"A video game comic and blog that would have been awesome and relevant 10 years ago. Maybe." -Famous Website
Pie and I have been avidly playing Etrian Odyssey 3 and 4 side by side on the DS and 3DS respectively. Oh man! What an awesome find! I first heard of it from this marvelous flash animation but it wasn't until I wanted to get a couple games to round out our 3DS library that we picked both up. It really amazes me how many great games Atlus has in their catalog, but I digress. EO4 ended up being so fun and easy to pick up and put down that I ended up putting Fire Emblem on hold so I can play more of it. Yes. Fire Emblem.
What's so great about it? Well, it is a fantastic package of art, music, flavor text, class systems and thrilling battles that keep you on edge. I mean, listen to the EO4 battle music and the EO3 battle music and tell me you aren't in love! If you like building characters with varied classes that can each act in different ways depending on your build; having dual class options that add even more diversity to your builds; and enjoy strategizing a party dynamic to kick ass (a.k.a. survive), you will dig this game. Every choice you make matters and the game doesn't pull punches. If you have a sub-par skill build or if you don't focus your efforts, you will die. Often.
If you are afraid of the difficulty, 4 is the perfect game to cut your teeth on since it seems quite tame in comparison to what I see Pie having to deal with in 3, even on normal. I'm a little sad that once I found a stable build after a level 12 or-so re-spec, I was pretty much able to handle anything the game threw at me. To be fair I've only just reached the third stratum and have a very balanced party with a Landsknect, Dancer, Nightseeker, Medic and Sniper that can quickly debuff and keep my party protected and healthy. Additionally, by going out of my way to fight FOE's, I've pretty much out-leveled normal monsters, going into the 2nd stratum maze at a staggering level 27 with some really stellar gear.
What makes it fun though is that I know that I can't take it too easy. If I don't take an FOE battle seriously, I'm going to die. If I try to challenge a rare breed FOE and I'm not really strategizing to battle its weaknesses, I'm going to die. I love how this game has bite because I really feel that it is a critical component in making it fun. You get invested in your characters and attached to their builds and when you find something that works, it feels exhilarating!
Anyways, if you have a 3DS and love RPGs, go pick this one up because this series deserves the love.