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Octopath Traveler PC Trailer and Steam page [June 7th]

Oct 25, 2017
4,729
The game gives a lot of freedom to the players for a JRPG that people going into the same loop over and over again is strange.

I mean if you start to feel burn about doing everyone's chapters, why don't you just do something else ? The game won't punish you if you decide to focus on less characters.

Side quests in particular have such an unique twist and you are rewarded to pursue them, as well as interacting (yes yes interacting) with the world through your path actions.

So basically, the game rewards you for not following a linear/repetitive playthrough and yet people are complaining about the structure as if they were forced to follow it consecutively.

Like you said Disclaimer , things could be improved in a sequel with more gameplay loops (like Olberic's Chapter 2) and more memorable dungeons. Given the way Square Enix is pushing to expand the brand, I am quite confident they'll make an even more ambitious game next time.
Yep. It was clear from pre-release onward that many were approaching this game with the wrong mindset, expecting a traditionally structured JRPG with a single overarching story... and their method of play treated the game as if it were that. (Just look at how many clung to the "FFVI spiritual successor" mistranslation.)

But it isn't, either in gameplay structure or narrative structure. And those people were caught wrong-footed. It's eight anthological short stories — a rare format for the medium, and I bristle when people say it's "bad" because it's different — put into almost a SNES JRPG's interpretation of an "open world." There's rails, obviously, but the player can go anywhere at any time, find and explore as many dungeons as they want (there are dozens, which occasionally have unique and challenging mini-bosses — most of which are even tameable by H'aanit), and steal, challenge, or recruit virtually any interactive NPC (I was constantly reminded of my hundreds of hours with Skyrim, stealing from or knocking out entire towns).

Yet those people just did the same loop, over and over again, even if they had grown tired of it long before. A cursory look at the game's structure will tell you that isn't how it's intended to be played, though. The Switch is a handheld device, and Octopath was designed for it: each story chapter is roughly an hour, complete with opening and closing narration; each dungeon is bite-sized and approachable (and people criticized it for not having the labyrinthian dungeons of other JRPGs); a crucial game mechanic — secondary jobs — is hidden in CH2 behind the expectation that players explore and have the curiosity to interact with the game's dioramic environments; each side quest has multiple resolutions, both mechanically and narratively, making each person's experience truly unique.

If you're tired of a chapter, go explore one of the chapter areas' many optional dungeons. Rob a town and better your gear. Find NPCs with fun skill-sets for battle (or loot from challenging). Move on to CH2 (again, people way to caught up on levels / grinding, when it's never an issue). The characters' stories are so tonally and thematically distinct for a reason — do what you're in the mood for. Stuck? Stop defaulting to "grind" — the game isn't designed to need it, as I explained earlier — and look to your strategy. The game isn't white-knuckle hard, but it's challenging enough and expects the player to engage with its mechanics. People complain and grind, then heap endless praise on Soulsborne games, because they go into those with the mindset of figuring out their encounters (hmm, I wonder why Octopath's bosses are puzzle-y). People just stubbornly refuse to wrap their head around what Octopath is offering in many senses.

Does the game have flaws to improve on? Absolutely. Party banter, for instance, shouldn't be missable (the game has close to 200 banter conversations, yet 99% of players saw maybe half at most). Secondary jobs' existence should be telegraphed a bit more. Dungeons — despite being way more skillfully crafted than people give credit — could use more variety. Chapter structures could be less uniform. Some chapters could be shared, offering the more organic party interaction so craved. NPCs could have more reactive dialog, especially to protagonists they know. (But "lacking dialog"? Guys, every single NPC has a hand-crafted backstory to read.)

But Octopath's one of my favorite JRPGs of all time because of all the things it does do, rather than those it doesn't. For what it is, rather than what it's not trying to be. If people go into it with fewer pre-established genre expectations, playing it on its own terms, then I think they'll enjoy it.
 
Feb 25, 2018
564
Speaking as someone who is a big fan of the Trails series, this sounds pretty disappointing.
What I mean by this is that each character has a chapter (sort of like a mission that you have to do) and once that chapter is done and you move on to the next chapter NPCs just treat you like an NPC.

There is this one part in the game where one of the characters leaves their house and is told by the NPC you can come back anytime you want, I assumed that meant you could sleep in your bed instead of having to pay the local inn and I was wrong.

I guess the reason why NPC treat you like an NPC is because of the 8 characters and because they devs didn't know what order you would play the game in and that would have just created a lot of dialogue in the game.