It’s been a long time folks but I am back with another game review, this time with Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan on the Nintendo 3DS. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is an RPG which is a sequel to Etrian Odyssey III.
So what’s Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan all about? In Tharsis the Yggdrasil tree has been an important part of the people that have lived there for many years. The Yggdrasil tree can be seen from everywhere in Tharsis and is shrouded with secrets. Etrian Odyssey IV starts at an Explorers Guild outside of Tharsis where the Outland Court are sponsoring explorers to reach Yggdrasil. The latest explorer is setting off to find the secrets of Yggdrasil and that is where your journey begins.
Though where my journey began is exactly where my first problem was encountered. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan does not hold your hand, you are left to start the game on your own. Creating a party for the first time was a confusing experience for me though after a few minutes it isn’t too hard to understand. I felt like this was one of the massive downfalls of the game as gamers these days are so used to being given some guidance, though maybe this is our fault as gamers and not the games fault?
Etrian Odyssey IV sticks to the gameplay of the previous three games in the series though makes some welcome additions.
Firstly the big addition which I was happily greeted with when playing was the new over-world. The over-world is actually a sky in Etrian Odyssey IV and allows you to roam it using an airship, sorry Legend of Zelda fans… there isn’t any Loftwing flying segments in this game! The airship was a nifty way of travelling through Tharsis and I thought it was extremely useful… though my only one complaint was also a pretty cool feature. DRAGONS. Yes you heard me right those pesky fellows that breath fire down upon all who cross it’s path travel in the skies over Tharsis. Now don’t get me wrong the dragon’s aren’t anything like Toothless, the happy chap from How to Train Your Dragon, but instead want to destroy you and your party. If a dragon flies into your airship it sadly knocks out the entire party which 9 times out of 10 lead me to a game over. Though do not threat you can dodge those pesky dragons and ensure your team don’t come down to a tragic end like mine did!
The game also features two difficulty modes to help players new to the series.. or even those who just need the extra helping hand when it comes to the game (believe me Etrian Odyssey is known for its difficulty). This was a welcome addition as it allowed players who weren’t used to RPG’s or even the Etrian Odyssey series to have an easier time getting used to the game. What is the main difference between the two modes? Well normal difficulty will be challenging throughout meaning you will need to be more wary and careful as you venture through dungeons, on the other hand casual difficulty’s difficulty comes from bosses.
Combat within Etrian Odyssey IV is pretty similar to previous games in the series, using turn based combat. When playing I thought combat was fun and interesting, though if you wish to skip battles you are more than welcome to with the auto battle button… but why not stay for the fight? Combat can be greatly affected by the team you choose as each type of character have particular gameplay mechanics that they can use which other characters cannot, this really gives every player their own experience while they create the perfect party. Talking of creating your own party; players have the ability to create a party containing five players to take on their quests.
Now a brilliant feature in Etrian Odyssey IV is the maps. Nope this isn’t a joke, hear me out. In Etrian Odyssey IV you have to map out dungeons with the touch screen. To do this the game gives you a variety of functions such as the ability to draw on your game map (like we all had hours of fun with in the DS Legend of Zelda games) and also do more such as draw dungeon walls in to make your map of high usage.
Graphically the game looks good though I feel it has a bit of a push to live up to some other RPG’s which are currently on the system. The game is the first on the Nintendo 3DS and as you would expect it has moved onto using 3D models over other entries to the series which used 2D sprites. The 3D models are much better to view and it helps bring the game to life having a full 3D version of the characters and other models in game. The 3D works well in Etrian Odyssey IV though didn’t really offer much other than making things have a tad more depth. While I can see it being an enjoyable experience I didn’t think there was any need to play with the 3D mode on.
Etrian Odyssey IV‘s soundtrack stands out due to it being composed with live instruments, believe me this is a brilliant soundtrack and helps to capture the emotion and put you into the game. If you’ve read my reviews in the past you will certainly know how important a game’s soundtrack is to me when it comes to reviewing it, well Etrian Odyssey IV‘s soundtrack exceeded my expectations far more than I could have ever imagined. I love that we are getting to a stage now where game’s, especially handheld ones, are using fully orchestrated soundtracks as they sound so much more impressive. They seem to be able to contain so much more emotion and awe than what we are used to in the past. Though believe me the game’s soundtrack is one of the better soundtracks to date on the Nintendo 3DS.
So what’s the positives and negatives?
+ Over world travel is efficient and is great to travel around
+ Mapping areas is extremely fun… perhaps more than it should be!
+ Combat possibilities are endless with the different customisations of Party Members
+ Excellent score which is fully orchestrated
+ Choice of difficulty welcomes players more so than past entries
– Graphically doesn’t fully live up to other big titles – though does look good
– Narrative is a bit lacking
So here comes the time, the big question which you are waiting for me to answer. Is Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan worth picking up? In short, yes. Whilst the game has a bit of a lackluster narrative and doesn’t look as great as some of the other big 3DS releases, it does look good and has great gameplay mechanics with a brilliantly written soundtrack. As an RPG fan this game offers so much more than expected on the Nintendo 3DS. If you are new to RPG/Dungeon Crawlers or even the series I would recommend trying this game out – the game has done so well to keep gameplay welcoming to new players with the inclusion of a Casual difficulty whilst welcoming back players which would know what they are doing. This game gets a well deserved 4/5.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.