Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight (3DS)

 

Etrian odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight sees yourself along with your childhood friend Flavio receiving a direct request to travel to High Laggard. There you meet the sovereign Arianna who you accompany to the mysterious ruins of Ginnungagap to complete a ancient ritual that must be completed once every century by those of her line. Along the way you will also meet up with Bertrand and Chloe, two fellow adventurers that assist you on your quest. As the party makes it way through these ruins something troubles our young hero and triggers a power within. What strange mysteries lie in wait? What is this new found power? And why is Chloe so hungry?

 

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Untold 2 much like its predecessor has had significant changes and the addition of a story mode option on top of the original classic mode.

First of all lets go into the modes a little more.

Story – In this mode you will play the tale of the Fafnir Knight with a pre set cast with you as the main character and has more of a typical RPG band of heroes save the world feel to it with the story revolving around your party and their back stories. This mode also boasts animated scenes and some voice acting for the cast. This mode is all about the story and as such has more text than the classic mode however it remains well written and interesting without bogging it down, instead building the story from multiple short sections of dialogue over forcing the whole plot on you at once.

Classic – Classic mode is just that, an enhanced version of the original Etrian Odyssey 2 originally on Nintendo DS. In this mode you arrive in High Laggard as a adventurer seeking fame and fortune by conquering the labyrinth with your guild mates. In this mode each of your characters you can create yourself up to 25 members. The premise behind this is to create your own story and while the basics are there, you have no outlined back story. You’re simply adventures trying to make a name for your selves. This mode also forgoes the scenes and voice acting for your party and has a lot less dialogue. This mode may make many fans happy to see its return and use their own imaginations to write their guilds story.

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Personally I’d recommend the story mode at least for your initial play through. After putting a fair few hours into both I just found the story mode more fleshed out and was given a feeling of actually doing something. Now we have discussed the story a little, lets take a quick look at some of the other changes. First off there are multiple save slots so you can have a save for each mode or difficulty if you wish, Secondly the skill tree system has been changed up a bit to make it easier for newcomers to the series. There is a DLC section on the title screen though this is not up yet but reports are that there will be classes and character portraits available as well as additional quests. Changes to the Grimoire stone mechanics have also been made, such as the loss of fusing stones this is replaced with instead trading them, also an additional dungeon Ginnungagap has been included .

Onto the game itself, after choosing your mode you will have to choose a difficulty setting Picnic, Standard or Expert these modes are simply what they say from almost sleeping through picnic to the cold sweet of thinking oh god i haven’t saved with 5 hit points when you bump into a dangerous FOE on expert, It really allows for anyone to give this game a try be they be noob or veteran.

After this depending on your mode of choice you may have to build your own party, this again is a simple task requiring you head over to the guild and pick a name and class as well as a portrait and you’re good to go. In story mode you will have to encounter each of your party members as you complete the first section, but in classic you can make your 5 man party straight away and up to 20 additional members but a party can still only consist of 5 members before you even step foot into the labyrinth.

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Then you must complete a small tutorial quest that is in both modes (even if you did it in every other title) that sees you head to the first floor of the labyrinth to map it and test your ability to navigate safely. This requires you to traverse a section of the first floor and using the bottom screen draw a map using the stylus using pre set tools to draw walls and pathways and icons for chests, shortcuts ect. Honestly this can become tedious very quickly if you just want to get on with the game or its just not for you. Fortunately there is a auto mapping function if you so choose giving you the freedom to focus on the adventure before you.

Traversing the labyrinth itself is fairly simple task once you enter the 1st floor you enter into a first person view in a maze like labyrinth full of twists, turns and man eating monsters, anyone who has played any dungeon crawler should feel right at home while new players should be able to pick it up with ease. This is where you will be spending most of your game time for story progression to filling out those sub quests. The environment here is not too remarkable in terms of visual appeal however that’s not to say bad. Though once you flick that 3D switch everything magically changes becoming a lot nicer on the eyes, I’m one of those people that do not use 3D when playing games all that much but I haven’t turned it off on this title.

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While traversing this maze you will encounter random battles with numerous monsters, who again look so much better in 3D. These battles are turn based and in a first person view again with the enemies displayed on the top screen along with your command menu and character position that also shows there HP and TP. Battles are relatively straight forward you Attack, use skills, Defend, Used items, Switch or attempt to escape.

Attack- Uses your currently equipped weapon to damage opponents.
Skills- Use skills you have learned by using skill points these come in a number of varieties.
Defend- Defend yourself to take less damage.
Switch- Change your current position, switching row ext.
Use items- Use a number of items from healing to flash grenades.
Escape- Simply try and flee from the battle some battles cant be escaped at all.

