So as some of you may know I won the Etrian Odyssey contest and I’ll get to have my name put into the game! I’m really excited about this as I’m a pretty big fan of it.
As promised I decided to share about Etrian Odyssey for those of you who don’t know anything about the series and might be curious.
I first became acquainted with Etrian Odyssey in 2008, about a year or so after it came out in the states.
How It plays
This series is a hardcore dungeon crawling RPG. First off don’t let the cutesy anime sprites fool you, this game is hard. EO is based on the really old pen and paper RPGs like Wizardry or Bards Tale. You will be playing this game entirely in first person and will need to keep track of your movements. This is the part that makes the DS (or 3DS in the case of EO4) such the perfect system for this game. To keep track of your movements you need to make your own map. All treasure chests, notes, traps, areas to gather materials must be noted by you if you want to remember the area. Trust me you will want to remember the areas because there will be a bunch of backtracking. This is a game in which every single step you travel through is an accomplishment. There are warp materials to get back to town but one must go through the areas you've already traveled though. For every 5 levels you get through you will be able to warp to that new strata
This is something that you’ll always need to keep on your mind because you can only get supplies and save in town. It’s always best to err on the side of caution because if you die your progress is lost, so that’s quite frustrating. Newer entries have alleviated this a little by saving the map which you noted, but I don’t quite like it because then you forget that you need to reopen chests you discovered.
In addition to supplies, and saving you can also get quests and speak to a few characters in town, these usually lead to some pretty good rewards.
This game has virtually no story other than your guild is the latest group of people who is going into the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. You’re basically nobody for a good portion of the game. And at the start you’re just trying to become famous by being the first guild to get to the very bottom.
Your guild is entirely dictated by you, who is in it and how many you want. You can form a party of five to go down into the labyrinth. There are a total of 9 classes, some of which won’t be available until later in the game, and you can dictate how they grow. Every level you will need to allocate skills, attribute points. I always recommend a party with good balance if this is your first time playing Protector (paladin) Landsknecht(warrior) Medic, Survivalist(ranger) Alchemist(wizard). Eventually you’ll want a second of each class for them to do more than just battle. You can gather materials like plants and minerals, but need skill to do this, a second set of adventurers ensures that you will be able to do this.
You do eventually discover scraps of story though. I don’t want to ruin anything, but as you go down the dungeon into different stratas the environments change. As you get down to the final strata you’ll be surprised into what you discover. There is absolutely no way I can say more than that without ruining the little bit of stories.
This is an acronym for Formido, Oppugnatura Exsequens, in Japan it’s known as Field On Enemy. They are also affectionally known by some as Frikkin Overpowered Enemy. They are represented on the map as a purple or Orange Dots, and in first person as a swirling orange mass. The purple ones walk in a pre-assigned path while the orange ones will chase you down. These enemies are usually several levels higher than the other enemies in the area, if caught off guard these can easily party wipe you. Eventually you’ll be able to see them on your lower map if you have marked the area. Otherwise you need to be careful and watch the upper screen. The reason they're orange blobs is just to make it that much more nervewracking. You never know what you'll be up against, be it a bunny, or a dragon, you just know it'll be quite strong. In the Upcoming EO IV they've done away with the orange orb and you can now see whats chasing you, Still probably don't want to be caught unprepared.
Here’s avideo used for promotion that highlights FOEs
The EO series has some fantastic music. This music changes from strata to strata. In the over world it's nice and calming (deceptively so) and in battle it's pretty intense. Here are some of the tracks I love.
As you can probably tell by now this game isn’t for everyone. Some of you may think that the system is archaic even. And while I agree that it’s an older system it’s a niche segment in which you can play a truly punishing game. Many people like these difficult games, while writing this I though about Demon Souls a lot, and although they aren't the same type of game I imagine the difficulty is right up the same ally.
TLDR version of this is: This game is really hard, will take a lot of patience. But if you’re willing to put up with this or even look forward to it you’ll feel one of the greatest forms of achievements.
One final note. You do not need to play the previous games in the franchise to enjoy. So if I somehow convinced you this is fun you can pick up the 4th installment for your 3DS in February.