Alright, I started to realize just how big Dragon Quest V is, and came to the conclusion that my heart wasn't really in it right now. So I'm tabling that one for a minute because I had a new release game calling out to me from my shelves and I decided it would take precendent. I've never played an Etrian Odyssey game before, but they always seem to be highly regarded. And this one has been sort of hyped as a sort of 3DS JRPG swan song (until Persona Q2 arrives, I reckon). I couldn't resist jumping in now.
I had literally no idea what to expect outside of some anime inspired sprite work. And sometimes, going into a game blindly is half the fun, right? So I started it up and found that you don't have preset characters and instead make up a party out of a huge list of possible classes and customizations. I sort of freeze up when it comes to making new names for characters in games. So the first thing that popped into my head was Xenomorph mythos. I guess cuz Alien Day is approaching. So I named the guild LV-426 and made up a party of five named after characters from various Alien films (and Blade Runner, for good measure).
I haven't played many first person dungeon crawlers, though I did love the original Phantasy Star back in the day, and the auto map makes this far less frustrating. I don't know how I really feel about annotating my map with the stylus (yet), though. We'll see.
I did a few quests - about two hours worth - and am starting to get the hang of things. I'm having a pretty good time, and can see how this could work as a bite sized quest compulsion for sure. So far, I pretty much like my party. I've got two frontline attackers, a healer, a defense and... um, some other one that I guess does like dark spells or whatever but right now feels slightly useless. I might try to swap in a different fifth and play with the party lineup until it all clicks with me.
Played a bit more Etrian Odyssey Nexus, though still getting the hang of things. I swapped out the Zodiac party member I had in the back line and made a new... um, I forget the class. The one that uses bow and arrows. I like her better than the Zodiac, as now I have a Hero, Defender and one of those spear-wielding warriors in the front, and a medic and archer in the back. Feels like a good (albeit basic) lineup.
Dicked around in the 2nd labyrinth for a while. A limit on what you can carry seems weak. It doesn't take long to pick up 60 pieces of loot, y'know? So I went back to the castle, sold some stuff, bought some better gear, and then did a bit of side-questing. Everyone's around level 8 or so, and I'm probably 3.5 hrs in, which is still super early. But the nice thing about the way the game is set up (IE: selecting quests from a hub menu rather than truly exploring the world map) makes me think that this will be a good "hour before bed" kind of game where I can just make slow and steady progress over time.
I'be been juggling a few games lately, but played s'more Etrian Odyssey Nexus last night. I'm five or six hours in now. My party is around level 14. It's definitely growing on me. Having never really spent much time with a true dungeon crawler like this, I realized last night that I can give it one rather high piece of praise: It sort of reminds me of Phantasy Star Online. Not in execution exactly. It doesn't play similar. This has first person dungeons and you need to make maps and it's turn based battles... but just, the structure. There's like a main hub and you choose some missions and go back and revisit dungeons again to do them. There's def a PSO vibe there in a good way.
It's the sort of structure that can compel me even when it's effectively just busy work. So like I keep revisiting the same dungeon and it's to grab a certain plant for a shop keeper; or a water sample for HQ, things like that. It's all about the grind, right? The turn based battles and leveling and looting - it may as well be clicky clicking in Diablo. Which again, is a compliment. Because even when not much is happening, I'm finding myself lose an hour or two in a flash.
There's allegedly some boss monter for me to kill in this dungeon but I can't seem to find it. Hmm.
Okay, so the claws of Etrian Odyssey Nexus have officially been dug in. You guys ever see the movie Brain Damage where that little alien Elmer sticks his needle in that kid's brain and shoots some weird blue stuff that drugs him all out? It's like that kind of. Less extreme, though. But damn, the loop of going into a dungeon, grinding, looting, going back to town to sell shit, get new weapons and armor, activate side-quests, rinse/repeat... it works. It's almost hypnotizing.
I dug through enough menus to find the automap feature and thank you. I don't care if that makes me less hardcore. It's super helpful. And I mean, you still need to annotate the map for everything, but at least it shows me the walls of the hallways I've been down now.
My party is all around level 17-18 now. Oh, and this is rich... I had leveled up 10 times before I remembered I had skill points to spend for each level. So yeah. I went ahead and upped some stats, haha. Spent a lot of time in the Lush Whateveritscalled dungeon (the 2nd one) and finally managed to beat the boss of that one before I forced myself to get to bed last night. Good stuff.
Also made s'more progress on Etrian Odyssey Nexus cuz I'm addicted. I killed the Wyvern in the third labyrinth. Which... have you ever seen a movie or TV show where someone is playing a video game in a scene and y'know, it's an Xbox One but it's making bleeps and bloops like an Atari 2600 and the dialogue of the characters in the show make it clear that the writers have never played a video game before? They would say something like "I just killed the Wyvern in the third labyrinth!"
I'm about ten hours in and my party is around level 24. At level 20 you unlock new skill options which is cool. Sort of like a job system I guess. Right now I feel like my healer is the one doing the least work. But I have a feeling keeping her leveled for later in the game will be smart. I have no idea how many (main quest) labyrinths are in the game. The only FAQ I can find shows four of them, so I don't know if that's the main story quest stuff, and then there's just a bunch of side quest stuff to flesh everything out, or if the dude just hasn't finished the FAQ. Side-thought: who even writes FAQs? It's such a huge undertaking, and I'd assume a fairly thankless endeavor. I'm impressed that someone could play a game like this and actually create a walkthrough in their spare time.
I continue to play Etrian Odyssey Nexus. And I found a list of all the dungeon bosses, which would seem to confirm to me that - my gawd - there is an incredible amount of content ahead of me here. With that said, it'll probably be the sort of game that I play for a bit before bed and make slow and steady progress on rather than being the sort of game that I can focus solely on, which would totally burn me out. Then again, I know my gaming habbits and probably around the time Persona Q comes out I'll get distracted by that game which is probably a lot like this one. But hey - I'm having a good time. I've sunk in a good 11 hours already and I feel like I'm getting my money's worth.