This Odyssey isn't going to Etrian itself

I was blindsided by the Etrian Odyssey HD games getting released today for Switch and PC (and implicitly blindsided by it being June 1 too), so I thought maybe we could have a thread to discuss them, since they have come up quite a bit in the various 3DS and DS discussions. I should note that I haven‘t bought or played these HD releases yet (and I was thinking of getting the collection at first, but after seeing the price and remembering that I have played EO1 and 2 many times, both for DS and in the updated 3DS ’Untold‘ versions, I think I may just get 3 for now). At the same time I’m wondering if I should just go for it and buy them all in the hopes that these will do well and we‘ll get new entries as a result. But I’ve probably sunk more hours into this series in aggregate than I have any other series of games, and that's really saying something about the strong pull they have for me.

I'm most excited to try 3, because even though I am a massive fan, when it came out I was still buying games from shops and in parson, and the shop I went to just... never had 3, for whatever reason, so I never played it, especially years later when it was massively expensive in the second hand market even for a loose cart.

But anyway, I'm excited this is out, in part because I was afraid that the series would disappear absent the dual screen format, and only a tiny bit nervous to see how Atlus has handled the change of format.

For anyone new to Etrian Odyssey, if you dislike Wizardry-style dungeons crawlers, this will probably not change your mind. It's funny, because I think RPG fans are both the best and worst audience: it's got lots of stat-heavy player customization, but surprise! The characters are all just blanks with no story of their own. So if you're looking for a character driven RPG experience, this will probably disappoint. But for me at least the character building and growth is sublime. You're given quite a bit of control over character abilities as you level up, and the character classes are also really well done, and mostly feel unique within individual games, although there is some bleedover between classes from game to game even though each game has its own slate of classes. Even though I love the mapping (which is its whole other discussion), I think the class building is my favourite part of the series.

Anyway, hopefully I'm not the only one who loves these and wants to talk about them!

1 Like

I started one of those Etrian Odyssey 3DS remakes last year… Millenium Girl I think? Which is a remake of the first one. I‘ve never played this exact kind of RPG before. The closest I guess is NetHack. In EO, I opted to play the story part that’s only present in this remake version because it‘d give me a predefined party. I was worried having full control over everything would overwhelm me. That may still be the case, but I quickly stopped playing because the game was sending me mixed signals. The quests required me to obtain specific drops that I didn’t know how to get, the item economy felt very restrictive, and I'd have to do this annoying dance around unbeatable enemies everytime I wanted to descend. The game was asking me to repeat a lot without giving me a lot of tools to adequately repeat things.

What I loved was filling in the map, figuring out the most efficient ways to take down random encounters, and finding short cuts on a level map. The music is an absolute jam.

I'll likely go back and restart but in the mode where I get to create my own party and use a guide or something. I feel like there's more there that I'm missing and I want to see what's up.

1 Like

>

@“RubySunrise”#p117996 this annoying dance around unbeatable enemies everytime I wanted to descend.

i'm kind of in the exact same place as you -- just started the first untold game (the first etrian game i've played) and the beginning hit me super strong but now i'm in these puzzle room kind of zones where i have to try to dodge impossible enemies or get a game over. got stuck in a corner once and that was it, kind of annoying. mapping is super fun tho!

1 Like

I downloaded the remake of the first game on 3DS before the shop closed, convinced the series would disappear, only to see a remake trilogy get announced right after! I was on the fence between that and Etrian Odyssey IV! I wish I bought Etrian Odyssey IV instead.

That little fact has me feeling weird. If I play it on my 3DS and if I enjoy it, and if the series continues (or even if more remakes continue), this isn't how I'm going to interact with this world again. I like the idea of "an entry point into the series", so I'm in a philosophical dilemma where I own an older remake of the original game while there is a newer remake that would be the style this type of game takes going forward. If I frame it in a way where I enjoy the series for what it was, then maybe that can alleviate this dilemma for me.

I wouldn't be in this situation if I bought EO4. If I did that then these would just be three new games to me, instead of one being a new version of a game I just bought recently. I guess this is a consequence for giving in to FOMO and buying a bunch of 3DS software right before the online store's closure.

1 Like

I love Etrian! I’ve played every game since the third game (minus the spin-offs). I picked up the Collection today!

