There’s no school like the old school as Square Enix takes us back to a classic era with Octopath Traveler, a traditional turn-based role-playing game that ticks all of the boxes sought after by the old people who still remember playing Final Fantasy on their Super Nintendo. It features a cast of loveable 16-bit nobles and rogues, a perilous and fascinating world that draws you in the longer you play and have your ear bent by the many townsfolk filling the streets and a vintage turn-based system that remains true to how the forefathers of J-RPGs did things while remaining nuanced and strategic. All in all, Octopath Traveler has everything that fans of traditional role-playing have been missing.
The first choice you make in Octopath Traveler is perhaps the hardest. Choosing between the game’s eight heroes is a trial in itself as each of them offers a worthwhile venture. In my instance, I opted for Therion, a roguish thief who gets caught red-handed and blackmailed by a cunning noblewoman to retrieve her stolen artefacts. This set in motion my adventure which, given the game’s open nature, is going to be inherently different from the story undertaken by most others. The beautiful thing about Octopath Traveler is that its world is open from the very beginning, where you go upon the completion of your main’s first chapter is entirely up to you. The game seldom guides you, leaving you to carve out your own path with help from a simple map unencumbered by overt and plentiful quest markers. It’s refreshing and makes exploration worthwhile again, which isn’t something I’ve welcomed in a role-playing game for some time.