Octopath Traveler puts you in the company of eight titular travelers who roam the land for answers to personal problems.
Each character has their own set of talents, skills, and motivations—but who's the coolest of the bunch? The "best," if you will? I took up the very important job of ranking this motley crew of thieves, merchants, spellcasters, and hunters.
Octopath Traveler's resident thief has a violent and tragic past, and he's got the moody disposition to prove it. Though I typically latch onto thief characters when selecting classes, I'm afraid Therion hasn't stolen off with my heart as easily as some of his compatriots in other RPGs. His background story is on the weak side, in my opinion, and his attacks are likewise on the weak side—even compared to what's typical for "lightweight" heroes. Granted, he has access to some decent debuffs, but once you unlock Octopath Traveler's secondary job options, anyone can swing a dagger around in Therion's stead.
I will, however, give a shout-out to Therion's Theft ability, which gives him a five-finger discount on handy things NPCs carry with them. It's a great way to pick up cash and valuable weapons—if you don't get caught. It feels weird to steal from widows and children at first, but don't worry, you get used to it.
Apropos of nothing, he also looks like Ginko from Mushishi. I'll give Therion one more point for the resemblance, since it's my favorite manga / anime series. Buddy still comes in last, though. Sorry.
7) Olberic Eisenberg
Olberic Eisenberg's quest to find his estranged friend and suss out his motivations is the stuff yaoi fanifics are made of. Like Therion, his story's not the strongest out of Octopath's lot, though I still find it more intriguing than Therion's. Olberic journey to find meaning in his life is cliché, but I can't turn away from it: I feel for the big dude. Plus, he can swing a sword. Oh boy, can he ever. He is stronk. I gave him a secondary job as a Dancer, and now he's prancing around in a two-piece bodysuit. He looks amazing. What I wouldn't give for official art of him wearing his new threads.
Apropos of nothing (again), Jewish representation in video games is close to nil, but "Eisenberg" is a very Askhenazi surname. It also pops up Octopath's sister series, Bravely Default. Mazel tov, or something.
6) Tressa Colozone
I've never gravitated towards merchant-types in RPGs (aside from The King of Cash, Dragon Quest's Torneko Taloon), but it's hard not to smile at Tressa's earnest nature (not to mention her mom's Straight Outta Fargo accent). Tressa's life mission to see the world and sell everyone tons of crap they probably don't need puts her in the company of some interesting situations and people, and her ability to barter with NPCs for the junk they carry in their pockets is handy. If you feel bad about lifting people's worldly items as Therion, well, here's an alternative that spares your conscience.
Tressa's talent for finding loose change on the ground shouldn't be understated, either. Yoink!
5) Ophilia Clement
The gentle-souled cleric Ophilia never leaves my party if I can help it. She's the best healer in the game. Given my paranoia about playing any sort of RPG without someone on-hand to close my wounds after Yet Another Dumb Strategy™, I hardly surprised myself when I clung to Ophilia's skirts and resolved to never let go. Other characters can take on a secondary job as a cleric, but few of them have the magical "Oomph" necessary to add that special zing to healing spells. Ophilia is born to heal.
She's also born to inspire. With Ophilia's inherent "Guide" ability, she has the fascinating option to lead around NPCs and summon them in battle. Some of these recruited warriors hit hard while others afflict enemies with status effects. Still others might offer powerful buffs and debuffs. The kind of character you Guide has an effect on the service they offer. If you need someone who's going to deliver powerful blows, look for a mercenary or a warrior. If you want someone who can apply powerful buffs, look for a member of the Church. This example of differentiation between Octopath Traveler's NPCs is a testament to how much work Square Enix put into the game's little details.
4) Cyrus Albright
Cyrus is another staple in my party. This perpetually bemused scholar is the type of person who'd fall down an open manhole at least once a day until his brain finally bounced out of his skull. Good thing there are no manholes in Octopath Traveler's medieval world, I guess.
Airhead or not, Cyrus' offensive magic spells are invaluable for taking out several enemies at once. You'll come across a lot of mooks in Octopath Traveler whose shield icons bear a paltry 1 or 2. That's when Cyrus is up. He can break through their barriers, and then he can spend his own battle points on a devastating elemental attack while they're staggering. Cyrus' talents turn regular battles into a form of art.
3) Primrose Alezhard
Out of all the characters in Octopath Traveler, Primrose's roots are probably the roughest. Her quest for vengeance against her father's murder has caused her to do things she's rather not recall and go to places she'd rather not talk about. She's one of the quietest characters in the game, though when it comes time to seduce someone to get what she needs, she knows exactly which words cause weak men to fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
But Primrose's talents go beyond making the air all steamy. She can apply valuable buffs and debuffs with the power of sexy dance. When all else fails, a dagger between the ribs of her enemies solves her issues quickly enough. Primrose is also a master of Shadow magic, which is a perfect counter for any uppity Light-type monsters who get up in your grill. Primrose is a cool girl who's been through a lot, and she's doing everything she can to (hopefully) make everything better. I'm sure it'll go well. Ha ha.
2) Alfyn Greengrass
Alfyn the apothecary takes some experimentation to really get the hang of. He's capable of applying powerful buffs and debuffs, but he does so by mixing ingredients you find on your travels. In other words, using him to his fullest effect in battle takes some experimentation. He also has access to decent axe attacks and a powerful single-character healing spell. Otherwise, he's not the strongest or weakest character of the bunch. If you're not willing to mess around with mixing ingredients, you won't find any great use for him in your party.
Why's he so close to the number-one spot on this list, then? In an economy where so many of my American friends and acquaintances are turning to charity and GoFundMe to fund surgeries necessary to keep them alive, I just appreciate playing through a story about a healer whose main drive in life is to help people get better. Not because he wants riches. Not because he wants fame. But because a healer saved his life as a kid, and he simply wants to pay it forward while making the world a better place. Alfyn's carefree and warm nature is also uplifting in a game that generally deals with dark themes. He's a swell fellow.
H'aanit the huntress is Octopath Traveler's inarguable number-one. Well, I think so, but I dare you to speak ill of her prowess with arrows, her ability capture and tame monsters, and the fact she has a snow leopard (with a ribbon around its tail) as a best friend. H'aanit (and anyone who takes up the Hunter job) can also learn some of the deadliest passive skills in the game, including a skill that offers her a good chance of adding an additional strike to her weapon-based attacks. It's invaluable when you're up against an enemy with sky-high defenses.
H'aanit also has an archaic way of speaking that's native to her forest-dwelling clan. It's a bit difficult to suss out at times, but it also sets her and her people apart from the rest of the world in a manner that seems appropriate. If I lived in the forest all my life, I'd probably just forego speech altogether in favor of biting hikers to communicate "Give me your Twinkies, fool."
Alternate #1: Dog of War
Octopath Traveler's town of Cliftside contains a mansion that's well-guarded by a pack of trained Doberman dogs. The leader of the pack is a strong-willed lady who's very serious about her job. She is a very good girl.