Not a fan of the stupid San-serif font, but I do like how they made the map be toggle-able from minimap size to half the screen. Also drawing the map with the right analog + L/R2 works well.

I never played the original EO1/2 (did play the Untold remakes though, EOU2 is my fav game in the series) so it’s fun to go back and see how the series started. Neat that they nailed so much correctly with the first one. One modern QOL feature I do miss is that every mini-event on the field would give the party EXP, which helped a lot. Also wow, can’t believe you have to level up Take/Cut/Mine multiple times for getting field resources?? And you can potentially fail to gather anything and then you’re out of that one try you had?? Harsh, reminds me of old monhun.

Is there any good tips or tricks I should know about the first game? One thing I heard is that the Troubador’s song skills stay active the entire battle???

Also here’s a good prozd skit sponsored by Atlus wow
https://youtu.be/ZS8sWhrTnZo

1 Like

@kory

1 Like

Really tried to love DS Etrian in the past, like dungeon crawlers just fine but I find full manual mapping super boring (partial would be ok). But apparently this and the Untold remakes do have an auto mapping option???

1 Like

I finished up EO Nexus earlier this year so I‘m Etrian-ed out for the moment but I’m glad more people are going to be able to experience the series.

I personally prefer dungeon crawlers and blobbers with a more western art style, especially if they're difficult. The stress and anxiety caused by the gameplay loop seems at odds with an anime aesthetic. I do like that look in other game styles though and I tolerate it in EO cause I'm thirsty for the genre in general.

In an alternate universe, that DS game The Dark Spire became popular instead of EO and received countless sequels iterating and expanding on its first entry. Things about Dark Spire I'm fond of that EO doesn't do are 1) use every square of the map (no empty buffer squares) and 2) includes a retro wireframe graphics mode along with a retro soundtrack to really capture that Wizardry vibe.

1 Like

I have dipped at least 5 hours into every iteration of 1-4 including remakes. Then I got 20-50 hours deep into V, enjoying the character customization and switchable FM/jazz fusion OST DLC. I also played Etrian Mystery Dungeon longer than I played 1-4 probably. This was all back before I was in the position I am now, with the perseverance to commit to completing games as much as I do now. Wrote this out in more detail in @“Syzygy”#279 's 7th Dragon 2020 thread, but it looks like their account and all associated threads are gone now…

When I was front row to see Yuzo Koshiro & Motohiro Kawashima play a live set, they played only Streets of Rage music. At the end of the show, I was chanting "NIHOON FALCOOOM", but if I remembered the Japanese name for Etrian Odyssey, I would have chanted that, because that's what I really wanted to hear. I don't think they were prepared for any encore or anything besides the Bare Knuckle soundtracks though.

I'm going to download this HD bundle, because I want to support the series. But I think I will always prefer whipping them out on DS hardware. The pixel-perfect graphics and the almost amateur art style of the first game is much preferred. But who knows, maybe this HD remake will suck me in and that won't matter anymore.

More recently, using skills I'd gained from playing EO (over twelve years ago now, wow), I played the original Wizardry, but on Game Boy Color (and Wonderswan, a bit), and mapped it out by hand on a pocket-size A6 grid paper notebook. It was a really fun activity while I was still getting my solar setup together in my van.

1 Like

After fiending specifically for an Etrian Odyssey experience for too long, it was a very good feeling to dip my toes back into the labyrinth again in EO1 via the Steam Deck. The touch pads make for a pretty decent replacement to the DS touchscreen to chart maps, maybe I‘ll dig up a stylus at some point and see if the Deck’s touchscreen can do that as well.

As is often the case with these HD remakes, I'm not completely wild about the new crisp art assets... Well, the lusher environments in the first-person field view are pretty great, actually. Just weird that they kept in the extreme pop-in for things further than three tiles away, but I understand the gameplay need for a fog-of-war effect.

@"bnn"#p118096 In this version, you do have settings to have floor tiles and/or walls that your party traverses automapped, so you should be able to tweak this to your preference. I've grown accustomed to automapping floor tiles, but then that leads to the odd behavior of me painstakingly walking over every tile instead of just grabbing the floor-tile brush and doodling them in quickly.

1 Like

Jeremy Parish‘s podcasts and tweets sold me on EO3 when it came out. Thanks to it’s low print run, it's probably one of the most valuable games I own in terms of its second-hand eBay price. I simultaneously liked it a lot and also found it a bit repetitive.

