Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan Review

It’s been a few years since I’ve picked up an Etrian Odyssey game—five, in fact. My first experience with the series was Etrian Odyssey II for the Nintendo DS back in 2008. To be quite frank, I was not very fond of the game, and I quit playing after about a dozen hours. My disdain of the game prevented me from picking up Etrian Odyssey III, but with all of the praise I’ve been hearing about the series’ latest iteration, I’ve decided to give the series another shot.


About the Game

Genre: RPG

ESRB: Teen for Mild Blood, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes

Developer: Atlus

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Release Dates:

JP: July 05, 2012

NA: February 26, 2013

EU: April 5, 2013

The main problem I’ve had with the series is ironically one its main gameplay “features”—cartography. Basically, you move around dungeons in first-person view on the top screen while charting out a map on the bottom screen. Mapping is pretty interesting at first, but just like in Etrian Odyssey II (which I will refer to as EOII for now on), I found it a very toilsome task. Moving a few spaces then stopping to chart them out is time-consuming and considerably slows down the game’s pace. Additionally, it can get frustrating if you unintentionally chart something incorrectly. For example, in one dungeon, I accidentally drew a wall at a branching path. I didn’t notice the error until after I spent the better of twenty minutes trying to figure out where to go. While this isn’t necessarily the game’s fault, per se, it’s an annoying problem which can easily happen. While I’m obviously not a fan of charting maps, I will commend the game’s map-making tools. There are plenty of different icons you can use to mark objects on the map as well as the option to add memos to certain map panels. While the task of charting is annoying, you at least have a good set of tools to make things go smoothly. The top-notch mapping system helps alleviate some frustration, and it’s great for perfectionists that have to chart each map panel-perfect.


The other major issue I had with EOII was the difficulty. While I consider myself pretty hardcore when it comes to RPGs, EOII’s unforgiving difficulty turned me off. Fortunately, there is now a casual difficulty that eases players into the game and eliminates a lot of the frustration. While I personally do not play on casual (albeit for one dungeon), it may be ideal for those who want to get into the game, but don’t want to invest hours into grinding. Since you can change difficulty on-the-fly, I decided to play awhile on casual just for the sake of testing it out. It is indeed much easier than normal. In fact, I found it a bit too easy. For the majority of the game though, I’ve been on normal, and it’s almost as unforgiving as EOII. You’ll need to grind for a very a long time in order to survive the later floors and dungeons, and it’s heartbreaking if you meet an unexpected game over. Losing possibly hours of grinding is very frustrating, but at least your map data is retained. Honestly, that in itself removes most of the sting.

Gripes about the cartography system and the game’s occasional difficulty aside, I’ve been having one helluva time. The classes and subclasses are all pretty balanced, and it’s pretty fun deciding which classes to use and figuring out how to arrange your team members and formations. The large amount of customization options for building units and teams provides tons of different possibilities on how you structure your party. The game’s battle system is fairly straightforward. Battles are in first-person and play out similarly to the original Dragon Quest and Shin Megami games. The main difference between this game and those is that both players and enemies have front/back rows, so you’ll need to make use of your character’s skills and plan attacks with accordingly. You’ll need to formulate many different strategies for each dungeon and its denizens.

 Besides the stupid map, I also found myself enjoying various aspects of dungeon crawling. One of the more exciting parts of dungeon-crawling is the FOEs you can encounter. FOEs are basically enemies that will make your life hell if you engage them in a battle which will most likely lead you to a game over. In EOII, FOEs were just spherical sprites that chased you down on the map that you couldn’t see until you engaged them. Now the FOEs have fully dedicated models on the map. Before, you had no idea what you were running from. There wasn’t much tension running away from a sphere. Watching beasts chase you down a dungeon is quite exhilarating and make you fear FOEs in a way the previous games couldn’t. Another way FOEs can terrify you is that they can ambush you while you’re engaged in battle with something else. For every turn that passes in battle, FOEs can move one panel on the map. Getting into a random battle while being chased down can lead to a quick game over. The only thing I really hated about dungeon exploration, other than drawing maps, was having to check everything for possible interaction. There are some things you can only find by examining the wall while facing it a certain way. This means you’ll need to be strafing walls just to be sure you don’t miss anything. Additionally, NPCs are found in a similar fashion. For whatever reason, you cannot see NPCs on the field (all you get is a “talk” prompt if you’re over a panel where they apparently are), so finding specific people can be annoying.  Besides those two annoyances though, dungeon grinding is addictive and fun.

