The embodiment of adventure and discovery in the purest sense, Etrian Odyssey III transports gamers to a sparkling oceanic paradise filled with atmospheric dungeons to chart and survey, vast watery expanses to sail across, and rumors of a sunken city to investigate. Aspiring explorers are responsible for charting their travels utilizing the intuitive touchscreen map editor, meaning that careless cartography could easily spell doom for a fatigued party trying to escape danger. Powerful challenges demand cunning and strategy: players will assemble and fully customize their party of adventurers from a variety of highly specialized classes and sub-classes. For the patient and prepared, fame and fortune await.
It's certainly an enjoyable game, and it's one that dungeon crawler fans and Etrian Odyssey followers will instantly be drawn to, but everyone else needs to know that this is a game that puts a focus on planning, pre-battle equipment choices, and character strategies over action. I'd call it a thinker's dungeon crawler.
Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City requires a level of commitment that few RPGs dare to ask of players. You will struggle to survive and you will curse the hours of grinding to restock your supplies, but the victorious satisfaction of beating the odds and reaching the next floor makes it all worthwhile.
Positive: 4 out of 4
Mixed: 0 out of 4
Negative: 0 out of 4
Sep 1, 2011I'm at a crossroads on deciding whether this installment or the second one is the best Etrian Odyssey game for most lovers of the RPG "dungeon crawl genre"... Both greatly improved its game play design over its previous title, but this third one might have taken customization a bit too far.
Still, for me it is the best of the three, though, because you can still play the old fashion way without getting too far into the extra customization tools. But this one is definitely a deeper experience, and probably will double the already extra-large number of hours the previous games demanded from the player.
It includes a side mini-game that explores a sea around the land where the story takes place. While entertaining, it has not taken a hold of my attention for too long, and it is a very different kind of game than the one you expect from this series.
And speaking of the story, veterans of the Etrian Odyssey series should be warned that this is a completely separate story, so don't expect any continuity despite the "III" on the title.
If you haven't played any of the games, I would probably recommend to play the second one over this one first, and if you plan to play only one... maybe you should get the second one! (You will find it hard NOT to play this one if you finish the second one, though!)… Expand
Jan 20, 2011As my first Etrian experience ever, this is a tough one. As a dungeon crawler, a mere playthrough offers closer to 80 whopping hours of unadulterated niche audience entertainment at its finest. It's unforgiving yet fair, intense yet funny, and the journey on which one excels by meticulously mapping his way through multiple cunning floors can get scarily addictive. The eventual conclusion to all this awesomeness, however, felt more like a lazy kthxbye afterthought, especially considering the time it took to get there. One utterly brilliant roadtrip, one heck of a lousy destination.… Collapse
Apr 7, 2013Let's not mince words: This game is a purebred dungeon grinder at its heart. There is some fun in exploration to be had, but this game revolves almost entirely around a few tense minutes of character building, followed by hours of stomping on random monsters for the EXP. Love it or hate it, this game is all about grinding monsters into a thin gruel of EXP for more levels and character points. As a DS game, this can fortunately be a blessing in the right circumstances. You can design your characters at a time when you can spend all your focus upon them, but then you play the grinding sections while waiting in line at the mall or otherwise just need a simple distraction for a few minutes or a few hours. Still, this is a game where you build your characters around using the same two or three skills over and over again, and then mash those skills out constantly to trudge forward this isn't a game that relies on a lot of higher brain power to get through, and it can feel like advancing through the game is best accomplished by just taping the "confirm" button down while throwing your characters into a loop with the auto-walking feature. Even if you wanted to have different strategies to fight many bosses, you really can't, since your characters are forced into being min/maxed to doing just a couple things very well at the exclusion of everything else. Doing those anything elses requires the Herculean and ultimately rather thankless task of building and grinding up another character (or de-leveling an existing one) to do that new thing you wanted, and it's oftentimes just too painful to even consider. I'm just ultimately not the sort of player who really wants that kind of grind, so I can't be satisfied, but anyone who, for whatever reason, does like hours upon hours of grinding will certainly find everything they could ever ask for in a game like this.… Expand
Oct 16, 2010I love the Etrian Odyssey series, and this is a good game, but I think it slightly misses the mark and doesn't quite scratch my Etrian Odyssey itch.
