Octopath Traveler is easily the most anticipated JRPG of 2018. Featuring eight different playable characters who each have their own expansive story, this game is set to be a terrific undertaking. With this in mind though, many gamers are asking which protagonist they should pick to begin the game.
While you can complete every character’s storyline, the one you pick at the start of the game remains in the active party for the entirety of a playthrough. With this in mind, here’s everything you need to know about each of Octopath Traveler’s eight protagonists so you can make the most out of your time with this beautiful JRPG.
Olberic was a playable character from the first Octopath Traveler demo and is pretty straightforward in both his storyline and abilities. Following the loss of his country and king at the hands of his former best friend, Olberic hides away in a secluded village and spends most of his days guarding the town against bandits. However, he departs from the small community one day when a band of bandits brings word of the location of the man that betrayed him.
While Olberic is the only character who cannot use magic, he can wield both swords and polearms as weapons. His warrior skills also allow him to deal massive physical damage to one or multiple foes and increase his attack and defense. Even if he isn’t the most original JRPG character, Olberic offers a reliable means of rounding out a team and makes a good starter for newcomers to the genre.
The other protagonist from the first demo, Primrose is a dancer that boosts the power of other main characters and those she manages to charm into fighting by her side. While she works as a dancer, she actually comes from a noble family. She gleans information from patrons with the hope of one day finding the trio of men that murdered her father and killing them with her own hands.
Primrose’s overworld ability allows her to recruit NPCs to fight with her and other teammates in battle. Her dancer skills allow her to inflict dark elemental damage to enemies, and boost an ally’s stats and the kinds of actions they can perform. Primrose is a little tough to start with on her own, but her abilities are perfect for jumping into the more complex team building that takes a bit of time to get to with other characters.
Therion fills the role of the thief in Octopath Traveler, a class typical in JRPGs. While his combat skills are pretty standard for this kind of character, his storyline seems like it will have some fun twists and turns. Beginning in failure, Therion’s story takes him across the land to collect the Dragonstones of House Ravus so that he can remove the fool’s brand from his wrist that the family’s butler placed on him in an unsuccessful infiltration. His brooding personality is also sure to earn him the title of “best boy” from many players.
As a thief, Therion’s combat is all about speed and stealing. While he can inflict fire damage and debuffs to foes, his more unique skills allow him to steal items, HP, and SP from enemies and even inflict damage proportional to his speed stat. Between his utility in battle and ability to snatch items from NPCs and unlock chests containing better than average loot, Therion is a great character to choose at the beginning of your adventure.
As a hunter — and serious contender for “best girl” in Octopath Traveler ‘- H’aanit has a fairly interesting story and a combat style that feels like a cross between a blue mage and a summoner. Her quest takes her on a journey to find her master after he leaves on a hunt to kill a dangerous beast known as “Redeye.” Their relationship is pretty charming, H’annit is the more serious of the two and regularly scolds her lackadaisical and gambling-prone teacher.
While most of H’aanit’s skills are pretty straightforward, her capture ability offers a plethora of possible strategies in battle. She’s able to seize weakened non-boss enemies in battle and summon them in battle to use their unique skills. This means that H’aanit is perhaps the most versatile protagonist in Octopath and one of the best characters to pick at the beginning of the game.
Being an apothecary, Alfyn doesn’t make the best starting character in both terms of story and combat. As a child, Alfyn was a bit of a troublemaker until a traveling healer cured him of a fatal illness without charging his parents for the expensive medicine. Following his parents passing years later, Alfyn sets out to travel to distant villages and cure those in need of whatever illness plagues them.
Alfyn is a pretty dedicated support character, and many of his skills focus on healing and reviving his teammates. He’s also able to combine various consumable items to create more powerful healing effects in the midst of battle. While he probably shouldn’t be the backbone of a team, he does a great job backing up more versatile members of your party.
Tressa’s skills as a merchant make her one of the most self-sustaining characters in the game, though her story seems a bit lackluster. As the daughter of two merchants, Tressa spent most of her days inside their shop dreaming of traveling the world in pursuit of finding the best deals on the rarest items. When a pirate turned merchant arrives in her coastal village one day, he inspires her to follow her dream and traverse the realm.
Many of Tressa’s abilities center on the using currency to benefit her and her team within and outside of battle. In combat, she can collect money from foes, heal herself without using items, and pay money to have NPCs aid the party. Outside of battle she can buy items at discounted rates from NPCs and pick up money while traversing the overworld. Tressa is a great character to begin with if you want to start the game with a well-rounded character and a secure means of accumulating funds.
As a scholar, Cyrus is essentially the black mage of the protagonists, and he offers a great starting point for players who prefer spells to swords. Cyrus’ story takes on a journey to find a tomb stolen from the Royal Academy when he’s put on sabbatical by the headmaster of the institution. His passion for learning and teaching has caused him to earn the affection of many of his pupils, though he’s oblivious to their feelings.
Cyrus is the most proficient offensive magic user of the protagonists, as he can use fire, lightning, and ice spells. In addition to scanning for an opponent’s weakness, he also can attack all foes simultaneously with his magical attacks. With solid offensive options and supporting skills that can lower encounter rates and prevent surprise attacks, Cyrus is a great starting character for the more magically inclined.
As a cleric, Octopath’s version of a white mage, Ophilia isn’t the best character to start with, although her story is intriguing. As an orphan, she grew up in the Church of Flamesgrace and began to see who worship there as her adoptive family. She goes in place of her adoptive sister Lianna on a pilgrimage to return light to the world with the power of the Flame of Origin.
Ophilia is first and foremost a healer, though she can use light magic to inflict damage as well. She can heal and revive multiple teammates at once and convince NPCs to fight with her in battle and allow her to explore new areas. While Ophilia is sure to be a tremendous boon to your party, she is a bit tough to start with considering her limited offensive stats and reliance on a subjob to gain more powerful attacks.
Octopath Traveler comes out on the Nintendo Switch on July 13, 2018.