There’s a few interesting things about Octopath Traveler coming to Google Stadia. Originally a Nintendo Switch exclusive before it spread to PC, it’s no doubt a source of aggravation for many console-owning RPG fans that the game has not found its way to PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. All of that means that, almost amusingly, Stadia has just become perhaps the only real option for many people to experience it. It might even be the best place to play it.
Octopath Traveler originally appeared back in 2018, with the Square Enix developed, classically-styled 2D RPG proved to be a huge hit, selling over two million copies on Nintendo’s wunderkind console. Featuring the overlapping stories of eight different characters, it’s largely regarded as a modern classic of the genre, making it a perfect title to bolster Stadia’s slight role-playing catalogue.
The Stadia port of Octopath Traveler is a match for the PC release in all respects, all the way down to the different graphical options found in the menu. That means you can change the rendering resolution, as well as fiddle with things like anti-aliasing, post-processing, shadows, textures and effects.
Given that it’s running on an instance somewhere in the cloud, there’s little physical reason for opting to reduce some of these settings on Stadia, but it’s a thoroughly intriguing inclusion for other future releases. While we’ve seen different graphical modes on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X that allow players to choose whether they prefer higher resolutions or frame rates, it’s incredibly rare to find a fully functional PC-style customisation system.
Octopath Traveller is hopefully the first of many releases that give you such granular control over those options, allowing you to ramp up performance, or tone down some of those more annoying graphical effects. Still, it’s not exactly the most challenging game to run, but the Stadia version, just like the PC one, offers a pretty big leap over the original Switch release.
The Switch version was locked to 30fps, with a paltry resolution of 720p that’s fine for its handheld gaming. The Stadia offering is running at 60fps, and offers resolutions up to 4K. Of course, as we’ve learned with many Stadia releases, it may not be running at true 4K, but with the game’s blend of 2D sprites in a 3D world that’s slathered in tilt shift style depth of field effects, that won’t matter. It’s undoubtedly a much clearer image than that offered by the Switch release.
You’re also gaining the different control options that the PC version has, so you can play with keyboard and mouse if you’re playing over your Chrome browser, or opt for the gamepad via Chromecast, PC, and Android platforms. As a turn-based RPG, it doesn’t demand any level of scrutiny in terms of input delay or latency, an it feels exactly the same as it does elsewhere.
Just as with the Nintendo Switch version it’s a lovely game to play on the go, and it features, arguably, one of the finest RPG soundtracks of recent years if you’re looking for new ways to tune out the outside world.
The game itself remains a standout RPG experience, and here, on Google Stadia, you’re getting all of the benefits of the PC release alongside the inherent ability to play the game anywhere you want. You can add in the sweetener that you can do so effortlessly, without any downloads, patches or installs, something which remains my favourite aspect of the Stadia platform.