Recently I just completed the RPG of Nintendo Switch – Octopath Traveler. I was totally impressed by its graphical aesthetic and its battle system, both of which were quite innovative. But it has the potential for improvement of its storyline, even still economically.
Using the Unreal Engine 4 tech, the developers combined the 16-bit old-school graphics and the three dimensions with vivid light-shadow effect. What’s the most creative thing is the application of fixed camera angles, which shows a scene as a world in miniature usually created by a tilt-shift lens. This makes its scenes look much more clear and fantastically beautiful with appropriate depth-of-field, as you can see from the following screenshot I captured.
When it comes to turn-based RPG battle system, it is all about grinding as for most players. However, the developers of the Octopath Traveler successfully make it much more intriguing. More specifically, it requires players to used a particular tactic to figure the weaknesses of encounters and then strike them to “breaking”, which makes foes much weaker as well as losing an action turn, leading to a more dominant position for players. Unlike the traditional battle system, every action counts, even a physical strike by a magician, in this game. What’s more, it borrows the idea of capturing foes as a pet for battle like Pokemon and of beating surprise but a rare golden cat, which tends to flee, as a stimulate of abundant in-game currency and grinding experience. That’s how the surprise system work. Here we have two basic game design experience:
1.Make things count by consuming a worthy point.
Keep asking ourselves: How to do with the redundant resources and the seemingly useless actions.
2.Make things less boring by introducing a surprise.
Keep asking ourselves: What do you want during hundreds of repeated actions.
Based on what I mentioned above, plus its amazing background music and unprecedented interaction with NPCs, I can say the Octopath Traveler is quite worth playing. But I am afraid those highlights were not able to update the level from “worth-playing” to “greatest game” without an obvious enhancement of storyline. Because the storyline is the very essence of RPG. In Octopath Traveler, the connection among the protagonists is not obvious until you conquer the final side quest, in which you can see all the protagonists appearing in the same scene.
When you are playing one protagonist’s story, none of the other characters give any quip or conversation about the event going on. They just silently follow the main character of that story and participate in battles. That’s quite jarring since your brain keeps talking to you that guy is not alone.
Actually, I totally understand that the design of true connection in plots is dramatically costly since the initial protagonist is designed to be selectable, up to eight protagonists, and the in-game world is open to the player, suggesting there are numerous varying sequences and possibilities. So the separate plot of each protagonist is much more economical in both design and development. So here we have a question:
how to make the plot of each protagonist integrated into an open world multi-protagonist game in an economical way.
The answers I believe lie in how the director designs the plot. In another world, how to make the other protagonists disappear reasonably in the event going on. For instance, as in the Pokemon, the main character travels around while going through many stories with up to six Pokemon. That’s because those Pokemon are portable. So it is reasonable that the protagonist always actions alone in a particular scene. Accordingly, we can set a condition that the protagonist has the magic to call upon the other allies whenever he or she needs them, suggesting that the protagonist has reason to appear alone whenever necessary.
So, I really wish there will be a great improvement in the next version of the Octopath Traveler, especially for its storyline.