Octopath Traveler is a retro-inspired role-playing video game developed by Square Enix. The well-acclaimed RPG was first released in 2018 exclusively for Nintendo Switch. It was eventually ported to other platforms including Microsoft Windows in 2019, Google’s Stadia in 2020, and Xbox One in 2021. Unfortunately, the game is not yet optimized for mobile devices. Luckily, in collaboration with Acquire (Way of the Samurai and Tenchu series), Square Enix finally brings Android and iOS users to the magical world of Osterra. The Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent is a prequel to the successful video game and is exclusively optimized for the mobile platform. The game was initially made available in Japan in 2020 but was officially expanded to North America and Europe last month.
A Nostalgic JRPG
Gameplay and appearance-wise, Octopath Traveler pays homage to some of the classic role-playing video games that we all know. If you have experienced playing games like Konami’s Suikoden or Square Enix’s very own Final Fantasy and Mana series, then you might find this game equally engaging. The unique retro-inspired art style is what makes Octopath Traveler special. It is described as “HD-2D”, a modern retro-gaming approach where developers combine classic SNES-style characters and textures with polygonal environments and high-definition effects. Interestingly, Square Enix will be using the same approach for their upcoming games including Triangle Strategy (a tactical RPG) and the remake of Dragon Quest III.
Octopath Traveler also features the classic turn-based combat. However, one thing that quickly separates the game from typical RPGs is the unique 8-party system. Here, you are playing the role of one of the eight travelers who you can summon using your divine ring, hence the title. Characters in the game will vary in terms of their Influence (influence of wealth, power, and fame) and most of which can be obtained as the story progresses or via the in-game gacha system. Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent is a prequel to the first video game and while the game is now heavily optimized for mobile devices, it managed to capture all the wonderful elements from the original console RPG.
Octopath Traveler: CotC Story and Gameplay
Like most single-player RPGs, the mechanics for Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent are generally simple but the level of difficulty will gradually increase as you progress. The story of the game will take you back to the magical continent of Osterra, years before the original Octopath Traveler took place. It will introduce a new set of characters, a new story, and new quests to explore. It is also interesting to note that some of the characters from the original game will also make appearances as the story progresses.
Remaining faithful to the classic JRPG fashion, Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent follows a very formulaic plot. You play the role of the “Chosen One” who is destined to save the world from a major catastrophe. Luckily, you are not alone in this journey because you will be accompanied by seven more random travelers. As the story begins, the player will be asked to select his preferred path. There are three paths to choose from; Wealth, Power, and Fame. Each path features a unique story that will take place in an entirely different region.
If you picked the Master of Wealth path, you start your journey in a verdant forest of the Woodlands where you need to rescue the cursed town of Valore from the evil witch Herminia. Choosing the Master of Power Path takes you to the snow-swept frontiers of Frostlands. Here, you will be asked to save the town of Emberglow from the treacherous bandits led by Tytos. If you pick the Master of Fame path, you start with the grassy meadows of the Flatlands where you will encounter Auguste who manipulates the people of Theatropolis city. Regardless of the path you initially selected, you can still play the other two routes concurrently right after you completed the first chapter of your first chosen path.
Champions of the Continent has many unique battle system elements that are adapted from the original console game. First of which is the 8-party turn-based combat. The party will be divided into two rows with four characters each. Players can only control the four front row members during the battle while the back row members will recover HP and SP every turn. You can, however, swap the front and back row members any turn you like. This is where players can establish an effective strategy to maximize their chances of winning.
Another unique element of the game is the Break and Boost system. Enemies in this game will have their unique set of weaknesses indicated by the boxes shown below their HP bar. When you strike an enemy’s weakness, it will reduce the enemy’s Shield Points (SP) by 1 for each hit. If the enemy sustained too much damage and if the SP reaches Zero, it enters the so-called Break state that prevents them from attacking during the entire turn. This provides players the perfect time to deal with bigger damages. Boost Points or BP, on the other hand, are points earned by each member for every turn. Once a character earned 3 BPs, the player has the option to boost their preferred attributes to make the characters more efficient and effective in the battle.
Classic Gacha System
It is also important to note that Octopath Traveler: CotC features gacha elements. There are over 64 colorful and uniquely designed characters to unlock in this game and an endless combination of teams or squads to form. Gacha Mechanic is either a hit or a miss for many gamers. Some RPGs will provide a deep focus on this particular mechanic that somehow compromises the plot and overall user experience. Champions of the Continent, however, put gacha system as a minor element that doesn’t provide much impact on the actual gameplay. It means that regardless of the rarity of your character, you can still perform well in the battles.
Characters will vary depending on their Influence and their Rarity (3-5 stars). It requires 30 Rubies (premium currency in the game) to draw a single character and 300 Rubies for a 10-roll draw. While the game is not entirely gacha-dependent, players can take advantage of this feature to help them achieve the best roster of characters.
Other Campaigns and noteworthy features
Aside from the main campaign, there are many other things in CotC that are absolutely worth exploring. There are Daily and Weekly tasks systems that you can take to receive additional rewards. Similar to the original console version, CotC also features the so-called Path Actions, these are unique actions that each character has that can be used in the game. These actions allow you to obtain possessions, recruit allies, and learn certain information from NPCs.
Appearance-wise, Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent is an absolute visual delight. It is a nostalgic game that treats you with beautiful and colorful retro-inspired characters and settings. Soundtrack also plays a major role in this RPG. The composer behind the original Octopath Traveler, Yasunori Nishiki, is the same brilliant composer behind CotC music. A few of his notable works include Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, and more.
If you enjoy role-playing games and would love to experience how this game is done the classic way, Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent is definitely a great fit! Embark yourself in an epic journey and feel free to explore this console-grade RPG directly from your mobile device! Have fun!
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