Octopath Traveller 2 is very much a sequel to Octopath Traveller.
Those jumping in who have played the original Octopath Traveller will find that it sports the same HD-2D visual style, the same structure, and even most of the original game’s features. Revolutionary, then, isn’t a word you can use to describe Octopath Traveller 2. But worry not, as it’s a worthwhile sequel all the same. In fact, while the new additions here may not result in something that feels totally new, they do have the capacity to make this sequel a deeper, more enjoyable experience overall.
First though, PlayStation gamers: yes, this is Octopath Traveller 2, sequel to a game that hasn’t been available on PlayStation consoles. The nature of it though, means that it shouldn’t put you off one jot. With an original cast of eight travellers and a whole new world to explore, having no knowledge of the events of the original game won’t effect your enjoyment at all. It doesn’t expect you to be familiar with its unique gameplay mechanics, either; tutorials are doled out on a regular basis, getting you up to speed in an efficient manner.
Once again you’re free to start Octopath Traveller 2 with any of the eight available travellers. Each has their own reasons for embarking on an epic journey, and in the opening hours you’ll likely form a bond with your first choice, learning what motivates them to journey into the unknown. Soon enough though, you’ll encounter the other travellers on your travels, and can bring them into your party. Whose story you choose to pursue after that is up to you.
We started our adventure with Hikari, a warrior who yearns for peace. With the throne stolen from right underneath him, he pledges to travel and find allies that can help him retake his land. It’s with Hikari that we first got to grips with multiple of the new features that enrich Octopath Traveller 2. For a start, travellers now have two path actions available to them rather than just one. In the daytime, for example, Hikari can challenge NPCs to duels, and if he emerges victorious he can learn useful skills from them. But at night, he chooses to bribe people instead, possibly gleaming useful information.
What makes this dual path action system even more valuable is that players can change the time of day at will. And the time of day affects more than just which path action is available. In towns, different NPCs will be scattered around. And out in the open world, you’ll encounter different enemies. At night, enemies are typically more powerful, too. The time of day will even have a bearing on side quests; it might be easier to find bandits that could have stolen someone’s items at night, for example.
Another new feature in Octopath Traveller 2 is Latent Powers. Every traveller has their own Latent Power, which becomes available in battle once a meter has been filled. In the case of Hikari, it provides him with a range of powerful attacks that he can perform with no MP cost. But with Partitio, the skilled merchant, you’ll find that activating his Latent Power maximises his battle points, or BP. These can be used to power up or perform additional attacks, for those who aren’t familiar with the game’s battle system.
Speaking of the game’s battle system, which once again relies on players exploiting enemy weaknesses to lower their defences before unleashing their most powerful attacks while they’re stunned: it feels faster paced to us. Enemies don’t feel quite so tanky, making random battles less of a bother while you’re exploring. Unless you engage in a decent number of random battles you might encounter the odd difficulty spike, though. Just one or two levels can make all the difference.
Alongside gameplay tweaks and improvements, what also elevates Octopath Traveller 2 above its predecessor is its cast of characters. They’re all likeable and excellently voiced (both English and Japanese voice tracks are available), making you want to continue their journeys and find out more about them. That’s something we couldn’t say about some of the characters in the original game. While they still don’t interact with each other quite as much as we’d like, they do at least have some joint quests here, which is an improvement.
We’ve been playing Octopath Traveller 2 on PS5, and it both looks and performs great on the format. The real standout is the soundtrack, though, which is absolutely sublime. Also helping you get immersed in the world is the fact that loading times are lightning quick. You’ll sit down to play for a short while and then realise that hours have passed. It a good thing, too, as completing Octopath Traveller 2 is likely to take you upwards of 70 hours depending on how much side content you engage in along the way.
If you’re after a new JRPG to sink your teeth – and time – into, Octopath Traveller 2 comes highly recommended. The new features and mechanics that have been implemented add depth to the gameplay and make the world more dynamic, while the combat is more engaging and exciting than ever. But more importantly, the characters and their trials on offer here will win you over, keeping you invested as the hours rack up. As sequels go, you couldn’t really ask for more.
Octopath Traveller 2 is available on PS4, PS5, Switch and PC.