Octopath Traveler II is the latest entry to the Octopath Traveler series set in the world of Solistia. The game features 8 new protagonists, each having their own inspirations and journey to embark on.
A New Era
Similar to the previous entry, Octopath Traveler II uses the same system that involves 8 main characters, as the title implies. These brand new faces have their own storyline, some have more complicated stories than others.
One example being Hikari, who is a young prince of a clan whose creed is war and glory. Both Hikari’s father and brother are ambitious in waging war and seizing the lands as much as possible. And because of this ambition, his father realised that his clan only invites trouble and is hated by all countries.
After a quick timeskip, the story continues where Hikair’s father is at his deathbed and must appoint a new successor to the throne. Hikari was initially to be appointed to be next in line because of his peaceful aspirations. Enraged by the decision, his brother killed his own father and destroyed the city before the coronation could happen. Hikari then sets off his journey of gaining new allies to get revenge on his brother.
Not all characters have a dark and gloomy storyline though. You got Agnea, a dancer who aspires to be a star like her mother by raising money to explore different parts of the world. And while she’s clumsy and kind, her father is against her plan because of her mother’s past, but they eventually came around.
One of the interesting new mechanic introduced in Octopath Traveler II is the Crossed Paths feature. I won’t go too much into detail but there are several combinations of characters that you choose which will result in a new story involving two characters.
Much like in the first title, Square Enix has done a fantastic job at making the characters in Octopath Traveler feel unique and you’re left wanting to discover more of these characters. Not just in terms of story, each character has their own unique set of abilities which are fine-tuned for each adventure.
Agnea can “summon” NPCs that she attracted during her travels, and each NPC has their own abilities. Some of them can buff up your characters which can increase your Attack and Defense stats, while some can heal you. Although, if you fail to charm the enemies, your reputation will turn sour. The stronger the character, the smaller the percentage of success to charm them.
Whereas with Hikari, he has the ability to set fights with certain NPCs to get these “Learning Skills” which can be used during combat. The stronger the NPC you fight, the better the skills they have and that makes for a neat risk/reward system.
One of the most noticeable changes in Octopath Traveler II is the presence of the “Day and Night” feature, where players can change it through a toggle button. This clock feature can be used according to various specific needs.
Each playable character still keeps the Action Path mechanic from the first game, but it’s now divided into Day and Night. Agnea can use her Charm to attract NPCs to join her during the day, but while at night she can get certain items owned by NPCs, where the rarity of the item depends on Agnea’s level.
While with Hikari, his day time Action Path lets him invite other people to duels. His night time Action Path lets him “Bribe” NPCs to get important information like secret items or even certain locked rooms.
Not only are each character’s abilities are different depending on the time of the day, but there are characters who only appear during certain times. This night and day cycle also applies to monsters that you might face during exploration.
Enemies encountered at night tend to be slightly stronger than those you might face during the day. But because of this, XP rewards and the money you can earn will also be much higher. Making night time the perfect opportunity to grind up and strengthen your characters.
Personally, these day and night mechanics make the game more complex and varied in terms of gameplay. Choosing party members is not only just a matter of combat, but you also need to take exploration into consideration, which determine whether or not your adventure goes smoothly.
Stay for the Journey
When it comes to exploration, you can now traverse rivers and ocean without needing to buy anything extra. However, to move from one island to another, you’ll still to pay to travel from the port. The boat transportation is only used when you first move to a certain island, you’ll be able to fast travel after that.
Octopath Traveler II still uses the random encounter system in its exploration and there’s still no option to turn it off. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of random encounters because it does tend to get annoying very fast. You’re able to reduce the rate of random encounters but it’s only in the endgame. Would’ve been neat if they added a feature or option to disable it, but I digress.
Speaking of combat, the new feature that was introduced in this title is the Latent Power mechanic that each character has. For an example, Partitio has the Latent Power ability to instantly maximize the Boost Point (BP) he has. This works amazingly because it works in tandem with his ability to transfer BP to other characters.
While it isn’t much, the Latent Power mechanic still manages to offer a whole new layer of combat variations by mixing and matching with different characters. An example being with Hikari and his Latent Power of being able to bring out the dark side which opens access to powerful Special Skills. Combining that with Partitio, you’ll be able to maximize Hikari’s attacks in quick succession.
The Tale of the Traveler
Octopath Traveler II keeps the iconic HD-2D graphic style from the first game, which I was already a huge fan of. They went a step beyond by improving the already beautiful graphics, especially in the cities which looks more alive by adding in extra lighting and particle effects that blends in perfectly with the spritework.
The day and night feature that’s added into game is further emphasized with the change of music depending on the time of the day. Background music that plays during the day has a more vibrant feel, while at night it’s more calm or thrilling depending on where you are.
The soundtrack for Octopath Traveler II is overall just amazing. Yasunori Nishiki knocked it out of the park in this second title. Each track feels very fitting to the scene that’s playing on the screen. Whether it’s exploration, fighting, or just the story, each track is just so mesmerizing and entices me to keep playing.
Playing the game on PS5, I had no performance issues overall. Everything felt smooth and the visuals looked sharper thanks to the 4K output resolution. The loading transitions from map to map when fast traveling or encountering enemies feels super seamless too, which is honestly a blessing.
With the new addition like the Day & Night cycle and the Latent Power mechanics feel like a game changer because it adds a variety of gameplay, making it more complex in both exploration and combat.
All in all, Octopath Traveler II is a refinement of an already great game. While they only added in small additions of features and a different storyline, it’s still a very solid choice and I highly recommend picking up the game.
|Addition of the Day & Night Mechanic||A lot of grinding needed to keep all eight characters leveled|
|Stellar Soundtrack||Annoying random encounter system|
|More variety of stories|
Octopath Traveler II was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.
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