Octopath Traveler II is coming out on February 24, 2023! That gives you just about 3 weeks to prepare for it! What’d be a better way to do that than play a few games with similar vibes and mechanics to it? Let’s boost your hype up to Lvl. 4 with these great game suggestions!
Where’s a better place to start than the original? Octopath Traveler does have some problems, but it looks like II is gonna refine and polish these ideas into a beautifully cut, gleaming gem! Despite some rough patches, the original Octopath Traveler offers, what I consider, a quaint and fun journey. You can pick four of the eight main characters to create a party to your liking. There’s a simple, yet deep, job class system that adds further customization. The world can be explored however you wish! You can adhere to danger warnings or attempt to slip through areas to get to new places early. Each character’s story has a level of warmth and joy that’s not often replicated. Some mature themes are explored as well! Sadly, there’s minimal character interaction. This makes each chapter a one-man show, more or less. However, it’s a fun time! The Sequel is already promising all kinds of wonderful new features and even more character interaction!
You know, something that baffled me at the launch of the first Octopath Traveler was hearing the comparisons to Final Fantasy. I can kinda see it from an art perspective, but anything beyond that doesn’t fit. What Octopath Traveler is REALLY similar to is SQUARE’s SaGa series. The multiple playable characters, choosing your own journey, exploring an open-ended world, etc. That’s what the bread and butter of the SaGa games is! Wait… Octopath Traveler is EXACTLY that, too!
The original trilogy of SaGa games (Final Fantasy Legend) is a bit different because you create your own party and there are not really any story decisions to be made, but the open-ended nature of exploration, quirky systems, and customization is all there! Sadly we never got the Nintendo DS remakes of SaGa 2 or 3, which injected some modernity into them. Future games in the SaGa series have actual characters and grander stories. They keep true to the experimental gameplay and open-ended play style. A very different flavor than Final Fantasy! Interestingly, the SaGa creator was a major staff member on Final Fantasy I and II! So, some aspects of early Final Fantasy were later used and refined in SaGa!
There are tons of SaGa games readily available on a slew of consoles and devices! You can play several entries on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, PC, and even Mobile!
- Collection of SaGa: Final Fantasy Legend –Switch –PC –iOS –Android
- Romancing SaGa 2 –Switch –PS –PC –iOS
- Romancing SaGa 3 –Switch –PS –PC –iOS
- Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song –Switch –PC –iOS
- SaGa Frontier –Switch –PS –PC –iOS
- SaGa: Scarlet Grace Ambitions –Switch –PS –iOS
Live A Live
SaGa has a ton of similarities to Octopath Traveler, but so does another little game. It goes by the name of Live A Live. This wonderful JRPG involves playing through several chapters, each with a different main character, gimmick, and setting. It’s like a delicious trail mix where every morsel is tasty or has a flavor you appreciate.
Funnily enough, there are 8 main characters in Live A Live. Some chapters even feature gimmicks that are similar to the Path Actions in Octopath Traveler. One could wonder if Octopath Traveler took some inspiration from Live A Live. The gameplay in Live A Live is turn-based but revolves around moving your characters around on a grid and using their abilities to defeat enemies. Each Chapter’s unique mechanics offer a level of variety that most JRPGs, let alone games don’t. Going from one chapter to another is a wonderful experience that never gets old. You can go from a chapter that’s a boss rush, to one that has a stealth focus, to one that’s a borderline horror game! Not to mention there are multiple endings.
Live A Live even shares some pedigree from SaGa, as the original version’s director, Takashi Tokita, worked on graphics and the scenario of the original SaGa. He even worked on Final Fantasy IV as a lead designer and scenario writer. Tokita was also the director of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (the precursor to the Bravely Default series). So, his style is very unique and has led to the creation of many amazing games! If that history doesn’t help back up the greatness of Live A Live, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Sadly we never got the Super Famicom original. However, a spectacular remake came out on Nintendo Switch in 2022! It even uses the HD2D style of Octopath Traveler! Check it out here! (there’s also a free demo!)
The Alliance Alive
The Alliance Alive is a nice little JRPG made by Cattle Call with publishing from Atlus and FuRyu. This game is more story driven than SaGa, it interestingly has the atypical stat growths that are also found in SaGa and Final Fantasy II. The goal of the team was to improve on their previous games while aiming to create a truly old-school experience in all the best ways! This included making an engaging story, fun gameplay, and an interesting world. All of these ideas work into each other and culminate together, making for a memorable experience.
Honorable mention goes out to this game’s predecessor, The Legend of Legacy. It shares staff from SaGa and involves choosing from a cast of seven main characters. It uses the atypical stat growths found in games like Final Fantasy II. The writer Masato Kato wrote Chrono Trigger, helped with writing several Final Fantasy games, and even wrote for Xenogears. The Legend of Legacy is still trapped on the Nintendo 3DS.