Food for thought, thanks for that! Particularly the connections I hadn’t noticed- I suppose the idea is that it all makes sense in flashback and you aren’t supposed to notice at the time as there’s so much going on.Yep. Don't want to sound like a broken record... but absolutely yes to all of this.
-So as you know from the previous part of my post I was personally satisfied with the links already present, mostly because I feel like having more, likely ham-fisted ones, wouldn't necessarily help the characters' singular narratives... that said! Don't know if you've noticed but, thanks to reddit users pointing this stuff out, we also know that-To me the trope-y voyeur-ish part feels more relevant when talking about Throné's first story-half, with the whipping and all the rest; whereas with Calude I'd say the whole thing is unsettling and a bit glossed over in general, like, I'm genuinely curious as to what is supposed to happen to the women that give birth, are they killed or what, turned into vessels? In general the writers always go for that grimdark which coupled with trope-y female portrayals of its ilk result into... that? Honestly I feel like I'm not equipped well-enough to address in full this point, as such I can't give much insight on it, and I try to look only at the rest of what's there (i.e. Throné's own journey)
- Haven't had too much time sit on my thoughts but it does feel a tad rushed, though I don't know how I'd address the issue personally. Patrichor, or whatever her name is, specifically doesn't get much screen time, but does she need it? Maybe yes as I already forgot why she joined Arcanette in the first place lol (was she seduced by her as well?), but personally I like having some figures come out of nowhere. You get to realize that it's her actions that scarred so badly the body of the animal companion you rejected, and to see why its mouth was drenched in blood (yuck) well after you had figured out that these are things that happened to it.
I am a bit mixed on Ori though. Was her inclusion in the broader narrative the right choice? And was saving her after she tries to sacrifice herself the right move? I guess yeah, it happens due to Partitio's influence, though it does leaves me a bit cold, the whole thing felt a tad too melodramatic. I don't know, it's still a fun twist I'll give them that.All of this stuff is hard to notice on a first playthrough and I kind of love it honestly.
- The words Roy, Temenos's friend, says to the cleric, in his chapter 3 flashback, are the exact same Ochette's chapter 1 boss (the cursed beast) says, meaning that is most definitely Roy in the flesh! Poor guy.
- Ori and Clarissa are present in Osvald's courthouse flashback
- A more inconsequential but fun detail: Malaya appears in Partitio's chapter 1 (prior to her death)
-Agree on the gear swapping. I don't think having all of the 8 characters' equipment always at the player's disposal would be cumbersome in any way; feels like an easy fix and a leftover from the previous game, though it very much is a minor nuisance.
If I am to "complain" about something then I have to change my stance on puzzles, I think the game could actually have them, though not many. Add a few of them sprinkled throughout the travelers' stories and the side-content and they'd positively add to the game. I'd still want them to be approachable and bite-sized, so as to keep in touch with the general pick-up and play nature of the series, which is how Octopath was first conceived in the first place (and probably one of the reasons why I find it so enjoyable)
Moreover for the next game (please be a thing that happens),don't repeat the same plot for a third time in a row ;P. I know you specifically haven't played 1 but crikey are they structured similarly, it almost feels deliberately done? I understand it's probably the story set-up that made the most sense when they made 1, but having evil cult spearheaded by charismatic bewitching figure (well, this time more than one I guess) pulling the strings to awaken an evil God is gonna get old if they do it again. The "man turned beast" thing they pulled in OT2 was also lifted from 1, where it even was a touch cooler, and just as subtle too. I bet 99% of the players didn't even notice. (I sure didn't without stumbling upon it on the internet)
Oof this is a long post, but the game deserves it!
I am defo going to play the first one at some point but will give it a while first to let this one sink in.