The game's basic classes have gotten a complete overhaul, and those looking for the traditional niche classes won't really find them here, but the basic tank/healer/damage dealer archetypes are still present. What's new with the EO3 classes is that each has a class skill only available to that class. Each is different and assists in different ways; the gladiators' class skill allows them to do more damage, Ninja's class skill lets them attack from the back line with lower TP, etc etc. What you'll also find different from the previous EO games is that each class is more developed for a utility role. While the pure damage dealers can do what their trade is known for, even the Arbalist and Zodiac have some party assisting skills: blinding status effect and TP reduction respectively. Before you had to consider what classes you'd have, now you have to consider how the classes interact together (for better or worse).
In addition to dungeon crawling you also can sail a ship. For some it's great, for me I found it exciting at first, then boring later on.
The quests for this game are fewer, but are fun to complete. I found myself ignoring quests in the last few games because they seemed to be the traditional "go kill X an X amount". In this game the quests are more intuitive, and now that you have fewer, you can concentrate on a handful at a time, instead of being overwhelmed by a dozen.
New to EO3 you can also customize certain weapons with status effects against the enemy, or increase stats for yourself.
The dungeons have a few new tricks for veterans of the games while keeping the tried and true essentials untouched.
Battles are a bit faster in this game. There is less delay in the combat animations, so if you're the impatient type and you don't want to see the same drawn out spell animations for the X'th time, then this game won't hold you up.
The bad (or not so good):
I was excited for the new classes at first, but as I played, I noticed that there were very few niche classes. There are no straight debuffers like the Hexers; instead status conditions and debuffs are spread around. Each class has their own utility skills, and it can make team building much less intuitive. Because the same class can do very different roles, it can easily confuse a new player when putting together a team. In the previous games you knew what a Alchemist, Medic, Troubadour, and Protector did, and the strategy came from selecting the classes to fill specific roles. While that strategy remains the same in EO3, there is an additional element of strategy when designing a team based on how the classes interact and support each other. It's good in some ways, but those not familiar might be confused, and I found myself having to completely change the way I set up a team, as I designed my party by previous EO standards.
The aesthetics of the dungeons seemed to peak in the second game. I definitely admired the scenery and background when walking through a forest in fall, or snow covered lake in EO2. In EQ3 the environments are much less appealing, and while some people probably wouldn't mind, I was a little disappointed as I found myself walking through what seemed to me like a flat Hollywood movie set.
The sailing is fun at first, but it's the kind of thing that takes 3-4 hours at most to complete, and you have to wait for certain story segments in the dungeon to unlock later areas. It's definitely a fun add on when not exploring the labyrinth, but my expectations were a little let down.
This was probably the biggest letdown for me. To those who've played EO2: sadly, the geomagnetic poles are gone. However the game definitely puts in many shortcuts to save you time, though I would have preferred, and really miss, those time saving warps.
Those not familiar with the Etrian Odyssey series, know this: the game is fairly hard. Some might like that, some might not, I found it frustrating yet engaging.
There are probably some things I forgot, but those are the main points. Etrian Odyssey 3 is a good game though it has some faults. If you're a fan of the series and you haven't picked it up, I suggest you do; it will provide some new challenges and train your team building and dungeon crawling skills in new ways. For those who have not played the Etrian Odyssey series, but liked the Dark Spire and dungeon crawling games, EO3 is a decent one to start out with. But in my humble opinion, if you're looking for the best EO experience and have never played the games, I highly suggest trying out Etrian Odyssey 2 first.… Expand