Review

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl Review

  • First Released Oct 1, 2013
    released
  • 3DS

Dungeon-crawler's delight.

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Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl may be a remake, but it also exemplifies just how far Atlus' dungeon-crawling role-playing series has come in just six years. The higher production values and the added difficulty setting in last spring's Etrian Odyssey IV made that game a notable entry point for newcomers while also preserving the challenge that fans expect from the series. With Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, Atlus incorporates these improvements and includes an absorbing story that rises above its clichéd roots.

If you've relied on this series to satisfy that action-focused dungeon-crawling itch, however, you don't have to worry about a pervasive narrative getting in the way. That's because Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl also has a classic mode that is essentially the first game with numerous enhancements. The fonts in the user interface are more readable, moving through labyrinths feels more fluid, and foes are well-animated 3D models.

It's a new cast exploring a mix of fantasy and sci-fi environments.
It's a new cast exploring a mix of fantasy and sci-fi environments.

If the lack of a story was what turned you off of other Etrian Odyssey games, you can now look forward to a wholly engaging narrative. That in itself is an achievement, especially considering this is yet another Japanese role-playing game featuring an amnesiac. However formulaic the story is, at least this girl, who goes by the name of Frederica, didn't pass out after her village burned down, nor was she found lying on a beach. She has instead awakened from cryogenic sleep during one of your dungeon-exploration missions. The juxtaposition of the game's fantastical backdrop and its futuristic technology that sustains Frederica lends intrigue to the tale as your party of adventurers tries to figure out who she is.

This premade party is the other feature that sets the story mode apart from the classic mode. Classic preserves the deep guild-based customization by letting you craft a roster of adventurers who are training under a variety of class-based specialties. As a minor improvement over the original game, classes like ronin and hexer are available immediately.

Whichever mode you decide to go with, there's great comfort in knowing that much of your success in battle relies on your grasp of familiar combat fundamentals. That includes learning how to best arrange party members in the forward and rear positions as well as knowing when to pummel a single enemy with attacks or spread the pain around. There's also the familiar trial and error of figuring out a creature's element affinity and using the right counter spell to cause the most damage. Improving your elemental powers and other skills is the crux of the game's upgrade and customization system. Impressively, The Millenium Girl can accommodate characters whose abilities are upgraded evenly as well as characters who focus on upgrading a single skill until it is mastered. For experienced Etrian Odyssey fans looking for a new twist to character customization, skill-enhancing items called Grimoire Stones let you forgo class upgrade limitations in favor of creating hybrid classes.

There is an obsessive-compulsive sense of satisfaction in mapping paths as if no one in the gameworld has ever visited these areas before.

You have to be at your best at all times because Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is as demanding as any game in the series, consistently challenging even though not one encounter feels overwhelming. The game adeptly rations out its moments of gratification well enough to hold your attention all the way to the end of your playthrough. Helpfully, the New Game Plus serves its purpose by being a slightly easier experience. It especially rewards those who try the story mode first and then transfer that save to classic, which then unlocks two additional classes and various attributes from the first playthrough.

The Millennium Girl is a lengthy game, even if you play in classic mode. This is rooted in how the labyrinths work, since each map and level demands repeat visits. There are locked doors and powerful enemies early on, but both can and should be dealt with after you make significant progress in other areas of the game. Time and again the game invites you to navigate familiar paths, but the vibrant color palette and the pleasing environmental art direction make these dungeon revisits more than tolerable.

Powerful enemies are plentiful early on and should be avoided at first.
Powerful enemies are plentiful early on and should be avoided at first.

Adding to this extended play time is the emphasis on cartography, which has been a mainstay of the series since the first game. Using the stylus on the lower half of the 3DS emphasizes how much Etrian Odyssey has always been designed as a DS/3DS experience. Starting each maze floor as a blank grid conjures memories of mapmaking in classic RPGs like Wizardry. There is an obsessive-compulsive sense of satisfaction in mapping paths as if no one in the gameworld has ever visited these areas before. If you're the type who has to color in every map before heading to the boss fight, this game provides its fair share of alternate routes and dead ends to discover. The UI provides a wealth of markers to denote important areas, hostilities, and places worth reinvestigating. It can be gratifying to know the lay of the land, especially when the map was crafted by your own hand and stylus.

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl can be considered an enhanced port, but it is certainly not a low-budget one. It's the first game in the series to feature voice acting, and it delivers a range of vocal performances from good to great. If you're a regular consumer of Atlus games, you should recognize a handful of voices from Persona and other Shin Megami Tensei games. For the music, Yuzo Koshiro's curiously retro-sounding compositions from the original game are back. This remake also features a newly synthesized orchestral track, and you can toggle between the two versions in the options menu.

