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What The Critics Are Saying About Octopath Traveler 2

The original "Octopath Traveler," first released for the Nintendo Switch in 2018, has become something of a cult favorite among JRPG fans. The series allows players to delve into the stories of eight playable protagonists and guide them through thrilling turn-based battles and relationship-building side stories. The sequel is set in the all-new land of Solistia, meaning "Octopath Traveler 2" is a great entry point for gamers who missed the first entry in the series. And luckily for newcomers and series veterans alike, critics seem to be greatly enjoying it.


Ahead of the game's February 24 release date, a number of outlets got their hands on "Octopath Traveler 2" and dropped early reviews. Thus far, the game has been praised for its vibrant art style and daytime/nighttime mechanics, but it has been knocked for the way in which it tells its story. Here is what the critics have to say about "Octopath Traveler 2."

Octopath Traveler 2 is bigger and better in many ways

If you enjoyed playing through the original "Octopath Traveler" or are just hankering for a new JRPG to sink your teeth into, then you're in luck. For one thing, combat has gotten a huge overhaul thanks to the new Latent Powers mechanic, which allows each character to build up a special gauge during battle. The result is a deeper sense of strategy and much greater payoffs for each combat encounter. Eurogamer's Hirun Cryer writes, "The original's combat felt like a bit of a slog at times ... With Latent Powers, 'Octopath Traveler 2' gives you more freedom on your turns to hit home against enemies, or better prepare for an ensuing barrage." Meanwhile, Game Informer's Josh Broadwell appreciated how the in-game change from day to night provides new challenges and tougher enemies to defeat, which in turn speeds up the process of leveling up characters.


Critics across the board have also complimented the game's art style, which mixes adorable sprite animation with gorgeous painterly backgrounds for a look that mimics classic 16-bit RPGs. However, your mileage may vary if you've played a good bit of the original. In a review for IGN, Seth Macy argues that the lighting effects and overall style doesn't hit quite like it did in the original.

Too many characters to balance?

One of the biggest issues that critics have noted in the new game is that, for a game built around showcasing eight protagonists, there's not much connective tissue to make it feel like they belong together. Polygon's Critic Jay Castello writes, "For dozens of hours, some combination of four out of the eight will be together ... But come to a main story scene, and everyone but the single person directly involved will suddenly disappear." Although side characters feel well-written and compelling, Castello argues that the actual protagonists "neither develop nor showcase any believable connections." Engadget's Mat Smith echoed this sentiment, feeling that the storylines and characters didn't cohere in any meaningful way. 


If players are able to get past the plotting pitfalls of "Octopath Traveler 2," however, they'll find themselves in the midst of an RPG journey that's well worth taking. The multiple story paths are well-told, even if it feels like the characters don't interact as seamlessly as they should, and the gameplay is overall a tighter execution of what worked in the first game.