"The refinements made throughout the series come together in the latest installment."
After the release of Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth in Japan, overseas audiences waited a long time to hear from Atlus on a localization. Our wishes have been granted, and we got some hands-on time with the game at this year's E3.
Players will notice improvements right after the title screen. One of the biggest enhancements is the character customization options for the main party members. The options include four races, ten classes, and a multitude of cosmetic changes, including hair color, eye color, skin tone, and 40 voices, as well as no voice for those that prefer a silent protagonist. As the party levels up, there is a skill tree that provides multiple options for players to choose from; this leads to countless party configurations and allows players to create a party perfectly suited to their tastes.
Gameplay is similar to previous titles, including a first person view, turn-based battles, and a tile-based map that reveals itself as you explore dungeons. The map contains several features used to make dungeon exploration more convenient, including the ability to mark treasure chests, enemies, obstacles, and more. Adding to the customization options are multiple icons you can use to mark the map, including numbers, arrows, exclamation points, and icons for all of the dungeons contents. For players who would prefer to have the maps automatically drawn, there is an auto-map option available. Fans of the series will likely be happy with the gameplay features in this installment.
Likewise, combat is similar to previous entries, with turn-based battles that are standard Etrian Odyssey fare but run faster and smoother than ever before. The enemies that I encountered during my session were common creatures, but provided a good way to test out the battle system using standard attacks, spells, and enhancements. While I didn't get to fight a boss during my time with the game, powerful enemies will require more intricate tactics alongside a strong party lineup to prevail. Etrian Odyssey V doesn't reinvent the wheel, but fans of the series will likely be pleased with combat in the latest entry.
Overall, Etrian Odyssey V doesn't overhaul the series' tried and true formula. It gives the fans what they want, and those who loved the series in the past will likely be fond of the upcoming entry. The refinements made throughout the franchise's history come together in the latest installment, and newcomers wanting to dive into the series will find Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth the most accessible entry yet.