Octopath Traveler's PC Port Is Great If You're Okay with Losing the Novelty of Portability
Square Enix delivers one of its best PC ports with Octopath Traveler, but losing the ability to have the game on the go via Switch is a big loss.
Square Enix’s PC ports can oftentimes be a little bit of a mixed bag. Thankfully, 2018’s Octopath Traveler has made the transition from Nintendo Switch to PC gracefully. The fact that even more people get to enjoy one of this generation’s best JRPGs is always a good thing, and you’ll definitely be getting the best version of the title via Steam.
Octopath Traveler uses a wildly unique art style that blends the 2D character models of JRPGs yesteryear with more modernized 3D environments. While this looked great on Nintendo Switch, it really pops on high-resolution monitors this time around. Accompanied by a higher framerate, you can also tweak the visuals and a handful of different ways to really get the most out of the game. Of course, with the retro art style, you won’t be putting your computer through the rounds, but nevertheless, Octopath Traveler offers the most high-quality visuals on PC.
Outside of the visual fidelity, there’s not much at all that sets Octopath Traveler’s PC port apart from its Nintendo Switch predecessor. If you’re an avid PC fan, you’ll likely want to play Octopath on a PC, but if you don’t really care either way then I’d say that losing the game’s portability is definitely a big loss. As previously mentioned though, if you’re solely a PC player then this loss probably won’t matter to you much at all.
A lot of the problems I had with the original game on Nintendo Switch are still present in the PC port. The storyline in Octopath Traveler leaves a lot to be desired. You play as eight different characters who are never brought together with a common goal. Each tale plays out separately from the others, but nevertheless, the entire party is present during individual storylines. The biggest problem is these characters rarely interact. There are no cutscenes involving all of them and instead just short dialogue scenes with no voice acting. It was a bummer back on the Switch release and it’s still a bummer here.
The one saving grace with this issue is that some of the individual storylines are actually really entertaining. They’re all pretty straightforward in their storytelling, but there are definitely some standouts in the eight heroes. Primrose and Tressa, in particular, were my favorite storylines so I’d personally recommend starting with them first.
Where Octopath Traveler shines most is in its combat mechanics. There’s a turn-based system here that’s very similar to Bravely Default, however, it’s far more streamlined. You can accumulate break points over time by defending or using simple one-time attacks. Once your bar is high enough you can unleash a flurry of attacks or an enhanced special skill with your party members. Combat becomes very rewarding as you learn to take down tough enemies in a very efficient manner. This was always easily where I had the most fun in the game and that still holds true in the PC port.
If you’re jumping into this game for the first time on PC, you can expect the adventure(s) to take you around 45-60 hours to complete. Octopath Traveler has moments where it can be quite difficult, especially during one specific endgame encounter. You will have to grind a decent amount at times. Also, the side quests don’t offer experience point rewards so they’re pretty forgettable based on my experience and can be completely ignored.
A lot of what I said in my original review of Octopath Traveler still holds true with the PC port of the game. You’re still getting a great soundtrack, fantastic combat, and some interesting storylines. Its overall shortcomings don’t hold it back from being a really damn good JRPG. So if you’re a fan of the genre and haven’t played it yet, I couldn’t recommend it more. I’ll always prefer the option to play my JRPGs in bed though, so for me, Octopath Traveler is still best played on the Nintendo Switch. But kudos to Square Enix for doing this port absolute justice.