Octopath Traveler – Square Enix – Available on Switch, PC
Many critics will argue that Octopath Traveler isn’t really an overlooked RPG, as shown by Square Enix selling over two million units. Game designers Masashi Takahashi and Tomoya Asano, best known for creating the Bravely Default series, started working on this modern masterpiece after completing Bravely Second: End Layer.
Just like the aforementioned series, this modern JRPG utilizes the turn-based battle system that the genre is known for. The familiar gameplay successfully scratches that nostalgic itch for gamers that grew up on 90s JRPGs. The Bravely Default gameplay style shows its influence in this game as well, taking certain cues like building up “Boost Points” in order to execute special abilities such as multiple attacks or ability enhancements. The game’s art style, clearly inspired by 16-bit classics like Final Fantasy VI, takes the pixelated characters and environments and presents them in a hybrid 3D environment, giving the game’s graphics a very unique look.
The game’s story revolves around eight different characters. Each character has his or her own scenario that you can play through, eventually joining up with the other characters later in the game. However, one common complaint is that the game’s overall story arch isn’t very conclusive, and there have been no plans announced regarding any future DLC or a potential sequel, despite the game’s surprising success (there is a prequel scheduled to hit mobile phones in Japan, but not much is yet known about it). Regardless of how some may feel about the game’s ending, this really is one of the best original JRPGs to come out in the last decade. If you need a fantastic game to tide you over until the upcoming release of Bravely Default II, than Octopath Traveler is well worth your hard-earned dollars!