In the land of Arcania, there are various races and adventurers who make a living slaying wild beasts and undertaking quests. The Yggdrasil tree, which has never been open to adventurers before, is now open for all to brave its dangers. There are rumours as to what’s at the top of the Yggdrasil tree though, but what’s the truth?
There are four races to create characters from, and each race has their own beliefs as to what might be waiting for them. Could it be treasure? Special abilities? Answers? Power? Who knows? But you and your team of five are going to find out, so thus your perilous adventure begins. You’re free to customise all of your characters down to their name, how they look and which class they are and although it’s rather limited, it’s fun to create up to several teams worth of characters. Maybe one party is more suited to a certain dungeon’s enemies, but I decided to focus on my original team and to level them up.
It doesn’t break new ground, but it does feel better than ever.
If you’ve played the other Etrian Odyssey games, then you already know that gameplay is king here. Whilst I have no issue with the story and characters, they’re far from the best aspects of the game. The turn-based, challenging battles, exploring various dungeons and levels, and drawing in your own map (or you can opt to have the game do this for you) is what appeals fans to the series, and it’s as solid as it’s always been. It doesn’t break new ground, but it does feel better than ever.
You can create up to 30 characters but only five of them will form your battle party, and there’re several classes to choose from with unique abilities. You have a front line and a back line, and so your melee characters want to be in front whilst support and ranged characters want to hang in the back. Enemies tend to have moves that can attack each row though, so this almost feels pointless. Whilst the positioning system is bland, the party system isn’t. If you want to stand a chance against your enemies, you need to have a suitable team. A mix of offence, defence and support is necessary to survive, and you don’t want to lose progress, do you?
Etrian Odyssey V is a delight with its abundance of colour and anime-inspired art.
A staple to the series is mapping out your adventure. Whilst you can let the game fill in the floors and walls for you, you can also decide to do it all yourself! Draw in the walls, colour in the floors, add symbols to indicate mining and farming areas, doors and interactive objects, and you’ll be creating your very own map like adventurers of old in no time. It’s very time-consuming, yet satisfying, but after a while I opted to let the game do most of the work for me whilst I added in symbols where needed.
Etrian Odyssey V has gorgeous 2D art, and customising your characters may keep you busy for a good few hours! Whilst your team and other characters will only ever be seen in 2D, the enemies you fight are in 3D. They’re lively and seeing F.O.Es, the game’s strongest enemies, wandering around the map is fascinating. Etrian Odyssey V is a delight with its abundance of colour and anime-inspired art. There’s very little in the way of voice-acting, but there is a decent OST which’ll keep you company on your adventure.
Won’t entice those who’ve already dismissed the series.
Etrian Odyssey V is a challenging game, sometimes to the point of frustration, but it always pushes you to move forward. As with other games in the series, and I understand that hardcore fans love this about the series, the dungeons can seem overly long and feature a lot of backtracking.
I had a lot of fun with my time with Etrian Odyssey V, and it’s something fans will certainly enjoy, but it doesn’t break new ground for the series in any notable way and won’t entice those who’ve already dismissed the series. Etrian Odyssey V is a solid JRPG that just goes on a little too long with each dungeon, but if you’re familiar with the series then there’s no reason why you won’t love this one too.
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