The future is the past with Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl.
Let’s start from the top and get this part over with. Do you like the concept of JRPG’s? Do you like crawling through dungeons (in the first person perspective) with mostly random encounters? Are you physically excited for loot and experience points? Do you like games that have no problem breaking you down on the molecular level and then rebuilding you into a machine designed only for killing? If you’ve answered no to any of those, than I am sorry, but I don’t think Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is for you. If you’re a fan of these things, or maybe you’re on the fence, then I can’t recommend enough that you dive into the gorgeous world of Etria!
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl may be a remake of the original Etrian Odyssey from 2007, but make no mistake this is not hastily slapped together package. Where the fourth game set the bar in terms of graphic fidelity, music quality, and overall playability, Millennium Girl game uses all that as the foundation to a much grander prospect: for the first time in the series, there’s going to be an honest-to-god story.
Now I know, a story? In an RPG? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?! The Etrian series has always been about taking a very bare-bones approach to story, giving you some clues and background information, but the focus was always on creating your guild and making them better at treasure hunting. This time, your guild is comprised of named characters, each with their own histories and personalities. You still build them the way you want for combat and exploration, but they’re fully-voiced dialogue is going to come as a bit of a surprise to veterans of the series. Of course, there’s a classic mode to just throw all that fancy nar’tive off to the side.
Because if there’s any complaint I had about Etrian Odyssey as a series, it’s that it didn’t have enough modes. #Sarcasm. #HashtagsInArticles.
So what is the story to Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl? You’re a plucky adventurer who’s assigned to adventure into the Yggdrasil Labyrinth to uncover the age-old mysteries it has to offer. After your tutorial dungeon, you’re set off to explore a (personal favorite) advanced-far-past civilization dungeon where you discover the titular Millennium Girl trapped in a case. She of course has no memories, this is a JRPG after all, but I’m sure all will be revealed by the end, as always. It may sound a little cliche, and by the end it may just be a giant cliche, but if nothing else I found the characters each endearing in their own right, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy the trip.
Gameplay consists of traveling through layers of dungeons fighting off baddies, avoiding giant baddies, and making maps along the way. If you’re not into old-school style cartography, though, don’t worry! This game’s added an auto-map feature to keep you worry free as you traverse the gorgeous underworld.
The Millennium Girl appears to be running off the same visual engine created for Etrian Odyssey IV, released earlier this year for the 3DS. That means crisp visuals, gorgeous use of 2D assets in a 3D environment, highly animated baddies, and a detailed labyrinth that you just can’t stop gawking at.between battles.
One of the things this game has going for it is something I think more games need to accommodate for: options. Skip the story and dive into the action, or kick back and watch a cutscene! Play it on pants-on-head easy, or choking-your-3DS difficult! Enjoy the synthy tones of the original tracks, or the gorgeous orchestration of the new ones. Auto-map, or map by yourself. All of these features are brought together to make for a more broad, yet more cohesive package that makes it more available to all types of players.
If you’ve played an Etrian Odyssey before and found it not to your liking, I’m not sure this game’s going to woo you over, unless the lack of a presence of a proper storyline is what kept you away. That same storyline aspect could also be great for people who love the games but are getting tired of mindless dungeon crawling. Either way, I highly recommend checking out the demo for Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl. A proper discussion about the full game will come… as soon as I can find time!