grinding - true, and te figts are also toooo long to try to emphasize the break system, I guess.
quests are weird - huh? Are you saying the game was unclear on the location of quest objectives?
8 stories - this is exactly what I love about Octopath, however, I am not playing completionist, boring stories may be skipped (still only on Chapter 3) Weird to hear people trashing story opposite Dragon Quest, imo. I have played 1, 4, 6, and 9...didn't find any to be mega story games, but perhaps 11 is different. Wish I could say I have played 11 tho, it could indeed be better than Octopath, 9 was amazing.
For me, Octopath is the first JRPG I have played since FF6 that is more about roleplaying than guiding a cast of characters through an anime plot. The only other experience like it was Dragon Quest IV, and I really like this style of rpg.
IMO DQ5 and 11 have the best stories in the series, you should definitely check out 5, it's not only the best Dragon Quest, but one of the best games of all time.