Review: Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl
The newest installment of the Etrian Odyssey series has arrived! The first Etrian Odyssey game was released in 2007—and was favorably received for its unique play style in which players use the stylus to record their progress through the sprawling mazes, as well for the game’s refreshing challenge. Now, in 2013, the series has been reborn with Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl. The original game has been improved with a new, captivating story, unique and charming characters, and newly recreated labyrinths in full 3D.
- Graphics, What can be said for them? Well they are beatiful to look at, big bright picturesque backdrops. Roaming the lands are a thing of beaty in every way, Turning 3D on does nothing but further show off the magical graphics. Conversations see your character in a 2D cartoon style drawing that we come to expect. Monster encounters are full 3D detailed models, looking every bit cute as they are deadly. Almost Pokemon in terms of variety and lushness.
- You can transfer your save from the demo onto the retail game.
- Three difficulty options to choose from. Rolling out on picnic difficulty will see you having better respawns upon deaths, ability to use potions/items longer and generally make the game easier so you can concentrate on the story. Raising the difficulty to expert will have the opposite effect. Here you will face stronger enemies, respawn miles away from your grave and have limited items. One for the hardcore.
- You can change the difficulty in game at any point.
- 9 adventure classes to choose from with the usual suspects like healers,magic,arcane,warriors etc.
- There are 4 different character avatars to choose from after you have decided on a class.
- Two modes in which to play the game:
- Story mode: You get given 5 characters and go out on your adventures.
- Classic: You choose your party,name them and name the guild they represent. Same story but with more user interaction.
- You can register up to 30 characters, name them, choose them and mix them around.
- Depending on your mode selection, Choose your initial party to roll out with. Maximum party size at the beginning is 5 but this grows as you play through. You can swap characters out at any point and assign there starting formation.
- Controls are simple once learnt. D pad is used for movement, Analogue stick is for free look. You then use face buttons for menu selections or use the touch screen.
- The game is a first person dungeon crawler with a huge emphasis on map exploration/recording and leveling up characters whilst looking for the loot!
- Turn based combat that can be manipulated with skills and buffs.
- Helpful pop hints are present throughout the game, With a handy help button if you need it.
- Initial area is a tutorial and will teach you in the ways of map writing, fighting enemies, leveling up your character for example.
- Vast options menu whre you can adjust the text speed, default walk speed, invert controls etc.
- Every character has a huge branching upgrade tree, Plan where to go and every step of the tree has a description of what you will get if you power up there.
- Earn exp and find items by exploring the lands and finding chests, fighting monsters.
- Along with scripted fights, Random encounters can happen at any time.
- The best and unique part of the game is the map system. It will sound complicated but is actually really easy to grasp in practice. Basically in new areas you will have a blank canvas on the bottom screen, As you walk around you can draw walls,encounters,treasure as you encounter them. One cool feature is the memo system where you can put notes into the map to help you. The map is really important and for most levels, the exit or floor jump will only reveal itself once you have mapped out a high percentage of the level. The map does have a huge array of icons for you to drag on and drop, wiping out mistakes can be done with an eraser or a drag and drop to the bin system.
- Floor jump once discovered will allow you, in a nutshell jump between floors in a fast travel sense.
- Shops are in the main hub town and here you can do everything you expect from an RPG game. Buy new gear/items or sell off your wares.
- Auto walk is in the game, simply plot a course on the map and press go, Your character will then follow the path. Stopping only for events and encounters.
- You can save whenever you want via a suspend save feature. Its not a hard save and more of a soft save. If you get caught short and need to power down, Hit the suspend save button and it will save everything as is. When you carry on from the save then it will turn the save off.
- Big huge epic boss battles that require planning,tactics and are a lot of fun to play.
- New Grimoire stones have been added to help you level up further, allowing you to capture enemy skills/attacks. These stones are total game changers.
- Music is tranquil as it is tense. The atmosphere it brings is unparalleled and the game really comes alive when played with headphones. 1000’s of new lines of dialogue has been added to the game.
- The one encounter you will love but also hate our the enemies known as F.O.E (Formido Oppugnatura Exsequens) These huge beasts will show up on the map, tell you a bit about them like movement patterns,strengths weaknesses and how much of a threat they are by your in game hub indicator. Once these beasts get an eye on you they will usually come for you, sticking to their strict movement speed, the game becomes a bit like Chess meets Chicken in the ultimate challenge of wits. They posess huge amounts of health, powerful moves where only the well planned will survive. The fights are indeed some of the best in the game and always bring the loot.
- Combat system is easy to use, Each turn just pick an action or if you want to repeat the same sequence just press the auto button to reproduce the same attack.
- Dont know if its intentional but the language used in the game has some really funny moments, Could be a lost in translation type thing but still funny.
- Despite sounding like a nightmare to get into, This game is actually really easy to learn. Just knowing the basics is enough to scrape through.
- Easily over 65 plus hours of content and that figure will grow even more as the upgrade tree and levelling every character takes over.
- Learning all the map icons is nigh on impossible! Its not that bad but due to the sheer amount of them, It can easily overwhelm you.
- Whilst there is a map tutorial, It just needs a bit more explanation in parts.
- Constant difficulty spikes throughout.
- The tutorial is so big and so in depth that at times you can feel lost. It just feels too big.
- The story is nothing new and doesn’t really engage you.
- In the pre chosen story mode, You only get to use 5 of the classes and at times this will make life hard as you dont have the right member.
In Summary, The game is so much fun. When I first booted it up, I honestly thought it was going to be too hardcore and niche for me. I am happy to report how wrong I was! For this game serves as the perfect entry point into the series. I found when I was playing it I was having fun, When I wasn’t playing it, I wanted to play it. It just looks so dam tasty and the map writing feature is a stroke of genius. The 3DS is seeing a lot of great RPG titles as of late and unfortunately to all RPG fans, This is a must buy! Yeah that’s right, Build that backlog up but for your sake, Make this game your first go to title. I am going to continue to play this game as I continue to make it my quest to play the game for so long tat the cartridge melts into the console! So in short, Do not let all the complicated systems scare you, It is easy to learn but hard to put down.