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Octopath Traveler lets the player pick their beginning protagonist and proceed through the first Chapter of their story — "path", before moving on and recruiting the other seven party members by going through their path's initial Chapter.
It takes some classic Final Fantasy mechanics, like a job-class system that allows the protagonists to take on a 'second job' to give them access to more skills and weapon types. The gameplay amounts to travelling around the continent of Osterra and heading to the next town, where the next Chapter for a protagonist's story takes place. You encounter some scenes there, head into a nearby dungeon, defeat the Chapter's Big Boss, and finish the Chapter. Then proceed to head to the next location, to repeat the process.
And that leads to a big problem of the game, for me. There doesn't seem to be much of a connection going on, nor a decent flow in terms of story-telling. The Chapters are separated into their parts, leaving them to feel choppy, and there is little that leads to the party to feel like an actual group — the 'party banter' the player can view from Chapter 2 onward involve very basic, short talks between the Chapter's protagonist and anther party member, but nothing that is really deep. It feels like short scenes slapped together and called a story, with party members outside of the current path's protagonist being little more than NPCs. Even with the very end of the paths proving there is an overarching connection going on, it's not too well-done.
The music is mediocre. I cannot call it 'bad', but neither can I call it 'amazing'. It's okay to listen to, but many places share a certain track — cave-like dungeons have one track, while mansion-like dungeons have another, etc — so there isn't much variety going on. If asked, I wouldn't be able to hum any of the tracks spontaneously.
The battle system reminds me of a mixture of the Persona and the Final Fantasy XIII games: exploit the enemy's weakness long enough to cause them to enter Break status, then proceed to cause as much damage as you can before they recover.
Octopath Traveler is basically, incredibly, overall complete average. It's a nice game to play if you want to enjoy a JRPG, but don't expect anything amazing. Many of the twists and revelations of the various paths are very easy to see coming from miles away, leaving no sense of suspense or tension going on while wondering how the path will continue.
While I consider the game better than \"average,\" I agree with many of your complaints. A lot of the dungeons seemed rather uninteresting in terms of design, without much to do in them. By comparison, FFVI not only had a variety of dungeon designs, but also special events to spice things up, such as splitting into multiple parties.
My main complaint about the game is the weak overarching plot and relative lack of interaction between party members, a problem FFVI shared in sequences that didn\'t require a specific party composition (i.e. most of the game after your party meets up in Narshe). It\'s a good example of how relatively nonlinear games struggle with telling a story.
The only point that I\'d disagree with is about the music being \"mediocre,\" at least when it comes to the battle themes.
I disagree about the music. I listened to the soundtrack on You Tube and fell in love with it, enough that it convinced me to try the game. I picked it up last night and I'm liking it so far.
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