Because it's not a mere port of the original Etrian Odyssey with tacked-on 3D functionality, there is a lot of value in Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl even if you've already put in dozens of hours into the original game. By offering both the classic experience and a new story-driven mode with overlapping content, this RPG is practically a two-in-one package. It's a credit to Atlus that it has managed to produce a remake that is every bit as engrossing as Etrian Odyssey IV, while preserving the positive qualities of the game that started it all.

Back To Top
The Good
Extensive and engrossing dungeon crawling
Challenging and rewarding difficulty
Substantive story
Deep customization
The Bad
Only one save slot
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Having followed Etrian Odyssey since its inception, Miguel was curious how the series would come full circle with this remake. To play the story mode first and then to take that campaign's bonuses into a New Game+ playthrough of the classic mode resulted in 65 hours of play time. Miguel's been an amateur RPG cartographer ever since he used graph paper to map out his brother's exploits in the original Wizardry.
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Gvaz

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People actually like this garbage?

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Dedede8sandwich

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@Gvaz Yes.

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gba1989

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Better than EOIV.

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chyng85

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Is Atlus the best JRPG maker now??

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Standalone88

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@chyng85 not sure that this is the jrpg)

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abHS4L88

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Edited By abHS4L88

@chyng85

I don't know about the best, but definitely one of the best alongside Namco-Bandai, Mistwalker, Level-5 and Square-Enix (when they're not doing Final Fantasy). Nintendo's MonolithSoft has also been proving itself to be an amazing JRPG developer.

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jacquelineferre

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@abHS4L88 @chyng85 MonolithSoft is not owned by Nintendo/

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abHS4L88

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Edited By abHS4L88

@jacquelineferre

Pretty sure owning 98% of the company's stake makes Nintendo the owner of Monolith Soft. Monolithsoft has been a 1st party for over 6 years and Nintendo had recently opened a new studio for them in Kyoto.

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abHS4L88

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Edited By abHS4L88

@jacquelineferre

Pretty sure owning 98% of the company's stake makes them owned by Nintendo.

"The company was founded on October 1, 1999 by producer Hirohide Sugiura and director Tetsuya Takahashi after they left Square Co. and accepted an investment from Namco. As of May 6, 2007, Nintendoowned controlling interest in the company after Namco Bandai sold 80% of its 96% stake in Monolith Soft to Nintendo. This went into effect May 1, 2007.Later Namco sold the remaining 16%, making Monolith Soft a first-party developer for Nintendo."

Good thing too because I bet if they were under any other publisher, they would've been canned after the sales of Xenoblade.

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Atermi

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I have a USA 3DS but I'm not in USA anymore and I only have a balance left for 1 game only, so the question is crucial:
Should I get a IV or Untold, if I never played any EO game before? What has a better playing value in general? I finished both demos but can't decide.

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Tamarisk_green

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@Atermi I have never played EO before, so I tried both, and liked Untold better because of the story. Having a game where you only create party members and don't have any interaction is boring to me.


Are you sure you can download this? I am moving from US to UK next month, and when I contacted Nintendo they said I could only use the currency on the account when I am in the region that 3DS was made to be used in. That is a big bad side to Nintendo; they don't have international functions like PlayStation does.

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Atermi

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@Tamarisk_green @Atermi Yep, you can pretty much buy a prepaid card on Ebay, instantly get teh code and buy everything you want.

I've got both games already and many others as soon as I found a place to purchase prepaid codes.

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Sillygostly

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Gamespot Logic: Only 1 save slot? That's two points off.

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Atermi

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@Sillygostly Just for info, the game offers 2 completely different game modes but you can only play 1 of them due to just 1 save slot. It is indeed not too good.
The only way to avoid this is to buy the game from eShop and install it on 2 different SD cards and swap them.

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mbrockway

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Edited By mbrockway

@Atermi @Sillygostly You could also just back up the save to the SD and start a new game. A FW update a while back added that. Click the little arrow to the left beside launch game, and create a backup. After a while if you want to play the other mode, back it up to a different slot and restore the other one. Its a really good value add feature for buying just eshop games.

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ForceofNature9

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Edited By ForceofNature9

@Sillygostly

Or maybe the:

- Extensive and engrossing dungeon crawling

- Challenging and rewarding difficulty

- Substantive story and

- Deep customization

rewarded the game 8 points?

