This month, the game I will be featuring here is one that doesn’t only have one story to tell; it has eight. Before that, though, I have been playing a couple of other games that I will quickly highlight. This month is all about about the JRPGs.First up is a game that I have recently finished – well, the main story at least. There is still some post game stuff for me to go back and do. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is a game that I enjoyed playing through a lot – watching Castaway Village steadily expand over the course of the game whilst learning the past of the Isle of Seiren was a very satisfying experience.
Admittedly it does take a while before a plot other than ‘rescue the other castaways’ kicks in, but things certainly get very interesting once it does.
Out of the playable characters, I probably used Dana the most (not counting the parts where you have no choice but to play as her). As for NPCs, I really like Kathleen, and not just because she is the blacksmith that upgrades weapons.
Next, a game that I recently started: Shining Resonance Refrain. A free demo is available on the Nintendo eShop, so I decided to give it a try and enjoyed what it offered. Venturing through the overworld feels somewhat similar to Chrono Trigger – in that you can see monsters, so you don’t have to worry about random encounters.
Should you decide to fight, you’ll find that battles in this game play very similar to the Tales games. Shining Resonance Refrain is a more action-oriented JRPG. During battle, you are free to run around, give commands, attack and use special abilities – that kind of thing.
I’m only partway through chapter 2 on the original mode at the time of writing, but it has proven to be a decent adventure so far. The game also offers “Refrain Mode”, which tells a new what-if side story separate from the main story. It is available straight away, though it makes more sense if you play the main game first.
That now brings us to the main attraction: my Game of the Month for July 2018.Octopath Traveler is a JRPG from Square Enix that has eight main protagonists. Each of the eight characters has their own story to follow, that all take place in the world of Orsterra.
Might as well start by taking a look at each one of the eight characters.
Each character has their own reasons for setting out on an adventure – it might be to locate someone, or for revenge, or even just because why not?
Out of the eight characters, Tressa the Merchant is as strong contender for my favourite, simply because she wants to have an adventure. I also like Primrose the Dancer quite a bit.
You are able to get all eight characters, though you can only have four to a party. Whilst each of the eight characters has their own primary job, you are able to augment them with the skills of a second should you meet certain requirements.Each character has a unique Talent that they can use in battle. Seen above is H’aanit using her Capture Talent in order to capture a monster which she can then use in future battles.
Other Talents include revealing enemy weaknesses, or summoning additional fighters to help the party.Battles are turn-based, and enemies have certain weaknesses – specific weapon types or magical elements. Hitting an enemy with one of their vulnerabilities decreases their Shield Points. When an enemy has zero Shield Points, they enter a Break state and all attacks against them become critical hits. Breaking an enemy also cancels their current and next turn, so it is entirely possible to come out of a battle completely unscathed if you take advantage of that.
Another key aspect of combat are Boost Points. Characters gain one Boost Point per turn of battle, with a maximum of five. Using the Boost Points increases the power of your attacks – physical attacks get multiple strikes, whilst magical attacks are a more powerful single strike. Healing abilities become more potent, too.
Making good use of Boost Points is a very good way to Break your enemies.
Octopath Traveler‘s visuals have been described as ‘HD-2D’, and they look absolutely gorgeous. They are striking at the best of times, with the water and lighting being the things that stand out most to me. All the character sprites are great too.
I love what I have played of Octopath Traveler so far, and it is making a very strong case to be my second favourite JRPG on the Switch – top spot goes to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and I don’t see anything changing that.