If there’s something to be frustrated about, frankly, it’s an artistic design choice in the visuals. Whether there due to a technical limitation or otherwise, the game’s visual depth of field and bloom effects quickly become distracting, even frustration-inducing. To aid in the feeling of depth, buildings and objects in the foreground and background are dramatically blurred, more so than any game we’ve seen in the past. There are times where two-thirds of the screen is blurred, leaving only a small center segment with the character in focus. This happens more often than desired and can easily wreak havoc on a player’s eyes. It’s more than just distracting.
All in all, Octopath’s exceptional battle system is diminished by its middle-of-the-range story and visual quirks. That said, it’s still quite a lot of fun and represents one of the best RPGs of its type in many years. The fragmented story segments--while a frustration point for some gamers--actually helps the business casual gamer, offering opportunities for discrete, 30-minute play sessions without risk of wasting time. If you have a Switch and are looking for a reasonable facsimile of our favorite 90s RPGs, you won’t be disappointed in Octopath Traveler.
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Multiplayer Fun: N/A (No multiplayer)
Time Sensitivity: Excellent (Start and stop quickly)
Duration: Moderate (50+ hours)
Family Applicability: Teen and Interested Gamers (Not for young children or non-gamers)
BCG Ratings are our attempt to summarize a game’s most critical factors for the business casual gamer. See the descriptions below for details.
Multiplayer Fun - This attempts to measure the fun factor for business casual gamers that don’t have hours to sink into a multiplayer experience. Ratings of “BCG Friendly” are games that are casually-focused in multiplayer environments, whereas “Hardcore Only” ratings are generally more challenging to approach from a BCG angle.
Time Sensitivity - This measures the game’s ability to be started and stopped frequently at relatively small (e.g. 30 minute) intervals. The best games in this category offer meaningful fulfillment even in short play times, whereas games that require two-hour sessions to make meaningful progress score low in this category.
Duration - This measures the overall length of the game to complete casually on a first playthrough. While long durations don’t necessarily mean a bad game, some players may opt to steer clear of games requiring too much of a time commitment.
Family Applicability - This measures the applicability of the game to family gaming sessions, particularly with younger children or non-gamers. A full “Family Friendly” rating means that everyone will find some fun in the game, whereas “BCG Only” is more likely to be enjoyed only by gamers themselves.