Similar situation for _EO5_ though I think I might like it better? I miss the boating mini-game in _3_. I haven't played _4_, but I think that has a similar sub-map where you have to find the labyrinth entrance.

The _Untold_ series isn't doing it for me. If I want to play a more story-based game, I'll go play _Final Fantasy V_.

And as @treefroggy mentioned, the music is universally superb. Yeah, some tracks are better than others but that's like saying your favorite band has some songs that you don't care for as much.

So I'm struggling with picking up _5_ again on my 3DS and just kinda keep on moving forward, or buying a remake. Ultimately, I have decided that I'm going to buy the entire digital remake collection once it's on sale even though I'll probably just play _3_.

1 Like

Sometimes I get mad at these games for having good soundtracks because they're also great silent games to have on while watching stuff in the background.

1 Like

Glad to see everybody’s comments, good and bad! I still stand my my general opinion that if your brain is wired to like the things this game does really well, you’ll love it, but if you don’t like working character builds and drawing your own maps, I wouldn’t bother with it, you’ll probably not care for it.

I’m working my way through EO3 on Switch (which is to say I spend last night building my party and never actually played), and I’m loving it because it’s like a lost EO game for me.

I had a pretty good time with one of these games until I lost my DS while drunk on a train… I really liked mapping, how does it work on PC?

1 Like

I really like this HD remaster, I’m playing with my new NSO Super Famicom controller. The character portraits look better than I imagined, and the HD backgrounds for locations like the explorer’s guild is awesome. Didn’t realize how much I wanted this. Perfect game for switch that I secretly wanted all along to place alongside my personal switch mainstays like FFXII.

Only sad that the iconic sprout 🌱 animation is gone now due to no loading screens.

For drawing the map, you still need to use the touch screen. The controls are limited without it. It’s not as streamlined as the original on DS for sure.

This makes me want to finish my DS Lite AV output mod to play Etrian with composite blending on CRT… but there’s also a ton of much appreciated UI, UX and general QoL improvements that I adore in the HD remaster.

I’ve also caught myself reaching for a visualized, non existent stylus on my switch…

1 Like

Nothing specifically to do with EO, but if people are hungry for another Japanese retro dungeon crawler, you might want to check out QUESTER—the producer and game designer worked together on a lot of popular G-MODE feature phone games, with the game designer also producing a lot of well-regarded TRPGs for Group SNE including the Dark Souls TRPG adaptation, and the world setting and character designs/illustrations were provided by Bastard!! mangaka Kazushi Hagiwara:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brqNuCsIqRM

The publisher's crowdfunding an English localisation right now, with a very modest funding target (that's already 50% funded):
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1000games/hack-and-slash-rpg-quester-english-translation/

>

@“Jonks”#p118099 In an alternate universe, that DS game The Dark Spire became popular instead of EO and received countless sequels iterating and expanding on its first entry. Things about Dark Spire I’m fond of that EO doesn’t do are 1) use every square of the map (no empty buffer squares) and 2) includes a retro wireframe graphics mode along with a retro soundtrack to really capture that Wizardry vibe.

I don't know that these two games are necessarily similar beyond being Japanese Wizardry homages with a black-heavy art style, but you might want to give Labyrinth of Zangetsu a shot:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1922960/Labyrinth_of_Zangetsu/ (it's also on Switch/PS4)

1 Like

I love the series but I wasn‘t all that excited about playing it on PC because the map drawing is like 1/4 of my enjoyment of it but after seeing people mod in alternate art, I’m tempted to pick it up just to do a Delicious in Dungeon or Lodoss mod for it.

Also, that font is wretched.

1 Like

Im already getting pretty fast with the map controls, once I understood it, it became easy. I may even prefer it to the imprecise touch controls on switch!

It’s my fifth time playing the first three floors of EO1, but I’m fully addicted now. I kind of wish there was some subtle HD rumble.

1 Like

>

But as pleasant as they are, they do lack the “crunchy” raw chiptune edge of the originals, and there's sadly no toggle in the menus to bring that old sound back.

No FM synth option?

1 Like

@“yeso”#p118291 The new music is based on direct PC88 captures rather than the DS renditions, so it‘s even more FM-y. If you’ve heard any of the OSTs, it basically sounds like those.

1 Like