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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Impressions: Etrian Odyssey Untold

NOW FEATURING BLINKING.
Etrian Odyssey IV hit me like a freight train. It introduced me to the madness that is Atlus and made me realize that I love JRPGs more than any other genre of video games. Of course, it is an extremely unique case, with a traditional battle system holding together all of the other exploration, customization, and scantily clad women to somehow create the perfect feeling of adventure. So when I first heard about Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, I was a bit skeptic. A remake of an older title in a series that seems to get better with each installment, and the main draw being a full-fledged story mode? Could this grip me as much as Etrian Odyssey IV did?

Yes, as it turns out. It certainly can.

Atlus released a demo for Etrian Odyssey Untold last afternoon, allowing players to get a taste of the story mode in the game. While this may be off-putting to some, it's a smart move- Untold's opening hour is filled with tutorials and introductions to the more crucial aspects of the game, and while it may seem a bit by-the-book, new elements like Grimoire Stones are necessary to cover. Of course, there's also some gorgeous animation and decent voice work, as well as character models that blink. Yup. We're talking about technological evolution here.

But when it comes down to it, Untold's story mode simply plays like an Etrian Odyssey title with a fixed party. And while that might be a burden to some, it's a challenge I welcome heartily. I think fitting my play style into these five unique classes while balancing their weaknesses with Grimoire Stones. The sense of exploration is still there, though there's a few signs that will alert you to not-so-random encounters. Mapping is still crucial, and nerve-wracking to do when you have giant stone porkers on your tail.

With increased production values, a story-centric mode with three difficulties, and more customization fun to be had, Untold seems to be the perfect update of the original title, and an extremely accessible entry, too. Its core gameplay is still addicting, and the inclusion of characters isn't really that bad, you can always play without them. But again, it's this lovely pre-release demo that allows you to transfer all your progress to the full release that always nails it, in my book.

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl releases October 1st. The same day as Rune Factory 4. Crap.

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