Etrian Odyssey: The Millennium Girl demo impressions

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!

As somebody who loves Doctor archetypes, this character’s got me written all over him.

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 gang’s all here!

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.

Oh, and dat battle theme. And town theme.

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!

Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: My Music Wishlist for Rhythm Heaven

Heaven must by missing rhythms.

MonkeyWatch   Do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with track ideas for a staged based around a series of rhythm games? I mean, let’s just go ahead and assume that medley’s are going to be used right now, alright? The best I can do at this point is pick the songs I think are the best for whatever barely excusable reason I can drum up. So let’s do this after the jump!

Continue reading Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: My Music Wishlist for Rhythm Heaven

Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: Princess Peach!

Peachy Keen

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Princess Peach returns to us, as expected, in all her pink-dressed glory. Excluding Samus, who many forget even is a woman, Peach was one of the first femme fatals in the series. And beneath that seemingly vapid facade lies the thirst for blood that years of abduction has carefully honed into a weapon that would Liam Neeson’s voice quiver.

There’s not a whole lot to say right now about what she looks like she’s as gorgeously rendered as you’d expect. She also appears to return with her fondness for crown slapping which is always appreciated!

Sah-weet!

One thing that comes to us that is of interest is Mr. Sakurai’s comment that her moves might be refreshed by launch. It’s interesting that he brings it up because we have yet to see any sort of game play for her. While it is expected that some things will be different here and there for all fighters, there’s no reason to believe that Peach would be terribly different from her past incarnations. The question now is: what does this mean? Are we talking re-balanced specs or are we talking brand new attacks. I certainly would appreciate seeing some new maneuvers out of a lot of our fighters to help make the next games feel fresh. Was this comment targeted at Peach directly? Was he perhaps referring to special attacks, or even Final Smashes being reworked anyone? It’s hard to say exactly what that statement means, and honestly I’m probably digging too much.

“Keep your eyes on the birdy!”

With peach returning, there a few things that I personally would like to see out of our glorious princess. Super Princess Peach was a damn great platformer, and I think it’s a shame that nothing from that ended up in Smash Bros. Brawl. Her Final Smash was a rain of peaches and a song that put everybody to sleep. First of all: the lullaby should have been Jigglypuffs, and second of all, why not one of Peach’s hilarious temperamental power-ups from Super Princes Peach? Her rage mode in that game set her on fire and made her invincible for a period as she ran around the stage. Alternatively, go with her Gloom power where twin torrents spray from her eyes and use those Havoc Engine physics to force foes off the stage as she runs at them.

Hell hath no fury, etcetera, etcetera.

Talking about the return of Peach also presents a new shot at one of my favorite topics: alternate costumes! In the past we’ve seen her color swaps feature the coloration of Daisy. In my personal opinion Daisy is perhaps more deserving of her own character slot, but in my head she’s also in sports gear. More to the point, Peach should move past pallet swapping and go for a costume with a little more oomph. My first, and favorite, thought is that we go with her sporty summer outfit from Super Mario Sunshine. Or we could even go a bit more risque and go with Mario and Sonic at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

As if there was any doubt, Peach has returned. Let’s see what our fair maiden brings to the table this time around! What do you think? Were you hoping for more of a redesign? Are you intrigued by Sakurai’s words? Speak your mind in the comments below!

 

Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: How About Rhythm Heaven?

Setting the (Dance) Stage for Smashing.

MonkeyWatchOne thing we haven’t had yet in a Smash Bros. game is any representation from Rhythm Heaven, one of the best off-beat rhythm games ever made. It makes no sense to get a fighter out of the games; there’s not really any to pull from. But when it comes to stages, there’s an endless set list of ideas. If we do get a Rhythm Heaven stage, I imagine it will be a constantly morphing set of platforms that has a “remix” vibe in order to reference as much of the series as possible. But, that’s too weird to put together, so here’s an idea from a fairly iconic setting: “Monkey Watch!”

My pale-ass attempt at a stage mock-up.
My pale-ass attempt at a stage mock-up.

In Rhythm Heaven: Fever, you select from a number of different song-based activities, each with their own unique style, theme, and music. “Monkey Watch” has players keep the beat with a monkey riding a clock-hand around a circle of other monkeys, throwing out high-fives to the beat. With the clock hands serving as platforms, and other random Rhythm Heaven cameos filling in some gaps, we’d have a really neat moving stage that acts as a far less insane Pokè Floats or Rainbow Cruise.

If you’re caught balancing on them… They flipper-roll you right off!

Now that all makes a fine Wii U stage, since Rhythm Heaven: Fever was on the console, but what about the series’ handheld origin? I think “Built to Scale” is another prime candidate for representing the series. Dodging the assembling pieces is key or you’ll get swept up and knocked out when the peg launches and puts ’em all together. I also envision additional cameos like airplane pilots playing ping pong and monkeys shooting golf balls at the stage. With traps and characters flying into the foreground and background, you would have a fairly interesting looking stage fit for the 3DS.

Ignore the right-side; the left side's where it's at.
Ignore the right-side; the left side’s where it’s at.

To be fair, when Brawl came out, Rhythm Heaven was only an obscure, Japan-only GBA title. But we’ve since had two more, both of which have come to the states, and now it’s time for one of Nintendo’s newer, and more interesting IP’s, to get a spot in the Smash roster!

What do you think, my magnificently handsome readers? Have you any input on this sort of a stage idea? If you’re wondering where the obvious music portion is for this stage, don’t worry! That’s coming up soon, so keep your clicker ready to bring you back here for all things Smash!

And this. Because it makes me laugh.