Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight
- Street Date:
- August 4th, 2015
- Reviewed by:
- Elizabeth Henges
- Review Date:1
- July 30th, 2015
- Game Release Year:
Digital copy reviewed. The DLC for the title are only extra quests and a class from an earlier Etrian Odyssey game, and have no bearing on the review score.
It's honestly quite amazing how many games some companies can release in a year. Atlus has really been at it, with consistent releases that should keep any JRPG fan occupied year round. It's not always sequels and spinoffs either. 'Lost Dimension,' a SRPG series revolving around finding traitors amongst a group is one very recent example. But now, fans are getting an entry to one of Atlus' more popular series, 'Etrian Odyssey' with a remake of the second game, titled 'Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight'.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
There are two modes to 'The Fafnir Knight', the Story Mode and Classic Mode. The Story Mode is new to 'Etrian Odyssey Untold 2', and the main draw of the remake. In it, the story follows the titular Fafnir Knight and the Princess Arianna, as they explore Yggdrasil in an attempt for the princess to invoke an ancient ritual.
The Story Mode, as it may be guessed, features five set party members, as opposed to the typical "create your own" party members. The five members make a relatively balanced team, and have personalities and thoughts of their own. It certainly makes the dungeon crawling a little less lonely... but on the flip side, it feels as though the party members talk too much, with them stopping at every little point of interest and chatting endlessly about it. Also, given that these characters' personalities are rather typical tropes, their dialog becomes rather predictable, making me wish I could skip through it far faster.
I personally enjoyed 'The Fafnir Knight's' Classic Mode far more, although playing that mode does locks out using the Fafnir Knight class until a New Game Plus. Classic Mode is just like the typical Etrian Odyssey title: Players create a party based off the classes available and set off into the dungeon, exploring the dungeon depths. Although the two follow the same general plotline, Classic Mode simply has less text and characters talking around it, which means getting to the action that much quicker. While plenty of people will undoubtedly enjoy the Story Mode (as well as the various difficulty levels that are changeable any time the party's in town), as a series veteran, I prefer the normal 'Etrian Odyssey' experience.
Outside of the story (or lack thereof), though, everything about 'The Fafnir Knight' is mostly the same across modes. Battles are random (though players are given a warning of impending battles via a radar on the top screen), and unless you're playing on the Picnic difficulty, require strategy for every battle. 'Etrian Odyssey' games can be quite tough, and going in expecting to steamroll random encounters will leave players with a wiped party. Buffs and debuffs play a big part of this RPG, and mastering when and which to use are of utmost importance to survive.
There are also other typical dungeon crawling staples, such as optional quests to go on, items to buy, and other utilities in town to partake in that help give passive boosts. And of course, the infamous 'Etrian Odyssey' staples, the FOEs are here, filling players with fear and sometimes requiring puzzle like solutions to get past unscathed.
To someone that's played an 'Etrian Odyssey' title before, very little of this is new. However, that's not particularly a bad thing; although there have been three main Etrian games (four if counting 'Persona Q'), the general gameflow and mechanics continue to be very solid. It's more of the same, yes, but when the same is more newbie-friendly than ever before while still being good, the familiar is welcome.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Since 'The Fafnir Knight' uses the same engine as 'Etrian Odyssey IV', the graphics are largely unchanged from the 2013 game. That said, they still look good. Dungeons are lush and colorful, and are appropriate eye candy for dungeon crawling that's typically rather dull for the genre. The character portraits are also nice, with a striking art style that is nice to look at. That said, the visuals don't push or even approach any kind of limits--they are simply nice overall.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The Etrian Odyssey series is well known for its amazing music, composed by the wonderful Yuzo Koshiro, and 'The Fafnir Knight' is no exception. The original tracks to 'Etrian Odyssey II' are remixed with a wholly instrumental, rocking tune to it, and the tracks really make it a joy to get into battles. The original music from 'Etrian Odyssey II' is there as well, untouched for purists, and can be changed anytime in the options menu. It's also worth noting that the default soundtrack for Story Mode use the remixes, while the default soundtrack for Classic Mode uses the original tracks.
The voice acting for Story Mode is pretty sparse, with a few key spoken lines by the important characters and battle voices. The voices don't really add nor take away from the game, though from time to time the grunts and lines in battle can become a little annoying.
'The Fafnir Knight' has quite a bit of extra content work through. For starters, there's both the Story and Classic Mode, which are different enough to warrant their own playthroughs, and with New Game+, a second playthrough to see the differences can be easy to do. There are also post game content dungeons and super bosses that will test the limits of the player's party and strategies, and those who are really obsessive can unlock the achievement like badges on their Guild Card.
'Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight' is really more of the same, the same graphics, the same core gameplay, the same general goal. For most 'Etrian Odyssey' fans, however, that's not really a bad thing--after all, there's the spinoffs 'Persona Q' and 'Etrian Mystery Dungeon' available for those that want to try something different. While the Story Mode might be new, it still doesn't diverge enough from what makes the 'Etrian Odyssey' series what it is to really mark it as anything special for the series. Still, with multiple difficulties and actual characters to guide (instead of generic cutouts), 'Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold' is a great entry point for players new to dungeon crawling series.
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