Review: Etrian Odyssey Nexus

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Etri­an Odys­sey series is likely the most well-known modern series of dun­ge­on craw­lers, having seen many releases sin­ce the ori­gi­nal game on the DS. This is the last hur­rah for the pro­li­fic series on a dual-screen sys­tem, and they real­ly pul­led out all the stops to make this the finest ent­ry yet.

The Etri­an Odys­sey games usual­ly have their own con­tai­ned sto­ries, with the occa­sio­nal refe­rence here and the­re. This is still the case in Etri­an Odys­sey Nexus, but the actu­al set­ting takes a lot from pre­vious games. Set on the island of Lemu­ria, adven­tu­rers are tas­ked with fin­ding its hid­den trea­su­res by the princess Per­se­pho­ne. Lemu­ria is home to various laby­rinths, and it quick­ly beco­mes appa­rent that many are­as clo­se­ly resem­ble dif­fe­rent parts of the world.

Etri­an Odys­sey Nexus’ world is actual­ly an amal­ga­ma­ti­on of games 1 to 4 in the series, with each main town from tho­se games being men­tio­ned here. The area whe­re you’ll start your adven­tures and return to bet­ween dun­ge­on runs is the floa­ting city of Magi­nia, which also ser­ves as a hub for the adven­tu­rers explo­ring Lemu­ria. The over­all set­ting is some­what sim­plistic, but this is fine sin­ce the ent­i­re focus of each game is more on explo­ra­ti­on and dis­co­very com­pa­red to typi­cal RPGs.

After a few short ope­ning sce­nes, you’re able to start crea­ting your guild and its mem­bers. Par­ty set­up will be very fami­li­ar if this is not your first Etri­an Odys­sey game, as litt­le has chan­ged over the years. The amount of clas­ses you can pick from howe­ver is by far the lar­gest in the series, offe­ring a total of 19 fan-favou­rite clas­ses. This does make cha­rac­ter crea­ti­on more important than ever, sin­ce you have so much choice when it comes to par­ty com­po­si­ti­ons and class syn­er­gy. Sub­clas­ses also make a return mid­way through the main sto­ry, allo­wing access to even more skills and com­bi­na­ti­ons for each par­ty mem­ber. The­re are also qui­te a varied amount of cha­rac­ter por­traits, espe­ci­al­ly if you inclu­de the free DLC that adds every sin­gle exis­ting por­trait to the game. Cha­rac­ter por­traits can also be mixed and matched bet­ween clas­ses, giving you access to hund­reds of dif­fe­rent opti­ons befo­re you’ve even chan­ged a cha­rac­ters colours or voice.

Basic pro­gres­si­on has also chan­ged litt­le from pre­vious games. You’ll gear up your par­ty in town, pro­gress as far as pos­si­ble in a laby­rinth, then return to town to sell your spoils and turn in com­ple­ted quests. This game­play loop is still incredi­b­ly satis­fy­ing, and a lot of this satis­fac­tion comes from see­ing each floors map being slow­ly com­ple­ted. The Etri­an Odys­sey games have been the only ones to take advan­ta­ge of the DS’ and 3DS’ dual screens to give you access to map drawing. Being able to crea­te detail­ed maps and notes for each floor is incredi­b­ly hel­pful, and gives an extra sen­se of accom­plish­ment once you’ve com­ple­ted a laby­rinth.

The dun­ge­ons them­sel­ves are also fan­tastic, taking are­as and ide­as from the series and rewor­king them to keep things fee­ling fresh. From cha­rac­ters to dun­ge­on gim­micks, Etri­an Odys­sey Nexus will often go out of its way to trick series vete­rans into thin­king they know what’s com­ing next. That’s not to say new­co­mers won’t enjoy play­ing through each area, but this real­ly is a game that is tar­ge­ting tho­se that have stuck with the series all this time.

Com­bat is whe­re your class choices are real­ly tested, espe­ci­al­ly later in the game when Nexus real­ly brings out its toughest oppon­ents. Once again, batt­les will not seem to dif­fe­rent for tho­se that have expe­ri­ence with the series – or DRPGs (dun­ge­on craw­ling role-play­ing games) in gene­ral – but the new force gau­ge does requi­re you to think over your class choices even fur­ther. Each class has a force boost, that can give hel­pful effec­ts like attack buffs to a cha­rac­ter or their par­ty. Force break on the other hand can easi­ly turn the tide of batt­le, at the expen­se of locking off the user’s force gau­ge until they return to town. For examp­le, Impe­ri­als use up a lot of MP for some of their attacks, but their force break allows them to gain a gre­at amount of MP past their usu­al maxi­mum limit. It’s a gre­at sys­tem, giving play­ers more opti­ons for each ene­my they encoun­ter.

Being a cele­bra­ti­on of the series so far, Etri­an Odys­sey Nexus not only reu­ses a lot of are­as and cha­rac­ters, but music as well. The amount of dif­fe­rent laby­rinth and batt­les the­mes is stag­ge­ring and it’s gre­at to hear old tracks being remi­xed here. It would have been nice for the­re to have been a few more ori­gi­nal tracks fea­tured in the game, but this is still a tre­at for long-time fans of the series. Ano­t­her area that may be more of a deal-brea­ker for some is the lack of Eng­lish voice acting. Over­all the­re aren’t a gre­at amount of sce­nes that have voice acting during the game, and it’s under­stand­a­ble why a dub may not have been fea­si­ble this late into the 3DS’ life-cycle, but it’s still a shame that it isn’t pre­sent for what may be the last game in the series.


Etri­an Odys­sey Nexus is the cul­mi­na­ti­on of years of impro­ve­ments and addi­ti­ons throughout the series. More than just being a fan­tastic send-off to the 3DS, it is one of the best DRPGs we’ve ever play­ed.

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