Games don't start at 10 and work downwards. Maybe they start at 0 and work their way up?

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Gelugon_baat

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@Sillygostly

Really, you should make a more sophisticated argument than just making a remark on the score. That's just lazy.

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turtlethetaffer

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Damn. This one looks like it might be a buy...

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Sir_Hobo

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Edited By Sir_Hobo

"features a newly synthesized orchestral track"

Um, the new soundtrack is neither orchestral, nor is it synthesized. The only orchestral tracks are the boss themes, and everything is performed with live instruments. You are seriously underestimating Yuzo Koshiro.

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Gelugon_baat

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@Sir_Hobo

Yet how would you know that? Are you making a guess?

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Sir_Hobo

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Edited By Sir_Hobo

@Gelugon_baat @Sir_Hobo

I've listened to the soundtrack and it's pretty obvious that it wasn't all just synthesized, and I wouldn't call the majority of the tracks "orchestral," although the tracks that are orchestral are probably at least partially synth. Also, you can find a list of the performers here: http://vgmdb.net/album/39537

Being a fan of the series' music, I just don't like the fact that they relegated all of the cost and effort that went into the music to a single erroneous sentence.

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Gelugon_baat

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@Sir_Hobo

So it's a mix then. With that said, I don't consider that sentence "erroneous". In my eyes, it's a ambiguous one, that describes the uncertain nature of the tracks in a conveniently undecided manner.

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Gamerno6666

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oh gawd. more jrpg's.

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GunBladeHero

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Awesome, I actually have to finish EO IV first. I love the new style with 3D models, dungeons and overworld, it really breathes new life into a classic formula.

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GeekyDad

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"Enhanced port"? Dude, it is a complete remake in every conceivable way.

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Warlord_Irochi

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Really. What is the problem with RPGs in portable consoles only having one damn save slot? >.<

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hwahee

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@Warlord_Irochi I don't think one save slot is a common feature of RPGs on portable consoles.

This is simply the way the Etrian Odyssey series was from the very first game, and the idea behind it was probably to help fuel its difficulty. Of course, now that the series is trying so hard to also appeal to casual jRPG players, sticking to one save slot looks pretty archaic.

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Warlord_Irochi

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@hwahee Well, maybe I was unlucky but I had that a lot lately, with just a few exceptions. But if it follow a tradition then I gess it's just getting used to it.

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DeadrisingX1

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@Warlord_Irochi Since it's an RPG, there's going to be many different outcomes depending on your actions. Rather than starting from the beginning for a different outcome, you could just load up one of your old saves. (That's at least my best guess)
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Warlord_Irochi

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@DeadrisingX1 @Warlord_Irochi Guess I did not explain myself correctly. I meant exactly what you said. I want to be able to do multiple saves, why they force me to have only one? makes no sense :(

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Warlord_Irochi

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@mbrockway @Warlord_Irochi @DeadrisingX1 That is an option. Bit of an anoying one but ok.

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mbrockway

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@Warlord_Irochi @DeadrisingX1 You can backup your eshop game saves to the sd card and just start a new game. Back that one up too, then you can restore the other save.

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Stebsis

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Hopefully this is coming to EU

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hwahee

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>[...] voice acting, and it delivers a range of vocal performances from good to great

Based on the demo, I'd describe the range as from "obnoxiously grating" (e.g. Arthur, Valerie) to "tolerable".

Two things not mentioned in the review: When you've mapped out enough of a floor, the option to warp straight to the staircase by tapping on an icon becomes available. Also, for people allergic to drawing maps, there's an auto-map option that automatically draws the walls for you if you wish to use it.

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G1ingy

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I'll get this game regardless of review scores. Finding an actually challenging RPG nowadays is hard enough as it is. Any real gamer will get this.

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johnnybowman

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don't look back

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Xenro4

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Can you see your party in battle?

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chipwithdip

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Edited By chipwithdip

@Xenro4 Is that REALLY important? If so, wait for Pokemon or Bravely Default. Atlus doesn't usually focus on that.

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nate1222

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As expected, Atlus delivers anther kick-ass RPG.

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Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl More Info

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  • First Released Oct 1, 2013
    released
    • 3DS
    Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is a first-person, map-making dungeon crawler for the Nintendo 3DS.
    8.4
    Average Rating22 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl
    Developed by:
    ATLUS
    Published by:
    ATLUS, NIS America
    Genre(s):
    Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Tobacco Reference, Use of Alcohol