'Etrian Odyssey V' Is Incredibly Difficult, But Honest About the Danger


#1

Etrian Odyssey, you might recall, is the series of games where you draw maps by hand, a very simple and beautiful way to use the 3DS. Usually the game would do something like this for you, but this game doesn't; not because it's harder that way, not because "that's how games were way back then," but because it feels really good to slow down and make something intentionally with your hand, even if it's just drawing a map.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ywbmbw/etrian-odyssey-v-is-incredibly-difficult-but-honest-about-the-danger

#2

I am looking into EOV later next year but I do like me a tough dungeon crawler game.


#3

This is such a great article that makes me wish I enjoyed Etrian Odyssey more than I do.


#4

So something that should be brought up I feel is as good as I am sure this game is it also sexualises some very young character(s) to the point that I question if it should be legal. I seem to be more sensitive to this then most I admit but you should at least give the Necromancer portraits a look over on this site before you decide how interested you: https://atlus.com/etrian5/characters-necromancer.html


#5

This and the SMT:SJ remake are the only reasons I’m still hanging onto my 3DS. I’m both happy and irritated my favorite classes from previous entries aren’t present in this one since it has forced me to make a very different team than I usually would.

Wolf Rover is :heart: .


#6

Yeah, some of EO’s character designs can be really cool (see: bunny grandma from the Rover class ) , and some of them are really offputting. I think that particular Necromancy portrait is the worst one in the game, so if you don’t mind seeing that at the character creation screen (the game never forces you to use it, or any other specific portrait) it shouldn’t be a problem.

One of the nice things about the updated character creation is being able to customize skin tone/hair color/eye color, so now you can very easily make an all-poc party when that was very hard in other games. And none of the voices are locked behind specific portraits, which is very nice as well.


#7


The idea of drawing maps as the focus for a D&D style game appeals to me.
I appreciate the customization options this time around. Usually I try and think up a theme and base the party around that. This time I was thinking about the D&D episodes in the tv show Community.
As far as difficulty goes, etrian odyssey has defiantly made the game more player friendly over the years! Which is a good thing. I did notice you can’t skip levels by pressing on the stairs anymore, though. Not sure how I feel about that.


#8

I can’t wait for that FM Synth DLC.


#9

I really like the idea of games about making maps, but i’ve never been pulled by the combat in dungeon crawlers. If someone had made one of these with some sort of no combat mode where all you do is map the dungeon and get rewards based on that, i would be incredibly grateful. As it is my only hope is doing one myself, which is uh not great.


#10

A game that is entirely about making maps would be super cool. It’s a bummer that map making hasn’t been exported out to other genres of games.

That said I think the combat in the Etrian Odyssey games is vastly better than other RPGs so if you have never tried the series you might want to get the eshop demo and see if it works for you.


#11

A good article that gets at some of the joys of the Etrian series. I’m not as much a fan of drawing maps as some other fans, but one of the the joys I’ve always gotten from the games is the gradual familiarity you gain of the labyrinth. There’s a quiet sense of accomplishment that all this space that was blank and terrifying beforehand is more charted and known, and that sense of slowly pushing the boundary is not one that I can think of often in video games. It helps that there’s some thought in exploring the dungeon, whether it’s figuring out how to dodge the roaming minibosses or dealing with the floor’s mechanic, in a genre where level design is often corridors you march down, and the most nuance you get is a detour for some treasure.

I can’t agree that games are honest though, much less unusually honest. When I first read “You cast Blizaga every turn and don’t sweat the details, and people who love esoterica figure it out online so you don’t have to.”, I thought that it applies more to Etrian than other RPGs. There’s a lot of details in the combat system that’s not particularly well explained. Shoes increase speed and therefore turn order, but I have no real idea how much or when that speed boost was enough to matter. I don’t really have a good sense for how much protection armor gives, other than the bigger number the better. Leg binds, sleep, blind, and paralyze prevent you from dodging, and there are battles where you will die if you don’t know this. If this is explained in game anywhere, it’s in a one off NPC dialogue because I don’t remember how I learned this other than through forum discussions. I didn’t realize blind and paralyze also lower your evasion until just now looking things up for this post, and I’ve been playing these games since II.
Maybe the previous examples are just minor trivia, but I find the game’s opaqueness really frustrating when it comes to character skills. I do not feel like I have all the information when it’s time to pick skills to invest in and the only skill information I have is “^ heal rate” when casting buffs. Is that enough to keep my party alive? Who knows? I have bad memories of starting up Etrian Odyssey II and putting points into Regen All for my War Magus because free, party wide healing sounds great! I then found out it heals a fixed 5 HP a turn at max, 5 levels later. In a game where you end up with hundreds of HP for your characters in the end and enemies hit incredibly hard, burning 5 levels for a skill that heals 1-2% a turn is incredibly frustrating. Even beyond raw numbers, it’s often hard to figure out how skills work. I didn’t understand why my Fencer’s chase skills weren’t activating in this game until I went online and discovered that they only activate on stabbing or matching elemental attacks. You can reset skill points in exchange for lowering your level, so these mistakes aren’t permanent, but I don’t feel like I was making an informed decision that went poorly-I feel like I was making a blind guess, with no way to know the odds. It’s probably my biggest mechanical complaint about the series, and it’s big enough that I can’t agree with Aevee’s second to last paragraph.


#12

What sucks is that EO’s map making feels perfect on the DS and literally only the DS line.

I’d love if this came out for the Switch but then mapmaking would be so much worse.


#13

There probably be a lot of reworking to DS base game series that want to move to the Switch.


#14

I know but I really just want every game on my Switch (the perfect console)


#15

Fantastic article. I got into the EO series recently and I love the map making and character creation. I also roleplay what my characters do in my head a bit since the game is pretty vague about that aspect.

Playing these games kind of makes me interested in playing older dungeon crawlers that these games are pulling from. The oldest one I ever played was Shin Megami Tensei 1, which was dungeon crawling heavy but mixed with more “modern” jrpg mechanics and storytelling. I wonder if older games in the genre hold up?


#16

the switch has touch controls. keep your hopes up!


#17

I love the Etrian Odyssey series, but I never finished a single game in the series. Instead, I would always buy up the latest game when it went on sale, without fully realizing that it would dozens of hours to complete. Unfortunately, I don’t have the same amount of free time I used.

I’m definitely interested to see if this is the end of the series or if they will try to adapt it to the Switch. The map making is such an integral part of the series, and there would be no way to replicate it without either broadcasting it to a smart phone or forcing users to input map info using a controller.

It’s possible that it would keep the touch functionality on the Switch, but I prefer playing my Switch docked.


#18

I’ll be a downer here and say there’s two issues with that:
A: I’ll need a good pen for the switch that isn’t too bulky.
B: It’d need some sort of quick popup button on screen cause with it always being present on the bottom DS.

I’ve only just started V and I don’t know what characters to make so i’m just gonna have random people make characters for me and I’ll work with that.


#19

As an EO fanboy I feel really sad that I forgot that this game came out ;__;

Also Persona Central created an article about something that was said on Famitsu talking about the future of Etrian Odyssey

This is the last game in the series that will have a map to be drawn on the bottom screen on the Nintendo 3DS. For specifics, I hope that you can wait until the day when we can officially announce it.

Seems like there are plans to continue the series on the switch. Wonder how it’ll work out


#20

I think mapmaking will be hurt a bit if it moves to switch but really not everybody loves the mapmaking like I do and they can’t hold onto the 3DS forever.

They’ll probably have full-auto map on by default and just let you fill in other pieces of info on the map.