The game of my dreams. From the second I saw this title’s reveal trailer during the Nintendo Switch debut trailer, I knew that Octopath Traveler had to be mine.

Now, we’ve had many RPGs over the years that tried to capture the spirit of classic 16 and 32-bit JRPGs in glorious HD, but none have gone so far as to capture the look. Octopath Traveler not only feels old-school, it looks old-school to boot, capturing the essence and style of Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, and most noticeably, Romancing SaGa 3.

At the same time, I’ve played the demo, and Octopath Traveler doesn’t strictly adhere to classic JRPG formulas either. Unlike the simplistic battle systems of Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, Octopath Traveler operates like a modern JRPG, like an Etrian Odyssey, Bravely, or a Persona game. Battles require smarts to beat, not simply spanning your best moves. Character buffs are a must, and coordinating turns and aligning powerful attacks boost damage to bring down big enemies quickly.

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This is a thinking man’s JRPG, and with eight characters telling eight different stories, you’ll have plenty adventures waiting for you to bust its mechanics wide open. Don’t worry if you don’t want to beat all eight in one sitting. Like all classic JRPGs, this one will be open to multiple replays. Not because of some industry calculated replay value, but because you’ll just genuinely want to go back and see all that the adventures have to offer again and again.

That’s the magic that classic JRPGs have that many genres simply lack anymore.


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