North American cover art
|Publisher(s)||Atlus, Nintendo (Europe and Australia)|
|Distribution||Nintendo DS Game Card|
Drawing comparisons to titles such as Wizardry and The Bard's Tale, Etrian Odyssey challenges players with exploring and mapping a vast dungeon. Players navigate through the dungeon in fixed increments. Time passes only when an action is taken, causing movement, random encounters, and combat to all be entirely turn-based. The game uses a first-person view to present the dungeon using a combination of relatively simple 3D computer graphics for environments and single-frame 2D sprites for enemies.
Etrian Odyssey requires that players maintain their own map by annotating (with the stylus) a small map displayed on the DS's touchscreen. The player is free to map accurately or haphazardly. However, the player cannot draw their own symbols, and must instead use the game's limited set of pre-designed symbols. The game also limits the number of symbols that can be used for each level map.
In addition to normal random encounters, the player must overcome "FOEs", which are exceptionally powerful monsters which wander around the dungeon in much the same way as the player's party. The AI of FOEs varies, but most will wander the dungeon in a set circular path until they sense the player's party, after which they will move directly towards the party. If the player encounters an FOE in an area with multiple FOEs, it is possible for a second or even third FOE to join the battle if it reaches the party before they defeat the first one.
Like most early RPGs, Etrian Odyssey uses custom characters from a number of different character classes. While only five characters can be in the party at a single time, a much larger number can be created and kept in waiting back at the "guild hall". Characters can be switched in and out of the party when in town, so if a given specialty is needed for a specific obstacle, the party can be tailored appropriately. The player allocates skill points to specific skills during level advancement.
The development team within Atlus was led by Kazuya Niinou who also directed the development of Atlus' first in-house game for the DS, Trauma Center: Under the Knife. The game features character designs by Yuji Himukai, monster design by Shin Nagasawa, a story by Shigeo Komori, and FM-like music by Yuzo Koshiro.
The game was originally to be released internationally as Yggdrasil Labyrinth, but was renamed to avoid any possible confusion with Yggdra Union (a game published in North America by Atlus a year earlier) or Deep Labyrinth.
Media Create/Famitsū reported that Etrian Odyssey had sold 119,584 copies in Japan as of July 1, 2007. Atlus' own July 2007 investors report listed US sales of the title at around 30,000 units, roughly 2 months after release.
Although the title was recognized as accomplishing its goals (in terms of presenting a very classic RPG experience), it was noted that this greatly limits its appeal to a certain "hardcore" demographic. The IGN review noted, "[...] if you gave this game to ten players you may find one or two in the group that truly enjoy it". GamePro concurred, remarking "Ultimately, this one is for fans of the genre and not for the short-on-time".
Most reviews noted that those who enjoy rigorous dungeon crawls or fondly recall similar titles from years past may greatly enjoy the game. 1UP.com summarized this sentiment by concluding "Etrian Odyssey will definitely appeal more to the OCD'd than the ADD'd, and its punishing difficulty and very deliberate pacing may turn off younger gamers who grew up on flashier roleplayers. But it offers a real sense of wonder and a sense of accomplishment -- feelings missing from far too many modern games". N-Europe awarded the game an 8/10 score, though criticised its lack of story and the fact that it is "too old school for some".
Etrian Odyssey sold 32,511 copies in its first week of release in Japan 
Towards the end of 2007, Atlus announced a sequel to Etrian Odyssey. It was reported that the game would feature 12 job classes and that Yuji Himukai, Makoto Nagasawa and Yuzo Koshiro would reprise their roles, with Shigeo Komori taking on the role of director. All of character classes are reused, along with three new classes: Beast, Gunner, and War Magus. The mapping system was improved, with new symbols that can be added to the map for more detailed and accurate maps.
The sequel was released on February 21, 2008, in Japan and in North America on June 17, 2008. There are no plans to release the game in the European region.
In early December 2009, the third installment in the series, titled "Sekaiju no MeiQ 3: Seikai no Raihōsha", was announced in Japan. This game features ocean exploring in addition to dungeon exploring, both with the familiar mapping system. In addition, the classes from previous games are removed in favor of all-new classes, including Royalty, Monk, Hoplite, Ninja, and Buccaneer. The game was released in Japan on April 1, 2010, and in North America on September 21, 2010, under the title Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City. The game has not been released in the European region.
Legends of the Titan is the first Etrian Odyssey title for the Nintendo 3DS. It was released in Japan on July 5, 2012, in North America on February 26, 2013., and in Europe on August 30, 2013.
Untold: The Millennium Girl is a semi-remake of Etrian Odyssey which features animated cutscenes and voice acting. It was released in Japan on June 27, 2013, in North America on October 1, 2013 and in Europe on May 2, 2014.
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