nothing meaningful would change and that's not good.

Some of the other points of the article feel verrrrrry reaching tho.
 

PK_Wonder

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Interesting. I actually came away with a feeling that feminism and female empowerment were intentional secondary themes in the game (and a primary theme for Primrose), refreshing for a jrpg in particular.

I see what the article is saying in some circumstances, but not once did I feel like the misogynist tropes were being glorified - quite the opposite, the patriarchy was being criticized while acknowledging that it's a struggle to overcome it.
 

KRBM

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The villains being disgusting is completely intentional. You are meant to hate their disgusting actions.
This counter-argument was actually accounted for in the article:
I can already hear the "well, actually!" excuse that all of this is the game trying to show how only bad, evil men objectify women, or reduce them to a madonna/whore dichotomy, or value them based on their purity, appearance, or relationships with men. I'd be more willing to suspend my disbelief if the game didn't do all those things to its other female characters.
Edit: just to be clear, here are the paragraphs that explain this stance.
Whether or not it knows it, Octopath Traveler perpetuates the same vile treatment of women as the villains it tries to condemn. The notion that women would rather die than live with the shame of rape or sex work is a sentiment put into the mouth of so-called "ruined" women. And nobody contradicts these characters. The game does little to disavow its audience of the belief that, on some level, it's true.

Octopath Traveler perpetuates the same vile treatment of women as the villains it tries to condemn
The physical beauty of three (out of four) of the women protagonists is referenced throughout. It's remarked on whenever Primrose is on screen; Tressa's captain savior focuses on it when they meet, even though she's a child; the religious Ophelia's own father figure feels the need to praise it in his daughters.
 
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The problem with Primrose is not that rape is glorified (which it's not) but that's it's treated like just another bad thing the bad guy does. It's not treated like something severe (like murder), it feels like even the victims treat it more like a "boys be boys" kinda thing.

If you took the rape out of the game and replaced it with "he was really mean" nothing meaningful would change and that's not good.
Ehhh, I disagree with this. The rape and sexual abuse is absolutely treated with contempt at it being the lowest of lows, and the sexual abuse depicted in Primrose's story ends up being a central plot point to the progression of her narrative. As I've said, she flat out busts at least two sex trafficking rings.

There are many things to discuss with Octopath, but this article misinforms people just to serve its narrative.
Yes, this is how I feel too.
 

J-Spot

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Honestly I think the points the article brings up are spot on. It's unfortunately fairly typical in Japanese games and anime to see sexual violence used as a convenient shortcut to characterize a villain. That being said, I think the author needs to down the outrage. When you introduce your article with "this post contains spoilers for Octopath Traveler's story, but who care's? It sucks" you're just spoiling for a fight with the game's fans rather than engaging with them, and said fans are for the most part the only people who are going to bother reading the article. From the get-go she is just making the reader feel attacked and that's not helpful if her goal is to get them on her side.
 

Dascu

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This counter-argument was actually accounted for in the article:
I feel that the game does not do this at all to the other female characters (playable and NPCs) though. I really disagree with the notion that the other characters (heck, arguably even Primrose) are defined in relation to 'men in their life'.
 

KRBM

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And the article is 100% wrong about this, because the game does not do this with other women characters in the games .
That paragraph doesn't really amount to much when the most important part is untrue.
So where do you disagree with the paragraphs that follow?
Whether or not it knows it, Octopath Traveler perpetuates the same vile treatment of women as the villains it tries to condemn. The notion that women would rather die than live with the shame of rape or sex work is a sentiment put into the mouth of so-called "ruined" women. And nobody contradicts these characters. The game does little to disavow its audience of the belief that, on some level, it's true.

Octopath Traveler perpetuates the same vile treatment of women as the villains it tries to condemn
The physical beauty of three (out of four) of the women protagonists is referenced throughout. It's remarked on whenever Primrose is on screen; Tressa's captain savior focuses on it when they meet, even though she's a child; the religious Ophelia's own father figure feels the need to praise it in his daughters.
Edit:

Did you play the game? At least the demo?
Yes, and please discuss in good faith.
 

Vire

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My opinion is the same as before the other thread was cleared of all discussion. The article is harmful to any potential thoughts about poor character tropes in Octopath Traveler because it misrepresents the game entirely and forms ideas that are completely at odds with what the content of the game actually is.

