Etrian Odyssey IV goes straight to the killing

Etrian Odyssey 4 header

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (3DS)
Developed: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
MSRP: $39.99
Release Date: February 26

Etrian Odyssey scoffs at other role-playing games that slowly dole out options for customization. Pick five heroes among six classes to comprise your party. Here’s four skill points for them to assign. Purchase some equipment. Here’s an airship. Now go! There’s no story, no spoon-feeding of mechanics, and rarely ever guidance. For those seeking exploration and random encounters that immediately challenge, without the fuss of a narrative, this is paradise.

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Monsters are now rendered in 3D as opposed to static images, which lessens their detail but provides more personality. My issue with the visuals is the old-school first-person view of the battles. You pick, to a certain extent, how your party looks yet they’re never displayed in battle. It’s hard to get attached to your team when they’re getting hit off-screen.

It’s a tiny complaint in an otherwise airtight formula. Like the recently released Fire Emblem: Awakening, there’s even a casual mode that removes many of the distressing features that make this series somewhat daunting for the uninitiated. Those uninitiated should check this demo out. It’s a deliciously dense sampling of distilled role-playing.

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