The Etrian Odyssey titles are well regarded amongst the dungeon crawling fan scene. Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection contains three-games, but Atlus only ever released the first one in the UK, so unless you went for the import, this will be the first time a lot of folks will get to experience them as they were originally presented.
For the uninitiated, these are chirpy, super enjoyable romps through first-person dungeons, which were just about perfectly designed for the original DS thanks to the way you are tasked with drawing your own maps as you proceed. You can still use the Switch touch-screen or manual tools to do so if you are docked, and there is a surprisingly effective auto-map function that does it for you. If you wanted to, you could also grab a bit of paper and write it down, old school-style.
There is a loose story and theme running through each game, but strong character-based plots have never really mattered too much in the series – it is all about the art of looting intricate dungeons. The gameplay loop is essentially edging your party deeper into each of the gorgeously designed dungeons, battling enemies in turn-based fashion, and crapping your pants every time the scary, intermittent FOE super beasts appear; before returning to base camp after each crawl to level up using acquired skill points and improve your party and its gear. You get to keep a guild of characters that can be switched around between sorties, so you can work out the best possible combo for each situation.
Effective mapmaking is a key skill, as it will enable you to find crucial save points which enable you to complete your escape when the going gets tough. Customising your party and skills offers the player an almost endless number of combinations, based around different weapons, classes, and their associated abilities, buffs, and status-altering possibilities.
As the series progresses the maps become more sophisticated with more symbols and customisation, and new, exciting class types are introduced. The first two are still excellent games in their own right, but there is no doubt in my mind that with its seafaring theme and most refined systems, the third game is the clear pick of the bunch, and as such, given the quite high price of the package as a whole, would perhaps steer first-timers toward a solo purchase of that one, instead.
As a package, this is pretty bare bones and I am a little surprised that the quality of life features that Atlus put into their superb 3DS games are not present. The remastered graphics do look fantastic, however. And even though it hasn’t been refined at all, you get to experience your dungeon adventures with superb soundtracks from one of the greatest of all time video game composers Yuzo Koshiro, who started scoring RPGs back in 1986.
In a nutshell, even if you do spring for the whole thing, it will cost significantly less than it would to legally track down the originals, so there is that. There may not be any real new features to speak of in Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection, apart from a difficulty selection and a lick of paint, but there is still a huge amount of very enjoyable gameplay, which stands the test of time well, and is a great way to while away a few hours of your time.
HD graphics looks ace
Loads of gameplay
Not much additional content
Expensive if purchased as a package