It's bullshit and why the thread was recreated with the article as the basis or starting point is beyond me. If you want to re-create a thread about potential tropes in JRPG's that would be infinitely more useful than this baseless and ill informed piece of "journalism".

Further if you want to pick a bone with a JRPG, Octopath Traveler is the last one you should be starting to call attention to.
 

Shahed

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What I'll say is that while not an issue I have with games specifically, I'm sick of rape being used as a plot device or how to show a female character has had a difficult time of things. There are loads of ways to portray a tragic backstory, or daunting events. But with women, it seems to easy to fall into the whole rape thing
 

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So where do you disagree with the paragraphs that follow?
These parts:
"Octopath Traveler perpetuates the same vile treatment of women as the villains it tries to condemn"
Wrong

"The physical beauty of three (out of four) of the women protagonists is referenced throughout."
The physical beauty of most characters is remarked on screen, including Olberic, Alfyn, Therion, and Cyrus (i.e. all the guys), there's no specific preferential treatment meted out to women here

"Tressa's captain savior focuses on it when they meet, even though she's a child"
Tressa is not a child (EDIT: I just rewatched the scene, he never praises her appearance, he says she is a natural born merchant. So this is actually a full, flat out lie)

"the religious Ophelia's own father figure feels the need to praise it in his daughters."
Parents call their sons "a handsome boy" or daughters 'really pretty" all the time. A father figure praising his daughter is wrong?

On the other hand, this
"The notion that women would rather die than live with the shame of rape or sex work is a sentiment put into the mouth of so-called "ruined" women. And nobody contradicts these characters."
Is troublingly true.
 

NHarmonic.

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Compared to other japanese games, how does Octopath fares in relation to female character's roles, stereotypes and stuff?

Because, let's not pretend there isn't a problem there regarding women.
 

celigio

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Tressa's captain savior focuses on it when they meet, even though she's a child
This is untrue, the captain was talking about her natural talent at being a merchant, not her beauty. And she's 18, not a "child"

the religious Ophelia's own father figure feels the need to praise it in his daughters.
I don't what is even talking about here, Ophilia is driven more by her love of her, not just her dad.
 

Dascu

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These parts:On the other hand, this
"The notion that women would rather die than live with the shame of rape or sex work is a sentiment put into the mouth of so-called "ruined" women. And nobody contradicts these characters."
Is troublingly true.
For what it's worth, there is that quest line about Arianna/prostitute finding a better life and happiness outside of her enslavement.

Also disagreeing with the notion of Leon Bastralle being portrayed as Tressa's saviour (or even as the key NPC in her storyline). She is quite independent.
 

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Compared to other japanese games, how does Octopath fares in relation to female character's roles, stereotypes and stuff?

Because, let's not pretend there isn't a problem there regarding women.
In my opinion, Octopath largely comes out better on this front than multiple other Japanese games manage.
Of course, as you pointed out, there are still problems.
 

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Meant to ask this before the previous thread got closed, but have you actually played the game Primethius or are you just taking the author at her word?

She has some points but takes some serious liberties in how she represents the other three female members.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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What I'll say is that while not an issue I have with games specifically, I'm sick of rape being used as a plot device or how to show a female character has had a difficult time of things. There are loads of ways to portray a tragic backstory, or daunting events. But with women, it seems to easy to fall into the whole rape thing
This I do absolutely agree with. It is an inappropriate backstory to use and is a relatively lazy way to show a rough past. I'm sure it can be done well but I have not seen it done well as far as I can think of right now. It would be interesting to see a subversion where it is a male with that backstory since it is never done but still fairly lazy.
 

Geg

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I don't remember any remarks about Olberic, Therion, and Alfyn's physical appearances other than Alfyn being called too scruffy-looking for an apothecary or something, but yeah outside of Primose, Cyrus is the character with the most remarks about his physical attractiveness. I honestly don't remember any remarks made about Tressa or Haanit's physical appearances, and there's nothing wrong or inappropriate with a father calling his daughter a lovely young woman or whatever it is Ophelia's father says.
 

