Octopath Traveler II takes the player on a captivating journey through the enchanting world of Solistia. With a brand new setting, new characters, and whole new scenarios, Octopath Traveler II gives the player more of the original Octopath Traveler goodness but with a whole new and much better take on it! In this review, I, Brighton Nelson, will delve into the game's intricacies, from its brilliant battle system and breathtaking visuals to the captivating character-driven narratives and the enchanting musical score accompanying them. We'll also explore how the game addresses the issues of its predecessor and, of course, discuss any areas where it may fall short. Now, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... an Octopath Traveler II Review: The world's most perfect sequel.
Battle System - 10
Just like the original, this game has a phenomenal battle system! Boosting your enemies to do extra damage is as fun as ever, and strategically breaking the enemies is a fantastic way to implement weaknesses and resistances. This game expands on the endless combat possibilities found in the original, providing unrelenting depth and a high skill ceiling, allowing players to continuously hone their skills and master the system. There's not much more you can ask for than a game that has incredible boss fights and challenges you to always be thinking outside the box in 4D, planning attacks tens of turns ahead of time. This turn-based battle system can be manipulated to the whims of the player—this is one of my favorite turn-based battle systems of all time.
Music - 10
Nishiki composed yet another outstanding soundtrack for this game. While the original Octopath Traveler had a more consistent soundtrack, this game had higher highs and lower lows. While there may be some forgettable tracks, every character theme in this game is a masterpiece. Each encapsulates their respective characters better than the last, with Partitio's Theme being my favorite of the bunch. In fact, not only is Partitio's Theme my favorite song from this game, not only is it my favorite video game song of all time, but it ranks in my top five favorite songs of all time. When his theme played during the whole department store sequence? I don't know if I've ever felt more epic playing a video game. Every single song elevated the game to something spectacular, making every scene have a more substantial impact on me. While I don't find myself listening to this soundtrack as much as the original Octopath Traveler's, this soundtrack still deserves a perfect score. It's just that good.
Story - 10
I loved the majority of the tales told in the original Octopath Traveler! While H'aanit's and Therion's tales were my least favorites, I still found them enjoyable. But here? Not only did I find every character story enjoyable, but there were many stories in which the characters interacted, and there was a final chapter that rounded out the incredible self-contained stories! This game even gave the option to take branching paths at times, making the story even less linear! This game took the few flaws I had with the original's story and fixed every single one. In terms of the contents of these stories, there were some really outstanding ideas on display here. From an amnesiac apothecary with a deep, tragic, and morally-rich backstory to a prince seeking to take back his kingdom from the corruption of his brother; from a young girl who wants to become a celebrity dancer to bring joy into other people's lives, to a beastling who needs to save her island from racial tension and an impending cataclysm; from a woman forced into a life of murder who's trying to break free to a man who's alleged best friend took everything away from him; to a buddy cop, magical detective adventure that rapidly descends into a horrifying truth to a cowboy who wants to save the world from poverty, there's something for everyone here. Each one of these stories was so moving for one reason or another, and the way the story wrapped up was so bizarre yet so compelling. Every single moment of this game impacted me, and I can confidently say that this game (so far) has my favorite story ever told in an RPG.
Art & Graphics - 10
This game is my third favorite-looking game I've played, just behind Live A Live and Paper Mario: The Origami King. While this game's graphical style is carried over from the original, the new environments and the day/night cycle added so much depth to a style that was already masterful. Every locale and character model looks perfect, and the user interfaces seamlessly blend in with the art. This is one of few pixel art games I've played that felt wholly immersive—a game that transcended an art form to become a vehicle for emotional storytelling. What can I say? This game looks flawless.
Sidequests - 9
Alright, this game still suffers from having a few too many fetch quests like its predecessor. However, each of those quests is done so much better than before! Most quests added more meaning to the game's world and characters! Also, acquiring licenses, EX Skills, and items for the Inventor and Armsmaster added so much more to this game's side content. Also, each advanced job was placed throughout different portions of the game this time around. Because of this, these jobs felt worth using and much more fleshed out in this game. Last of all, with the day/night cycle, tons of new equipment, and new Path Actions, this game made collecting items so much more engaging in this game. While there were still some overly filler quests here, the majority of quests in this game were excellent.
Locations - 8
This game certainly had many forgettable locations, but the good far outweighed the bad here. Towns like Merry Hills, Montwise, Lostseed, Roque Island, New Delsa, Clockbank, and Ku were fantastic! I love every single one of these towns and the events that go down there, yet as much as I love these towns, every single dungeon in this game (save a couple) was awfully generic and uninteresting. Just like in the original, these dungeons just didn't do much for me, and as much as I love the towns, the mediocre dungeons led me to give this a less-than-ideal score.
Characters - 10
I've said it time and time again, and I will continue to say it—this game has the best cast of protagonists of any RPG. Every character is fully realized and full of personality, and I love each one of them. From the bubbly and adorable Ochette, a girl obsessed with beef jerky and being kind, to Castti, a motherly figure who always wants the best for the people around her; from the cold Throné who wants to be free of her awful tribulations, to Osvald,, a scholar out for revenge to kill who killed his wife and daughter; from Partitio, a yee-hawing cowboy out to save the world from poverty to Agnea, a dreaming dancer who wants to make people smile; from Temenos, a psychic detective with an epic best friend to Hikari, a prince who's always there for his people. There's also Crick, a fantastic and lovable support character; there's Emerald, an engaging and endearing character who makes immense sacrifices. There's Harvey, a phenomenal villain, and maniacal presence; there's Ochette's master, who is an inspiration to Ochette and a well-written character. Ultimately, all these characters come together to form a brilliant amalgamation of characters from different walks of life—my favorite cast in any video game I've played.
Quality of Life - 8
As I mentioned in my review of the original, I don't always mind difficulty spikes. However, yet again, this game has difficulty spikes galore, which may be a turn-off for some. Again, I wish the teleportation wasn't limited to just towns, but that wasn't all that big of a deal in the end—especially with the boat allowing for more exploration in this game! Ultimately, this game has its issues, but they aren't all too off-putting.
Customization System - 10
This game reminds me of Final Fantasy VI: every character is incredibly distinct, yet everyone has a customization system that provides a customization throughline between the characters. This job system is utterly fantastic, and the talents of skills and the individual characters are endlessly intriguing. Each of the twelve jobs is worth using and feels so different from one another, with tons of superb skills and fantastic combos. My favorites are Sorcerer and Armsmaster—they are just so wonderful! I won't spoil the jobs for those who haven't played the game, but they are fantastic! Ultimately, this game has one of the best job systems I've ever played.
Fun Factor: 9
Overall Score: 94%
Letter Rating: S+
Octopath Traveler II took its predecessor, which I already found to be a remarkable game, and cranked all of its aspects to eleven. This game fixed everything I didn't know needed improving about the original and added so much content I could've never dreamed of. This is one of the greatest games I have ever played, and it is easily one of my top five favorite games of all time. I recommend this game to any RPG enthusiast whether or not they've played the original... this game is just the original, but so much better. Every story, every battle, every moment is just spectacular, and it has skyrocketed above even some of my most nostalgic games to become one of the most extraordinary experiences I have played. I will always remember my journey with characters like Partitio, and I will never forget boss fights like Vide... this game is more than incredible. While this game isn't perfect (what game is?), it is one of the closest games I've played. It is phenomenal, and I recommend it in spades to anyone looking for a classic JRPG experience.
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Primary Version: Octopath Traveler II (PC)