Game Title: Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Role Playing
Publisher: Atlus, Nis America (Europe)
Demo Released: 30th August 2013 (Europe)
Date of Full Game Release: July 5th 2012 (Japan), February 26th 2013 (North America), August 30th 2013 (Europe)
Age Rating: CERO: A, ESRB: T for Teen, PEGI: 12+, PG
Etrian Odyssey to me is just another RPG franchise that never seem to not get attention of in the UK at all, no thanks to Atlus with their publishing difficulties. The first one in the series came to the DS in 2008 in Europe whilst in 2007 Japan and America got the game first. It was a title which reflected upon 1980s RPG's like Might & Magic, Wizardry and The Bard's Tale. As interesting as the game was, many gamers found the title as well as the sequels to be incredibly difficult. Speaking of sequels Etrian Odyssey had two of them following up which only came out for Japan and America but not in the UK. If you want to get those games then you'd be better off importing them from Ebay or PlayAsia if they still have copies of those games in.
Atlus finally brings fourth the series to the Nintendo 3DS with Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan which continues the series formula of delivering old school RPG goodness with slight renditions and also an Easier difficulty setting. Atlus also recently announced another Etrian Odyssey game called Untold: The Millennium Girl which is a remake of the orginal game. It's stated for a American release in October this year but no announcements of a possible European release.
The Nintendo Eshop has a playable demo for everyone to try out for only 3 uses which is strange and the game will last till you reach the end of the first floor in the second dungeon you'll go to.
In Etrian Oddssey IV the storyline follows you who has a make a guild of party members to be able to discover the secrets of the Yggdrasil Labyrinth and fight against dozens of powerful monsters that aim on stopping you on your quest. For a game like this that emulates the old school style of RPG games it comes as no surprise that the game lacks a proper storyline and your only connections are other strangers that you'll might meet in the Labyrinth.
Starting the game is easy for me to sort out, you simply name your guild and then you can then create your party for up to 5 members. In the game you'll have 10 different classes to pick from to build your party with but in the demo you'll have only 7 to try out. These classes include Landsknechts who deal heavy damage with Swords, Medics heal party members, Protectors now Fortresses protect other members in your party, Snipers are expert archers and so on. I can only guess that the last one is unlockable in the Full game.
Once you build your guild and then equip all your party members, you can then get missions to do and then depart to the labyrinth. The game itself takes place in first person dungeon crawling where you explore maze like dungeons to find items hidden around, deadly monsters to fight and advancing through each floor in the dungeons.
One of the game's changes from other RPG's is that you have to draw a map manually as you wonder around. You use the Stylus on the touch screen to draw out patches of ground, wall boundaries, Treasure Boxes and doors leading to the next part of the map. You have to have to place these so that you've known what is there or what has happened there, etc.
Etrian Odyssey IV returns the series frequent random encounter system and battles are still in turn based form. Each character in your party has their turn to use their abilities to attack the enemy, use an item or magic spell to heal up or to temporally boost their stats against tough enemies.
One thing to not about the games is that Etrian Odyssey is very difficult, thankfully for the fourth game the developers have decided to include a more casual difficulty which is more for players who are new to RPG's or those not used to the challenge that the series is known for. One thing to be watchful of are the FOE encounters which are visible on the map and will chase you if you get close to them. They are extremely powerful and will kill you easily if you're not careful and unprepared to fight them, they simply require power level grinding and the right team combinations to win.
Once you've beaten enough enemies and collected their dropped materials you can then sell them for money and purchase new items once they become available to you. You don't gain money from encounters instead you gain from selling your old stuff you don't need but you can only carry up to 60 items in your bag. Now there's a new feature in the Inn where you store your unwanted items in which helps incase you get equipment that can be given to another character in your roaster.
Another new feature for the game is the Skyplane where you can take to the sky and discover other dungeons, powerful FOEs that are best avoided and also food that you can find to use as either bait to lure FOE's away and also other people who I think request something which are nice additions.
There are other new additions but however I can't mention them because they are in the full game.
Etrian Odyssey IV's graphics use the Chibi Anime portraits which for are cute just like in the other games but however the game now has monsters rendered with 3D models instead of sprites which is an improvement and also the same for the FOE encounters which were...whatever they used to be like in the old games. The frame rate isn't smooth unlike the older games on the original DS, sticking at about 30 frames. I am however amazed at the games soundtrack, it goes from calm and relaxing tunes while exploring places but however gets instance upbeat tunes for battles.
My main impression is that Etrian Odyssey IV is a great game so far but mostly similar to the original game, at least from my experience. I would like to get this game personally but maybe when I beat the orginal game, perhaps I'll test my Etrian Odyssey abilities with the full version of the game.
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Anthony Hayball (AQWBlaZer91)