The Nintendo 3DS console isn’t exactly short on role-playing games (RPGs) at present, but aside from the hit-and-miss Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. the vast majority of them play by the established rules. There’s room for innovation here – for something that can stand out from the crowd – and at present it seems as though Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan has more than just a few ideas on how to do exactly that.
The story of Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan sees a mystical tree coming under fire. Visible throughout the land of Tharsis, the tree’s roots lie in a far off distance, a land where none dare to tread. The ruler of Tharsis however, is determined to discover what lies in the distance without risking his own neck. He decides to sponsor and Explorers Guild to undertake the task for him, and you are an explorer looking to find your fortune. It doesn’t take a genius to work out where this plot is heading.
The videogame begins with the choice of difficulty settings, offering a brief explanation of the difference between the two. It’s a small issue maybe, but far too many videogames rely on the traditional ‘Easy, Normal, Hard’ scale without offering any impression of exactly how difficult any one may be. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan on the other hand, provides an elegant solution with just Normal and Casual settings, the latter of which openly states that it’s designed for enjoyment of the story, not the challenge.
And challenging Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan does prove to be. Players can choose from a huge variety of characters to take into battle with them even from the very start, divided into several different classes and in-turn four variations of each class. The set-up is a remarkably complicated system that players will only truly be able to work the most out of with dozens of hours of experience. This is undoubtedly an issue for anyone coming into the videogame with minimal prior intervention by way of a tutorial or other education – as was the case for Electronic Theatre – though the adventuring did still prove to be entertaining.
While the above character selection and team set-up process is conducted through a hub – an elaborate system of menus and statistics screens couple with text-based dialogue for plot progression – the action sequences are instead played from a first-person perspective. Looking remarkable throughout, the action is turn-based akin to DOOM RPG or a number of prominent titles in the bloodline Might & Magic series. It’s an interesting design that allows for great tactics not only during combat but prior to and immediately following also, with players able to negotiate how they enter combat and with whom.
The combat system itself is very elaborate and Electronic Theatre’s brief time with the videogame offered a poor example from which to measure the lengthy campaign that Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan promises to be. A demo version of Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is expected to launch soon and Reef Entertainment has already confirmed that save data from the free sample will be transferable to the final build, so be sure to try it out for yourself when the time comes. Meanwhile, Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest details on Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan.