"Forth's the Charm for Everyone"
For an established series, it's a difficult task to grab new fans. Do you sacrifice what you have built to attract a different crowd? Will your old audience rebel against the change? These are questions developers have to answer. It is not as simple as adding a hat to a doll or putting on a water gun on Mario.
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan attempts this very feat. This series is renowned for its difficulty and its old school RPG roots. How does a game like this attempt to become more accessible? Let us explore this intriguing proposition.
Etrian Odyssey is a first-person dungeon-crawling RPG (that's quite a mouthful!). Players will be creating their parties, exploring labyrinths, fighting enemies, and leveling as they progress through the game. As with the other entries to the series, combat is on the difficult side. In a sense, the game is like a portable Dark Souls, but with this talk of difficulty and prospect of game overs, newcomers may be hesitant to give this game a try. However, as I said before, Etrian Odyssey IV attempts to make the game much more accessible.
The first method of opening the game up is the selectable difficulty. As with all games that attempt to deal with the green gamer, there is a casual option in Etrian Odyssey IV for players that are not used to the game's difficulty. Game overs are essentially wiped out, and players are treated to an item that allows the party to leave the dungeon at any time. However, if you are a veteran of the series, do not worry; the game still feels the same running on the normal difficulty.
In previous games, players are stuck with one dungeon and many, many, floors. In this entry to the series, players are not stuck to just one dungeon. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan boasts a "World Map" to explore. Gamers are able to roam around in an airship exploring what the land has to offer. Players may find dungeons, treasures, or valuable loot. This is a nice break from the previous entries. As much as I liked one giant maze, this new system is much more enjoyable.
While these new features open up the game to newcomers, veterans of the series will be relieved a lot of the game's core elements have returned. The skill system is still here, but with a changed appearance to make it more coherent. It's not a random assortment of skills that will unlock, but now the game showcases a tree for easier reading. Etrian Odyssey's signature FOEs are still here to wreak havoc on unsuspecting adventurers (as a word of advice to newcomers, avoid them at all costs. You'll know when you see them.).
Character customization in Legends of the Titan is still the same as it has been. Players are offered a set of classes to choose from and more classes to be unlocked as the game progresses. The game also offers players to further customize their characters in the sub class feature. Obtaining a sub class will allow access to lower level abilities from the other jobs. While these mechanics are making their return, they still make a welcome addition to the game.
All in all, Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is everything veterans have come to expect: a nice time exploring dungeons, tinkering with characters, and tons of difficult battles. With the addition of the casual mode and the extra exploration options, newcomers can jump right in and ease into the Etrian Odyssey experience. However, even with these nice options, the game can still maul an unprepared player. So, if you're giving this game a first look, be like a boy scout and always be prepared. In closing, I would recommend Etrian Odyssey IV to fans of the series and RPG lovers.
GameDynamo's Score for Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (3DS)
Chris started playing games at the tender age of 5. Since then, he sees mushrooms, hearts, aliens, and spikey-haired blondes in his sleep.
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