Octopath Traveler Review Roundup
Eight heroes, tons of opinions.
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Octopath Traveler has been stirring nostalgia-hungry RPG fans since it debuted as an early project for the Nintendo Switch. More than a year later, the loving homage to 16-bit RPGs has finally released, giving fans a chance to pick up a game inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy 5 and SaGa Frontier.
While it takes clear inspiration from those classic RPGs, though, it has a few unique tricks up its sleeve. The combat system is reminiscent of the more recent Bravely series, with the ability to stack attacks onto a single turn. Even more significantly, the name refers to the eight distinct protagonists, each with their own stories and special abilities both in combat and NPC interactions. You can choose which order to play through their stories, or even if you want to skip some altogether.
That story structure has led to a divisive critical response. While many reviewers agree the under-the-hood RPG systems are inventive and invite exploration and tinkering, critics are split on whether this divided story structure works. GameSpot's Octopath Traveler review was one such review that found the systems intriguing but the story lacking. Check out a collection of critical reactions below, and head over to our sister site Metacritic for the wider response.
- Game: Octopath Traveler
- Developer: Square Enix, Acquire
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Release date: July 13
- Price: $59.99 / £42.99 / $69 AU
GameSpot -- 8/10
"Despite the lackluster stories that pull you through the world, Octopath thrives on its character progression and the temptations of high-level challenges and rewards. The promise of new jobs, exciting boss fights, and powerful gear will inspire you to poke around every corner, and there are no shortage of discoveries to strive for. And all the while, you're treated to one of the most interesting and effective re-imaginings of a retro aesthetic around. Octopath will likely be a divisive game due to its fractured storytelling, but it's one worth playing despite its lesser qualities. Its high points are simply too good to ignore." -- Peter Brown [Full review]
IGN -- 9.3/10
"Octopath Traveler is a JRPG dream come true. Both its battle system and aesthetic pay loving tribute to the Super NES era while moving the formula forward in exciting and novel ways. This isn't merely a modern retread of past classics, but a phenomenal homage with genuinely fresh ideas in a fantastically charming wrapper of old-school meets new. While the eight different character stories could've used a little more connection between them, I'm looking forward to going back to complete them all, explore the many side areas, battle optional bosses, and unlock the final job classes." -- Seth Macy [Full review]
Nintendo World Report -- 9/10
"But Octopath Traveler is much more than its peculiar vignette-heavy story that owes more to Dragon Quest or SaGa Frontier than Final Fantasy. It's an elegant game packed with serene melodies, a simple yet deep combat system, and a stunning world to explore. The end result might not be the modern classic so many hoped for, but Octopath Traveler is an excellent RPG that's only major sin is a loose story structure." -- Neal Ronaghan [Full review]
Twinfinite -- 4.5/5
"Octopath Traveler feels like a much more personal collection of tales that might go against what you'd typically expect from a JRPG. More than anything else, the way the characters fall together feels like coincidence rather than providence, and the game is far more concerned with telling intimate stories about grief, friendship, adventure, and redemption. You might not get to save the world, but there's joy to be had from just helping out someone in a bind and learning more about the deep history of Orsterra as you go. For what it sets out to do, Octopath Traveler excels." -- Zhiqing Wan [Full review]
God is a Geek -- 8.5/10
"Octopath Traveler is not only an essential RPG but it is a fantastic reason to buy a Switch if you've been craving a meaty JRPG with one of the best soundtracks in gaming and a superb battle system." -- Mikhail Madnani [Full review]
Destructoid -- 7.5/10
"Octopath Traveler is a small triumph in that it mostly delivers on its promise to give us eight stories worth seeing through. None of them push the envelope in any way, and several drag, but that's not a huge issue when you have so many to choose from. Even if you skip one or several tales altogether you're still going to get a handful of RPG goodness." -- Chris Carter [Full review]
Fandom -- 7/10
"Octopath Traveler is a gem of an RPG with genuinely brilliant battle mechanics and a world worthy of celebration, but it's hamstrung by an ambitious structure that doesn't suit its narrative ambition." -- Don Peppiatt [Full review]
RPG Site -- 7/10
"I really want to love Octopath Traveler, but the messy nature of its story presentation is ultimately an enormous weakness. That stands out, but this game is also truly one of the most intriguing evolutions of the 'golden age' RPG formula out of Japan, managing to both build on and pay homage to the classics. I don't particularly mind that Octopath Traveler is a collection of eight separate stories, but the lack of any sort of cohesion even among the party members bogs it down and makes the stories that are there ring slightly hollow. Octopath Traveler is an excellent game, but the elasticity of its structure proves to be the one unassailable hurdle between it and becoming a classic in its own right." -- Josh Torres [Full review]