Octopath Traveller's Switch Demo Is A Blast Of JRPG Goodness 

Last week, Square Enix surprise-released a demo of the upcoming role-playing game Octopath Traveller, and you will be pleased to hear that it's excellent. The best part? Nobody can complain that it isn't coming to Switch.

The full version of Octopath Traveller won't be out on Nintendo Switch until 2018, but for now, you can check out a meaty eShop demo to get a feel for the game. Play the demo and Square Enix will send you a survey asking for your feedback, which the developers will no doubt take into account. So you aren't just getting a free mini-RPG here, you're also getting an opportunity to influence this game's future. (Getting feedback early and often seems to be part of Square's larger plans for all of its games, which is smart!)

Octopath Traveller is best described as a cross between SaGa Frontier and Bravely Default, with a title twice as silly and art direction better than both. (Square Enix says this is a "working title" but I'm sure the final one will be just as ludicrous.) The game will tell the stories of eight protagonists — hence "Octopath" — and the demo lets you pick between two of them. There's Olberic, a semi-retired knight who's called back into action when bandits attack his village, and Primrose, a dancer who's out for revenge against the assassins who killed her father.

Both stories are traditional JRPGs, complete with cutscenes, villages and random encounters. The twists are that A) both Olberic and Primrose can have unique interactions with NPCs, with Olberic challenging them to duels and Primrose seducing them into travelling with her; and B) combat has a Bravely Default-esque boost system, in which your characters can reserve energy and then let it all out in big blasts.

I've spent about an hour poking around in both characters' stories, and they're really good, to the point where I don't want to play more because I know I'll just be upset that Octopath Traveller isn't out yet. I do recommend downloading the demo if you have a Switch, though. Between the art, the writing and the general vibe, this feels like the type of old-school JRPG that Switch owners really need.

Plus, the music is incredible. I mean, come on:


    I got an hour into Olberic's story and had to put it away too. I do not want to waste time on just the demo. But the demo has sold me on picking it up as soon as it arrives - so it's done the job it was meant to I suppose.

      I had the opposite problem. I just wanted to keep playing

    Damn, all this makes me hope it comes to PC.

      if you want the widest selection of JRPGs, console/hand held is the way to go.

    The writing is pretty average all-round. Olberic's story is the worst offender, though - it's all predictable dialogue and shitty voice acting. I really hope that that's the one area they work hard on, if nothing else at this stage. The deficiencies in Primrose's writing are made up for by how different it is. She's kinda like a JRPG version of Lola Montez, and it's awesome. And it gets rather more dark than I was expecting, too.

    Anyhoo, Primrose's side of the demo has me the most excited, and I'm really eager for this thing to come out. And I don't even really like JRPGs. Grandia and the PSX/DS Dragon Warrior games being the exception (of course).

    with a title twice as silly and art direction better than both.

    More ludicrous than 'Bravely Default'? Not possible.

    At least both words are relatable to the story. Many of the English titles of JRPGs seem like two randomly chosen words. I guess they lose something in the translation.

    I played through the Primrose demo and really enjoyed it.
    It was way heavier than I expected though, dealing with themes of rape and exploitation. Not what I expected but impressed they went there, and look forward to seeing the whole story unfold when it releases.

    Not sure I'll play through the Olberic demo, I've seen enough to know I'll buy the game now.

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