Etrian Odyssey games follow a certain pattern. You are an adventurer heading out to found a new guild. You come to a town that happens to have labyrinths adjacent to it and a need of people willing to delve into dangerous depths. This means heading to a guild and creating custom characters who are capable of surviving against both the fiercest foes and F.O.E.s. Most installments offer around seven to ten classes to choose from to start, but Etrian Odyssey Nexus bumps things up. Right from the start, you have 19 different kinds of roles your party members can play.
This is absolutely fantastic. After all, Etrian Odyssey Nexus is a celebration of the series that is a crossover of all past entries. It means that you have an unprecedented amount of choice from the very start. But, this means it can also be a little overwhelming. I mean, you can make 60 characters total, five can be in your party at a time, and this time each class has eight portrait options that can have their hair, eye, and voices customized. The important thing is to make sure that your first five characters, the ones you might use to find your footing and determine who you might really start wanting to use as you get into Lush Woodlands, one of the first labyrinths.
Any good starting Etrian Odyssey game needs certain sorts of characters on hand. There should be at least two people in the frontline who are able to both take and dish out hits. If one of them could also double as an actual tank and draw attacks and the other could apply debuffs with attacks, even better. In the back row, you should have one person who can set up elemental attacks. A healer is the final piece of the puzzle. As long as you can cover these bases right away, you should be okay. As long as those four sorts of characters are there, the fifth person can be from any class you would like. Since Etrian Odyssey Nexus easily lets you check skills from the Novice, Veteran, and Master sections in the registration section, you can start planning right away.
For your forward-facing party members who can strong attackers and survive actual hits, there are plenty of good places to start. It might be a good idea to choose a Hero right away, since this is Etrian Odyssey Nexus‘ new class. They attack and protect, and their early skills can be incredibly helpful. Investing in Afterimage right away is great, as it can make an Afterimage appear in an empty slot if a hero uses a skill to attack, then use that skill that made it on the next turn. Reaching level one with that unlocks the ability to learn Mirage Sword, a physical ranged cut attack that hits one enemy and has a high chance of making an Afterimage. Using your first three Skill Points for making a character to get those two skills and Physical Shield, which raises the whole party’s defense until the attack skill is used. Since the bash skill takes a while to trigger, it can often increase the whole party’s defense for an entire turn.
For a second frontline force of nature, I would suggest considering a Pugilist. They are very good here in Etrian Odyssey Nexus. These brutes deal damage and inflict binds or status effects. A good way to start here, with the first three skill points, is to grab Arm Breaker, Corkscrew, and Double Punch. Here’s why. Some of the earliest F.O.E.s you see and the first boss have devastating arm-related attacks, so that can help block those by dealing damage and maybe binding arms. Corkscrew is a bash attack that can also have a chance of paralyzing an enemy. Finally, Double Punch could cause a skill to activate again if a single-hit skill doesn’t bind or infect an enemy. Should you prefer other alternatives, the other good frontline folks include the Highlander, Imperial, Landsknecht, Protector, Ronin, and Shogun.
When it comes to elemental attacks, there are two classes that have fire, ice, and volt skills in their Novice section. I mean, some of the other characters do have abilities with elements tied to them, but these are the people you go to if you want to start inflicting a lot of damage. If you want to go traditional, the Zodiac is the way to go. These are the basic mages here, with standard Fire, Ice, and Volt Star attacks, a Singularity support skill that increases their elemental damage when they hit a enemy weakness, and a support ability that restores TP. If you want to get creative, a Sovereign is a good idea. Picking one up, teaching them Attack Order, and then teaching them Fire Arms, Freeze Arms, or Shock Arms will allow them to imbue an entire line of allies’ weapons with an element and strengthen that element’s attacks for three turns. If you do intend to use a Sovereign entirely for the Attack Order, Guard Order, and Royal Veil skills that can apply elements, increase defense, and cast regen on a party, putting them in the back row might be wise. Sovereigns can hang out in the frontline too, though.
For healers, you have a couple great options. Arcanists, Medics, and War Magus characters all work. The standard Medic is the best traditional healer here, since it has a single Healing, the one row Line Heal, ailment-relieving Refresh, and essential Revive skills in its Novice section. Everything you need is just there. Arcanists are more advanced, since it has the Bracing Walk that recovers health as you wander a dungeon, the Circle Boon that has a regen effect each turn it is active, and the Dismiss Heal that requires a Circle to be in effect to heal. The War Magus is essentially a frontline healer that has single and line heal skills in War Heal and War Heal Line. It also lets you remove ally ailments and binds by transferring them to an enemy. This class has the benefit of inflicting ailments and binds on enemies too. Though, if none of these characters appeal to you and you need another backline attacker, a Gunner could even work. They have Medic Bullets that can heal people, as well as shots that can bind parts of an enemy’s body or deal damage multiple times.
Etrian Odyssey is a series where people get to traditionally explore and find their way through by experimenting with classes and party makeups that work for them. Etrian Odyssey Nexus has more types out there than ever before. Having two good attacker/protector types for the front line, some kind of elemental attacker, and a healer can create a well-rounded start.
Etrian Odyssey Nexus will come to the Nintendo 3DS on February 5, 2019. It is immediately available in Japan as Etrian Odyssey X.