Here’s another (too) long post about a video game!

Etrian Odyssey 2

Remember when I was whining about not finding the map or knowing where to go or what to do and needing a walkthrough in Final Fantasy 1? Me too! The problem is, I now have to reconcile that with how hard I LOVE this other game I started playing. It pretty much takes everything I complained about in FFI and ramps it up times ten. Somehow this equals a winning formula for me (I almost said “equals win” but I caught myself).

Not knowing where to go in FFI bothered me? Well, in EO2 most of the game takes place in a dungeon that is basically a maze by design and as you go through it, you have to draw your own map (using the stylus, which is the first time I really felt like that thing was being used properly).

Not knowing what to do next to advance the story in FFI? EO2 has almost no story, and almost never tells you what to do next. But it feels like it’s supposed to be that way, as opposed to being a design flaw. You want to explore and map out more of the dungeon? Go ahead. Want to complete a quest? Do it.

On top of that, you create and control every aspect of your characters. You can create a guild of up to 30 people, taking up to 5 at a time in your party. You name them, choose their class, what they look like, and control every stat and skill increase as they level up. If you told me this a few weeks ago, I would have written it off as pointlessly tedious, but it really adds to the feeling of accomplishment as you advance through the game.

I think what I like most, is that battles are actually dangerous, and require some thought. In FFI the formula is pretty much attack attack attack during all the random encounters, then heal and use your powerful spells on the bosses. In EO2, your first time in the dungeon, a random battle actually poses a threat of wiping out your party. And don’t even think about taking on a boss until you actually get to the point where you CAN handle the random battles on that floor with nothing but basic attacks. Even then, the bosses are hard and most of your party will be taken out in order to take them down. I love that.

I guess what it boils down to is that it’s the same basic formula of exploring and getting stronger in order to explorer more and get even stronger, but this game somehow makes it fun and gives you a good feeling of accomplishment and control, instead of simply going through the motions to advance the story.

I do still enjoy FF though, and I’m still using the walkthrough. I enjoy hypocrisy. I bathe in it. We should discuss religion sometime. My hypocrisy readings are off the charts.

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