EndingE

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I read the article earlier on my break at work. I disagree with it overall, and found it sensationalist and inflammatory, especially considering it opens with the author stating that the game "sucks," but I have been thinking about the few good points it does make. Ultimately, I decided to send the article to my SO, who has never played the game, to ask her what she thought about it. I'll write down my own thoughts later, but here's Cindy's take:

I don't like the article, on a number of levels. Partly: "The notion that women would rather die than live with the shame of rape or sex work is a sentiment put into the mouth of so-called "ruined" women." There are plenty of women - victims of it and not - who view rape as more of a violation than murder.

I thought the point about assignment of classes was interesting.

I didn't play the game, of course, which makes it harder to comment. There's some stuff where it wouldn't bother me at all, except as part of a cumulative whole. Like the idea of Primrose feeling lost after her life's 'cause' is done with. That's a pretty common trope.

I have to go for kid gymnastics, but ultimately I'd rather a game that at least gives equal time to female characters (or nearly), even it it might fall short in their storylines and themes.

And I think the article tries to make cheap shots a lot of times when it wasn't necessary at all, like griping about the graphics when that's clearly intentional.
 

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I don't remember any remarks about Olberic, Therion, and Alfyn's physical appearances other than Alfyn being called too scruffy-looking for an apothecary or something, but yeah outside of Primose, Cyrus is the character with the most remarks about his physical attractiveness. I honestly don't remember any remarks made about Tressa or Haanit's physical appearances, and there's nothing wrong or inappropriate with a father calling his daughter a lovely young woman or whatever it is Ophelia's father says.
Alfyn and Therion's charming and roguish looks are remarked upon a lot. Olberic's physical appearance is more about how intimidating he looks, sure. My point was the game comments on physical appearances for all characters.
 

celigio

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I don't remember any remarks about Olberic, Therion, and Alfyn's physical appearances other than Alfyn being called too scruffy-looking for an apothecary or something, but yeah outside of Primose, Cyrus is the character with the most remarks about his physical attractiveness. I honestly don't remember any remarks made about Tressa or Haanit's physical appearances, and there's nothing wrong or inappropriate with a father calling his daughter a lovely young woman or whatever it is Ophelia's father says.
For H'aanit I only remember Susanna (who views her as her surrogate granddaughter) and maybe Natalia, who is just a friend of his master. And Ailac who has a crush on her, but never says it and it's forgotten later.
 

Pekola

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Yeah, I feel like most of this article either misrepresents the context, omits important information, or wilfully misses the point in trying to convey its central point.
Which is a shame, because as I said in the other thread, there are absolutely meaningful things we can discuss about how Octopath handles its portrayal of women and sexuality. All of that is lost in how muddied the waters are thanks to this article.
So instead of throwing our hands up at the tone or how its structured, how about considering women’s opinions as worth discussing?

“Oh gee the article is just not good; it has muddied the discussion” you mean the discussion we weren’t having before the article was created?

We can dissect things and analyze them with a critical eye, but people are too worried about a female writer not using the most perfect wording to describe her annoyance or worse saying she “willfully misses the point”. You are characterizing her as misinterpreting something on purpose to dismiss her. Why? Why can’t you take her problems with the game at face value?
 

Andri

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I have a question about the part in the article where the author tries to argue that Primrose is defined by Men and the game is therefore sexist.


Taking Primroses story as an example, she is motivated by the death of her father.
According to what the author argues, this is sexist since she defines herself on a thing based around her father.

If we keep the motivation but change the reason from her father to her mother(thus keeping the avenging a dead parent theme) would the story now not be about how her Mother got murdered, thus showing a example of the „damsel in distress“ trope because her mother got murdered( implying she was too weak to defend herself) ?

In both cases, the story would be considered sexist according to the author.

Does that mean it is impossible to have a Revenge story with a female character without the story being sexist in some way ?
 

KRBM

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I read the article earlier on my break at work. I disagree with it overall, and found it sensationalist and inflammatory, especially considering it opens with the author stating that the game "sucks," but I have been thinking about the few good points it does make. Ultimately, I decided to send the article to my SO, who has never played the game, to ask her what she thought about it. I'll write down my own thoughts later, but here's Cindy's take:
I thought this thread was about accusing people who agree with the author of not having played the game.
 

Eolz

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Meant to ask this before the previous thread got closed, but have you actually played the game Primethius or are you just taking the author at her word?
He didn't.
Right, and I can understand that to a point. And I think honestly, that discussion is probably better had here instead of wading through a thread filled with posts calling it clickbait garbage.

