The first game was an amazing experience. From the little I've played of this game, it is just as fantastic as the original! Throughout the demo, I spent the majority of my time testing out each of the characters and seeing which would be best fit for starting with... and I wanted to write this as early as possible to be able to help people pick the perfect character to play as when they first pick up the game! Each character will be ranked by how good their job abilities are, their path actions, their talents, and their Latent Powers... not by how good their story is to start with. Now without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... Octopath Traveler II: Who is the best starting character?
8. Temenos - C Tier
Path Actions: Guide and Coerce
Talent: Moonlight Judgement
Latent Power: Judgement
Temenos is a Cleric, making him the healer character of Octopath Traveler II, similar to Ophelia in the first game. Also similar to Ophelia, however, he is one of the worst characters to start with. When it comes to offense, he is quite bad, as he can only target two weaknesses: staves and light. When it comes to defense, he is one of the more squishy characters, making him not the best candidate to lead your party. However, you may be thinking, why not have a healer locked into your party? That's a pretty good thing to have at all times, right? Yes, but Castti the Apothecary is a better healer and a better attacker. Heck, in this game, you don't even get Heal More: you only have Heal Wounds, a rather weak healing spell! He is supposed to be your dedicated healer, but First Aid and Concoct can do the job better! Also, once you get the Cleric secondary job, Agnea or Osvald could rock this job even better than Temenos can.
When it comes to Path Actions, Temenos has two of the worst ones in the game. Unlike in the original Octopath Traveler, Guide isn't only outclassed by Allure... it is outclassed by Allure, Befriend, and Hire! To be able to guide somebody, you have to be at a certain level, which basically makes so you cannot recruit anybody actually worth guiding into battle unless you grind beyond belief. On the other hand, with Allure, you could simply soft reset the game until it works. I've never seen somebody much less than a 25% chance of recruiting anyway, so you may as well just try your luck with Allure! If you don't want to try your luck, consider bribing people into your party with either Befreind or Hire, two abilities that allow you early access but don't require trying your luck. One last thing to note: Agnea and Partito both have Talents that revolve around their Allure and Hire abilities! In Agnea's case, she can do some obscenely good stuff in battle with Dance Session and Allure, and in Partito's case, you can do some epic bartering with Hire and Business Partners. Guide is just not a good Path Action. In my opinion, it is the worst in the entire game.
Luckily, his second Path Action is a bit better. Though it isn't that great, Coerce is actually the most unique Path Action in the game, which at the very least scores it some points in the fun department! This ability allows you to obtain information from an NPC through battle... but not in the way you may expect. You don't actually have to beat the enemy, but instead, you have to break the enemy. The biggest problem is not the ability itself, but that Tenemos has it. The weak Cleric character with only Staves and Light magic? Having to battle? Not a great combination for a good Path Action. By the time Tenemos can get a secondary job that can allow him to actually effectively break enemies, you will be able to just Inquire people instead. Overall, Tenemos has two of the weakest Path Actions in the game.
Sadly, on top of all of this, Tenemos has the weakest Talent in the game: Moonlight Judgement. This ability debuffs enemies, blinding them and lowering their defenses. This is a decent ability, but in comparison to abilities like Capture and Learned Skills? It just doesn't add up. It also only works at night... and the enemies are harder at night. Basically, this ability just lets you fight nighttime enemies that are as weak as daytime enemies. In my opinion, that's really not that good.
Last but not least is Tenemos's Latent Power: Judgement. No, not his Talent Moonlight Judgement. His Latent Power Judgement. These guys are really good at having unique names. Anyway, I digress. Tenemos's Latent Power is basically the only Latent Power that you cannot immediately put to good use, as on the turn it is used, all of his attacks deplete Shield Points even if they are not weak to it. Although this is something that could be incredibly powerful at some point, to have a character with no multi-hit attacks start with this Latent Power? It is pretty worthless. Overall, don't get me wrong, Temenos isn't that bad. I probably gave him too bad of a wrap. But should you really start with him? No. Should you still use him? Probably.
