Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    

Etrian Odyssey IV: Party Planning Preview

A great party never just happens.

If there’s one thing the Etrian Odyssey series requires, it’s time.  Even though the games eschew the game clocks we’ve become accustomed to, most people who play through to the end (and beyond) estimate that they spend more than a hundred hours exploring the unforgiving dungeons.  If you plow into a game of this scope with only the most basic of parties and expect to stay engaged for that amount of time, you’ll likely give up and walk away.  Creating a party with unique tactics and strategies is pivotal to be successful and to have fun with these games since the story is minimal to the point of being a secondary concern. 

The demo for the upcoming Etrian Odyssey IV gives you a chance to put together a party of your liking and take it on a test spin around a few labyrinths.  I’ve spent the last few days cobbling together promising groups of explorers and seeing if they would pan out or not.  I’ve enjoyed my little experiments in the demo, which may help you decide if you are interested in spending days diving into these dungeons yourself.  If you’re already sold on the game, perhaps my trials will give you some new ideas or you can share some of your own.  Either way, find out how my party shaped up starting from the moment their names were written in the guild registry.

4 Pages  1   2  »



Jesse Miller Staff Writer

02/24/2013 at 01:14 PM

Okay - someone sell me on this game.  It seems...complicated.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/24/2013 at 03:56 PM

It is and it isn't. It uses some basic ideas that have interesting tweaks if you try to find them. Give the demo a try. I think it should give you a good feel for what these games are about.


02/24/2013 at 05:06 PM

It's a dungeon crawler viewed in first person mode with random enemy encounters. You can create a custom party with various skills to your liking. For example, mage, warrior, sniper, medic, rogue, etc. The game has unique names for these classes. The dungeons are mazes that you have to revisit until you defeat it's bosses, usually. The bottom DS screen allows you to draw a map of the dungeon so you won't get lost every time you return. There is also item gathering for unlocking better equipment and items in the shop. Most of the previous games were made up of one very deep dungeon with multiple floors. This new game allows you to explore a world map on an airship to search for dungeons instead of being stuck in one big dungeon. The game is challenging at the start because your party is new and low skilled. The game becomes more challenging as you progress which requires use of tactics and strategy, hence the need for sub-classes and unlocking more abilities. Some people like challenging games like those of old times. It's sort of the same reason people like hard games like Dark Souls. You have to learn the game to beat it. This game gives you a lot to tinker with. The visuals and sound are nice too. Also, if any of these games interest you, this is the game that is probably the easiest to get into. Not my words. The internets words.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

02/24/2013 at 01:18 PM

I usually keep one medic in games like this...  you always have to have a healer.  You do less damage, but your party will survive more often.  Sure, it feels like a waste cause they're so boring, but it's really a necessity. 

Your article really made me want to play, but I'm forsaking the demo to go straight to the game, which I ordered last night.  This is one of my favorite niche genres, and I've played Etrian Odyssey 2, so I kind of know what I'm getting into. 

Great article!


02/24/2013 at 01:57 PM

Thanks for your article. I'm glad to see niche games like this covered on your site. I have a similar type setup for my party in the demo. I'm not useing a Runemaster or Sniper, but I will try them out. This is my party:

FRONT: Landsknecht,  Dancer, Fortress
BACK: Night Seeker, Medic 

I think the game is as difficult as the previous entries. I don't think it's that welcoming to new players. I've played through the previous games and chipped away at them for years. Yes years! I think you have to have a certain level of patience to appreciate this sort of game, but I'm glad it exists. I'm also glad I'm not reviewing it. My review would be ready in 2014.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/24/2013 at 03:53 PM

I really like the Runemaster so far. The first skills you have to get to open up the real offensive measures seem a little useless, but probably with good reason. A couple of skill points into the fireball or lightning rune and you are dealing a lot of damage. I'm surprised you aren't using one, but that's why I wanted to write this up. We all have our old habits and it's good to read other approaches and try to implement some of those ideas instead of always using the same tactics over and over.


02/24/2013 at 04:52 PM

I wanted to feel out the different classes since I usually have the same party layout every time. Tanks & Swords in the front, Medics & Mages or squishies in the back. I kind of like the dancer. It's an odd class, but useful I think. I actually like the airship too. Kind of tired of being in the same dungeon all of the time. 

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/24/2013 at 05:02 PM

Yeah, the airship seems like the right move.  I sort of liked the sailing side-game in EO III but got tired of it completely before getting too far.  I think this take on that mechanic (and making it integral) will be cool.  


02/24/2013 at 05:24 PM

I always wanted to play Etrian odyssey. Seems like a throwback to many of the tough first person dungeon crawlers I played as a wee lad!

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/25/2013 at 03:18 PM

That's exactly what it is, but with enough advancements for the modern gamer to make it palatable.


02/25/2013 at 02:40 PM

I'm not using a Runemaster or a Landskank and I beat the demo just fine.


02/25/2013 at 03:17 PM

who did you use in your party might I ask. I felt leveling up was quite easy and fast. What did you think.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/25/2013 at 03:21 PM

I'm also curious. There's no wrong party, which is what I love about these games.

Leveling up was pretty quick until you got closer to level 10, which makes sense.


02/25/2013 at 04:39 PM

when you go to the guild to recruit characters, there are missing slots on the select screen. Are there more characters or just sub classes thay you unlock later? To lazy to research.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/25/2013 at 05:09 PM

There are two other classes that will open up later, "Arcanist" and "???" (Atlus's nomenclature, not mine). I'm not entirely sure if there are even more because I like there to be some surprises later on...


02/25/2013 at 06:43 PM

maybe it's the prince/princess or farmer w/pig again. Is Bucanner the right name for piloting an airship?


02/26/2013 at 07:50 AM

I made a nightseeker, fortress, dancer, sniper, and a medic.  All girls.


02/26/2013 at 07:52 AM

I forgot to login, but that's my party.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/26/2013 at 08:10 AM

Sounds like a good combo.  The sniper is pretty slick.  I want to get one integrated via sub-class as soon as possible. 

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/25/2013 at 09:33 PM

If you watch the class videos they've been releasing, it looks like "???" is called "Bushi".  Check it out.


02/25/2013 at 10:02 PM

2683 point hits! Surprised

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

02/25/2013 at 10:57 PM

Right?  I am guessing you can't use one of these guys until level 20 or 30.

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.
Table of Contents