Octopath Traveler: Which Story Should You Play First?

Octopath Traveler is out now on the Nintendo Switch, bringing classic JRPG gameplay and gorgeous pixel art environments. If you are wondering about the name, all you need to do is break it into parts. Octo, meaning eight, is a reference to the eight stories or “paths” you play through during the course of the game. Each of these stories has a central character that you will play as, with their own unique abilities. These abilities seem to mimic the Jobs state seen in games like Final Fantasy and Bravely Default. When you start the game, the first thing you will need to do is choose which characters stories you want to play first. This can be overwhelming so let’s take a look at each character and what they have to offer.

  1. H’AANIT – HUNTER

Standing with her large white leopard looking creature and looking completely badass, H’aanit was the easy choice for me to start with. It actually turns out she is one of the more complex characters in terms of mechanics. While she may be easy in combat during the first hour or so, you will find that managing her skills and summons can be a little tricky. As a hunter, H’aanit will capture pets to use in battle, both offensively and defensively.

2. CYRUS – SCHOLAR

The resident mage of Octopath, Cyrus sports a staff and robes and certainly looks the part. In JRPG’s elemental spells usually end up being the most powerful offense in the game. This is especially true in Final Fantasy games with massive damage spells like Firaga and Blizzaga. Cyrus is undoubtedly powerful in offensive spells but he is also one of the most susceptible to damage from the get go. It is uber important to keep a stock of healing items on hand. Also take note that Cyrus’ story is full of puzzle solving so if that is not your nag, try out a different story first.

3. TRESSA – MERCHANT

An easy pick for newcomers as Tressa gets an ability called Rest fairly quick that heals your HP and restores your SP. Rest as it turns out is one of the best skills in the entire game. She also will have wind magic which is quirky and fun in its own right. You will be spending a lot of time looking through inventory screens, bartering with other merchants for the best prices. Be sure to use her “inspect” ability to check what NPCs are selling!

4. PRIMROSE – DANCER

Contrasting from Tressa, Primrose is harder to master and better suiter for more experienced JRPG individuals. Her ability, Allure, allows you to recruit NPC humans to use in battle. She also has a range of debuff abilities which weaken the enemies you fight in various ways. The debuffs only last a couple turns so strategy is key to maximize functionality. I recommend trying her story after you run through a few others.

5. THERION – THIEF

Stealing items from enemies sounds awesome but it has never been something I have been able to master in RPGs. Thief characters go way back throughout this genre’s history and I have certainly tried to make it work but I fear that Therion may also fall for familiar difficulties. You can steal from townsfolk which is silly but does not really benefit you in the long run. What I recommend when playing as Therion is get the HP thief skill ASAP.

6. OPHILIA – CLERIC

If worrying about your HP is a problem you don’t want to have, start with Ophilia the cleric. Her character is built around healing and will start with the necessary skills for such. She will remain primarily defensive during your time with her but she is capable of offense of course. Her story is also one of the most endearing and tragic so be ready for the tissue box!

7. ALFYN – APOTHECARY

While you may shy away from a character that specializes in apothecary, Alfyn can actually be pretty formidable and is a fine starting choice. He has an easy to use healing spell to start with and has a great special ability called concoct in which you mix items together to create new ones. I am getting Breath Of The Wild cooking flashbacks! If you are looking for some strategy but do not want to experience the full challenge of the game, then get cooking with Alf.

8. OLBERIC – WARRIOR

Last but not least, the humble warrior, Olberic. As always, warriors get down and dirty with their sword and shield and Oberic is no different. No magic or potion making, just straight up brute force. If you are new to the RPG genre completely than Olberic will be your guy. Who doesn’t understand how to swing a sword?

In summation: 

EASY: OLBERIC, OPHILIA, TRESSA

MEDIUM: ALFYN, CYRUS, H’AANIT

HARD: PRIMROSE, THERION

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