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Review

Review: Etrian Odyssey IV – Legends of the Titan

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It’s been a while sin­ce a tit­le in the Etri­an Odys­sey series has made its way to Euro­pe, with Atlus’ old-school dun­ge­on craw­ler being absent from our shores sin­ce the original’s release on the DS. Now that Etri­an Odys­sey IV has made its way here, we can final­ly enjoy what is argu­ab­ly the best ent­ry in an alrea­dy ama­zing series.

Etri­an Odys­sey IV starts out simi­lar­ly to ear­lier ent­ries, allo­wing you to set up your own guild of explo­rers. Cha­rac­ter crea­ti­on is fair­ly simp­le, giving you a few clas­ses and cha­rac­ter por­traits to select from. Cer­tain clas­ses are locked to begin with, along with sub-clas­ses, which speeds up the crea­ti­on of your initi­al band of adven­tu­rers. The game gives you enough cha­rac­ter slots to let you expe­ri­ment with dif­fe­rent set­ups, and level­ling up new cha­rac­ters beco­mes much easier later on, pre­ven­ting the need for exces­si­ve grin­ding.

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Once you have a par­ty crea­ted and kit­ted out, it wont take you long befo­re you’re at the first dun­ge­on. This is becau­se Etri­an Odys­sey IV pre­fers to keep sto­ry­tel­ling to a mini­mum, with dun­ge­on craw­ling being the main focus. Usual­ly, there’s a rea­son given for your visits to the dun­ge­ons and not much else. The loca­li­sa­ti­on is up to Atlus’ usu­al stan­dards, but the­re aren’t any par­ti­cu­lar stan­dout moments thanks to the rela­tively litt­le amount of dia­lo­gue.

Dun­ge­on craw­ling its­elf takes place from a first per­son per­spec­tive, with a grid being dis­play­ed on the bot­tom screen of the 3DS. The grid is used to map out each floor that you explo­re, from its lay­out to any secrets or item points that you find. While the main rea­son for its inclu­si­on is to emu­la­te the need for hand-drawn maps in older RPGs, the abi­li­ty to mark cer­tain are­as in a dun­ge­on makes it inva­lu­able on some of the more com­pli­ca­ted floors. Auto-walk arrows can also be added to the map, redu­cing the time taken to make your way through ear­lier floors.

Like the old-school dun­ge­on craw­lers it takes inspi­ra­ti­on from, Etri­an Odys­sey IV fea­tures ple­nty of ran­dom encoun­ters and, natu­ral­ly, turn-based batt­les. Com­bat is fair­ly simp­le for the most part, with a varie­ty of skills being avail­ab­le for each cha­rac­ter. Burst skills intro­du­ce extra par­ty cus­to­mi­sa­ti­on, and allow you to domi­na­te enemies if used cor­rec­t­ly.

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Speaking of cus­to­mi­sa­ti­on, each class has its own skill tree which deter­mi­nes what they can do both during dun­ge­ons and in batt­le. For examp­le, Arca­nists, the spell­cas­ters of Etri­an Odys­sey IV, have dif­fe­rent access to dif­fe­rent sets of ele­men­tal spells, while sni­pers can bind dif­fe­rent ene­my lim­bs. Each class also has a skill rela­ting to dun­ge­ons, usual­ly rela­ting to sca­ven­ging various mate­ri­als. If upgraded cor­rec­t­ly, your par­ty can tear through enemies, while bad­ly mana­ged par­ties will be punis­hed. Howe­ver, Etri­an Odys­sey IV is defi­ni­te­ly more for­gi­ving that its pre­de­ces­sors, and minor mista­kes won’t com­ple­te­ly ruin you.

Apro­pos Anpas­sun­gen: Jede Klas­se hat einen eige­nen Fer­tig­kei­ten­baum, der sich über die Akti­vi­tä­ten im Dun­ge­on und in der Schlacht erstreckt. Arca­nis­ten, die Magi­er in Etri­an Odys­sey IV, wer­den unter­schied­li­che Ele­men­tar­zau­ber zugäng­lich gemacht und Scharf­schüt­zen legen aus­ge­wähl­te Kör­per­tei­le von Geg­nern lahm. Jede Klas­se besitzt auch einen Skill, der sich auf Dun­ge­ons bezieht und meist auf auf das Plün­dern unter­schied­li­cher Mate­ria­li­en abzielt. Durch die rich­ti­ge Skil­lung schnei­det eure Par­ty durch Geg­ner­hor­den wie ein hei­ßes Mes­ser durch die But­ter, schlecht ver­wal­te­te Grup­pen wer­den hin­ge­gen bestraft. Etri­an Odys­sey IV ver­zeiht trotz allem weit mehr Feh­ler als die Vor­gän­ger, wo jeder Feh­ler den Ruin aus­ma­chen konn­te.

Infact, the rest of the game has been desi­gned in a way that’s fri­end­ly to new­co­mers of the series. There’s a new casu­al mode, which buffs your par­ty and heals you when you return town, and the­re are more icons that you can use while map­ping out floors. Etri­an Odys­sey IV is still a hard game though, even with the­se chan­ges. Grin­ding is a neces­si­ty the fur­ther you make it though the game, and you will most likely fail many times befo­re mana­ging to take out each boss. F.O.E.s also make their return – extre­me­ly tough mons­ters that are visi­ble on the map which should be avoi­ded until you’re a hig­her level.

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Gra­phi­cal­ly, it’s not the most impres­si­ve game on the sys­tem, though some are­as and mons­ters are well desi­gned. There’s no rea­son to turn the 3D on eit­her, with the effect bare­ly being noti­ce­ab­le most of the time. The sound­track howe­ver is phe­no­me­nal, which is to be expec­ted of the series. Songs chan­ge fre­quent­ly enough to stop any fee­lings of repe­ti­ti­on, with the batt­le the­mes being espe­ci­al­ly catchy.

Conclusion

Etri­an Odys­sey IV is an addic­tive game, which does more to appeal to new­co­mers wit­hout tur­ning away its core audi­ence. This is an essen­ti­al purcha­se for all RPG fans, and it’s the per­fect way to re-intro­du­ce the series to European gamers.

Etrian Odyssey IVEtri­an Odys­sey IV: Legends of the Titan
Gen­re: RPG
Sys­tem: Nin­ten­do 3DS
Pri­ce: 32 GBP / $30
Deve­lo­per: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus / NIS Ame­ri­ca

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