EO:N has arrived!
Etrian Odyssey has been a part of my gaming language since the second one came out way back on the DS. It’s a Wizardry! like dungeon crawl, where you craft a party of five characters from available classes (19 in this game’s case, pulling from classes across the previous five games!) and form a guild. You then dive into dungeons to explore and tackle new threats and further the story as well as complete side quests, and you can recruit and add more characters to your guild as you wish, swapping them in and out of your party. Note that, for others like me, I tend to make 5 characters and that’s it, really, but finally in V I did make a second team to level up to try out other classes and that was pretty fun.
Now, that’s the main game loop, but there is a missing element I haven’t talked about yet - Etrian Odyssey expects* you to do your own mapping! You map your dungeon while you explore it, drawing paths, painting the land and water, dropping in notes and icons that represent chests, challenges, doors, and etc. It’s actually a lot of fun, really easy to do, and even if you read that and thought “fuck all that” trust me, it’s actually really satisfying to map your exploration of the dungeon out and find secrets and solve puzzles.
*That being said, there are several auto-map options available, to limit or even eliminate the amount of time spent mapping by hand.
Finally, the EO games are pretty hard core. Now, the last few have featured difficulty settings, and this new one has FOUR such settings, going all the way from Picnic mode and as high as Heroic. But this is a game where if your character dies… well, you can reload, actually. I think. The series has sort of moved away from it’s hard core roots, but you can’t save in the dungeon, so it’s critical to keep a few items on hand (I forget what they are called) so you can teleport back to town, and as you delve deeper you’ll unlock shortcuts to go right from town into deeper parts of the dungeons (known as Stratums). So really, the combat expects you to pay attention and try to build a party that works well together, but it isn’t going to slap you around too much on normal difficulty. On Normal difficulty, I was warned that if my party wipes I could continue but just once. On Picnic mode, you can reload as much as you want and certain items work over and over again rather than a set number of times (like maybe the item that zips you back to town) for a more casual experience.
So, that’s out of the way, what about this Etrian Odyssey adventure?
Well, as it’s called Nexus and it features all the enemies, classes, and more from all the previous games, I’m led to assume the Nexus is some sort of overlap between all the previous games. I don’t really know much more about the story than that, but I will say there is a lot going on here.
19 classes (one of which is brand new, the Hero class), did I mention? Also, at a certain point or level, you can sub-class into another class! Here is what one reviewer had to say (source):
As a sort of ‘greatest hits’ release for the series, Etrian Odyssey Nexus features a whopping nineteen classes to choose from when building a team, of which you can bring five at a time into the mazes. As you’d expect, this leads to a staggering, almost overwhelming amount of player choice in how a team is built, but the game is relatively lenient in allowing just about anything to fly; there aren’t really any wrong answers here regarding how a team should be built, but you’re going to have a bad time if you try running a squad of five pure medics. Things become even more granular once you boost a character past a certain level threshold, which allows you to then add any of the other eighteen classes to them as a subclass, granting them access to the skills, weapons, and armour of that class. If you’ve ever been the sort of player that doesn’t like to feel boxed-in with an RPG regarding character growth, Etrian Odyssey Nexus is the game for you; there’s next to no limit on what you can do with how you build out a squad, and the game almost begs you to find ways to ‘break’ the system.
Want to know more about the classes? Check this out - someone made a Skill Calculator!
It sounds like while a lot of the past 5 games are present everything about this game is a brand new experience, but with NPCs and characters from all the previous games. I’m excited to see how this all comes together.
Unfortunately, I can’t find the damned thing anywhere and Amazon is out of stock. So a physical copy is out, I went ahead and bought it on my 3DS directly from the eShop. Which was also a fiasco as the first two cards I used it A) didn’t like and B) insisted I was lying about my address (I was not). Finally the third card worked, good grief. Anyway, it’s installing the free DLC now (all the previous game’s portraits are free DLC, plus additional portraits, but they are individual downloads, which is a PITA).
So, anyone else playing? What initial 5 classes are you playing, and how are you going to build them?
EDIT: I had created a little crib sheet based on the classes as I saw them in a recent stream, in case this is helpful for anyone.