Everyone out there who complains about modern RPGs being too easy, take note, one of the most challenging RPG series is back with Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City.  The third installment of Etrian Odyssey for the DS is once again a dungeon crawling RPG. This time Atlus wasn

Still a Challenge, But It’s Not Michael Jordan

 

After you set up your guild it

Another new and extensive addition is an over world ocean to explore. Players start out with a boat that has very limited range and are tasked with exploring the ocean and opening up trade routes. At first your range is extremely limited and once you use up all of your movement points you are automatically warped back to port. But the more time you spend exploring and mapping the ocean, the more upgrades you will discover and your range will increase. The ocean is a veritable treasure trove too, as you can catch fish to sell, find rare items and even accept ocean quests. The Ocean quests consist primarily of boss battles, but once you beat them you get a decent amount of experience, rare items, and you can even earn new combat skills.

 

A couple of the small complaints that I had about previous versions of the series have been addressed as well. FOES are mini bosses found throughout the game and they are still present in part 3. However, this time you actually gain experience and rare item drops from them. This means that it

Another new addition for part 3 is a weapon upgrade system. The better weapons in the game have slots which can be used to upgrade the weapon. There are dozens of different upgrades that can be applied to a weapon. Many of them are useful, like chances to confuse, poison, or put to sleep, and others help with stats or carry elemental effects. It

The enemies are handled in 2D and are all hand drawn. They are usually very colorful and detailed. Many of the enemy designs are repeated and given different names, but even then, they usually have some variation in their design so you are not fighting the same monsters floor after floor.

 

The sound and music in Etrian Odyssey 3 is standard fare for the genre. There is a constant background song that plays while wondering around and battle music that plays when you are in a fight. Your attacks all make cutting sounds, bludgeoning sounds or magical whooshing sounds. There are no voices in Etrian Odyssey 3 and therefore you have to read all of the text in the game.

 

Controls

 

This is an RPG and not an action game or button masher, so the controls are all fairly basic. Players move around the maps by using the D-Pad. You go forward by pressing up, backward by pressing down and you turn left or right by pressing in the corresponding direction. There is no strafe button and no jump button. The menus are all handled very well and are simple to navigate.

Etrian Odyssey 3 uses both screens throughout the game. The top screen is used predominantly for viewing the action and the environment and the bottom screen is used for your inventory and more importantly, for the game map. The mapping system in the game is a big part of the fun of Etrian Odyssey 3. Upon entering each floor your map for that particular floor will be blank. As you progress throughout each floor your path will be marked and from there it is up to you to add details such as doors, shortcuts, treasures, minerals and so on. You are given complete freedom to change the map with the stylus in whatever manner you see fit. The end result is a highly interactive mapping system that takes advantage of the DS’s capabilities very well.

 

Character Customization

 

As your characters level up you have the ability to customize them even further. Each level will give them a new skill point that you can assign to a variety of different skill sets. The end result is a character system that is highly customizable. It is entirely possible to have three characters all based in the same character class but with three different skill sets. Once you are in the game you are free to add new characters to your guild at any time and experiment to your heart’s delight.

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