Seeing the Etrian Odyssey trilogy, first launched on the Nintendo DS in 2007, 2008, and 2010, show up on Steam felt like a dream come true for a dungeon crawler fan like me. However then I began to fret. These video games weren’t simply unique to Nintendo’s twin display screen handheld: they had been designed with the DS’s distinctive multi-display touchscreen options firmly in thoughts. How might that probably translate to PC?
These ports had been already in troubled waters earlier than I would even downloaded them, as a result of they only do not actually match their new house—or anything on the market, both. After which to make issues worse, Atlus declared it was including fashionable “QoL” options and “conveniences” to a trio of video games that at all times meant to be retro-hard, that at all times tried to ship an expertise that was memorable as a result of it was a wrestle, as a result of it took a whole lot of effort. I used to be able to reject these HD remasters, and as a lot as I really feel I ought to recoil in horror at these betrayals of the sequence’ principals …
The reality is I am really having a good time.
A lot of the high quality of life adjustments actually do nothing greater than carry these first three Etrian Odysseys in step with later entries within the sequence: the flexibility to sidestep, simply understood talent timber, quicksave (with out quitting), and a number of slots to save lots of and cargo from at will. I used to be frightened the brand new difficulty choice may throw off the stability right here, however difficulty choices exist within the later video games too and work advantageous on this new implementation. They provide the prospect to modify between “Picnic” “Primary” and “Skilled” any time I am again on the town.
The outline of every difficulty stage is intentionally imprecise, putting the deal with selecting the best difficulty for me, right away, in these circumstances (within the game and out of it), fairly than making an attempt to nudge me in direction of the “appropriate” or “meant” possibility for a whole playthrough. All three video games are higher for these adjustments, handy with out smoothing the trilogy right into a bland inoffensive mush.
The identical might be mentioned of the automap, which you’ll be able to modify as you play. These remasters provide a spread of clear icons so that you can use mixed with snap-to-grid strains and fills to maintain your private cartographic touches tidy. It helps keyboard and mouse enter—not at all times a assure with ports like this—so you may kind in notes and customise the map with ease. It is also potential to have the video games auto-draw close by partitions in addition to flooring, saving time with out detracting from the exploration.
Sadly exploration, the central pillar of the sequence, makes a nasty first impression. Everytime you enter a dungeon you are not greeted with a fullscreen HD view of a lush forest where water trickles down stone and delightful flowers sway within the breeze. As an alternative you get a fairly squished display screen where third is occupied by the complete map and a zoomed-in part, one stacked on high of the opposite. This screen-hogging map stack is definitely lowered to a handy minimap (and summoned once more while you want it) with a fast faucet of the Z key in your keyboard, nevertheless it’s a disgrace my preliminary response was “Woah that is in the best way I must do away with it.” I want as a substitute of the default view I would been ready to decide on to carry it up in my very own time as a useful instrument.
On PC particularly it is simple to see all of the extra elegant selections not made right here: Why not make the map clear, or tuck it away in a bit auto-minimising tab? Why not place it in its personal resizeable, moveable window, the best way The Legacy: Realm of Terror managed to do on DOS machines all the best way again in 1992?
As soon as I did put the complete map away and get take a look at my environment, Etrian Odyssey’s artwork course shone as brilliantly in its new PC house because it at all times has. Every thing has been redrawn fairly than batch-upscaled or mindlessly AI’d to hell and again—even the 3D environments have been tweaked fairly than merely rendered at the next decision. But all of it seems so near the originals, not solely is all the pieces instantly recognisable nevertheless it’s straightforward to trick your self into believing the video games at all times regarded this good.
On the entire, anyway. For all that is been improved, some outdated limitations have unusually been left untouched. Particulars designed to provide the phantasm of distant areas stretching method past the partitions that bind you to the dungeon’s infinite corridors are clearly (and fuzzily) painted onto flat partitions, and the view into the gap nonetheless abruptly cuts off something greater than a meagre 4 ground tiles away. On screens the dimensions and backbone of the DS’ these had been efficient load-lightening methods that had been solely actually noticeable for those who went on the lookout for them, and even then blended in effectively with the environment. However right here in HD there’s an apparent synthetic edge to the world that wasn’t there earlier than.
The music falls alongside the identical strains because the graphics, for higher and worse. The acquainted melodies and thrilling battle tracks are as gratifying as ever—not all that stunning contemplating they had been as soon as once more created by trade legend Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, and a lot extra)—and so they’ve been subtly but totally improved in a method that makes you suppose they at all times sounded this good. However as nice as they’re, they do lack the “crunchy” uncooked chiptune fringe of the originals, and there is sadly no toggle within the menus to carry that outdated sound again.
So the primary three Etrian Odyssey video games are lastly freed from an more and more awkward and now unsupported house. Apart from my worries they would not fairly work on this new kind, I additionally questioned if anybody would actually care. No person’s been in a position to throw a keyboard in PC gaming for 40 years with out hitting a dungeon crawler or 12, so even when these HD remakes are pretty much as good as I feel they often are—can they stand out on PC?
Sure they’ll. It was apparent from the second I began to play that Etrian Odyssey’s nonetheless obtained it.
Etrian Odyssey is so unmistakably its personal factor, with its personal stunning model, that as legendary or foundational because the likes of Wizardry or The Bard’s Story or Legend of Grimrock are, the one dungeon crawlers just like the Etrian Odyssey trilogy are different Etrian Odyssey video games. They seize the concept of an enthralling freeform trek into the attractive unknown, each step combined with terror, marvel, and the implications of our personal character-building selections and mapmaking abilities. Our Steam libraries are higher for accessing them, and this new easy, unified expertise feels as loving and respectful as a lavish Criterion Assortment re-release of your favorite film.
Etrian Odyssey’s PC remakes really feel much less like ports and way more like a protracted overdue coming house celebration.