There is also the force command that allows the uses of a special skill, these tend to differ by class and require you to build up the force gauge but can often turn the tide of a battle if used correctly.

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Another type of battle awaits you however other than these random battles, there are FOE’s that will be displayed both on your map and on screen and move as you do with each step you take causing them to make a move of there own, These enemy’s are on a whole other level to anything else on the floor your on but yield massive rewards in experience and items initially its best to stay out of their way but if you feel ready it would be beneficial to take them on. These battles play out the same as any random encounter except for 2 things.

1.You can avoid them entirely.
2.You can weaken and trap them for a few turns before battle begins by luring them into pitfall traps.

This requires the use of some tactics for avoiding them or preparing to take them down and be rewarded. This becomes more true in the higher difficulties as avoidance will likely be the key to staying alive. Over all battles are easy to get a handle on and should not pose a challenge to many players at least in terms of the battle system itself.

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I touched briefly on skills and skill points one of the customisation features in the title. In Untold 2 as well the rest of the series when you level up you get skill points, you initially start with 3 these skill points to be allocated in the custom tab in your main menu and can be used to unlock more skills or level up those you already have. As you open up the tree you will have more skills at your disposal these skills can be battle skills for example elemental attacks or healing, passive skills that increase your base stats. Also each character has a field skill Take, Mine, Chop or Natural instinct. The first 3 allow for better rewards from one of the 3 types of gathering points inside dungeons. While Natural Instinct gives a better yield for all 3. How you spend these points will give you the edge in material gathering or in battle if you plan in advance while recklessly increasing your attack/HP/TP will leave you without a healing skill.

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Another form of customisation is the use of Grimoire stone’s, these stones have a multitude of effects without going into a complex tutorial on them simply Grimoire stones are equip-able items that allow you to use skills not native to your character. It also allows the use of weapons that that character would not normally have access to for instance a knight could equip a gun with the correct stone. To gain more you simply take part in battle with one equipped and upon a Grimoire chance a new stone will be created or you can trade them with adventurers in town. Fortunately you don’t have to hunt down certain ones as any can be traded towards another providing they make equal ‘value’. Over all this system works well if not a little confusing at first as its mostly down to luck.

Another system I would like to mention as I think it was quite good is the restaurant.

The restaurant is run by the city with your aid, you’re actually allowed to name it and use it as a sort of base of operations and serves a number of uses such as of course FOOD! Simply use your ingredients found in the labyrinth to create meals for your party with beneficial effects such as HP regeneration. When creating a new dish in story mode there is also a scene were your party tries the dish that is quite often mildly amusing. These dishes can help make challenging tougher foes simpler and keep your HP and TP regenerating for longer delves into the labyrinth without spending fortunes on items.

This is not the end of the many systems in place in this title and while fans may be used to many of those in the other titles newer fans may find it a bit much. While all the systems are well explained and simple enough to use its easy to forget about some of them or feel like there not really needed.

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To sum up Untold 2 it’s improved on its original release in many ways and became a little more friendly to novice dungeon crawlers or budding adventurers while still been able to challenge veterans. While the 3DS’s 3D allows the world of High Laggard to come alive. The story is interesting and sometimes amusing and should keep players entertained over the course of the game, Or make your own story in classic mode and have your story told.
Much like Etrian Odyssey : Untold The Millennium Girl the improvements and changes to the original title as well as the addition of the story mode and the 3DS’s 3D only serve to enhance an already great game. I’d recommend this and Millennium Girl to Etrian fans over the original 2 titles in the series on value for money alone as you’re essentially getting two games. Honestly though after playing both Untold titles I have to admit that The Millennium Girl had the better story mode in terms of both the actual story and cast, this should not be confused as me saying that Untold 2 is bad just that I believe certain aspects were better in the predecessor. As well as this there is not a whole lot more in terms of breaking new ground and while the systems work well and fans will enjoy this new title it simply stuck to the formula used for most of the series. For these reasons alone I cannot give it a higher score, as good a title as it is it’s not quite perfect.

 

  • 8/10
    Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight - 8/10
8/10

Who should buy this

  • Dungeon delving fans looking for their next fix
  • Those wanting to create there own RP stories are sure to enjoy classic mode
  • Fans of the series will be sure to enjoy this title

Who should avoid this

  • Those who dislike the series or dungeon crawlers in general will of course not enjoy this title
  • Those who have no interest in the story mode or improvements
  • Those with a dislike of games that try to squeeze in as many game play mechanics as possible.
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