Game Review: Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond The Myth

Game Review: Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond The Myth

Ever since its debut on the Nintendo DS, Etrian Odyssey has enthralled the hearts of many dungeon adventurers and turn-based fanatics. And now, 10 years later, we witness the birth of the most delightful dungeon adventure yet: Etrian Odyssey V.

Introduction

Before starting the game, players are given 2 difficulty choices to choose from: Basic or Advanced. In Basic difficulty, players are granted one revival chance per dungeon. In Advanced, the adventuring party gets kicked out of the dungeon immediately if they do not survive.

You begin your adventure in Arcania as a new guild and create your own guild members. Players with demo data can choose to transfer to the retail save. With 10 different job classes stemming from 4 different races, you have a variety of choices to build the perfect team for adventuring. Personally, I made one member of each class.

Each class comes with 4 different avatars to choose from (and 4 alternate colour avatars for adjusting colours of the clothes and accessories, making a total of 8), so take your pick, but wait there’s more! Change the colours of the avatar’s skin, hair and eyes either independently, or as a whole (build a team of heterochromia!). Then choose a voice for your new buddy. Or make them mute. Your choice. They’re your babies now.

I especially loved the extent of customisation in this instalment. It’s hilarious to see an old hag with a toddler’s voice.

Don’t worry if you’d like your Warlock with bunny ears (ahem), as you can reclass your party members into jobs that are normally inaccessible from a different race once you advance far enough into the story. Different stat gains can be observed for each different Race as your party members level up through battle experience and adventure events.

As your party members meet certain conditions during your adventure, they can advance into one of two subclasses as a Master and gain a Legendary title. Gear up and plan your party ahead!

Gameplay

As the trailers and demo goes, there’s an Yggdrasil tree in the land of Arcania. Legend says that dreams come true if you reach the top.

Similar to previous Etrian Odyssey titles, you explore intricate labyrinths in First Person View. In Beyond the Myth, random events have been added to the game. In my humble opinion, these events make your adventure light-hearted, with a tinge of humour every now and then. You may meet some sticky situations whereby you can choose (1 out of 3) actions to make.

These adventure episodes help amplify the immersion of the game, and brings attachment to the buddies traveling with you. I remember once rushing out of a dungeon because I poisoned my whole party by accident. I am still filled with guilt to this day.

Completing a Guild card allows you to register a party and exchange it with other players either through StreetPass or through a QR code. Players may run into party members that are registered to an exchanged Guild card during the adventure.

The fundamentals of Etrian Odyssey are in its mapmaking. In Beyond the Myth, you will be granted tools to mark walls, paths, and gathering spots which may or may not require special skills to gather materials from. You may gather once per gathering spot per dungeon entry. Too much of a hassle to map? Switch your Auto-map option to full, and immerse yourself in just the adventure itself. It is indeed a neat feature as sometimes mapmaking is too time consuming for bigger dungeons. I think it is very considerate of the developers to include this feature, although you still have to place markers for the gathering spots yourself.

You can pan your view around with the Circle Pad before choosing a direction to move your party in. This makes it easier to navigate your way to gathering spots (shiny sparkly!), chests, and admiring the brilliant scenery.

Of course, you will bump into mobs during your adventures. The battle system is split into two rows, with 3 members in front and 2 members at the back. Here’s a tip – back row members cannot hit the back row members on the opposite end by melee. Range weapons and Magic skills however, do not have this restriction. Remember this when planning your party, do not make the same mistake I made…

Certain strong mobs (they’re called FOEs) appear on the overworld and can be avoided by evading them. Attempt to face them at your own risk… The loot is epic however, if they are slain.

This instalment introduces the Union skills which comprises of 2 party members executing the skill at the same time for devastating (or delightful) results. Tip: Auto-battles are really hard to win unless your party is at an extremely high level.

I personally think that the default gear is made like paper, thus always remember to gear up and rest up (10en) before you head to your next dungeon.

Graphics and BGM

The art-style for the guild member avatar is more inclined towards an anime art style with intricate character design. Scenery and the environment are like beautiful paintings with a great extent of detail.

Music during the different scenes suit the moods perfectly; soft and relaxing in the overworld, fast paced and energetic during battles. I personally feel that this makes level grinding much more tolerable.

Conclusion

Etrian Odyssey V is a beautiful dungeon crawler with plenty of customisation. An avid fan of the Etrian Odyssey series should never pass this up. New players however, might find this game a little hardcore, given the amount of grinding in this game.

Frankly, dungeon crawling is not my favourite past time, yet Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth kept me wanting more. It’s a truly remarkable game.

Pros

  • Immersive storyline complete with “slice-of-life” events while dungeon crawling.
  • Beautiful anime-style art with plenty of customisation
  • Light instrumental background music to suit the mood
  • 2 difficulty levels for casual adventure or hardcore exploration

Cons

  • May be difficult for new players to pick up as this instalment is much more grindy, thus more time consuming to advance smoothly in the story. It may get repetitive soon for some players.

Soup Verdict: Rich and flavourful in every way, you’ll always come back craving more. Dig in!

Buy Etrian Odyssey V from Amazon here.

A review code was provided by Atlus for the purpose of this review.

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