Each Etrian Odyssey is filled with dangerous opponents. The creatures in its dungeons can be absolutely terrifying. At least, the first time you encounter one or are caught unaware. As someone goes through Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, they will absolutely come across an array of F.O.E.s on floors and a boss on each stratum. But in every instance, these overwhelming opponents have ways to be avoided, weaknesses you can exploit, and tells that help you find a way to survive.
Let’s start with the F.O.E.s. An Etrian Odyssey highlight is the behavioral patterns of such creatures in dungeons. You can see them moving around labyrinths. Each one follows certain patterns. This means a wise and observant player can understand and exploit their actions. For example, the first stratum’s Toxipede and Iron Crustaceans and second stratum’s Bucking Giraffe are simple-minded creatures that will follow a specific path. Other F.O.E.s from this stratum may have other behaviors. Creatures like the Owl Beast, Glaring Stinger, and Primordiphant are most hostile. The Owl Beast will hunt you down the second you are within its immediate vicinity, while the Glaring Stinger and Primordiphant only go after you once you enter their line of sight. In every situation, there is a way to avoid or escape them until you are ready.
Once you are ready, every one of these creatures has patterns you can notice and ways you can attempt to incapacitate them. Let’s look at the Owl Beast, a creature that could very likely catch someone off-guard, what with its tendency to hunt down early explorers. Its major attack is a Bear Hug, which you can fortunately prevent by binding its arms. It is rather susceptible to arm binding, which really helps. You can also blind it rather easily, to keep those strong attacks from landing. And ice is effective against it. With an Iron Crustacean, you may want to hunt it multiple times in an attempt to kill it with a cut-attack weapon and get a rare Cut-off Claw. Fortunately, you could poison or curse it and use volt attacks to electrocute it. Find yourself caught in a Bucking Giraffe’s path? It’s one of the few F.O.E.s that will fall victim to instant death and its two major attacks, which both use the head, can be sealed rather easily with a head bind.
The further you go in, the more you’ll see that F.O.E.s with major attacks involving a certain body party will usually not be strong against that part being bound. The Sonar Worm is one of the few exceptions I’ve seen, as it uses head-based attacks and seems rather resistant to those bindings. It’s one of the reasons why having a Pugilist or Rover is so handy. Keeping at least one person on-hand who can have a chance of binding a part is one of the most helpful things in any F.O.E. or boss encounter. I recommend either the Pugilist with a One-Two Punch that can bind a part that isn’t currently bound or Rover with a Hunter Shot that will have a Hound possibly bind arms/legs after you have dealt damage with a ranged stab.
With bosses, similar strategies can be employed. Especially since some can be accompanied by allies. To avoid too many spoilers, let’s focus on Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth’s first boss, the Amalgolem. This is a giant golem made of smaller golems that will start out as a fully formed creature, then explode. This deals damage and separates it into a body and assortment of smaller golems. Since it is an earthen creature, there’s no point wasting TP trying to inflict ailments or binds on it or its parts, though its smaller golem buddies can be bound or have ailments afflicted on them. It’s really more of an endurance battle where you want to use bash or ice attacks on the Amalgolem parts and any other sorts of attacks on its golem buddies. What helps is going through the labyrinth to make sure the blockades were triggered in front of the golems standing freely in its chamber, it would stem the tide of buddies brought in when Amalgolem would summon allies.
You are always getting better in Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth. Each hour you play, you are making progress. Every enemy encountered helps you form new strategies. While the F.O.E.s and bosses are absolutely formidable fights, there are always certain tricks you can use to survive. This game is a learning experience, and people will be better for being patient and paying attention to its lessons.
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth is available for the Nintendo 3DS.