Haven Review: Etrian Odyssey II

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this reviewlogo   

Etrian Odyssey II is not to be confused with Etrian Mystery Dungeon, because for a good while I thought it was a sequel to that title. I was wrong. Now something to note is that it’s made by Atlus, and as with their other Etrian titles they’re very good at recycling images! Etrian Mystery Dungeon, Etrian Odyssey and even Etrian Odyssey II all have recycled textures, 3D models and character images, to the point where it doesn’t really feel fresh visually; I feel it has grown stale in that respect. I really wish they’d create more new content, aside from the occasional character.2827128-eo2u_story+4

Now a thing I did like about the game is that at the start you not only select your game mode (easy, normal and hard), but you can also choose to use preset story characters or your own custom party. I chose the latter because I love being the hero of my own story and I also love being able to do things I can’t in real life. So what I’m saying is that I love to imagine myself in fantasy roles.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The game starts out horrifically slow to the point where I laid on the couch almost drooling from boredom. But after you get to Level 10 through hours of grinding, you can actually progress at a steady pace and things get easier. The story even becomes interesting. There a few unique characters that help to augment the plot; my favorite so far being from the Beowolf guild.

Before I continue, let me say a bit about the guilds in the game. Unlike Etrian Mystery Dungeon, the people in your guild do not level up as you play; they all remain stagnant at Level 1. If you want to level them up, you must either help them one at a time or grind all over again. I find this incredibly obnoxious, tedious and a total bore.2827126-eo2u_story+2

The game’s combat mechanics use a standard role-playing, turn based system…much like the previous Etrian Odyssey title (but not like Etrian Mystery Dungeon). Also, if you unlock the mystery dungeon title then the dungeon is no longer a mystery at all. In fact it’s not even randomly generated; you can explore the entire dungeon. Honestly this is where the intelligence meter takes a plunge.

You as the player are forming a guild in town with your members; whomever you want really, and from there you’re going to explore the labyrinth to try and discover its secrets regarding Yggdrasil (the tree of life). From the very start of the game you cannot finish quests until you learn how to properly make maps of your current dungeon floor. Yet this dungeon is right outside the town, and people have been going there for centuries to slay monsters (and cook their meat). But at the same time they’ve never ventured far enough into the dungeon to make a map of it? This is odd because they’re stated as saying that they know how many floors there are!

So I’m getting really mixed messages regarding the mapping of the dungeon floors. Have they been to Yggdrasil, haven’t they been to Yggdrasil? Did anyone at Atlus think someone like me wouldn’t notice a horribly written plot point such as this?

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The only saving grace for me is the voice actors; they’ve done a wonderful job and are truly talented. That, and I’m starting to get emotionally invested in my personal character. But other than that, I’m sorry to say…the game is bad. It’s nice to look at, but they’re recycling assets from every “Etrian” title. The same holds true with combat system.

The story is full of plot holes, and making the map for the areas you visit is the dumbest thing ever; well that, and how can a forest have five floors with actual guard-like towers connecting them? Someone please explain this to me. You can also clearly see the sun shining from above through Floor 1 of the forest…and also Floors 2, 3, 4 and 5. Yet the stairs lead up, as though to a next floor!650_1200

It’s these inconsistencies that make the game an unforgivable sin. It feels like they made the title and threw it out there just as a quick cash grab. “Hey, people liked our title; let’s toss our assets together and call it a sequel!”

I know I’ll probably offend people, but if you buy the game and play the game you’ll realize I’m not wrong.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Etrian

  • Artelinde

    haha what the fuck is this
    did you even play the game at all?

  • Go fuck yourself

    Go fuck yourself, EO2U was great, EMD was the shittiest game to ever sport the EO name.

  • One last thing I want to say is that, the whole series want, above all else, to stimulate our imagination. Not only for the party interaction but also the whole world setting in general. Each games try to reveal something new, but is at the same time extremely stubborn and tells as little information as possible, to the point that even story mode in both Untold games doesn’t say that much about the world or the past. They are just like those fanfiction commonly found on Tumblr, Pixiv and elsewhere, except by a group of developers instead of a fan.

    That’s the best explanation for the “plot-holes”, as you say.
    Overall, this is more of an “love it or hate it” case than flat out bad, IMO.

  • Also, while you can make as many characters as you want, it’s heavily recommended to stick to 5 members per playthrough : no more, no less. There’s hardly any reason to have more, other than for NG+.
    The context is completely different from Mystery Dungeon where you *need* multiple party because of the rescue system and especially the DOEs, which is why benched characters exceptionally still gain EXP in that game.

    If you have a balanced party of 5 members (and you have to try hard to make an imbalanced one), don’t avoid/escape too many battles (which is purposely hard to do anyway) and don’t waste your money on every single new gears, I can certify you never need to grind until Post-Game (played expert mode on Untold 2, Untold 1 and IV).

  • The whole point of being an explorer is to… you know, actually explore stuff.

    The first 2 games implies several times that previous guilds has already explored almost the entire labyrinth (and it becomes a major plot point at the end of the first game), and thus most likely already have maps for it.
    However, every guilds won’t have the same experience… or make the same discovery, which can lead to different maps. That’s exactly why, they always force newbie explorers to do their own map, by issuing an official tutorial map mission, so they can actually do their job as explorer and thus they can contribute better to the city.

    And beside, if they just shared maps, explorers wouldn’t have any reason to stay and would leave the city, which is bad for the economy.