Hi everyone. When I began playing Octopath Traveler I picked Ophilia as my main character and then recruited all other party members clockwise. After finding the fifth character I had to swap one out, and one thing I noticed is that I could not swap Ophilia, for reasons. I thought I could do that later on, maybe after some specific events or after finishing a chapter, but nope. The main character can't be substituted, only the remaining three can.
Well, after realizing that I was kind of dissapointed because I wanted to level the entire party evenly. I like it when all characters are more or less comparable in their progress. But under these conditions this isn't possible. I hated this in Final Fantasy VIII in particular, Squall was level 90 while the rest of the party was at 30. In that game the level didn't really matter anyway but I would have liked it much better if it wasn't the case. Now Ophilia who is basically a White Mage is my main damage dealer because she is several levels ahead of everyone else and her offensive magic kicks butts left and right.I must admit this annoyed me somehow.
But then after a while I realized that this was probably a purposeful decision to emphasize that you should adapt your playstyle to the current situations, and now I appreciate this idea. Let me explain a little further. If every character could be swapped you would basically have an incentive to divide your cast into two separate teams and balance their strengths and weaknesses within these teams. Most would probably go for a tank/damage dealer, mage, supporter, healer combo. The game offers eight characters, the split would be even. This is further emphasized since some characters share their roles to some extent, like Olberic and Ha'anit. Not much need to put both in one team.
But when one of your characters always needs to remain in your party you can't grind them all up evenly, one will always be left behind. So that way the game wants you to adapt your playstyle since you must know what each character can and cannot do and how they could possibly interact with each other to maximize your combat effectivity. Now after realizing this I kind of like the game even more because after thinking about it, this makes the game much more interesting and entertaining since you wouldn't follow a standard formula troughout the entire game but rather adapt your entire party including equipment and abilities according to your current situation, and thus play the game with much more variety.
How do you feel about this? Does this bother you at all?
Gameplay > Graphics
Substance > Style
Art Direction > Realism