Whew…all I can say is Altus LOVES making games for the handhelds!
Persona and Shin Megami Tensei are just two of their flagship RPG series. Etrian Oddyssey is the third, first debuting on the Nintendo DS. The latest entires into the Etrian Oddyssey franchise were released on the Nintendo 3DS last year 8 months apart from each other–IV last February and The Millenium Girl in October. I bought both games via the Nintendo eShop: IV on my Blue 3DS two days ago and The Millenium Girl in December on my Red 3DS. In both cases I completed the Demo and then migrated my progress to the full game.
This is a review of both games.
I sent my Red 3DS to get fixed late last month and haven’t gotten it back yet. I usually wait until I’ve beaten a game once before reviewing it but these games are going to take a while so…yeah.
EOIV is a bit more open-ended than EOU’s Story Mode due to the fact there are no story characters in your party in EOIV. Both games are mission based map-making dungeon crawlers but EOU is alot less grindy than EOIV. On the other hand, EOIV lets you pick all of your party’s class and has a sub-class feature as well.
As the caption says you get two games for the price of one in EOU. In Story Mode you’re locked in a party of five premade story characters: A Highlander, A Protector, A Medic, An Alchemist and a Gunner. In Classic Mode you can pick from nine classes as you five-person squad but in both Modes you can class change starting at level 30. I started my first playthrough of EOU in Story Mode.
The main feature both games boast is Map Making. While you traverse dungeons on the top floor, on the bottom floor you draw the map of the dungeon floor from the walls to floor traps to gathering nodes. Everything. How they go about it is slightly different. In EOIV you need to mnaually draw the maps, stairs and landmarks in each dungeon as well as their corresponding floors. In EOU it’s a bit more simplified since there isn’t an overworld map. All you need to do is draw the walls and landmarks though if you turn on automatic map making in EOU, you won’t need to draw the walls yourself. Another interesting thing between the games is in EOIV you need to map the entire floor/dungeon for it to be considered “clear”. In EOU you’re set once you’ve mapped at least 80% of it.
In terms of dungeon retreat/skip mechanics, EOU is much better at it: Once you’ve mapped most of a floor and the stairs, you can click on the stairs to quickly jump across the map or between floors at will without penality use the Floor Jump feature. In EOIV you will need to use items in order to quickly leave. Arachne Thread exists in both games but you will need it much more in EOIV than EOU.
In terms of difficulty EOIV has the steeper learning curve especially if it’s your first EO game. If you play EOU in either Mode first you’ll have a smoother learning curve amd will not need to rely on Arachne Thread anywhere nearly as much. Both games also have a Geomagnetic Pole but they work differently in each game. The one in EOIV can be used to quickly return to town or save in a dungeon while the one in EOU is used to either return to town and travel to the game’s second story dungeon at regular intervals.
Both games boast a variety of classes though in EOU Story Mode your party’s starting classes are made for you: Highlander (EOU only), Medic (both games), Protector (Fortress in EOIV but same class prettymuch), Alchemist (Runemaster in EOIV but same class prettymuch) and Gunner (EOU only). In EOIV you can build your party from the choice classes available. Landkskarndt, Sniper, Dancer and Nightblade are a few of the other classes in EOIV in addition to Medic, Fortress amd Runemaster classes. In EOIV you can create up to 30 characters to use. Seems like a pretty generous number to me even if you wanted to make two characters per class per gender.
Overall I give EOIV a 7/10 and EOU an 8/10. I’m sure EOIV will take me a few weeks to finish my first playthrough. I just started, after all. I’m much further into EOU so I don’t expect it to take as long to finish my first playthrough of that game once I get my Red 3DS back. Even though the physical games come with a soundtrack CD I preferred getting digital copies of both games. Where I live now it’s much less equitable to get a physical copy of a handheld 3DS game if it is available digitally too.
I have the same policy with PSP and Vita games, too. I do have a PSP Go, after all. In early March I’m going to order a 64GB Memory Card for my Vita from Amazon, which isn’t available in stores and costs over $100. Speaking of the Vita, things don’t look well for the first two Quarters of 2014. The only noteworthy game–Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD–is also being released on the Playstation 3. To top it off, the Vita version is a Physical + Digital Combo–X is Physical while X-2 will be a digital download. The PS3 version has both games on one disc. Guess which version I’m getting? Yeah, I would too XD
Unlike folks who feel pressured by friends and/or fanboys I don’t care about that. After all, I do have more than enough games on all of my consoles I need to finish already.