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Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth

Score: 86%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Almost 5 years ago, I reviewed Etrian Odyssey IV and absolutely loved the game. It was the perfect combination of RPG elements in a truly addictive package. Now we finally have a sequel, Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth. Will it surpass its predecessor?

This world of Arcania is absolutely beautiful. The labyrinth of Yggdrasil is luscious, green and verdant. While deadly, the monsters are bright, colorful, and beautifully created. In my review of Etrian Odyssey IV, I mentioned that they missed an opportunity in 3D on the monster attacks. It seems they have remedied that on at least some of the creatures. If you watch, youíll see the Venomous Leechís sucker attach onto the screen for a split second and it does cross the 3D layers. There are others that do such things if you decide to leave your 3D turned on and they did a really good job with the 3D overall. You can tell the various distances on the maps at a glance, mainly because you can see the different layers.

Inside each skill set, there are a variety of looks, both male and female, that you can choose from. After that, you can change hair, eyes, skin, and voice if you particularly want. You can even make each eye a different color. This will make it so that you can have a completely customized feeling, to a certain point at least. The only thing missing is a suggestion of names. When youíre creating that many characters, itís nice to have a name suggestion in case you donít care and donít want to have to come up with that many names.

Etrian Odyssey V is in English with English subtitles. The voicework is all well done, but some of it is odd choices. Some of the NPCs have voices that just donít match their appearance. Given that there are so many different races, that could just be how they should be, however you can choose different voices for your characters.


Gameplay:

Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth takes places in Arcania, home of Yggdrasil and you start in Iorys, at the foot of Yggdrasil. Your goal, challenge Yggdrasil. Youíll have to start at the Explorerís Guild to create your own guild, since you donít want to go it alone and Egar is the guildmaster. It is recommended that you take at least five in your party, but you can have up to 30. You can create Earthlians, Celestrians, Therians, and Brouni and each race will have its own strengths and weaknesses. I recommend a nice variety, but you can do as you wish. Inside each class, there are various skilled warriors. I recommend testing them all out so you know every advantage that can be found. There are 10 total skill types across the four races. You will be able to alter your party members so that they can learn the skills of another race if you want. If you change classes, it will lower that characterís level by five. You will earn a skill point each time you level up, so make sure to spend it wisely. Keep in mind that there are Race skills and Class skills to choose from.

Ramus is the royal prince of the Earthlains and youíll get missions from him at the Council Hall. Syrik is the shopkeeper and you can buy and sell items from him. You can also upgrade your weapons, if you have the right materials. Jenetta runs the inn and if you want to fully heal and save, you can do so at the inn. You can also store stuff here. Mirina runs the bar and you can take on quests from her. You can accept more than one quest at a time, so I recommend taking on as many as you can at once, simply for the rewards. The experience you get from them can really be helpful to boost you at the beginning of the game.

You have a map, but it will have to be filled in as you explore, but you need to provide the details. You can create walls, make terrain types with different colors, and more. You can also make notes of anything you want on the map. You can leave symbols and messages so that you can remember what you found and where you found it. Be on the lookout for mine points, chop points, and take points. Youíll be able to get materials at these locations. Make sure to mark them!

Basically, Etrian Odyssey V is a game of exploration. Thereís not a whole lot of story to go along with it, other than discovering the secrets to Yggdrasil. I would have liked a bit more of a reason other than just to explore, but thereís still something addictive about creating my own detailed maps and finding all of the treasure.


Difficulty:

Etrian Odyssey: Beyond the Myth provides two difficulty levels, Basic or Advanced. In Basic, you get one continue if your party is wiped out before itís Game Over. You can change between the difficulties in the Options in town, but Basic definitely isnít easy though. I found that at the beginning of the game, I had a lot of trouble. I was always broke, and there were never new items in the shop. I couldnít figure out why I was always broke, so I started selling items to the shop. That was the right move. Rather than use those items directly, you sell them to the shop and the shopkeeper will be able to put new items up for sale that he made using the items you sold him. Just make sure you donít sell the items that you need for quests.

Battles will change based on the characters that you have in your party. You can create up to three different squads at the Guild Hall, so you might want to test out the various races and their skills. You definitely want to get used to using your Union Skills. Just keep an eye out for how many people will be needed to make that union happen. It can range from one to four. You can use Auto at the beginning of a turn, if you want. I find it useful for those battles that you are more than leveled for and youíre just going to keep pressing attack. Donít forget though, you donít get experience for the characters that are dead at the end of a battle. I find the Resuscitate Union Skill to be great for bringing people back to life.

You wonít be able to see normal enemies on the map. Youíll know one is near when the gauge on the bottom right turns red. You will be able to see FOEs though. FOEs are significantly more powerful enemies, but that doesnít mean you canít beat them. Some of them can be avoided by learning their movement pattern, but some will chase you. Either way, you can kill them but it takes longer. The rewards are quite nice though, so I found it was worth the time and effort.


Game Mechanics:

Since Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth is a turn-based battle system, you shouldnít have trouble getting the hang of the controls. In battle, (A) is confirm and (B) is back. If you want to turn on Auto battle, press (L). Outside of battle, (A) will let you search, talk to people, open stuff, and more. (B) will back out of selections. To learn your skills, you will need to press (Y) and go over to Custom outside of battle. Then you can switch between the characters and use their skill points. There are skills that affect your exploring and skills that can be active or passive during battle. When you find the right spot, you can fish, once you have someone with that skill. There are also skills to help you mine better, gather better, and more. Itís up to you how you want to use your skill points and what you want to learn.

As I said, I really loved Etrian Odyssey IV. The gameplay on Etrian Odyssey V is just as good, but the story is a slight bit weaker. However, I still find it almost as addictive as the last one. If youíre a fan of the series, youíre definitely going to want to pick up this latest in the series, if only to find out what happens. If youíre looking for an RPG with lots of battle and exploring (or you like making maps), you will love Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth!


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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