Project Ocotpath Traviler Demo
Project Octopath Traveler has been teased for a few months now and after the last Nintendo direct a demo was released. The demo is very well put together and has what seems to be the first bit of gameplay in it. The game is being made by Square Enix and is taking a different route than we are used to with Octopath. The game is still heavily story focused, but it’s showing a new type of charm to the JRPG world that I haven’t seen in a very long time. The game is going to officially release sometime next year and I can’t wait to see all the story paths unfold!
The Story is Fresh
When I first started this game I wasn’t expecting that much out of it. Honestly, I was pretty worried that this was something that was being thrown together quickly to jump on the Switch hype. At best I was hoping for a sub-par story draw and some ok combat to keep me busy for a few hours. The problem with a lot of games like this is that they are all very similar to each other making everything way too familiar. This game completely shattered the feeling of being just another RPG and drew me in from the first bit of dialogue.
I started out playing as the dancer Primrose, I was expecting her to just be a flirtatious girl who somehow got dragged into the story plot. I was immediately taken aback as the game went a very dark route and showed her basically being used sexually to make her master money. Of all things I didn’t expect out of this game, the hints at sex slavery for girls was not one. This immediately peaked my interest since this topic is generally avoided in most games. Let alone the fact the-the heroine you are playing starts out in this sort of situation.
As her story goes you are searching for the three men that killed your father. In order to find them, you have put yourself in a life of questionable dancing and sexual abuse while you wait for the appearance of one of the three. As it so happens not long after you start them demo one of these guys just happens to pop up in the bar you are dancing at. You try to follow them, but your master stops you and forbids you from leaving the bar. This is when Primrose sneaks out and goes into the desert to begin her adventure and claim revenge for her dead father.
Without giving away all the details I’m sure you can see why this is a unique take on the classic revenge story. It was almost surprising how well written the dialogue was and I truly felt like a lot of passion was poured into the creation of this project. The flow of the story also feels very natural and nothing has felt out of place as of yet for either of the two paths available to play. For the rest of this overview, we are going to focus on the Primrose playthrough which will give you a good idea of what to expect from the other paths.
The style of this game will remind you of Gameboy sprites, but with a strange HD look to them. The style has the same feeling that you would get from playing Pokemon or Oracle of Ages on your Gameboy color while also being entrancingly beautiful. The lighting is very well placed and the 2D/3D backgrounds fit in perfectly with the graphics of today’s games. The character sprites don’t have a chibi look to them but instead go for a more adult art style. The game keeps itself from looking kid friendly despite its choice in style and that makes me want to play it even more.
It also may surprise you to find out that there is voice acting in the game. The games don’t have voice over for everything, but most of the important story scenes will feature audio along with the text. The voice acting for the demo is in English and sounds perfect to the characters. All the voices fit in very well and the voice actors all sound lovely even when speaking some of the strangest lines of the game. This really can be seen when the master of the dancers refers to Primrose as Kitten. The voice actor captured the aggression and sexual undertones of the phrase perfectly really conveying the overtone of the situation to players.
The battle style is your normal turn-based arena with a few tricks thrown in. Each party member has their own HP and SP bar that you have to keep watch on and heal with items. There are regular attacks and magic attacks the latter of which does more damage to enemies and can hit multiples at once. The battle does not change the art style too much with the characters still being portrayed as sprite instead of full-blown portraits. The battle animations are very well done, however, and the magic attacks are very stylish and eye-catching when used.The flow of battle can be viewed at the top to see who’s turns next and you can change the flow of battle by stunning your opponents to get them to skip their turn.
The battle system is surprisingly hard with the enemies in the demo not pulling any punches. If this is any indication of the difficulty in the real game then you should be excited. The boss in the demo isn’t just something you can easily power through he is tough and annoying to beat much like a real boss. You will need to buy some healing items of even grind a few levels to be able to take him on. This makes the demo take longer while giving you more of a feel of what the full game will be like upon release.
Octopath will have 8 different adventures you can choose from. They all have vastly different stories to complete and the world around each one works differently. This means that the game is basically 8 in one in terms of story guaranteeing that you will get your money’s worth out of buying it. Much like the team’s last game Bravely Default I expect this to be more of a niche game and have a very strong cult following. The game also doesn’t automatically save like most games this generation, instead, you have to find a man in a green hat who is basically a checkpoint for the travelers. This adds to the old school feel of the game giving it an extra point in difficulty.
Additionally, each character will have their own special ability to interact with the world. Primrose has allure which makes villagers attracted to you. In the game, she uses this to lure rich looking men into the bar to make her master money. When set free she can use this to drag villagers along with her and even get them to help out in battle. Using these abilities will affect your reputation in towns making it harder for you to get along with others. While we can’t fully see the consequences of this in the demo it is sure to create interesting issues within the full game. Each character has a different version of this, the other character you can pay in the demo can literally start a fight with just about anyone