7. Throné - B Tier
Path Actions: Steal and Ambush
Talent: Blessing of Darkness
Latent Power: Leave No Trace
How the greats have fallen. From Therion being my favorite starting character to Throné being one of my least favorite starting characters, you can probably tell that I don't love the Thief very much in this game. The Thief was one of my favorites in the first game, and though there are jobs I like much better in this game (like the Dancer), the Thief is not one of them. The Thief loses SP Steal and Share SP... and gets a sword attack and a speed buff instead? I mean, like, SP distribution and overcharging was such a huge part of the Thief's kit in the original game... I mean, I guess stealing SP makes more sense on the Cleric, but I definitely will miss that about the Thief. The Thief's speed buff is also not nearly as good as the Dancer's, so that's not very fun. On the bright side, the Thief now has dark magic instead of fire magic, which is great, and we still have HP Thief, Armor Corrosive, and Shackle Foe! I'm going to back up now and talk about the sword attack: Surprise Attack. I'm excited to see more of the implications of how I can use this ability... I feel like it could potentially be one of the strongest abilities in the game. Overall, I think this will be a nice change of pace for the Thief class, but it will take some getting used to xD
Anyway. That was quite the rant. Let's move on to the Path Actions, which are almost entirely self-explanatory. Steal is just like it was in the first game, and Ambush basically is what Olberic's Challenge was in the first game. Steal is definitely a bit weaker in this game, as Osvald's Mug has a similar effect. And I'd definitely rather have Osvald in my party, so... yeah. And Ambush? Though I like Ambush better, I think Provoke is the better ability since you don't have to be at a certain level to use it. Ochette's Capture is so much more convinient than H'aanit's Capture was due to her ability to auto-capture, making Provoke an even better option in this game than in the first! From what it seems like, Steal is one of the best Path Actions in the game, but Ambush isn't that great.
Now let's talk about Throné's Talents. Before I talk about Blessing of Darkness, I just want to say that there are no longer Purple Chests to unlock... but those rarely had anything good in it anyway and were kinda annoying, so I couldn't care less. Anyway, Throné's Talent is Blessing of Darkness, which gives you an attack, elemental attack, and speed boost when fighting enemies at nighttime. Like I said about Tenemos, I'm not a big fan of this ability. I still like it better than his, granted, but it feels like a cop-out to me since, if I want to fight easier battles, I'll just play with daytime on...
The best part about Throné is her insanely powerful Leave No Trace Latent Power. I feel like this is going to make her a necessary character to have in your party once you pick up Divine Skills and Secret Jobs! However, I think early in the game, it seems much more useful to have a more powerful class and a more powerful Talent since building Latent Powers are really slow early on. So even though Throné has one of the best Latent Powers in the game (and Steal is great), overall, the rest of her downsides make her one of the weaker characters to start with.
6. Agnea - B Tier
Path Actions: Allure and Entreat
Talent: Dance Session
Latent Power: All Together Now
The Dancer was pretty good in the original Octopath Traveler, but it wasn't anything to write home about. However, they did get a little bit better in this game! Returning from the original are Lion Dance, Peacock Strut, and Bewildering Grace, all of which are abilities I loved (see my opinion on the Octopath 1 Dancer abilities here)! The Dancer does lose their dark magic, but gets wind magic, a multi-target knife attack, a much better speed buff, and a powerful single-target knife attack that guarantees Shield Point depletion! All of this makes the Dancer a much more versatile and fun job to use than in the first game, and I'm excited to use this job more in the future!
Now let's delve into Agnea's Path Actions. Her first Path Action is Entreat, which is quite the ability. Via flirting, Agnea can retrieve items from townspeople for free! This is actually really insane. However, you can only get them for free if you are at a high enough level... and that is a major issue. By the time you actually get to a high enough level to obtain said items, they are not really relevant anymore, and you could have just stolen them with Throné, mugged them with Osvald, or purchased them with Partito. Overall, a very mid Path Action.
Her second Path Action, however, is one of the best in the game: Allure. Though it is pretty bad in the original, her Dance Session talent makes it so much better in this game! Basically, depending on who you Allure, you can get huge bonuses any time you use a Dance ability. This allows her Dances to be that much more insane! This makes this ability that much more relevant, and you rarely come across people who have a less than 25% recruitment rate. You can always pay off the tavern keeper or soft reset the game: trust me, it is worth it.
Last of all is Agnea's Latent Power All Together Now, which is basically Sealticge's Seduction from the original Octopath Traveler. This lets you target everybody with all skills save Divine Skills and self-targeting skills. Combine this with some of the Cleric's new powerful skills such as Prayer to the Flame or Sacred Shield, the Apothecary's Rehabiliate, the Thief's Dark magic and debuffs, or the Hunter's Leghold Trap and Abating Orb? You've got some serious stuff you can do. And even better? Dancing with Dance Session and All Together Now. Multi-target wind attack? Check. Multi-target buffs? Check. Multi-target, guaranteed shield breaking? Check. To me, this ability works so much better as a Latent Power than a Divine Skill, so I am glad the developers took this route. So much better than Sealticge's Seduction. Overall, I absolutely adore the Dancer in this game, but there are still some characters that are better to start with than Agnea.
