My Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl (3DS) Impressions!
I totally jumped into this game on a whim. Ok, it was on sale and that might have had something to do with it. Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is a remake of the first Etrian Odyssey game for DS, now with added story modes and updated mechanics to bring it up to par with Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (also on 3DS). I’d played that game and despite being impressed with the cartography and dungeon crawling, the complete lack of story caused me to eventually get bored. It was a shame cause otherwise I really liked that game, but if you’re going to make a grindy game, put some motivation in there for me to continue ya know?
Well, the new story mode in The Millennium Girl sounded like it was totally for me… and well after a good 10 hours I can say it makes a huge difference! Sure the gameplay is pretty much the same as EOIV (minus the nifty airships) but a little goes a long way when it comes to giving me some scripted characters and plot like sugar to help the medicine go down. I’m not saying this game is the digital incarnation of Julie Andrews, realistically it’s more like Dick Van Dyke’s wacky chimney sweep dance, but it’s wholly enjoyable none the less.
You’re tasked with uncovering the origin of strange earthquakes that have begun shaking things up in Etria and along the way you meet a wannabe Bill Nye, a tomboyish Paladin despite her noble birth, an impulsive kid with a freaky hand-weapon that shoots chemicals and a loli amnesiac with a gun and killer sweet tooth. As you might have gathered the game never takes itself too seriously which is one of the best things about it.
If I had to pick the best thing about it though, that would be drawing maps. The bottom screen displays a grid and a bunch of icons you can place to mark all kinds of things on the map. Marking corridors, secret shortcuts, hidden items and gathering points will all help you immensely later on but that’s not why you’ll do it. You’re gonna draw the maps because it’s actually rather fun. As you map stuff out you can even unlock a sort of fast travel that will let you travel between staircases quickly if you are able to map enough of the area… so get those styluses out!
When you aren’t drawing the map you are probably exploring or fighting. The maps are pretty big most of the time and the majority of your exploring will be in the world tree Yggdrasil, which creates kind of a problem: Dungeon decor doesn’t differentiate often. Scenery changes are sort of few and far between. The great forest’s look only changes once every stratum, or five floors. This means you can get pretty sick of looking at the paint on the walls once you spend enough time killing, looting and completing the numerous quests that take place within them. I spent the first 15 levels just in the first stratum alone and was pretty sick of green by the time I left. I really can’t think of a better way to drive my point home then that. Despite the repetitiveness the graphics are pretty good. In fact, the stereoscopic 3D effects really pop, but there’s only so much of it you can be impressed by before you start craving for a change.
So… this is an RPG right (A turn based one at that!)? That means there’s fighting! Violence! Murder! Well if that’s what you’re thinking you’d be right. And combat is no slouch. Nope, you can’t drag a club through the forest and expect everything to fall over dead with a sideways glance like some kind of badass. No, you’ll probably have a decent time early in, but monsters get stronger and stronger and defeating them takes as much brain muscle as it does muscle… muscle. Having a balanced party (if you’re playing classic mode, as your party is pretty balanced in story mode) is key, and using skill points to customize your character’s abilities can really save your behind when you’re in a tough spot. And given that this game has the iconic FOEs (Formido Oppugnatura Exsequens) the Etrian Odyssey franchise is known for, that might be more often than you think! Don’t worry though, stop swinging your weapons about like a shuffleboard player with Parkinson’s and you’ll be fine.
So far I’ve had a great time with the game and I’ll probably sink some crazy amount of time into it, just like I did with Devil Survivor and Fire Emblem Awakening which puts it in really good company. It’s not perfect, and if I review this game proper I’ll touch on more of the little things I find annoying (like how inventory is handled and the fact you can’t redo ability points) but for the time being if you see this game at a good price and were thinking of jumping in I highly recommend it. Huzzah!