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Preview: Octopath Traveler 2’s First Chapters Cleverly Showcase Characters

Preview: Octopath Traveler 2’s First Chapters Cleverly Showcase Characters

If both Octopath Traveler and the spin-off Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent have shown us anything, it is how important each person in the game can be. If you don’t care about these people and want to get invested in their growth, it’s difficult to connect. After spending time with the first chapters of characters in Octopath Traveler 2, its clear that the sequel is also trying to impart that importance and get the player to care about who they are and what they can do. From what I experienced in these early hours, it seems successful.

As with the original game, Octopath Traveler 2 is the tale of eight unique characters’ stories. Each person is dealing with an opportunity to change their lives. As in the original game, these feature various degrees of drama and darkness. Like Tressa, Agnea’s story is more lighthearted. The dancer wants to dance and see the world. Though Partitio’s tale includes some of that, being a merchant trying to restore prosperity to his home and people worldwide. But then, there are darker stories as well. I couldn’t help but compare the general ambiance of Throne’s first chapter with that of Therion’s and Primrose’s. Like Therion, there’s a drive for freedom for this thief, who is collared by the “Father” and “Mother” of her association. But also, like Primrose, there’s a sense of drive and vengeance.

Preview: Octopath Traveler 2’s First Chapters Cleverly Showcase Characters

It also meant that, in these early hours, I ended up liking certain Octopath Traveler 2 characters more than I thought I would. Temenos the cleric is one of them. Like Primrose, his story is one involving a search for truth. Which makes sense, given he’s not only a cleric, but an inquisitor. But I didn’t expect to see how genuinely amusing he is in his first chapter, as well as the almost Sherlock-like mind palace deduction on his part. The same went for Castti and Ochette. I worried the former’s tale of an amnesiac would somehow seem a bit ordinary, but her first chapter manages to make someone care about what she’s going through and curious about what’s next. As for Ochette, there’s an earnestness to her tale that pairs well with the compelling monster capturing mechanic.

Speaking of which, all of these first Octopath Traveler 2 chapters also are rather intricate tutorials. However, they’re executed in such a way that they don’t feel like handholding experiences. I mean, of course you’re limited to certain spaces. For example, Throne’s only takes place in New Delsta as she deals with Blacksnakes missions. It featured forced night and day segments, to highlight her ability to Ambush an NPC at night to gain access to a new area or to steal from someone during a day to get items to use or complete quests. Each person’s serves to make the player comfortable and familiar with them. We learn who they are and how they work, hopefully making us see the value in using them and pursuing their stories.

Preview: Octopath Traveler 2’s First Chapters Cleverly Showcase Characters

That sense of safety also applies to these first chapters’ fights in Octopath Traveler 2. This isn’t to say they are easy. To be frank, Temenos’ first “boss” beat me the first time around. However, the mechanics in place meant that I could choose to pick up from the last save, be it a manual or autosave, to better prepare for the alteraction. People get to see how each person’s Talent works before you’re thrust out into the game’s larger world. They can see the value of Latent Powers and test out strategies for what can feel like limit breaks in controlled environments. So when I did return for that rematch with Temenos, I had another two levels, purchased an extra job skill with earned points, and knew how to better anticipate the opponent’s attack patterns and use the break and boost system to succeed.

It seems the developers of Octopath Traveler 2 understood how important it is to make sure its characters, their stories, and their abilities draw people in, and each one’s first chapter works to try and capture people’s interest. Regardless of which person someone chooses, it feels like each one does its best to explain why this person should matter to someone, show via battles that can be challenging what they and their job can do, and make someone wonder what’s next. It feels like it could end up even richer than the original.

Octopath Traveler 2 will appear on the Switch, PS4, PS5, and PC via Steam on February 24, 2023.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.