Since the days of Nintendo DS, the Etrain Odyssey series has been quite a successful running series. Offering both challenging and rewarding combat, alongside tons of exploration and the ability to draw out your own map they’ve always been a rather unique experience. This year alone, we’ve been given two Etrain Odyssey games for on 3DS, with the newest one, Etrain Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl being a remake of the original Etrain Odyssey, except with a new story mode, and enhancements taken from Etrain Odyssey IV.
Unlike previous Etrain Odyssey games, which had you creating a team of your own with a variety of classes to use, a new story mode has been added this time around. Because of this, The Millennium Girl remedies the issue of a user-created team by offering five preset characters, alongside cutscenes, and voice acting.
Revolving five distinctive characters, a girl with amnesia and a threat that could destroy the world; you’ll take up the role of a young, male, highlander who’s been chosen to represent his tribe and investigate the frequent earthquakes that have struck Etrain. It’s generally a rather cliché plot for the most part, but having preset characters is quite a nice change of pace for the series. Still, there’s interesting moments and good points of interaction between your team so each of their unique personalities have a chance to shine through.
EOU doesn’t really stray too far from the original in terms of gameplay, still having you traverse giant labyrinths all while drawing out your own map for reference. Fights take place in a first-person view and happen in a turn-based fashion, so you’ll be spending most of your time exploring, fighting and running back to town to rest up, sell loot and pick up more quests. Essentially, this is, just your traditional RPG.
Just like previous instalments, EOU is both challenging and rewarding. If you’ve never played an EO title before, the difficulty curve definitely increases greatly as you progress. Entering a labyrinth for treasures and to grind levels can soon lead to a fight for survival when you’re running low on health and magic while the awkwardly named Formido Oppugnatura Exsequens – or F.O.Es for short – lie in wait around every corner. However, it’s a truly rewarding experience as you’ll need to pull out a variety of skills and classes to survive this desperate struggle to survive and get back to town.
There’s also a ‘Classic Mode’ that lets you create a guild of your own and stock it with a variety of classes. Here you’ll have more freedom to explore and experience what each class has to offer. If that wasn’t enough, EOU has a new grimoire stone system that allows you to equip stones to gain new abilities from other classes and enemies. Understandably, this really deepens the combat system and gives you more variables to deal with when entering into a battle.
While character artwork in conversations is rather detailed, it’s really rather simple on the environments and monster front. However, the voice overs are mainly used for certain lines in a story and in cutscenes, while the soundtrack itself is rather lacklustre bar a few notable tunes. Sadly, the sound suffers when an animated cutscene happens, it’s just a little too low to hear really.
Etrain Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl may just be a re-imagining of the original Etrain Odyssey, it’s still challenging and rewarding while retaining all the enhancements of Etrain Odyssey IV. It really does warrant a second helping, and hopefully enough people will dive in to make it a worthwhile arrival on Nintendo’s 3DS.
Audio/Visual – 3/5: A simple environments, enemies and soundtrack is saved somewhat by detailed character artwork
Gameplay – 4/5: A challenging, yet rewarding, experience that requires experimentation with classes and abilities
Innovation – 3/5: Doesn’t bring much to the table, besides the added story mode and ‘grimoire stone’ system
Value – 5/5: With both Story and Classic modes, there’s plenty to do here