We're so close to Octopath Traveler 2's February 24 release date that you can almost taste the anime and, to tide you over until then, Square Enix has put out an Octopath Traveler 2 "Prologue demo" (opens in new tab) on Steam. Released yesterday, the demo gives you a chance to "explore mechanics like Path Actions" as well as mess around with the combat system, which is "based around storing up actions and exploiting enemy weaknesses".
The demo will let you choose between each of Octopath Traveler 2's eight possible primary protagonists—whose talents range from fighting, to spellcraft, to dancing—and play for the first three hours of their stories. But you'll be able to carry over your save data from the demo into the full game once it releases, so the effort won't go to waste.
The time limit is both more and less strict than it sounds. You get three hours per character, not total, meaning you can just restart as someone new when you hit the limit on a playthrough. On the other hand, the demo will only permit you one save slot to carry over to the full game, so you can't just put three hours into every available protagonist and import them all.
As someone who didn't spend any time with the first game, I have to admit that the trailer for the demo is borderline-incomprehensible to me, but I'm intrigued by the sequel nevertheless. I've always intended to put more time into Octopath, especially since I'm interested in its multi-protagonist gimmick and very pretty 2D art style. The demo seems like a pretty good excuse to finally tick the series off my list.
At PCG, we thought that the first game had a lot of potential that it didn't quite live up to. In our Octopath Traveler review (opens in new tab), Chris Schilling scored the game 76%, commenting that it came "frustratingly close to something special". Here's hoping the sequel manages to close that gap when it releases later this month.