Octopath Traveler is the Exclusive RPG the Switch Needed in 2018
The year 2017 was chockablock with incredible releases, so 2018 has been a bit disappointing in comparison. Not only has this summer been dry in general, but Nintendo’s Switch has spent most of this year relying on pre-existing indies and Wii U ports to keep the eShop fresh. Thankfully, Square Enix and Acquire have teamed up to provide Switch players the oasis they so desperately needed.
Octopath Traveler serves as something of a throwback JRPG, with a 16-bit look that is cleverly paired with modern lighting and effects thanks to the Unreal Engine 4. And as the name implies, there are actually eight different stories in here for you to enjoy while exploring the various mechanics tied to each protagonist.
Seth Macy reviewed Octopath on our sister site IGN, and he gave it an Amazing score of 9.3 out of 10. He was particularly wowed by how well the dev team was able to evoke SNES nostalgia while still moving the genre forward in terms of both mechanics and visuals.
Metacritic currently has 45 reviews in its system with an average of 84 out of 100 – making IGN’s score one of the highest. On the lower side of the aggregated scores, Destructoid gave the game a good score of 7.5 out of 10 while RPG Site scored it 7 out of 10. Both of them quibble with some of the structural weaknesses of the game, but even the most critical reviews are fairly positive overall.
If you’re still not sure if Octopath Traveller is a good fit for your tastes, a three-hour demo is available from Nintendo. And the best part? All of your progress will transfer into the full game, so you won’t be stuck playing through the same early-game content if you choose to stay with it.
Looking at the game in motion, it’s clear that there’s something special about this aesthetic. Featuring dynamic lighting and shadows, top-notch shaders, a cloth physics simulation, and a stunning depth-of-field effect, Octopath stands out from every other RPG of its kind. While some of the effects used might be a bit much, it seems inevitable that we’ll see countless iterations of this composite mixed-gen style in the next few years.
Even though we’re dealing with a low-res pixelated look, we still need to think about what resolutions we’re dealing with here. When your Switch is docked, the game itself and the UI are both set to resolve at 1280×720. But when you take the Switch out of its dock, the game drops down to 1024×576 while the interface stays at 720p – the Switch screen’s native resolution. Sure, it’d be nice to get up to 1080p when docked, but we’re not particularly surprised that the Switch can’t quite swing it.
The game stays locked at 30fps in either docked or undocked modes, but some areas suffer from frame pacing issues. However, Digital Foundry points out that since the game doesn’t rely on much camera movement, the stutter is less noticeable in this instance than it would be in other releases.