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Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (3DS) artwork

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (3DS) review

"Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titans is a wonderful throwback to retro RPGs. The game is challenging, incredibly long, and employs a wealth of monsters and items."

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan seems like a pretty standard retro JRPG. After all, itís got character classes, turn based gameplay, a level up system, and is really, really long. What sets Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan apart from other JRPGs isnít what you are doing inside battles, itís what you do outside of them.

The story begins pretty stale. You have arrived in Tharsis, a town brimming of life and opportunity. As like many of the other explorers, your party is trying to reach the Yggdrasil, the sacred tree. Thatís pretty much the only story you get for the first 20 hours. Eventually the game begins sprinkling other elements of the story in, and by the 45th hour, I finally understood the big picture of whatís going on. Unfortunately, the pace of the story for the first part of the game can be a turn off for some, but the gameplay is much more important, so many wonít mind.

The gameplay consists of three parts. The first is exploring in your skyship, aptly named ďBig MamaĒ. During this step of gameplay, the player will explore new areas in the overworld, and collect food items which can give your party stat boosts. Iím glad that this part was included, because although it is unnecessary, it can provide a nice break after an extended session within a dungeon.

Once a cave is discovered on the overworld, your party is free to explore the new dungeon. Unlike most dungeon crawlers, Etrian Odyssey approaches dungeons very differently. Instead of providing players with a map, Etrian Odyssey expects players to use the touchscreen on the 3DS in order to create their own map while exploring. The game provides a grid and the proper tools, and it becomes the playerís job to ensure that they donít get lost. The system works great, and charting your own progress feels like a much bigger accomplishment than in many other games. Players will be making multiple trips through any given labyrinth, since they will need to return to Tharsis for supplies, so having a coherent map is essential.

While exploring dungeons, players will encounter many random battles, as with any JRPG. Your characters have all the normal stats (strength, defense, etc) and battle is pretty standard fare. Characters level up, skill points are spent, and both classes and subclasses are chosen. There are quite a few classes to choose from, and more become available during the game, but there isnít much unique about the battle system itself.

Overall, the game is pretty challenging, and features both an easy and classic mode, as with Fire Emblem. In easy mode, you are allowed your experience and some items when you die, whereas in classic mode you are returned to your last save point when you die. I, of course, chose the classic hard mode. At first I didnít know my limits, and was constantly dying. Once I knew my limits I was barely dying for the second half of the game. The game does require a lot of grinding, though. Fortunately, the game provides a system to combat extensive boredom. The game provides and autopilot system, where all that the player needs to do is press the ďAĒ button to grind up levels. So, in my case, I grabbed two books and my Vaseline container, and created a complex contraption to weigh down my ďAĒ button. Then, I just left the game on my charging cradle and my characters continued to level up. After all, with the game already being longer than 60 hours, I would hate to be grinding in the same spot for the other 15.

Both the music and graphics deserve a special mention. The music is very well done, placing a center on the electric guitar. Constantly, the game was playing awesome guitar solos, and there was a large variety of tunes. And donít even get me started on the boss theme! The graphics are great too, and although the 3D isnít necessary to the gameplay, when exploring dungeons the 3D is gorgeous to look at.

Overall, Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titans is a wonderful throwback to retro RPGs. The game is challenging, incredibly long, and employs a wealth of monsters and items. I recommend the game to all those who love RPGs, and for all those who are on low gaming budgets, as the game has so much content. The initial playthrough will take more than 60 hours, plus with the extra dungeon and New Game + mode, that time could easily double. For those looking for a new game on their 3DS that will keep them occupied for a long time, look no farther than Etrian Odyssey IV.


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Community review by paleselan (June 24, 2013)

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