This answer is surprisingly complex
Square Enix has built a reputation of offering robust demos for its games. Octopath Traveler II is no exception to this rule… mostly.
Just like its predecessor, Octopath Traveler II offers a timed prologue demo for you to try before purchasing the game. This will let you play through the first chapter of any of the protagonists’ stories, and you can even unlock at least one new subjob. There are hard limits in this demo, as several high-level areas will be inaccessible until you purchase the full game. However, your greater concern will be the three-hour time limit. Regardless of how far you’ve traveled or how many characters you’ve unlocked, you’ll be unable to continue further once your time is up. If you are waiting to buy the game, you’ll have to carefully decide what objectives you want to cover most.
Fortunately, demo progress carries over to the official release. Once your time runs out, the game will prompt you to save your game, regardless of your location. Furthermore, this timer has a strange quirk that lets diehard fans get more time in the demo if they’re really hungry for it. Here’s what you need to do.
How to (slightly) circumvent the three-hour time limit
The Octopath Traveler II demo doesn’t truly stop once you reach the limit. You’ll notice that your save file time won’t tick up any further, but in our testing, the game will wait for you to transition to a new area before officially shutting you down. If you’re lucky and crafty enough, you can use this to your advantage.
Right before your timer reaches three hours, travel to a new area that you’d like to spend time in. This will likely be a field area with chests to open and random encounters to fight. Stick around in this zone and explore every nook and cranny. Fight random battles until the game locks you out for good. Returning to the Switch’s home screen appears to trigger the end of the demo, so keep this in mind if you’re trying to maximize your time in the game.
Reports online indicate that the demo timer duration is handled differently between various platforms. For this reason, don’t necessarily plan on grinding for several extra hours in your demo file. However, if you just want to explore one last area before you’re locked out of the game, consider giving this method a shot.