Etrian Odyssey (NDS)

So, this is out and, as I had hoped, is filled with awesomeness.

If you liked Wizardry on the PC, and are a fan of deep, hard,
dungeon crawls, turn-based combat, creating a party from scratch, fiddling with stats, skills, and items, and fighting uglies, then you may like this :)

(Edit: Oh, and if you ever snagged some graph paper and made your own maps, you’re gonna love the map creating feature. It’s giving out a great nostalgic vibe.)

Does it have automapping? Is movement grid-based or free? AKA, is it Eye of the Beholder, or Menzoberranzan?

Played last night for about 3 hours. This is the storyless kind of tactical old school ocd grindfest I love. You more or less have to plot your own maps, an activity to which the bottom screen is 100% dedicated. I thought I’d hate having to draw my own maps, but instead, it’s just another thing I love. The map drawing implementation is easy to use and not too finicky, touch-screen wise. In fact, after about five minutes, I gave up on the stylus and started using the tip of my thumb. Works great. Meticulously mapping everything sort of half by hand (well, thumb) turns out to be really satisfying.

There’s also a cool wandering monster system called FOE that’s too complicated to explain, especially since this short video tells you everything you need to know:

Oh, and the movement is grid based.

How much will this take me back to my old Pools of Radiance days?


el oh el

Not - it is user-mapping! Your first ‘mission’ is to map the first level! So cool (until you watch your whole front line get taken out by a crab monster before figuring out its’ weakness).

I like Izuna a lot for the roguelike aspects, but this is mega-sweet without the shortcomings.


Do want. Do want. Do want.


No so much, it will take you back to your bard’s tale/wizardry days though. Movement is grid based and combat is menu based ala FF/DQ/bard’s tale not tactical grid based like the gold box games.

Anyone who has fond memories of the bards tale, wizardry, or eye of the beholder games should definitely pick this up. Its an Atlas game, so as usual, supplies are limited. The EB and Gamestop in the mall here are already sold out, I managed to snag FYE’s last copy.

The game is hard, don’t be surprised if you get a full party wipe in the first 15 minutes. You really need to play conservatively even on the first level. Go back to town and heal, don’t press your luck.

Here are some starting tips:

  1. Make your first party with 1 mage, 1 cleric, 2 landsnkencht (fighter), and 1 protector. Leave the hybrid/utility classes out for now, you can throw one in the back row later and level them up once your party has some survivability

  2. TP (mana points) are hard to come by. The only way to restore them in the early game is to rest in town or via a potion that costs 200 gold (by comparison, a healing potion only costs 20 gold). Have your magic users learn one healing/damage spell and dump your other skill points into TP.

  3. Once you complete the first quest, you will get the ability to buy Warp Wires. Never leave town without one. They are a one way town portal spell and they will save your life.


  1. When you run across your first crab, set everyone to defend and have your mage cast a damage spell. These guys will kill you in one hit and are pretty much immune to physical attacks.

  2. when you come to a clearing in the first level and are asked if you want to rest, don’t.


Apparently the Wizardry/BT style of dungeon crawlers has always been crazy popular in Japan, but we rarely see the games over here.

This game is mind-numbingly awesome. It’s one of the only portable games that I’ve not only played once my commute was over, but played all night.

I just got down to the third level. Everything about it is great. I love that the top town is all menu based and fast to navigate. I love that it’s set in a lush forest, in a very nice 3D engine. The automapping feature is very well implemented, and surprisingly adds a ton of fun to exploration. The overall art direction is fantastic.

The only negatives I have is that you have to trudge through whole levels to descend back to where you want to go. And, I think my trubadour (bard) is pretty much useless.

Learned that one the hard way … at least you can save your map …

And when you’ve done a good job outfitting yourself and can handle the crab and think you’re hot stuff … still say NO …

Yeah, the ps2 Jwizardry that did make it here was a bit weird, but pretty swanky.

So there is automapping? The rest of the thread made it sound like you had to map it yourself (albeit in game).

I’m assuming combat is randomized by steps? I really liked the Wizardry PS2 game which had all the mobs visible on screen, and often easily avoided in return trips to the dungeon.

I’ll probably buy a copy tonight alongside Crackdown because I am weak-willed and can’t stand seeing so many Halo 3 jerks on my friends list.

Err woops I meant the manual mapping. Actually, you can turn on “automapping”, but all it does is paint the squares you walk on blue. You still have to draw in all the walls, doors, events, monsters, etc. With “automapping” off, you have to paint the squares blue yourself. Personally, I like it to paint for me and do the walls myself.

It’s seriously cool. Such a throwback to the Wizardry/M&M/Bard’s Tale days of scribbling on grid paper. It’s the ultimate tool… completely integrated into the game. I would have killed for this stylus-based map creator back in those days.

Most mobs are random. You have a little gem on the lower right to tell you how likely an attack is. There are also items you can use to minimize the amount of encounters.

There are also visible monsters called "FOE"s. These appear as large orange spheres that move around on patrol paths. They’re super tough, almost sub-bosses inside levels.

Hey, thanks for quoting the spoilers without quoting the spoiler warning.


These moments remind me of the old Dan Aykroyd/John Candy movie The Great Outdoors:

“B…B…b…b Big…big…BIG BEAR CHASE ME!!!”

Oh, and those big ugly FOE mobs can join a fight you’re already involved in, with this understated message:

A new monster has joined the fray.