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Etrian Odyssey Nexus preview: Everything you need to know

by on January 24, 2019
 

Etrian Odyssey Nexus is the franchise’s final installment for the 3DS and, so far, it is shaping up to be a fantastic celebration of one of the best RPG franchises today. Having already played a good amount of the Japanese release and 10 hours of the localised release from Atlus USA, here is everything you need to know (spoiler free) about Etrian Odyssey Nexus.

What is it?

Etrian Odyssey Nexus is the latest installment in the Etrian Odyssey franchise that began on the Nintendo DS. It is the final installment for the franchise on 3DS and it released as Etrian Odyssey X (Cross) in Japan last year. It is meant to be a celebration of the franchise.

Is this a good game to get into the franchise with?

Yes, but I’d recommend Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight for players who enjoy stories in games because that has a proper story that is peppered in through the labyrinths and exploration, versus Nexus that is more about exploration than plot. There is a story here but it is definitely not the focus. In terms of mechanics and gameplay, Nexus is great at teaching you things and assumes you haven’t played an entry before, so it’s welcoming to newcomers with its lower difficulty options as well.

Why should I care about Etrian Odyssey?

There are loads of dungeon RPG franchises across multiple platforms but none have bested Etrian Odyssey in terms of customisation, labyrinth design, music, and overall polish. The closest other platforms have to this is Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk. Etrian Odyssey makes superb use of the dual screen setup on the DS and 3DS, and Yuzo Koshiro’s music is too good for this world. If you own a 3DS, you should give this franchise a shot because it remains one of the best series across any platform. I can’t say I’m not sad about the death of the dual screen handheld from Nintendo, because while many games did a great job of using both screens, nothing comes close to Etrian Odyssey for basically being built around the hardware.

Does this entry support 3D since many newer 3DS games are just 2D?

Yes, thankfully Etrian Odyssey Nexus continues the tradition of Etrian Odyssey games supporting 3D on the 3DS, which is super to get even more immersed in the gorgeous labyrinths and to get some depth in other scenes and in combat.

Is there DLC?

Yes, there is a lot of DLC in the form of certain items and cosmetics. As of now the release schedule for the DLC hasn’t been confirmed but the DLC that is listed for the English release as of this writing is here. Atlus has started doing paid cheat DLC for the last few 3DS entries, and Nexus has something similar in addition to some interesting cosmetics.

The item DLC is as follows:

1. Inventor’s Experience: Complete this quest for an EXP boost and an accessory that triples EXP.

2. Inventor’s Fortune: Finish this quest for an Ental boost and an accessory that grants 100% enemy material drop rate.

You need to have beaten the first mission to be able to accept quests for both of those DLC.

The cosmetic DLC is as follows:

1. PROJECT Re FANTASY: Adds an amazing, new character portrait from PROJECT Re FANTASY artist Shigenori Soejima. This portrait cannot be edited. Atlus’ upcoming RPG gets its first representation in current Atlus titles with this portrait.

2. Bikini Armor: Adds two versions of the Hero class’ special bikini armor portrait. These portraits cannot be edited.

3. Etrian 1 & 2 Portraits: Adds class portraits from Etrian Odyssey 1 & 2 to change an explorer’s looks. These portraits cannot be edited.

4. Etrian 3 Portraits: Adds class portraits from Etrian Odyssey 3 to change an explorer’s looks. These portraits cannot be edited.

5. Etrian 4 Portraits: Adds class portraits from Etrian Odyssey 4 to change an explorer’s looks. These portraits cannot be edited.

6. Etrian 5 Portraits: Adds class portraits from Etrian Odyssey 5 to change an explorer’s looks. Most of these portraits can be edited.

7. New Adventurers: Adds portraits drawn for Etrian’s 10th anniversary so you can change an explorer’s looks. These portraits cannot be edited.

Is it getting a physical release?

Yes, it is getting a physical release in both North America and Europe. The North American launch edition is pictured below:

The European edition The EU release is pictured below at the end of the trailer from Deep Silver who has handled a ton of Atlus releases in Europe:

How’s the music here?

So far, the soundtrack has a combination of old and new music. This fits what the game has been going for well as a celebration of the franchise, with a lot of new stuff tying it all together. The battle theme is probably already one of the best battle themes of the generation. Just listen to it:

What about voice acting?

Atlus USA usually does English voice acting for sure and has recently started including Japanese voice acting as well when possible, but Etrian Odyssey Nexus has only Japanese voice acting. This is quite disappointing but sort of expected given the 3DS’ lifecycle right now. The only real annoyance is how a lot of dialogue in town that is usually just small greetings and comments is not subtitled. You notice this when you go to the store or the inn the most. These are non essential dialogues, but it is annoying not knowing what they are saying in most cases.

What difficulty options are available?

There are 4 difficulty options available in the base game. The following is quoted from the game verbatim:

PICNIC: For those who like a walk in the park. We recommend this difficulty for those who wish to enjoy the story but may be inexperienced. On this difficulty, you will be able to continue from your death, even should your party be defeated. Certain items will have unlimited uses, allowing for a more casual playstyle. Once Picnic is selected, the difficulty cannot be changed.

BASIC: For those who enjoy overcoming trials. This is the recommended difficulty for first-time players or RPG enthusiasts. In this difficulty, you will have one chance to continue in the event your entire party is defeated. The difficulty can be changed during the game through the Options menu while in town.

EXPERT: For the fearless who love a challenge. This difficulty is for those who enjoyed previous Etrian Odyssey titles or those who love a challenge. The difficulty can be changed during the game through the Options menu while in town.

HEROIC: For those who strive for great heights. This difficulty is the same as Expert but can only be selected from here. The difficulty can be changed during the game through the Options menu while in town…but once changed, you will be unable to go back to Heroic. Please be aware that you cannot carry over clear data to Heroic, either.

How is it so far? (Preview)

You know every band eventually has compilation albums or greatest hits albums? That’s what Etrian Odyssey Nexus feels like, but instead of greatest hits it is more like greatest everything in a cohesive package with classes, labyrinths, and more from previous entries with enough new stuff to be not only a great entry point for newcomers but a great celebration for veteran fans. Many classes from previous entries return alongside a new one in Nexus with enemies from older games as well. You can also customise character portraits like you could in Etrian Odyssey V.

In a similar vein to Etrian Odyssey 4, there is some form of a world map. You can move from point to point here for events and labyrinths. It feels a bit like the world map in earlier Atelier games that were on a grid. While this is the final 3DS Etrian Odyssey game, we still have another one coming soon in the form of Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth which is Etrian in everything but name. So far this is shaping up to be an amazing send-off for the dual screen iteration of the franchise. Stay tuned for my full review very soon.