Another thing I’ve been enjoying is the amount of content packed into the game. In addition to the main quests, there’s a fuck ton of side quests to do. Speaking of main quests, I guess I should talk about the story—or lack of. To be honest, I have no idea what the story is. The story is far from captivating or memorable, but at least you can skip through it relatively fast, so you can get back to the gameplay without being bogged down by its banality for too long.

In conclusion, I’ve been having a blast with the newest Etrian Odyssey. The small changes from EOII make the series much less frustrating and easier to get into. Even if the previous iterations turned you off, I’d suggest you give this game a shot—it’s that good. Sure, there are still some headaches, but once you get past them, you have a challenging game that will last you dozens, if not hundreds, of hours. The 3DS has been on a roll with great JRPGs being released one after the other. This is no exception.

Holy fuck, this review is long. Time for some tl;dr

What I liked:

-Lots of content

-The classes were well-varied

-The battle system

– Exploring dungeons is fun, for the most part

-I can make a party of lolis

What I didn’t like:

-Drawing maps

-The soundtrack. It’s pretty dull, and I almost fell asleep listening to it countless times

-Drawing maps

-Graphics and 3D are pretty bland


-The game starts out pretty slow and takes some time getting into


-The overworld gets boring and tedious over time

-Did I mention drawing maps?

-If you’re not paying attention, you can easily accidentally send your party to their demise and lose everything

-The goddamn maps

-Casual is too easy, normal is a tad bit too hard


I know I have more dislikes, but the pros outweigh the cons for this one.

If brutal difficulty and 70+ hour gameplay is your thing, this game’s for you. Otherwise, you may be put off by the amount of time you’ll need to invest into the game. If you’re unsure, just download the demo on the Nintendo Store and give it a spin. Your save file from the demo can also be imported into the actual game, so there’s no downside to trying it out.

Final Verdict: 8/10 ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶m̶a̶p̶ ̶a̶g̶a̶i̶n̶

Posted by skiddiks under 3DS, Video Game Reviews | Permalink

9 Responses to “Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan Review”

  1. St. McDuck says:

    I’m like 40 hours into the game and hoping it goes on for another 100. I love it.

  2. maou says:

    I still havent try this game since I still havent own a 3ds yet. But you really should try EO3! As someone who have played EO1-3 I have to say EO3 have a real nice storyline +multiple ending, The game is alo much more player friendly(easier)than the previous games.

  3. Psyme says:

    I love making the maps, personally. It is not for everybody, unfortunately.

    • skiddiks says:

      They didn’t bother me at first, but after a few hours, it got tedious. I kinda like speeding through dungeons, so stopping every now and then slowed the game down a bit.

      I can totally understand why some people love it though. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment when you fully chart an area out.

  4. lk says:

    -The soundtrack. It’s pretty dull, and I almost fell asleep listening to it countless times

    Probably my favourite soundtrack of this year so far…

    Also, this game is the easiest of the 4 games

    • skiddiks says:

      I did enjoy a lot of the tracks, but the majority of them was pretty mediocre and uninspiring, in my opinion.

      The game may be the easiest of the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy game.

  5. Xfraze says:

    …How do you take screen shots with the 3DS?

  6. motaku96 says:

    You don’t like the soundtrack? I think the soundtrack is one of the most epic I’ve heard in awhile.

    I was pretty unsure of the map thing at first, but surprisingly, I really like it. In fact, I think I’m looking at the bottom screen more than the top.

  7. Zeta says:

    I wasn’t terribly fond of EOIV’s OST, myself. It’s definitely the weakest of the series, but it’s still one of the best OSTs I’ve heard all year.

    Give the OST to Etrian Odyssey III a listen for some of the best battle themes I’ve ever heard.