After 12 years, Atlus’ long-running dungeon-crawling series is coming to its conclusion on Nintendo’s dual-screened family of handheld systems with Etrian Odyssey Nexus. As a send-off to the series, Nexus is packed full of nostalgic nods to the series’ past entries with returning classes, dungeons, music and more to give long time players the warm-fuzzies. Newcomers will find this entry as a good jumping in point as well as it has a number of beginner-friendly difficulty options and mechanics that will assist in acclimating them to the systems and games of the Etrian series.
Nexus still remains true to what made the series a hit with fans with its dungeon-diving, deep character building, and unique map making mechanics. Tasked with exploring the floating city of Maginia by its princess, prepare to take on townsfolk requests, important missions, and guild quests in addition to braving the perils of dungeons to discover the secrets of the floating new land.
Players have an immense amount of variety in which to create their team from, with 19 classes spanning the entire series’ history, including the new “Hero” class, with each of the classes having three pages of skill trees. The sheer amount of options available to you, especially newcomers, is a lot to take on and process, bordering on overwhelming. That isn’t even touching on the fact that after a certain point in the game, you can subclass each character to be able to learn half of a whole other class’ skills! Each character class comes with four main portraits, with four additional color variations on said portraits which you can then further customize the look of by adjusting hair, eye, and skin colors. You also have the option to have a character use the portraits from any of the other classes as well, so if you want a Zodiac character who looks like a cute innocent farmer, go right ahead!
Mapmaking is still front and center in this latest title, tasking players to draw each floor on the map as they explore, marking harvesting spots, doors, stairways and the like, all while contending with the various F.O.Es and critters of death on each floor. Much of this though can now be toggled to be done automatically for you, removing the need to manually add walls and marks. These options are handy to be sure, but I do think that it removes a small part of the charm that these games have so I would recommend for new players to leave these options off and draw maps the old fashion way! Doing so will give you a much better appreciation for the dungeons, help you memorize the locations, and give you a bigger sense of accomplishment when you go and sell maps you made yourself.
The presentation remains full of well-drawn anime still portraits when interacting with NPCs with dungeon navigation retaining its first-person view. Graphically it is very similar to Etrian Odyssey 5 and the Untold games. Labyrinths from previous titles will make surprise appearances as a nod to the series roots, and while their inclusion from older titles will be lost on newcomers, as a series veteran seeing them flooded my thoughts with memories of old adventures. Each labyrinth brims with their own flare and personality, making them just as much a character of these games as anyone you will find in and out of the city.
Music from earlier games accompanies brand new arrangements which will delight fans, as they explore revamped dungeons from series’ past and brand new areas unique to the new land of Maginia. Characters and the voices you can select for your guild members this time will remain confined to being the Japanese voice dub only, as Atlus has confirmed there isn’t an English dub option. While it is a bit of a bummer that an option that was present in earlier titles is absent here, I understand the rationale behind it, as the Nintendo 3DS is long since past its prime and the Nintendo Switch is center stage, it didn’t make good financial sense to re-dub it.
Etrian Odyssey Nexus reminds me a lot of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. The love that was put into this game by Atlus as a sendoff to a much loved, often rage-inducing, franchise, is clear from the opening moments of the game. Whether you are a returning player looking for one last thrill or a newcomer looking for one more game for your 3DS, you won’t be disappointed. From the returning characters in town to the classic classes, to finally the familiar dungeons it all just makes for a perfect “one last go round” with this series before it hopefully moves onto Nintendo’s new powerhouse, the Switch.
Be sure to check out the stream we did of the first labyrinth of Etrian Odyssey Nexus !
This game was reviewed on a launch model Nintendo 3DS system installed with a capture card with a review code provided by Atlus.