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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
New Options for New Players
on October 1, 2013
I came close so many times to buying Etrian Odyssey I when they rereleased it this year, but as soon as I heard that they were making a 3DS version, using the same engine as Etrian Odyssey IV, I held off for that. I am so happy I did! I've now soaked about 10 hours into the game between the demo and the full version that arrived in the mail from Amazon today, and it's just as good as I hoped! The new story mode, with its prebuilt party of characters, adds some extra fun to the mix (and voice acting), but if you just want to play through the original with some prettier graphics, a new engine, and some nice background music, you can have that too.
I won't go too much into the gameplay itself (it is, after all, a remake), since most people will probably be interested in what's new in this version. However, if you haven't ever played a game in this series, a little background is probably important. It's an oddly addictive and normally very difficult first person dungeon crawler. Unless you pick an easier difficulty level, expect lots of grinding. The dungeons are HUGE. You will probably die. A lot. You must make all the maps yourself! You must bring back materials from the dungeon to sell to the item shop, or you won't have anything to buy! If you play in the original classic mode, when the last party member dies, it's game over, no warping back to town! However, it's important to note that the game has a lot of charm. The graphics are endearing, and the music is excellent (headphones are highly recommended). The map making is bizarrely addictive. (They give you dozens of little icons, and it's super simple to draw in walls and door ways. I love when I get to a new floor and it's completely blank as far as the eye can see.)
If you haven't played any of the previous games in the series, or the original version of this game, I recommend you download the free demo from the eShop on the 3DS. The demo is for the new story mode in the game (if you're only interested in the classic mode, it's apparently assumed that you've had a chance to play the original DS game and need no demo). It has a fairly generous level cap and the only thing that's left out are the Streetpass features, so you'll be able to experience many aspects of game play before committing to buying the game. The best part is that if you do decide to buy the full version of the game, the full version will actually import the save file from the demo!
- You can't play both story mode and classic mode simultaneously. In fact, you can't even share the game with a friend, unless they have their own 3DS, because there is ONE save slot. ONE. Etrian Odyssey IV was the same, but there weren't two different game play modes to choose from then.
What's new and different from the original:
- It's now in 3D. Yeah, I turned it off except for the cut scenes, but I confirmed it is definitely available.
- The game is not just a graphics update (although, everything is much nicer on the eyes now). The story mode adds two new classes to your party, the highlander and the gunner class. New items are also available, and the dungeons have been redone. Story mode also adds some additional areas that you will occasionally visit and explore.
- It also introduced grimoire stones, which are collected in dungeons or randomly generated during battles. These are items that won't take up your normal equip slots, but will grant your characters special abilities (just to name a few, this could be a magical ability, a gather ability, or an ability to wield a particular kind of item). Each character can have one grimoire stone equipped at a time. Grimoire stones can be fused to make grimoire stones with multiple abilities.
- Another addition is the ability to floor jump (fast travel). If you've mapped a significant part of the dungeon level (it doesn't have to be 100% complete), the next time you encounter a set of stairs, those stairs will be colored gold. Tapping a set of golden stairs will prompt you to travel to those stairs instantly. Unlocking the golden stairs must be done separately for the stairs leading up and down from the dungeon floor. (If you prefer, the fast travel arrows are there from Etrian Odyssey IV and work the same way.)
- There are three difficulty levels now. Picnic makes monsters far easier, good if you're not really up for grinding. Normal is a little bit easier than the normal difficulty in Etrian Odyssey IV. The expert difficulty is supposedly the same or very close to the original game, but in reality, it may be easier since the underlying game engine is actually different. If you change your mind later, you're not stuck. You can make the switch at any time in the main game options screen.
- There is a rudimentary automapping option. I refuse to use it because I adore making the little maps on the bottom screen, but it will fill out some of the map for you as you walk around and bumble into things. Also, if you're in story mode, the characters will call your attention to hidden passages, when you'd normally have to look for the alert on the screen that says you can press A to investigate. Nearly all the icons are there from Etrian Odyssey IV.
Similarities and Differences to Etrian Odyssey IV:
- Both games use the same engine. That means the graphics and character art are extremely similar. The music is also pretty much identical in feel. The mapping icons and features are just about the same (even down to the extremely small character limits in the label feature).
- Both feature casual difficulty levels for new players. You can change the difficulty at any point in the main game options, so you can start out slow and ramp it up once you've got a feel for it.
- No QR code quests in this game. However, the Streetpass functionality from Etrian Odyssey IV is available, so you can show off how far you've gotten in the game.
- No overland travel. I admit it, I was a sucker for sailing around in an airship in Etrian Odyssey IV. In this game, like in the original, you walk straight into the dungeon entrances.