Drawing maps and fighting monsters…
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, on Nintendo 3DS by Atlus, is an interesting first-person dungeon crawler, and a remake of the original first Etrian Odyssey game with a big difference, in that it’s a lot tougher than your average JRPG.
The story takes place in the City of Etria as you take the role of a courageous highlander who has been summoned to Etria to investigate a strange earthquake that’s been occurring in a nearby ruin. The City of Etria is based close by a Labyrinth, a maze filled with jungles, forests and a selection of mighty monsters who wander this strange land. Exploring the Labyrinth involves teaming up with Simon, Raquna, Arthur and Fredrica, who each offer various party member elements to help you destroy various monsters on your quest to find the truth.
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is very different from the majority of JRPGs I’ve played in the past, in that it puts you in charge of the game in a more distinctive way. In Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, you use the bottom screen of the Nintendo 3DS to show off your cartography skills and draw your own map square by square on a grid. This way you’ve got a full record of the routes and passageways you’ve moved along, because you’ve drawn them on the map. Drawing and mapping walls and areas allows you to place down various items on the map to depict areas of interest, blocked entrances or mysterious objects you may encounter and highlights areas you’ve wandered around in the environment.
Making your way through a labyrinths, mazes and myriad dungeons, you’ll encounter various monsters along the way, ready to destroy you and prevent you from finding the truth. An alert bubble appears, which changes from green to red, if you encounter a nearby enemy within range, giving you enough time to fully prepare yourself in the event of an attack.
Each member of your party contributes in various ways from attack and defense modes and the game makes use of standard turn-based attacks using a series of special weapons to defending in a team. The combat system is basic and doesn’t offer anything different from your usual fighting strategy form found in other games. It’s all fairly simple.
Grimoire Stones have been added to the game, and these are rare items that enable a character to utilize skills from different classes, that weren’t normally accessible. There have been extra enhancements within the game such as new skills and classes have been added, as well as new skill trees and difficulty levels, but aside from these factors, a new story mode has been added with new characters to join your party. The difficulty levels vary from Picnic Mode, where the battles arena’s as difficult and you have the option to continue through the story even if your whole party has been annihilated, Standard Mode which allows you to start as an average level of player and should your party be completely wiped out, you can restart at the point in which you died, and finally Expert Mode if you are feeling determined and brave. This enables you to participate in more battles and less chance of restart points and continues.
Even though Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl has an appealing storyline and a new mixture of characters and classes to choose from, I couldn’t help feeling like it was an uphill battle constantly from the moment I set off in my journey. Several times I found myself lost in dungeons and mazes, even though I was equipped with my own self made map. I found myself going through the same area and battling the same monsters, but just in different environments. Although I found the mapping an interesting element in the game, it didn’t provide enough interest to keep pushing forward in the game. The journey itself became tiresome far too quickly. The storyline was interesting, but not groundbreaking enough to draw any real interest and the characters seemed slightly wooden in personality.
The game can be very tough going and challenging at times, even with party members being equipped with the best of weapons. Graphically the game looks stunning and I’m hard pressed to find any fault with it’s appearance. However, once you have finished enjoying the visuals, got tired of map making and had enough of messing around with the weapons, skills, classes and characters, you may be hard pressed to find reasons to return to this handheld RPG.