Octopath Traveler II on Nintendo Switch
In 2018, the Nintendo Switch was gifted a stellar timed exclusive in the form of Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler. It boasted a rock-solid battle system, gorgeous visuals, a lilting soundtrack, and countless hours worth of content. It was, and remains to this day, one of my favorite games on the hybrid console.
Having spent a significant amount of time with its successor brings a lot of emotions, proving to be a distillation of everything that made the first title good, and yet, still falling short in many of the same ways. Trying to unpack how to feel about that is ultimately a question of what you really want from a sequel, and it’s one that I’m still pondering the answer to.
First, let’s hash out the fundamentals. As alluded to in our preview, Octopath Traveler II is a self-contained follow-up to the runaway success JRPG from yesteryear. You select one of eight protagonists, travel the continents and assemble the rest of the team, working together in turn-based battles as each character continues their own tale, chapter by chapter.
These characters are, for the most part, just as solid as the heroes from the original. The animalistic hunter Ochette is particularly endearing, and the cleric Temenos’ whimsical approach to theology is well-written. Of course, some of their motivations are clearly more compelling than others; the grizzled scholar Osvald is seeking revenge for the murder of his family, while the dancer Agnea is in pursuit of fame. Why Osvald would humor her by joining forces is far beyond me (five years in prison made him hanker for a bit of glitz?), but we will circle back to story interconnectedness later on.
Just like Octopath Traveler I — for better or worse, we will be referring to