@DrFinkelstein I actually got myself stuck on the character selection screen. Not sure who I want to be my main protagonist. I really liked Primrose from the demo, but I want to go with someone new and can't decide if I think Therion or Tressa is the way to go. Therion's story sounds interesting, but Tressa seems cool. Guess I'll flip the coin that came with the game.
I started and played three hours of this yesterday. Started with the beast tamer, because taming beasts is awesome. Then got the thief, and just got the cleric. I like the opportunity to "go your own way" so to speak. Not having set paths in RPGs is more engaging than linear ones. And I like how the areas are clearly labeled with the recommended level you should be at before you explore. Awesome!
Right, so I got started with Tressa today. Played through her prologue, which was enjoyable, and then went and picked up Primrose because her story is amazing. Seeing Yusufa die is quite emotional despite not having gotten to know her at all, and killing Helgenich is such a great moment. Both Tressa's and Olberic's (the two other characters I've got so far) stories are far from that engaging or interesting as far as I'm concerned. But they're still good, and I'm hoping they'll grow in complexity and get better pacing as the game goes on.
One thing I have to say I find extremely disappointing about this game so far is how there aren't any true meetings between the characters. I have three characters in my party, but they're just characters standing beside each other in battle, they're not traveling companions or friends or...anything. I assume they'll interact more farther into the game, but not getting to see as much as one measly unique line from, say, Tressa when she hears of Primrose's situation is such a missed opportunity, and borderline lazy.
I don't mind the lack of interaction toooo much, although it has bothered me a bit when it comes to character motivations.
(spoilers for Chapter 1 for some characters ahead)
Therion is the biggest offender. His prologue specifically goes out of its way to tell us he doesn't work with others, and he immediately takes these strangers' help for his quest to rob a mansion! Seems very out-of-character for that point in the story, so you kind of have to pretend they weren't there during that initial heist. It's a lot more believable in this case for them to join him after his prologue, since I can see his predicament forcing him to accept others' companionship. I find it hard to believe Ophilia or Tressa would ever want to help him out on his initial mission, but I can see everyone getting together after the end of that mission.
On the plus side, I think there are more interactions after Chapter 1.
@TriforceBun Didn't dare check the spoiler yet, but I have some character motivation trouble with Tressa as well, or at least the way the game rushes through the events. Starting out she's got that desire to go out adventuring, but she's also thinking about her parents and what would become of them and the family business should she leave. But as soon as she goes on her little initial adventure it's as if she doesn't give a damn about any of that anymore and just up and leaves.
I get a feeling that these types of quests, the characters' motivations and the general pacing of the storytelling would make much more sense in a more traditional RPG, like FFVI or something, where you get to know characters extensively before all the dramatic backstory stuff is introduced.
EDIT: But, just so I won't whine and complain too much, I will say that the game does a lot of neat things that I like, and has a lot of awesome little touches. I think I've praised this before, but I love how the boss characters are these huge pixel art paintings of characters that tower over your chibi style protagonists, just like in the Final Fantasies of old. Characters in general look really cool, both enemies and allies.
On Tressa's Chapter 1, it's shown that meeting Captain Leon and finding the journal were the catalysts to her setting out on her own. She'd read all the tales in the journal and got wanderlust--plus, it'd been shown at the beginning of the chapter that she was already wondering what was beyond the sea--and so it inspired her to go on an adventure and fill out the rest of the journal with her own tales. Her parents'll be fine! She's an adult anyway, time to leave the next.
Just did my first Chapter 2 today (Tressa's, as it turns out). Man, taking my weakest couple of party members ended up making for a whopping 30 minute boss battle...! That was a grueling fight, and I initially lost it. Thank goodness for my Ophilia, who had to do double duty in both offense and defense.
I've come across one of the mechanics teased on the back of the box (not sure if that's a spoiler?) in my game, and am quite pleased with the crazy amount of potential with it. This is definitely one of the most refined battle systems I've ever played in an RPG.
