Etrian Odyssey is an interesting anomaly in a world dominated by accessible (some might say "dumbed down") narrative-led role-playing games.
Eschewing the usual predefined characters of the JRPG genre and returning us to the good old days of old Wizardry games (complete with having to map dungeons yourself), the Etrian Odyssey series has always proven to be a fine example of a modern game combining both old- and new-school RPG thinking in one convenient package.
The upcoming reimagining of the first Etrian Odyssey game, set to hit 3DS on October 1 of this year, looks set to take that thinking to another level. Not only does the game feature the original Etrian Odyssey's content, updated with Etrian Odyssey's full 3D graphics engine, but it also includes an all-new "story mode" featuring five pre-made characters, each with their own personalities and dialogue.
The story mode will see players exploring new dungeons and battling new enemies to "find out the truth of the Yggdrasil Tree and the mysterious girl, Frederica," apparently. This marks the first time a true JRPG-style story mode has appeared in an Etrian Odyssey game, and is intended to bridge the gap between those who enjoy more accessible role-playing games and fans of old-school Wizardry-style romps. Meanwhile, the standard dungeon-crawling gameplay of the original game remains intact for those who want the "classic" experience, complete with rolling your own party.
I'm actually really looking forward to this, as the Etrian Odyssey series is one that has passed me by until today. This looks like being an excellent jumping-on point for people like me who have been interested in the series for a while, but somehow have never gotten around to playing any of them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's in this situation. For me, the story mode looks set to offer a good means of easing myself into the way the main series does things, and then I can launch head-first into the "real" game when I'm good and ready.
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, as the remake is known, will be available at retail and via Nintendo eShop from October 1. It'll set you back $39.99. Find out more on the official website, and in Jeremy's preview from a while back.