A Portable Modern Hardcore Old-School RPG (?)

Etrian Odyssey is an RPG for the Nintendo DS in the style of Wizardry, Might & Magic, Eye of the Beholder, Dungeon Master and all the other pseudo-3D first-person party-based RPGs we’ve spent way too much time with in our youth(s). I’ve been playing this for several hours, and a few things are odd here:

  • It has a decidedly western play style, yet it comes from Japan.
  • It’s an extremely classic dungeon romp. So classic that there’s mold on it.
  • The enemies have zero frames of animation. None. They all just stand there like it’s 1986. Some wobble.
  • Most of the world looks the same.
  • You have to draw your own map on the lower screen of the DS.
  • Most of the monsters stick your balls (if present) in a vise/clamp/fruit juice maker, and they won’t let go.
  • There is only one town. You use it when you poke your head out of the dungeon to sell your loot and get quests. Why have an overworld?
  • No one will hold your hand when it comes to money. Your party’s wiped out except for the Alchemist and you don’t have money to revive your guys? Tough luck.
  • No one will help you build your characters. Wrong specs on that Landsknecht (what a stupid class name)? Start him from scratch. Wizardry didn’t help you make your characters either.
  • I’m still enjoying the game a lot despite all that.

Several reviews and previews indicate that if you still manage to like a game that is that hard, you must be one hardcore gamer. I never felt particularly hardcore, but perhaps “hardcore” in this case is only a substitute for “aging and masochistic”. Which might fit.

If you’re still unconvinced (or a sissy), then let this video preview not convince you either. For me, this is one of the more convincing purchases in the life of my DS. Dungeon Master slash Wizardry slash mapmaking on the go? There was not a second of hesitation.

PS: Someone say Dungeon Master DS?

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