It was my bad in hindsight, I thought it would go differently but the Detroit thread should've clued me in.



I think for a lot of folks, it's just an inability to separate the enjoyment of a game from its problematic elements, leading to a less meaningful discussion (talking about games overall, not Octopath in particular).

I love the Yakuza games. Won't defend there terrible aspects at all. I changed my avatar from Majima because folks would avatar quote me thinking I was pushing a double standard. I'm planning on picking up and playing Octopath since I enjoyed the demo quite a bit, I've just been busy recently with Final Fantasy 6 (a game that has been the subject of this thread a bit).

I legitimately believe the article is pretty good and that's why I thought it was worth making a thread about.
 

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As stated in the original thread by many people who have played the game to completion, the article purposely misrepresents and mischaracterizes Ophilia, Tressa, H’annit. I’m not going to talk about Primrose, not because I think the article is right, but because other people can do it more articulately than I can, and Ophilia and Tressa were 2 of my favorite characters in the game - Ophilia being my main character and her story arc was great.

Infantilization, frailty, and male superiors are traits so ubiquitous to the women of Octopath Traveler that it goes beyond just protagonists.
This and what follows is so stupid.

The claim that Ophilia and Primrose need to “call someone more powerful than them in battle” is a load of hogwash. Both of them are incredibly powerful mages on their own. You’re not always calling in men to help your party. You can call in grandmothers. And they’re not even more powerful than you, you call them in because you want their support skill or an extra tick on the enemy’s defense. And for some battles you don’t even want to use their Summons because 1) they do more than enough damage on their own, 2) they both have really great support abilities that summoning can feel like a waste.

More on Ophilia’s arc.
Ophilia’s motivation is to take the journey in place of her sister who isn’t in the right frame of mind for such after learning her father is on his deathbed. Granted Lianna doesn’t know he’s going to die soon, but the game makes it clear his health has been deteriorating and she’s very upset about potentially losing another parent. It’s not about competing a pilgrimage her foster father did. That’s something abundantly clear from the start of her storyline and to describe it as obeying a father figure is unfair. Her entire arc revolves around saving her sister and others from different internal and external forces. Those forces can be a dire wolf, evil cult, or just the despair after losing a loved one. It’s laughable that the game tries to misrepresent it as so when her final battle even has a voiced back and forth between her and the final boss where this is all addressed directly...

Tressa
She didn’t want to go on an adventure because of a man’s journal. She had always wanted to go out and experience the world and do things on her on. She just finally decided to take the leap after saving her port town from a band of pirates and finding a journal with really cool stories. Her entire character arc is about becoming independent and growing up, and at the end she gives the journal away to someone who has the same goals she did before setting out on her journey.

As for H’annit, Zanza has his vices, he likes to drink and gamble, but he’s an incredibly competent hunter. Everyone, even H’annit, considers him a legend. It’s just sad that the article intentionally tries to deceive others by lying about the game’s content.

The article is the real garbage here tbh.
 

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So instead of throwing our hands up at the tone or how its structured, how about considering women’s opinions as worth discussing?
I never recall saying women's opinions are not worth considering, and categorically said there are many issues with the game that merit a discussion
“Oh gee the article is just not good; it has muddied the discussion” you mean the discussion we weren’t having before the article was created?
And that is a larger problem, we shouldn't need misrepresentation to have actual discussion about the problems with our media. Octopath has enough problems that someone should have picked up on them to launch an actual discussion about them in good faith.

We can dissect things and analyze them with a critical eye, but people are too worried about a female writer not using the most perfect wording to describe her annoyance or worse saying she “willfully misses the point”.
I don't see what my assessment of her article has anything to do with her gender. It could have been a man, and I would have said the same thing.

You are characterizing her as misinterpreting something on purpose to dismiss her.
I am not doing any such thing, and I'm sorry that you feel I am.

Why? Why can’t you take her problems with the game at face value?
What is "taking them at face value"? We are supposed to discuss this article, right?
 

Eolz

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
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You know that the demo doesn't go further than a certain point right? For any character.
While I don't care if the OP played the game or not (I was just replying to the person asking since the OP disappeared), having played a demo is not having played a game, especially when the game is story-heavy and the article is talking about more than just the demo parts.

Did I play Yakuza Kiwami 2 if I played its demo? That's the same question I guess.