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8 Best Games Like Octopath Traveler 2

There's a wealth of unusual and interesting JRPGs out there.
A priest stands atop a tower in front of a grinning moon god

By now, Octopath Traveler 2 earned its place among the JRPG pantheon. It’s a wondrous mix of gorgeous “HD-2D” visuals, a stirring dynamic soundtrack, and improved mechanics from the previous game. It’s easily a game you can lose entire days to, especially if you follow our guides. As with all games, though, eventually you’ll roll on the end credits and have to find something new. There’s a wealth of unusual and interesting JRPGs out there that would handily fill that niche, but finding the gems can be difficult. To help, here are eight possible next steps (in honor of Octopath Traveler 2) for those looking for their next challenge.

Live A Live

A small white spherical robot is lectured on his "birth" on a futuristic spaceship in Live A Live
Huey explains ontology to Cube Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Platform: Switch, PC (remaster)
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix

This cult hit JRPG gave so much of its DNA to Octopath Traveler that it even got its own HD-2D remake in 2022. Seven heroes spanning from prehistory to the far future must do battle with a figure of great evil and hatred. As the seven stories play out (in any order the player chooses), common threads and links start to appear. Each story echoes across history, with an eighth unlockable chapter bringing the story full-circle. Finally, the eight heroes must band together in one final battle against a force of ultimate darkness.

What makes things truly unique is that each hero’s chapter plays out like a different game entirely. Everything from puzzle-adventure games to stealth-action takes center stage. Live A Live has a dedicated fanbase, and its unique gameplay and epic scope make it easy to see why. It’s epic, deeply heartfelt, and a lot of fun.

SaGa Frontier

A robot and a martial artist talk to each other in a junkyard from SaGa Frontier
It’s all those painted-over sprites Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Platform: Switch, PC
Developer: Square Product Division 2
Publisher: Square Enix

SaGa is known among JRPG die-hards for its multiple points of view, punishing difficulty, and epic scope. In some ways, it’s very similar to how Octopath conducts itself. While not as well known as its more famous sibling Final Fantasy, SaGa has its own dedicated fanbase. The most well-remembered entry in the series is SaGa Frontier, a Playstation offering that featured seven relatively self-contained stories that played out in a larger world.

Pick one of seven heroes, from superheroes to robots to mages, and venture into a shared world. Characters’ plotlines also occasionally intersect, giving the sense of a grander scope and tying the stories together further. You can even gain bonuses from completed stories, which gives the game a bit of replay value in what order you play each story. The most recent release even re-added the content cut for time in the original release (including an eighth story), meaning you can now play the complete game for the first time.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir

A large king in armor contemplates a massive machine in Odin Sphere
Odin contemplates the crystal cauldron and hopefully doesn’t skip leg day again Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Platform: PS3, PS4, PSVita
Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: NIS America

Vanillaware blew on to the RPG scene at the end of the PS2 era with this inspired mix of RPG and beat-’em-up, featuring gorgeous graphics and an unusual cast of characters. Centered around the Cauldron War, a battle for control of apocalyptic ancient technology, you follow five protagonists with varying points of view and allegiances as their world slips ever closer to complete collapse. It’s a grand romantic story, with a complex view of good and evil and a sympathetic eye towards its characters. All of this is beautifully complimented by George Kamitani’s iconic art style. The whole game feels like a timeless fantasy epic.

The look isn’t all it has going for it, either. The meat of Odinsphere is a dense, fluid action/RPG hybrid that sees you not just upgrading skills and weapons, but cultivating fruit and mixing potions across the battlefield. All these things use a semi-limited resource called “phozon” you get from killing enemies. There’s a careful balancing act between leveling up and manging items that emerges. It adds a layer of hardcore strategy to the frantic action.

Legend of Mana

A terrifying creature in a church talks to the player character in Legend of Mana
All of the NPCs in this game are both charming and terrifying Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Platform: PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Squaresoft

A classic upon its release back in the 2000s, Legend of Mana is a reach for this list, in that it does have a central character. But while you do make your central character and actually build the world map yourself, the story involves following multiple different characters through the world, each with their own story to tell. It’s through these NPCs and their stories that you learn the grander framework of the world you build. After all, you’re just there to restore the world. The movers, shakers, fated romances and doomed souls are the people who actually live in it.

