8 things I wish I knew before I started Octopath Traveler II

Image: Square Enix

Octopath Traveler II can feel like a fairly straightforward turn-based RPG in many ways, but considering the original mechanics of its eight characters, its non-linear storytelling, and how uncompromising it can be in throwing you into the game, Deep End, there is one Lots of complexity under the hood. Whether it’s recruiting party members early or getting the most out of certain systems, here are some tips to get you started on your journey with Octopath Traveler II.

General PSA: You won’t miss any content when you start with a character

The first decision you have to make in Octopath Traveler II is which of the eight playable characters you want to play as first. This has some ramifications as it acts as the anchor point for your introduction to the world, determining the initial weapons, abilities and special abilities you will have at the start of the game. Each character has a story introduction that lasts about an hour, but the first one you play through sets a specific tone for the beginning of your journey. However, as you recruit the other seven characters in the game, you’ll have a chance to hear their origin stories as well. While choosing your first character is a big decision, don’t worry about missing any story content along the way.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

New characters will not be scaled to match the level of your old ones

There’s a lot of side content to do in Octopath Traveler II, but getting the full party together as early as possible is probably a good idea. While some RPGs ensure that your party’s level is roughly the same as you battle your way through the world, new characters in Octopath Traveler II start at level 1, regardless of what level the rest of your party is at. Because of this, it’s worth listening to each character’s origin story when prompted to do so when you first meet them, as it gives you both some context as to who this new party member is and gives you a chance to level up their enemies a bit , for which they are scaled. Luckily, if you make a point of recruiting characters early, they’ll likely level up fairly quickly, catching up with characters you already have with minimal grinding.

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The origin stories are both narrative and mechanical intros, so do this as soon as possible

When I first started Octopath Traveler II, I didn’t play through the origin stories as I recruited new party members, but planned to play them out by visiting a tavern and deciding to listen to an old story later. I was busy and had tunnel vision playing through Partitio’s story who I chose at the start of the game. However, when I finally got around to listening to the stories of new characters in the tavern, not only did it help to finally have invested in multiple stories, it also helped me to contextualize the original mechanics of characters like Agnea and Castti, e.g . B. Asking for information from a local or getting them to help us could be useful. While you may not be immediately interested in a character when you first meet it, it’s still worth pausing your quest to hear his story, as it will enhance your overall experience with both story context and knowledge of the systems of the character game will enrich.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Rewatch previous cutscenes to refresh your memory of the story

Man, more RPGs should let you do that. Because Octopath Traveler II focuses on eight anthology stories, it can be easy to lose track as you play and zigzag through chapters of different characters. Luckily, the game has a handy feature that lets you learn about big events, characters, and motivations: rewatching cutscenes. To do this, pause the game, go to the Journal tab and find the character whose story you want to refresh. Here you can read summaries of each chapter’s scenes or watch them from scratch. Many RPGs keep track of things through quest logs and codex entries, but Octopath Traveler II lets you easily rewatch an entire storyline right from the pause menu, and given its structure, it’s a welcome addition worth taking advantage of when you come back to stories during the game.

Increase game speed

Octopath Traveler II is a great game, but you won’t lose any of that visual flair by making the battles go by a little faster. During a battle, press the Start/Options/+ key to speed up the battle animations. This is especially helpful on grinding tracks, as it cuts down on the time for each combat encounter, and since it still shows all of its great animations, you don’t really lose anything by flipping the switch.

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Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Prioritize recruiting characters that can fill gaps in your arsenal

When you choose your first character, not only will they set you on a specific path for the story, but they will also play an important role in what abilities and weapons you have in the early game. For example, if you choose to start as Agnea, your early battles will be fought with a dagger, and that’s the enemy weakness that’s easiest to exploit. But like any character, a party member cannot hit every weak point alone. Of course, as you find new additions around the world, you’ll find teammates to fill in those gaps, but some characters can help you make up for those shortcomings by bringing NPCs with them on the journey for a limited time. Agnea and Partitio both have abilities that allow you to recruit NPCs you meet on your travels as temporary companions, complete with their own abilities and weapon sets. You can see these before you hire them, so you don’t go in and use resources just hoping a potential recruit can fix your shortcomings. It’s a good strategy game for recognizing which weapon weaknesses you can’t hit (or maybe you can only hit with a character that could use some help covering your bases) and either start with those characters or get them early on recruiting will help you exploit weaknesses you otherwise couldn’t without party members you have yet to meet.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Take the guesswork out of finding vulnerabilities

Many battles in Octopath Traveler II start with some guessing and tossing as you try to reveal enemy weaknesses via elemental damage and weapon damage. This can take a few turns depending on what characters you have and is an elimination game. However, certain characters have abilities that can help you solve part of the puzzle. Two characters in particular, Ochette and Osvald, have abilities that can reveal weaknesses early on, allowing you to use them to deal extra damage, knock down defenses, and stun enemies. Ochette is more precise and somewhat limited in comparison, but still helpful. As a huntress, Ochette can summon a companion that you choose at the beginning of her story. Whether you choose the Lājackal Akalā or her Malamaowl Mahina, Ochette will have an ability that reveals weapon weaknesses or elemental weaknesses respectively. Osvalds isn’t limited to weapons or elements, as a scholar he can use Analyze, which reveals both an enemy’s HP and a weakness. Having at least one of these two on your team at all times will shorten battles because you won’t have to try and figure out which weak spots to hit in early rounds.

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Image: Square Enix / Kotaku

Stagger your breaks and use BP strategically

The core strategy in Octopath Traveler II’s combat is to target weaknesses and take down an opponent’s defenses. These are called breaks, which stun an enemy for one turn and cause all subsequent attacks to deal additional damage. Each enemy has a specific defense level, represented by a numbered shield icon, with the number indicating how many times you have to strike a weakness before their defenses break. In addition, each character gains a BP point when they reach a new turn, allowing them to perform one more attack per point spent in a turn. As tempting as it may be to use multiple BP in a turn to break through an enemy’s defenses, stunned enemies take more damage than enemies regularly, so it’s sometimes worth spending more time on single attacks in a turn in order to to slowly break down the defenses and then use BP to unleash multiple more powerful attacks while an opponent is stunned. Breaching defenses is one of the key factors in combat success in Octopath Traveler II, but doing a lot in the short amount of time you have makes the difference between sapping an enemy’s health for long periods of time and dishing it out major damage very quickly.