Another excellent addition to the Etrian name.
After the success of the remake of the first Etrian Odyssey game, “Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl”, Atlus follows up with a remake of the second title with the same philosophy in mind.
That philosophy being a stronger emphasis on story and a more accessible difficulty, while keeping the core of the experience intact.
The result is yet another excellent dungeon crawler worthy of the Etrian name.
Voice Acting: ENG Only
Online: Free and Paid DLC
Length: 40-50 hours
I’ve grown fond of dungeon crawler RPGs ever since I played EO4 to completion on the 3DS and since then, I’ve also enjoyed titles like Demon Gaze, Persona Q and Untold 1.
In that regard, I’ve become quite accustomed to the formula associated with this genre of games and more or less knew what to expect going in.
Just like in Untold 1, I was given the option of the story or classic mode right from the start.
The story mode locks the player in with a cast of pre-made characters with their own personalities/back story and puts a bigger emphasis in overarching storyline.
The classic mode is for those looking for the experience of the older Etrian titles which allowed full customization of party members from the very beginning of the adventure and forgoes much of the story elements for a strict focus on the game play.
I chose the story mode to experience more of what the game has to offer and would definitely recommend all newcomers to the series start with that mode.
The story itself isn’t anything too groundbreaking- the main character and his friend is tasked with the duty of helping a kind-hearted princess perform a ritual to keep the world safe from destruction.
AND SURPRISE, It turns out that not everything is as it seems and the ragtag group of unlikely friends ends up going on an adventure to put a stop to the evil that’s been threatening their world at its core.
While the story is about as cliché as it comes, the character interactions were fun and I enjoyed my time with Arianna and friends.
From a game play standpoint, it’s an Etrian game through and through.
There are dungeons to explore and map- filled to the brim with dastardly traps and monsters that will have you begging for mercy.
There’s a great deal of strategy involved in the combat, especially on the expert difficulty where even random encounters must be handled with the utmost care, lest you face annihilation in a moment’s notice.
The normal difficulty offers a fair challenge and even gives one retry after being wiped out in a battle and was my preferred difficulty of choice for most of the playthrough.
There’s also the picnic difficulty which takes its namesake quite literally and renders the game virtually devoid of any challenge and while this essentially ruins the rewarding feeling of overcoming a challenge, it’s nice that the option is there given the difficulty can be changed anytime the player is back in town.
Mapping the dungeons is still just as rewarding and absolutely necessary for success in the long run but even that could be changed to be filled out automatically as they move around in the environment, if the player so desires.
All in all, this is a highly customizable experience that could be tailored to any player’s skill level and it’s easily the most accessible entry in the Etrian Odyssey series.
While this is certainly a familiar experience to anyone who has ever played an Etrian game, that’s not to say there’s nothing new on offer.
There’s the restaurant mini-game where the player can unlock recipes to new items on the menu which offer passive benefits that they can carry to the dungeons.
They can invest money in the various areas of the city to expand the population and draw in new customers to the restaurant by advertising desirable items on the menu to the populous which can generate a significant amount of income.
Grimoire stones, slot-able gems which expand a character’s arsenal of skills also makes a return in a big way as there’s a greater variety on offer and now they can even be traded/recycled for other gems.
Lastly, there’s the “Force” system in combat which can be used enhance and add various effects to skills. The player is also given an option to “Break” the force gauge by unleashing an incredibly powerful move which leads to a lot of epic moments during the tougher boss encounters.
Unfortunately, the dual class system that was present in EO4 is still absent here and even with the grimoire stones, the class customization felt a bit lacking overall.
Lastly, while the visual fidelity and music selection was well above the average 3DS title, the voice acting recorded for the title felt sparse and quite limited.
Given what Atlus managed to do with Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker, it seemed like a missed opportunity to polish up the presentation value of the whole experience by adding full voiceover.
Those minor grievances aside, The Fafnir Knight is a fantastic addition to the Etrian Odyssey name. It features the deep, satisfying dungeon crawling action fans of the series have come to expect, all the while allowing newcomers a multitude of options to tailor the experience to fit their skill level.
Fun Tidbit – There’s also a multitude of free/paid DLC which will roll out over time. Many of them will be free for a limited time so grab them quickly when they become available!
Review copy of game provided by publisher.