Pair this with some absolutely gorgeous visuals that still hold up today, a lush soundtrack, and some absolutely brilliant subsystems (you can spend literal days navigating the crafting systems alone) and it’s easy to see why the game’s had a dedicated enough following to last decades.

Suikoden III

Three mercenaries and a young man have a standoff in the woods in Suikoden III
A meeting in the woods for Geddoe and his mercenaries Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Platform: PS2
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami

Ah, yes, Suikoden. The game series that answers the question of “how big can a JRPG get” with “we’re going to find out.” Boasting a total of 108 recruitable party members, genre-bending gameplay, and save-game bonuses that made full use of backwards compatibility, it’s an ambitious triumph of the genre. Suikoden III increased this scope even further with multiple playable characters— a young hero, a knight, a mercenary, and a naive young man who inherits a castle— and the “trinity sight” system that lets you play their stories in any order you choose.

Suikoden III isn’t just about gimmicks. Some excellent team-based combat bolsters its epic story. It also avoids collapsing under its own weight by focusing on smaller segments, letting the massive conflict play out in a much more digestible way. If you’re looking for a JRPG with a little bit of everything, Suikoden III is your game. If nothing else, it’s got a griffon named Fubar.

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia

A visual-novel style screenshot of two hand-drawn protagonists from Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia
Pluto asks tough questions of Mirelva’s leader Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Platform: Switch
Publisher: Happinet
Developer: Matrix Software

An unconventional take on tactical strategy mixing JRPGs, turn-based tactics, grand strategy, and a dash of visual novel. Brigandine casts you as one of six leaders in the land of Runersia. Each leader is gifted with a Brigandine, a gem that allows the wielder to manifest magic armor and powerful weapons. With your chosen nation’s crew of knights and summoned monsters, you embark on a quest to unify the fractured world once again under a single power.

In this overall framework, you play as an entire nation worth of characters, from the pirate raiders of Mirelva to the world domination-focused Mana Saleesia Theocracy. You establish borders, attack forts, and summon monsters for your nation of rune knights to do battle with enemies. There’s a steep difficulty curve, but playing as an entire nation of unique characters with their own personalities is a fun experience, and one not to be missed.

Fear & Hunger 2: Termina

A strange priest stands at the top of an unusual tower with a dark moon in the background in Fear & Hunger 2: Termina
Just an average moment in Termina. Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Platform: Steam
Publisher/Developer: Miro Haverinen

A notoriously dark and difficult game made in RPG Maker, Fear & Hunger found cult success among gamers who like their horror cosmic, their games weird, and their mechanics twisted. Termina doubles down on this. It offers a variety of doomed protagonists, called to the small town of Prehevil and forced into a murderous “festival” to kill each other for the gods. In an expansion from the first game, it features a total of eight protagonists, all of whom can be recruited over the course of the game’s three days (if you don’t murder them before that, or when they inevitably turn into eldritch horrors). The game also features an inspired “dismemberment” mechanic that allows you to target limbs and weak points on monsters for added strategy.

The game is definitely good, but because of its cult status, it’s useful to warn readers about what they’re walking into. Fear and Hunger is a deeply unfair and difficult game. It’s recommended alongside mindbending horror games like Pathologic. It’s incredibly dark, featuring things even the most lenient of publications would balk at discussing. The game begins with a content warning for violence, mature themes, and explicit content, and by God it means it. That said, if this game is for you (and from the screenshots, description, and mention of Pathologic you know who you are), you’ll find a deranged, buggy, yet truly unique experience.

Wild ARMs 3 (PS2, PS4)

A young woman stands in a graveyard holding a white flower in Wild ARMs 3
Virginia takes a moment to stop and contemplate before becoming a Drifter Credit: GamerJournalist/Screenshot

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Media.Vision

On a train barreling through the desert, four strangers end up in a standoff over an artifact called the Arc Sceptre. After some tension, they band together and set off across the planet of Filgaia in search of legendary treasure and adventure. So begins Wild ARMs 3, a rip-roaring sci-fi western about four bickering bounty hunters with a ton of heart and a minor subversive streak.

Unique to Wild ARMs 3 is the fact that you play through all four of your main party’s backstories. Each scenario introduces the party member’s specific mechanics before they all join up. This gives you a much better sense of who these people are. It also makes you care a little more about them as the adventure continues.

For more JRPGs, check out our list of Best PS5 JRPGs to Play (as of 2022). If you need help with another HD-2D game, try How To Unlock All Of The Endings In Triangle Strategy.

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