Octo means eight - Octopath Traveler demo thoughts

The Project Octopath Traveler demo hit the Switch today. While I was at work. So I had to see all these tweets of people having fun while I was doing my job to get paid. Okay, I cannot complain. But I was excited.

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy was one of my favorite games in… a long time. It just did everything I wanted out of an RPG. Its sequel was so good that I played it slowly, not wanting it to end. I loved them both. No. I love them both.

So then I hear the team is working on a Switch game called Project Octopath Traveler. Excitement. Then this demo drops. Hello. Okay. I’m in.

From what I can tell it is SaGa-ish. Eight characters to choose from. You see their opening story and then go out in the world. Well, I’m assuming it gets SaGa-ish. The demo sure feels that way. But the Bravely Default demo gave a good taste of what to expect without spoiling much of anything. I have a feeling these are the actual intros for these two characters, but things can change.

Anyway, beautiful sprites, nice music. Neat lighting effects abound. Now here's the meat: the battle system.

Like Bravely Default you have BP but this is just bonus points accumulated every turn. Each enemy has a shield icon and a few icons, starting as ?s, which indicate what they are weak to.

It's not just magic, though. Primrose comes with some dark magic, but also uses a dagger. Some enemies are weak to the dark, some to the dagger. You can use the bonus points to perform additional attacks or to buff magic/skills. So here's the neat part.

Say an group of enemies each has one shield point and they are all weak to dark magic. Primrose can use her dark magic against all enemies and they will all “break” meaning they miss their next turn. Now, Primrose has earned one BP so she can use it boost her dark magic that attacks all enemies and take them out.

But let's say there's two enemies. One has three shield points and is not weak to dark. But it is weak against daggers. There are two other enemies with one shield point and they are weak against dark. Your character earns one BP at the start of their turn.

So now I can star off by breaking the two enemies weak against dark. Primrose has one unused BP. The third enemy attacks, the other two miss their turn. Primrose gets her next turn and another BP. She could boost her dark-all magic to potentially blast away the two enemies or she could do three dagger attacks and break the other enemy so it misses its next turn. But then the two other enemies will get to attack. So there's stuff to balance here.

Now it got interesting when I finished Primrose’s opening and found the other character who has an intro to play in this game, Olberic. He doesn't use magic, but comes equipped with a sword and a spear. Huh, I first thought. Until I get into battle and I see left and right arrows on his attack command. Aha! He can choose to use the sword or spear, and of course this matters depending on the weaknesses of the enemies. And when you have a mess of enemies, some weak to darkness, some weak to one of the three weapon types in the demo, things get interesting. A game of “How do I quickly take out these enemies without taking much damage.” comes up. And you are going to want to play this game because plenty of the enemies hit hard.

It's not like SaGa in that there are regular levels. This means it might sell copies. How the various skills are learned and what exact weapons each character will be able to equip is still to be discovered, but there was enough meat in this one demo that I am so ready for more.

I created a highlight of the two openings. Here it is! I did play around with both Primrose and Olberic before doing Olberic’s story. I’ll probably return to the Primrose save file another day to see what else they've given us to explore in this demo. But I am already sold. Day one, this is going into my switch.

Hope I can finish DQ11 before it hits.