Perhaps you are new to the DS/3DS, perhaps you couldn’t find them, or perhaps you never heard of them. Whatever the reason, if you wanted another shot at trying the Etrian Odyssey games, a small reprint of the first three has been produced to satisfy demand resulting from the upcoming release of Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan for 3DS. They may or may not show up in your local retail stores, but you can order them at Play-Asia right now:
The Etrian Odyssey series is an homage to classic role-playing games where you move tile by tile in a first-person perspective, explore a massive labyrinth, sometimes fall victim to teleporters and pit traps, and must rely upon your trusty map (which you draw yourself) to find your way back to the safety of the village. However, it’s not presented like an ugly computer game from the late 1970’s. With attractive monster designs by Shin Nagasawa and wonderful retro-style music by Yuzo Koshiro, the Etrian Odyssey games liven up an old forumla with a charming presentation. Furthermore, you don’t have to break out the graph paper; the lower screen of the Nintendo DS lets you draw the maps with a snap-to grid and useful icons.
In terms of plot, the Etrian Odyssey games go well beyond the classic RPG formula. You know, the old “Defeat the evil wizard/dragon/monster; Thanks, you saved our kingdom!” routine. However, the games still focus on exploration and party customization. The narration is sparse and you won’t see comical banter between party members, but there is a plot that progresses and there will be one or two unexpected twists. Just don’t go in expecting something it’s not.
The Etrian Odyssey games were cult hits in Japan, but have remained obscure in North America. They may not be for everyone, but they are good games if what I have described sounds interesting. The Etrian Odyssey games are all stand-alone; there is no need to play them all. In fact, due to interface improvements as the series progressed, it may be best to start with the third game. The first three will play on a Nintendo DS (any version) or a Nintendo 3DS. The fourth game is for 3DS only.