@TriforceBun Sure, that's what makes her leave, and I'm sure her parents will be fine, but her initial worries about them are unresolved. Nothing really changes when it comes to their situation, only hers, which is why I think it feels rushed. She either worried for no reason or for a reason never introduced to us, never actually worried at all but told herself she did for reasons never explained, or she just decides not to care as much anymore. There's a piece missing there, IMO.
But even though I think the game is a bit hit-and-miss with its plot pacing, worldbuilding and immersion in general, it's got some kickass tunes.
@r_hjort Fair enough! I just figured she wasn't exceptionally worried about her parents, since they both seem to be in good health and capable of running the shop themselves. The game doesn't go too in-depth about that reason I guess.
@chrisbg99 Looks like you slew yourself a Cait, the game's equivalent to the Metal Slime. Good job!
@chrisbg99 @TriforceBun Yeah, there has to have been a Cait in that party right? I managed to capture one with H'aanit yesterday. I had spotted a few before but they'd always been able to flee before I even got one action in, so when I had a 3% chance of capturing one with her on my first turn I took it! Haven't dared to try it out in battle though, 'cause I imagine it just has to be something epic! At least I hope it will be.
Gonna start some chapter 2 quest or other today. The game world has come together a bit more now in terms of lore and NPC interactions and stuff, so I hope it'll keep growing and growing on me.
Maybe this should be a poll, but I wanted to ask - which classic SNES series would you give the Octopath team to make a sequel? (With an increased budget or at least a couple of extra animators on the team)
Chrono Trigger? Mana? A Final Fantasy VI spinoff?
Octopath Traveler has captured the feel of the way the old games looked, without literaly copying it, I would love to see a HD-2D sequel to of those greats.
We shouldn't forget the library of old Enix published games either. Quintet's trilogy of games (okay, they made more than three, but you know what I mean) has some neat features that could be cool to revisit, even if I don't really want straight-up sequels to those either. Don't think we should mess with the classics. But ActRaiser type gameplay could be interesting, maybe? Or Soul Blazer type progression with the dungeon crawling unlocking social elements? Stuff like that could be neat.
Started playing chapter 2's yesterday, beat Primrose's second, which was pretty good. Interesting story, atmospheric environments, sweet boss fight and Primrose's a fucking badass in general. I'm glad the environments are a bit less confined and linear as you get farther away from the bay or lake or wherever it is all the characters happen to start out in close proximity to, and the individual character chapters are pretty interesting, but I'll never for the life of me be able to understand why they chose to have all character interaction limited to Tales type skits. That is some truly shit design as far as I'm concerned.
The way some of the NPCs are only window dressing is starting to annoy me a bit as well. Given how much thought the devs have seemed to put into the game world, and how much work they seem to have put in towards making the characters have their own respective destinies intertwined with various locations and characters it baffles me how reluctant they've been to throw in some extra friggin' flavour text here and there. Maybe the Xenoblade games have spoiled me, but goddamn. (EDIT: Yeah yeah, not all NPCs in the Xenoblade games offer up any dialogue, but those that do help bring the game world to life in a much better way as far as I'm concerned.)
I don't want to come across as if I'm not enjoying the game, though. I like it a lot. When the actual plot is developing, when the characters actually are interacting and when I get to enjoy the battle system in lengthier battles it's friggin' great. My biggest problem right now is deciding whose chapter 2 I want to see the most.
@r_hjort I don't mind the non-interactive NPCs for a few reasons. The biggest one is that every interact-able NPC in the game has 1) dialogue (that sometimes evolves with progress), 2) their own stats as an "enemy," 3) their own stats/abilities as an "ally," 4) a bio, age, and sometimes a bonus goodie for inquiring/scrutinizing, and 5) an inventory you can steal and/or purchase. That's a lot of stuff, and it makes combing towns take 2-3 times longer than in your average RPG. Plus, there are a huge number of towns and a lot of NPCs you can talk to within those towns already. So more NPCs, if they wanted to be consistent, couldn't just give you a line of dialogue, they'd need to be interact-able in those other ways too. I'm actually pretty impressed with how much content seems to be crammed into this game.