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New Octopath Traveler RPG Is Better Than The Switch Original


Three evil tyrants look over the continent of Orsterra.

Picture: Sq. Enix

Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent, newly obtainable on cell, is a worthy sequel to the unique 2018 Swap role-playing recreation. I had anticipated a watered-down fight system and a menu hell like many different gacha video games on cell units. Sq. Enix proved me mistaken. Champions retains the visuals and music that made Octopath a singular title in a area of fairly RPGs, and its streamlined fight is an enormous enchancment over the grindiness of the unique recreation. Octopath is even higher on cell than it ever was on the Nintendo Swap.

In 2018, Sq. Enix launched the unique Octopath Traveler on the Nintendo Swap. Set in the identical continent of Orsterra, Champions is a prequel, happening some unspecified time period earlier than Octopath. Whereas the protagonists of Octopath do seem in some sidequests, the narrative is centered round a band of merry adventurers who’re united by the holy ring carried by the primary “chosen,” your first participant character (who’s randomized by the gacha). It’s an fascinating tackle the primary recreation’s narrative system, the place eight characters occurred to affix up collectively for causes that have been much more tenuous. Whereas there are sidequests centered round every of the characters, the principle marketing campaign focuses on three themes: wealth, fame, and energy. Every most important questline revolves round toppling a tyrant who exemplifies a type of qualities. The adventurer group also can accumulate factors in every of these qualities, which have an effect on NPC recruitment and resource-gathering.

Sofia hangs out with an architect and her cat.

Screenshot: Sq. Enix / Kotaku

Critics typically praised the primary Octopath recreation’s artwork type, fight, and music, however some discovered the development to be grindy and the story to be uninteresting. So I used to be just a little nervous after I discovered that Champions was a cell recreation. Many gamers who’re used to premium console titles usually discover the cell grind too irritating to endure. After years of enjoying video games on cell, I’ve an infinite quantity of persistence, however even I keep in mind feeling that Octopath Traveler was a bloated time sink. I used to be ready for Champions to exacerbate the unique drawback.

I used to be additionally involved about how effectively the Octopath artwork type would adapt to a cell recreation. The character designs are whimsical and successfully faucet into the nostalgia many gamers really feel for the 16-bit JRPGs of the ‘90s, however they aren’t precisely sexy or eye-catching. Excluding dancers, the characters put on pragmatic garments in earthy colours. I couldn’t see myself obsessing over fanart of Octopath characters the way in which that I did with Caenis in Destiny/Grand Order or the dragon woman Ch’en in Arknights. By the point I began Champions, I barely remembered what the Octopath Traveler characters seemed like.

These have been the considerations I had earlier than really enjoying the sport. Eight hours later, these considerations largely forgotten, I spotted that Champions is my absolute favourite option to play Octopath Traveler. The auto-travel operate, the place you flick the display to auto-run throughout the panorama, feels intuitive. There are buttons to stack each character’s strikes directly, which makes odd battles go by so much quicker. If I solely encountered a few weak enemies, I may end the battle with two faucets.

Champions additionally introduces the idea of reserve occasion members within the again who could be swapped out and in at will. If somebody obtained hit by a standing impact, I merely caught them within the again line and used the reserve occasion members. Benched characters additionally get well each well being and SP (mana). Since as much as eight characters are current in each battle, it’s simpler to unfold expertise factors round to extra characters.

In each video games, fight principally revolves round concentrating on enemy weaknesses with a purpose to break their shields. Doing so was difficult within the unique recreation. A number of enemies in the identical battle usually had totally different weaknesses (similar to Polearms, Daggers, or Fireplace), and boss battles grew to become excruciating when bosses would change their weaknesses. In Champions, nevertheless, with my occasion divided into two rows, I may prepare my frontline to interrupt enemy shields with multi-hit fundamental assaults on the primary flip, after which use my backline of highly effective characters to pummel the enemy’s well being on the subsequent flip. I marveled at how Champions managed to make Octopath really feel much less grindy by making very small tweaks. It didn’t should be an overhaul, and the fight nonetheless works equally to the way it does within the Swap unique.

The Orsterran party members battles a snow fox.

Screenshot: Sq. Enix / Kotaku

However wait, there’s extra! The impression of standing results is now enormously diminished, a savvy choice that lets Champions cast off stock administration solely. I may receive equippable weapons and armor, however I not needed to juggle restoration or standing ailment gadgets. I didn’t have to consider the distinction between Herb of Readability and Herb of Awakening, which was a really hellish expertise after I completed Octopath final yr. The NPC summons system has additionally been simplified significantly. Now not are summons tied to particular characters—now you can briefly recruit folks by preventing or paying them, no matter who’s in your occasion. These is likely to be unhappy adjustments for RPG followers who take pleasure in managing their inventories or enduring the results of standing circumstances, however they gave me a extra fulfilling RPG expertise.

Champions can also be devoted to the gorgeous visuals, soundtracks, and tales that made Octopath Traveler so memorable within the first place. I felt so peaceable and comfy as I traversed by the HD-2D panorama to the sound of Octopath Traveler’s energetic soundtrack. And I didn’t have to fret about character enchantment—I cherished each single individual I recruited by the gacha system. The return of Octopath’s character-focused quest system allowed me to develop hooked up with the characters at my very own tempo. Whereas some RPG followers may really feel that Octopath characters aren’t morally grey or advanced sufficient, I like how humble, relatable, and genuinely likable the characters are. I’m used to recruiting highborn nobles, legendary warriors, and even gods in different gacha video games. And regardless that the solid consists of as much as 80 playable characters, the writing makes every of them distinctive and likable in a down-to-earth method. Moderately than the whole lot being extremely high-stakes and intense, I spent quite a lot of time merely serving to folks feed their children or determine their analysis challenge. Characters in each video games are motivated by altruism or an inherent appreciation for worldly wonders, relatively than revenge or spite. It was stress-free to look at characters fret over small misunderstandings or easily-resolved human struggles. I like JRPG melodrama about secret bloodlines or no matter, however typically I simply need to chill with individuals who have regular human foibles. Champions fulfills that area of interest completely.

The extra streamlined Champions expertise allowed me to return to my recreation every time I felt prefer it, and I didn’t should relearn a sophisticated system with a purpose to progress. It strikes the proper steadiness between approachable sufficient for individuals who have by no means performed Octopath Traveler and devoted sufficient for individuals who need Champions to be a direct follow-up.

Whereas cell gacha video games usually have a nasty fame for being a money seize, it’s clear that the builders of Champions put very cautious thought into designing a turn-based RPG that feels good to play. And lots of the new fight and quest system redesigns are meant to enhance the single-player expertise relatively than the monetization side. The brand new options, the way in which that the themes intersect with gameplay techniques, and the relatable characters make Champions a vastly improved single-player expertise in comparison with its predecessor.



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