Etrian Odyssey II sweetens cartography

By Louise Yang . June 19, 2008 . 1:53pm

eoiia.jpgI'd like to credit the first Etrian Odyssey game for teaching me how to finally spell 'odyssey' and to appreciate the first person dungeon-crawler/RPG.  Now I'd like to credit Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard for taking up all of my free time.  If Etrian Odyssey is a chocolate cake, Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard is a red velvet chocolate cake with deliciously dark chocolate frosting and a tall glass of milk.


The improvements the team made on Etrian Odyssey II streamline the game so well that I almost have no complaints.  Players can now strafe with the L and R triggers on the DS, which makes running away from FOEs easy.  The added auto-battle system takes the tedium away from pressing 'A' for each person to attack an easy-to-beat enemy.  Finally being able to use L and R to cycle through party members in the main menu makes upgrading and equipping members a breeze.  Being able to see the effects of equipment on particular party members in the shop and giving the choice of equipping them with the newly bought item are also much appreciated additions to EOII.


A big part of the two games is mapping your progress through each floor.  Fortunately, EO II now has additional icons and colors to use while mapping, which means players don't need to add as many notes as in the previous game.  My favorite addition is the three colors for item points. I used a different color each for mine, take, and chop. The much needed arrow icons are also now in EOII.


Maybe I've been too comfortable with my power-party in the original EO (my medic had maxed immunize and my troubadour had maxed relaxing and bravery), but I was surprised by how hard EOII is.  I thought I knew all the tricks of exploring a floor, but none of those tricks kept me from dying several times on the first floor.


eoiia3.jpgIn the first game, I had a looting party made up of survivalists with maxed chop, mine, and take skills.  I would just camp at item points and keep gathering items until my daily limit was reached; it was an easy way to make money.  The second game however, throws you a curveball about that — the longer you stay at an item point, the greater chances of an enemy ambushing you. And it's not just any enemy. It's an enemy that's way stronger than the usual enemies of that floor.


Another difference from the first game is that FOEs no longer give EXP.  I'm not sure I like that.  The thrill of fighting a FOE is still there, but the nice rewarding chunk of exp you get after beating it is no longer there.  The developers said it was to encourage players to avoid FOEs, like they intended, which makes sense. There does seem to be an awful lot of FOEs in EO II.  The good thing is that at least they still give rare drops.


I haven't had a chance to play around with all of the new character classes yet. So far, I'm using a Gunner to get all the bind skills to handle FOEs and bosses. Then I'm going to use the Ronin as a fire elemental damage-dealer.  My Protector will be the tank.  My Landsknecht will be my main physical damage dealer with ax skills.  My medic will be the healer.  I had first hoped to use a Warmagus to heal and eventually become a damage dealer because it has better sword skills than a medic, but I realized my front row didn't have enough room.


Protip: Talk to the shopkeeper to unlock the warp wire.  Don't trudge your way back and forth the first three floors like I did. Oops.


Images courtesy of Atlus.

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  • Congratulations, Louise. Originally, I was going to wrap up the first one before buying this one. Since that appears to be pretty far off (I haven’t picked it up in nearly six months… for some reason, I reset my main party to level 1 because I’m an idiot), and since your impressions were so positive, now I’m calling stores to see if any are in stock. Glad you’re enjoying it!

  • jeffx

    I kinda wish you could use 6 characters in your party, but that would seriously affect the balance. But because of the limit, I can just not decide who I permanently want to use, they’re all good classes! How often can you say that about a game? I’m also not crazy about not getting anymore experience from FOEs, but I’ll deal with it.

  • @Nick Doerr: I would buy this game now even if I don’t plan to play it until months later. If it’s anything like the first game, it’s going to become hard to find in stores pretty quickly. If you’re still playing the 1st game and plan to finish it, don’t even touch EOII yet. All the menu improvements in the second game will make the first one seem slow and clumsy.

    @jeffx: I have the same problem with my party. All the classes are so balanced it’s hard to pick which ones to take into the dungeon. I also like how the developers made it so that certain secrets can only be unlocked by certain classes. As for the FOEs, the good thing is that at least their drops give you lots of money if you sell it and unlock better gear.

  • RIAZ

    any idiea what the password at the start does? the first etrian only hit the uk about two weeks ago i imported it a while ago( ok like a year ago)just waiting for the second one to arrive

  • jeffx

    @RIAZ: you get a kickass accessory and some extra dialogue.

    @Louise: I have a problem with your article’s title! Am I the only one who has a hard time using the map tools? The first one seemed much more fluid when drawing lines. Now it feels like I have to redraw my walls all the time.

  • @RIAZ: jeffx is right. The password gives you an awesome starting accessory. It also lets you keep your guild name from the first game and makes references to your guild in some dialogues. I believe it also changes two of the quests in the 2nd game.

    @Jeffx: I love the new mapping icons, but I also thought that drawing lines was clumsier in the 2nd game. I couldn’t tell if it was because my DS is getting old or if I just draw them too quickly. I have the most trouble drawing lines that are right on the edge of the map.

  • nika

    I want to start on this so badly, but I think I’ll wait till I’ve finished the first one. shouldn’t be too far of if I would stop grinding for once.

    I’m happy to see such a positive post about it. And that the game is still difficult. Looks like this one will take up a lot of time as well.

  • LittleOni

    I’m really digging the new one, as well. I made the mistake of playing the first but never buying it, so I lose out on the accessory and such. I too have noticed that drawing seems a bit off. I seems that the game registers the stylus’ contact point a few pixels to the right of where you physically place it. Maybe I just need to recalibrate. And the difficulty on this new beast? Sweet baby Moses, I think I died about ten times or better before I even cleared the dukes test for floor one. But I am REALLY loving it. Now the next one needs some online incorporation. That would be sweet.

  • For people with stylus problems, I recalibrated my DS and it seems to be a lot better, so try that. I still have problems drawing lines on the edges, but the game reads other lines fine.

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