A new Etrian Odyssey is upon us, which means it is time to sink perhaps a hundred or more hours into a labyrinth. Plenty of foes (and F.O.E.s) await us. Like other installments, Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth does its best to ensure early adventures are balanced ones. This time, we have four races to choose from for characters and 10 jobs available at launch. But which ones are good to go? Which warriors might you want to use? Well, let’s go over some details that might help you on your way.
First, let’s start with races. While each race initially has certain classes tied to them. When you create a character, you are limited to what roles they can or can’t take. Which makes sense, because races do have an impact on stats. Earthlains are essentially humans and are well rounded, but best suited for physical attackers and tanks. Therians are basically beast people that are strong and fast. You really want them as attackers. Celestrians are elves and Brounis are halflings, with both classes suited to magical arts. By the time you’ve charted the first floor, you will be able to reclass and swap an established character to any possible job.
Aside from stat spread, what really ends up mattering with race is the race skills. Each one has different abilities. Now, this doesn’t mean one race won’t learn one ability at all. It could just mean theirs appears at level 20, rather than a lower level. So every race is going to have a “_____’s Grace” skill at level one that could restore some TP when you use a base skill, with the name changing depending on species. Or everyone except for Therians will eventually get Animal Care. I would say you should have at least one Earthlain in a party, for their Resuscitate Union Skill and Bulwark, Nimble Arts, and Resilience skills that reduce damage from all kinds of physical attacks and lower chances of status effects and bindings. One Therian on hand is nice for having Brute Strength, Hunting Skill, and Precaution skills that can allow the party to lift heavy objects in labyrinth events, hunt animals for food and perhaps get a preemptive strike. The only race I’m not really impressed with is the Brouni, as it feels like for my party’s sake, I would be better off with a Celestrian fulfilling a supportive Botanist or Shaman role instead. But, the Brouni is the only one with a Haggle race skill at level 20 that takes 5% off of the price of items in the shop.
Now, let’s get to classes. The first one that I can not recommend enough is the Rover. This is a job initially only available to Therians. What’s great about the Rover is, depending on the build, you have a character that will be dealing pretty good damage and either acting as a healer and binder or attacking groups. It all depends on whether you have them specialize in Hawk or Hound attacks. Don’t bother trying to do both. It splits the focus too much and you really will find yourself either healing and binding all the time or trying to damage groups of enemies. With the way Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth works, having multiple characters from the same class in your party can really work out well, both in the early and end game thanks to specifications. Popping at least one Rover Therian into your party is going to make a big difference. Especially since you have the Animal Therapy skill that will restore a small amount of HP at the end of each turn when a Hawk or Hound is summoned. That helps a lot in the first two Stratums.
The next class people should really consider having is a Pugilist. This one can end up being one of your biggest damage dealers and enemy harassers. While I went out of my way to avoid attacks like Devil’s Fist and Overexertion, which consume HP to either damage an enemy (with a splash damage bonus) or increase an ally’s attack, in order to increase my character’s survivability on the front lines, I have gone all out on One-Two Punch. The Pugilist has Concussion, Arm Crusher, and Low Blow, three skills that focus on binding the head, arms, and legs. If you get all three to level three, One-Two Punch opens up and does damage, then follows up with attacks designed to bind areas that aren’t already bound. It is a good way to try and make a foe useless. Also, it works very well with a Rover’s Hound Hunter Shot, which could end up binding an enemy’s arms or legs.
Now, everybody already knows how great mage characters are in Etrian Odyssey games. Some people even run multiple ones, so as to have them specializing in specific elements. The Warlock is as solid a magic class as ever. So that’s not the magical class I’m going to also suggest today. Instead, I’m going to go ahead and say a Shaman is a great inclusion. I’ve found this character also works well in conjunction with a Rover with the Hound. This is because the Hound’s Aid skill could be used to cure someone of a specific ailment and heal a large amount of HP, while a Shaman could use either buffing Prayers with the Gospel skill leveled up to increase the health of the whole party. Focusing on buffs is a good move here, if you already have a Warlock in the party, since you could then have Heaven’s Gift to take away one ally’s buff in exchange for a healing spell. If you don’t want to have a Warlock on hand, then specializing in the Blaze, Hail, and Bolt Prayers, which adds buffs to protect the party from those elemental attacks, then getting Dance Oracle to dispel that buff in exchange for a magic spell of that element that hits every enemy in exchange for temporary lower resistance, is a viable option.
But then, keep in mind that these are only my recommendations and suggestions. The beauty of Etrian Odyssey is, with a little creativity and determination, people can make all sorts of parties and combinations work. Those who are willing to power through and prepare these characters for everything will succeed, even if they load up on characters that, from the outside might not seem like they would work. But really, consider having at least one Rover in your party; they are awesome.
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth will come to the Nintendo 3DS on October 17, 2017. A demo is now available on the eShop.