5. Hikari - B Tier
Path Actions: Bribe and Challenge
Talent: Learned Skills
Latent Power: Shadow's Hold
I like Hikari so much better than Olberic when it comes to his abilities. This time, we get a reason to use Incite and Stout Wall, as we get Vengeful Blade, which is a counterattack that reduce's enemy Shield Points no matter what. Aggresive Slash also seems to be the only early-game ability that hits multiple times for physical damage, and Piercing Thrust is a very strong spear attack. The most interesting ability of them all is Enervating Blade, which seems like it will be broken later in the game. This ability dispels all of an enemies beneficial status effects, dealing more damage per effect it nullifies. This is going to be very interesting, as, depending on how many times the enemy will buff itself, it may lead to you wanting to have the enemy buff themselves. That is a very interesting concept that I am excited to see play out more in the late-game.
On top of his awesome Warrior Abilities, through his Challenge Path Action, he can learn abilities from NPCs. This potentially may be the best Talent later in the game, but early in the game, you don't have access to anything too insane. Either way, this is an amazing game mechanic that adds a lot more incentive to challenging people! Now, his other Path Action, Bribe, is easily one of the worst Path Actions. Just use Scrutinize, don't waste your Leaves!
Last of all is his Latent Power. Of all the characters on this list, only Hikari and Ochette have Latent Powers that are similar to Final Fantasy's Limit Breaks. Hikari can either dish out a super powerful sword attack, a sword/spear attack that hits everybody, and a double-hit sword attack that isn't too strong, but gives you an additional turn. Though this is very strong from the get-go, I think this will end up being one of the weakest Latent Powers later on since it doesn't have the versatility of Latent Powers. Still seems like it will be better than Ochette's Latent Power, though. Overall, Hikari is a great character, just like Agnea and Throné, but not nearly as powerful as some of the next characters.
4. Castti - A Tier
Path Actions: Soothe and Inquire
Latent Power: Every Drop Counts
The Apothecary is literally just better than they were in the first. They can heal and revive with just one ability now, they can grant regeneration, and they can hit for huge single-target axe damage and poison the enemy with Poison Axe! I absolutely loved the Empoison ability in the first game, and I felt like that was the first game where Poison was actually a powerful effect! And in this game, it is even better, since you can also make enemies "weak to poison!" Overall, the Apothecary is a powerful character that is similar to a Red Mage, and I totally love it.
The weakest part about Castti is her Path Actions. Soothe seems like it will have situational use if you simply are not strong enough to beat people up, but also, it consumes items. So I am not too big of a fan. The animation is hilarious, though! And Inquire? Easily the weakest way to get information since you have to level up to get it, but I still would rather level up than waste Leaves (Bribe is stupid). Anyway, her Path Actions seem situational, but they could be good under the right circumstances.
Now here's why she is so high on the list: Concoct and Every Drop Counts. This makes her even better than Alfyn, since with her Latent Power, she can use Concoct without consuming items! That is so good! Since Concoct basically made Alfyn the best character in the game even without a good secondary job class, Castti is definitely a character you want to have in your party as much as possible! However, since it takes a while to actually stockpile a good amount of items for the Concoct ability, I couldn't justify placing her any higher on this list.
3. Partito - A Tier
Path Actions: Purchase and Hire
Talent: Business Partners
Latent Power: Hoot and Holler
The Merchant class is the least changed class in the game, with fire magic and a JP-boosting bow attack instead of wind magic... and I think I like it better that way! Also, the Hired Help command is changed quite a bit—and for the better! Though I don't think it'll help all that much at the very beginning of the game, once I get enough leaves, I'll definitely use this ability tons more than I did in the first game! Hired Help in Octopath Traveler II allows you to buff the defense of the entire party, hit the entire enemy party with staves and/or swords, hit the entire enemy party for guaranteed shield breaks, reduce the attack and defense of all foes, raise the elemntal attack of all allies, restore SP, delay enemy actions AND hit with multiple different weapon types (like Winnehild's Battle Cry)! This ability is now obscenely broken, and I'm excited to get to use it! However, most of these don't apply during the early game, as you do not have leaves to spend... but I definitely will be spending a lot more leaves on Hired Help in this game than I did in the first. And his Business Partners ability will let me do that.
Speaking of Business Partners, this Talent allows him to get special deals... but for a cost. It definitely is not as easy to get and save leaves as it was with Tressa, but it is also a lot more fun and more true to how money actually works in real life. I really dig this idea, and it fits very well with his story. Getting these bonuses comes with the Hire command, which like the other recruitment abilities, you can also summon them to help in battle on top of out-of-battle bonuses! His second Path Action is Purchase, which is basically the same as Tressa's was. So let's move on.
