Whilst remaking games has the main purpose being to elicit nostalgia, Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold goes further by adding a new story, settings, and characterizations, as the “Untold” part expresses. It is a part of the Etrian Odyssey Untold series, originating from the DS games. The original series serves as a dungeon crawler RPG, which has a plot revolving around Ygdrassil Tree exploration. You play as yourself, forming a guild of five or more, but your group has no real personality.
And that’s where the “Untold” – the Story Mode – part barges in, as a friendly revisit.
Dubbed as “The Fafnir Knight”, you play as an unnamed protagonist who has been taken to Midgard Library alongside Flavio, your best friend, as both of you are orphans. The journey starts as your professor asks you – upon whom the title “Fafnir Knight” is bestowed – to escort the princess of Caledonia undergoing a ritual inside a certain ruin. It’s time for you and Flavio to take leave, changing from settled lives to nomad explorers.
Upon arriving in High Lagaard – just like how every Etrian Odyssey title starts – you will prepare your party in the Guild Hall first before starting the journey. It’s only a matter of time before you meet the third member of the party, Arianna. As the princess of Caledonia, she needs to perform a ritual inside a ruin called Ginnungagap. Difficult to spell; nevertheless the ruin is a place where you meet the remaining members, Bertrand and Chloe.
So quick? Yes, the Etrian Odyssey series is infamous for its difficulty level, therefore, unlike usual RPGs, you’re getting your full party early in the game. Kind of weird, but you indeed need each member of your guild during the exploration of the Labyrinth. The Story Mode offers another challenge to the game: since you start with pre-made characters and their specified classes, I personally didn’t want change anything according to my gaming style. Yes, you can change everyone’s class except yourself, but I felt that Atlus wants us go by this default setting. It is also useful to the newcomers, since they wouldn’t have to pick five of 14 classes offered.
Honestly, this title couldn’t be separated from its roots, hence the strength and weakness. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold digs each personality of the pre-made characters deeply, to make them alive to the fullest. While other RPGs need skits to explain the characters more, this game, taking advantage from Labyrinth exploration, lets all members of the team comment on the current event, such as finding treasure, saving wild monsters, or just going idle to let them have a conversation. This approach is lovable, though it isn’t really new in the Etrian Odyssey series.
For you who are unfamiliar with Etrian Odyssey, this title is much the same following the main series – except the premade characters and story. Dungeon-crawling will be your daily bread viewed from first person perspective, and every step or action you make counts to the (not really, but…) random encounters. Map drawing is essential and fun, especially to track healing points – remember, never take too much – and the movement of bigger enemies called FOE. Since the labyrinth consists of tiles, Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold is also a puzzle game, especially when you have to think how to trap FOE or boss, launch few damage before joining in battle.
Our special Fafnir Knight class looks scary, as everyone else becomes awkward looking at him at first. But beneath our silent protagonist lies the powerful Force Boost. The special class accessible only in Story Mode has power to transform his body into powerful being, and it even alters some of Fafnir Knight’s skills. The maximum HP is increased, alongside and what’s special is he’s getting more special skill only on transformation throughout the story – for example, to extend the transformation time.
Carried from the first Untold title is the Grimoire System and Floor Jump, to turn your journey easier than the main Etrian Odyssey series. The Grimoire System is revamped and renewed, and it helped my team access skills unknown to their classes (since I didn’t change any class). Floor Jump is back to skip space-time, so you didn’t have to fight monsters or spend too much time exploring dungeons (Return Flute is however, still useful when you’re trapped by 2 or 3 FOE while the Floor Jump has not been activated).
I didn’t really care about food boost in Etrian Odyssey 4, but in Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold, it’s a part of the journey. You will be helping another nice character named Regina who runs a cafe serving legendary recipes in High Lagaard. Hence, your exploration won’t just be to scrutinize the beauty of Ygdrassil Tree, but to find tasty and weird ingredients to turn into delicious (and sometimes weird) dishes. It’s not just strengthening your party, but the food creation itself is worth a read, referencing some cultures and everyone’s taste. Of course, you have to sell the food to develop the town, that turns into more customers and more revenue.
Some technical issues are improved and enhanced: faster loading speed, and a lot of save slots that might be useful to some people (especially for the Classic Mode). Yuzo Koshiro is back to arrange the soundtrack, and it is terrific as usual. Both newcomers and veterans would enjoy the arrangement, and yes, you can even switch the BGM to the original version for nostalgia.
If you have experienced the story from the first Untold title, Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight offers the same quality. While not as great as Atlus’ other franchises, as you play the game you can feel that the team put much effort to recreate Etrian Odyssey 2’s realm with a more genuine story. Some elements of the original game are used again in the Story Mode, yet tweaked to a degree that you will enjoy. Yes, especially those tough bosses. Don’t expect some grandiose tale, but Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold is kind of sweet and warm – a friendly revisit.