I was in a bar the other week, quietly having a drink. Nearby, a group started talking about Octopath Traveler.
They mentioned a review of some kind – I don’t think it was ours, but couldn’t be sure – and the conversation got heated, very quickly. They started talking about how Octopath was a true JRPG, and it was heresy that reviewers didn’t acknowledge that. In fact, if they weren’t hardcore JRPG players, why were they reviewing the game at all? Why were they even employed?
It was a weird conversation to listen to. Nonetheless, it did remind me of where Octopath Traveler landed: a JRPG that diehard fans will appreciate, but not a game you’d use to introduce people to the genre. And dunkey’s video below illustrates exactly why that is: the writing, mechanics and structure are very reminiscent of an era that the industry has well and truly left behind.
Obviously, a ton of things are highlighted (or not shown) for comedic/creative effect here. The more interesting question right now: if someone asked you what JRPG they should play on the Switch first – and let’s discount Zelda here, given its many Western influences – would you suggest Octopath Traveler? Or something like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or I Am Setsuna first?