Last of all is Partito's Latent Power, which, when used, he gets all of his BP back! This is may just be the best Latent Power in the game! Even large Energizing Pomegranates only give 3 BP, so this is absolutely insane! Combine this amazing power, the insane versatility of the new and improved Hired Help, and the fact Partito will get you tons of leaves early in the game, and you have got yourself one of the best starting characters in Octopath Traveler II.
2. Ochette - S Tier
Path Actions: Provoke and Befriend
Talent: Capture & Prepare
Latent Power: Animal Instincts
I love the new Hunter in this game. We get Precise Shot, which is a weaker but much more reliable version of Rain of Arrows. We get an axe ability that gives you beneficial status effects upon attacking. And we get Abating Orb, which nullifies an enemies beneficial status effects (which it isn't as good as Enervating Blade). However, we still get the epic Take Aim, Mercy Strike, Thunderbird, and Leghold Trap abilities from the first game! Overall, I'm really liking these abilities so far, and I find them to be more fun than they were in the first game.
Ochette's biggest weakness is her Befriend Path Action. This is one of the weakest Path Actions in the game, since you have to Prepare one of your creatures to use it, and nobody wants to do that. However, Provoke is very powerful since monsters are so much better in this game than in the first, and is definitely more useful than Throné's Ambush ability. Literally, Befriend being weak is the biggest reason Ochette isn't in first, because the first place character is not bad at anything xD
Her Talent is SO cool though! Capture works like it does in the first game, but with fourdifferences: 1) there is a 25% chance you will instantly capture an enemy if you kill it with Ochette, 2) captured enemies don't leave you, 3) her default creatures are significantly better, and 4) you can cook your enemies and get awesome healing items. This gives you a lot of early healing items, and creatures that can cause you to dominate the battle! Sure, you can't choose who the beasts target, but this allows Ochette to be the only character who can have access to every type of attack! And there is no denying how good that is!
On top of Befriend, she has another slight weakness: her Latent Power. Though it is by no means bad, it is just one of the weaker ones. She goes full beast mode like Sveta in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn or Vincent in Final Fantasy VII, but it isn't nearly as good as some of the other Latent Powers. It is strong, but not versatile. Overall, her abilities and her beasts are so good, but her Befriend Path Action and her Latent Power cause her to suffer quite a bit.
1. Osvald - S Tier
Path Actions: Mug and Scrutinize
Talent: Study Foe
Latent Power: Concentrate Spells
I started with Osvald after doing a little bit of research, and I definitely did not regret doing so. Just like Cyrus, Osvald is quite easily the most powerful character for the beginning of the game. He also has some very interesting changes! No longer does the Scholar have level 2 magic, but instead has the Advanced Magic ability, which, upon using, gives a character the ability to hit twice with magic. Though this may sound worse on paper, you can also make other attacks like Ember or Thunderbird hit twice! On top of Advanced Magic, the Scholar has two other support abilities: Analyze, which they always have had, and Stroke of Genius, which gives a character TWO random stat buffs! Now the Scholar is much more of a support character, while still having damage capabilities. Their best ability though, in my opinion, is the new Elemental Barrage. This ability hits with random elements multiple times, which is AMAZING for breaking enemies! It also does insane damage against single-targets, similar to how Thousand Spears or Rain of Arrows would (but this one never misses). Overall, I would say the Scholar is slightly more powerful than in the first game, which makes Osvald a character you should always have in your party!
His Talent is Study Foe, which is the same as in the first game, except better! Upon fighting an enemy for the second time, it reveals TWO weaknesses instead of one. This basically makes it a requirement to have Osvald in your party, since without him, it will be an obscene amount of guessing of what the enemies are weak to. In a game where weaknesses mean everything, not having Osvald would make the game significantly harder!
In addition to a fantastic talent, he has two of the best Path Actions in the game. Mug, which is almost as good as Steal (and much more fun than Steal), and Scrutinize, by far the best way to learn information (Bribe, Coerce, and Inquire all suck). Have Osvald and Ochette in your party, and you'll have most of the best Path Actions covered!
Last of all is his Latent Power, which is basically Alephan's Enlightement from the first game. This allows you to deal double damage with your spells at the cost of making them single-target. This ability is crazy at destroying early game bosses, and is something you definitely want to have as you go about beating people's chapters. Though it probably won't be as good as Throné's, Agnea's, Temenos's or Partito's by the endgame, for the early game, it is something you definitely want to have access to. Overall, since Osvald does the most damage of any character, has some of the best Path Actions in the game, and a Talent that is almost necessary to have in your party, I believe that Osvald is the best character to start with.
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