The recent push towards revitalizing the past is certainly welcome. Even if new experiences are preferred, it’s always nice seeing these titles find second life on modern platforms. In the case of Etrian Odyssey, it also makes a lot of sense. With the series complete, it’s a good opportunity to bring the adventure forward for a new generation to enjoy. Given the hit/miss nature of this genre, is Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection a fantastic package, or does it miss the mark?
Each of the three adventures offer their own take on the adventure concept. In the first there is a mysterious labyrinth, second mysteries in the skies, followed by treasure hidden in the sea. These simple ideas slowly grow to become far more complicated, eventually revealing more about their world and how these secrets came to be in the first place.
This Seems Safe
Part of what makes the concept so good is the general sense of scale. It’s always clear there is more to unravel than simply locations dominated by monsters, with the reveal often coming as a surprise. It isn’t quite at the level of other dungeon crawlers, but it’s enticing enough to make the first twist drawing you into the next journey, assuming you like this type of gameplay.
Dungeon crawlers are a rather unusual genre. Instead of having incredibly complicated visuals, they rely on lovely static images with deep gameplay. Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection offers this, along with various difficulty settings. I actually found it amusing the lowest difficulty is picnic, taking the place of things like story or the less preferred easy, as it gives insight into the tone players can expect.
What Cute Enemies
Gameplay starts by pushing players to play smart. This isn’t an adventure where constant attack will lead to victory. Regrouping, knowing when to retreat, and legitimately building your teams are a must. This has always been the charm of the genre, even if it often results in boss fights that require a lot more from players, even on the lowest difficulty setting.
Thankfully, while a lot is expected of players, there are a good number of classes to choose from. Each adventure offers a different set, each with multiple designs, that you’ll want to have at varying points in the adventure. These include the mainstays, along with some unique ideas that offer another path towards victory.
An interesting inclusion are various text based events. Often times a dead end will offer secret or optional event. Events are usually questions where your answer results in a positive/negative outcome. They’re fun, despite being a bit simple. Other times there will be shortcuts that can be used to transverse large areas of the map quickly.
When it comes to things like this the Nintendo DS origins are quite clear. Obviously the original platform had two screens, so there are a number of mechanics built around this. There are various map tools that can be used to indicate where you need to go, secrets, or other key things in seconds. It isn’t quite as fast in Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection, though these mechanics are still present with the screen displaying both at the same time.
Not a Bad Compromise
This might sound limiting, yet even on my ROG Ally there is ample room to view both. It helps that these are rather basic games, and the second screen only appealing when it’s needed. During combat, integrating with town, or cutscenes things shift to full screen so you can fully enjoy it.
Speaking of graphics, I was surprised by how nice Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection looks. Since these games are generally designed around a few static images and generic dungeon backgrounds, I would say they did a great job to make it resemble a newer release in the genre. It likely won’t shock anyone, just be good enough to question it being based off Nintendo DS games from over a decade ago.
Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection Review Verdict
Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection: At their core Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection are enjoyable games in this genre. Some will find the simplistic and mostly menu driven adventure unappealing, though fans of it will likely be engrossed in the world. This, coupled with a rather different look than the overly detailed designs typically found here helps Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection stand out. So if you're looking for a new dungeon crawler you'll likely be happy. – Mark