GAMES - Review
11:00 - 4th July 2014, by Matt Kamen

Etrian Odyssey Untold: the Millennium Girl

The Etrian Odyssey series has always been something of a sleeper property in the west, which is slightly odd - it's perhaps the most 'western' RPG franchise ever seen on handhelds. Rather than a line-up of scripted characters, players create their entire team, setting skills and stats. Battles are turn-based, but typically brutally difficult, and dungeons must be mapped out as you explore them.

The Millennium Girl is the first real deviation from this formula. It's a loose remake of the very first game that keeps the systems above intact but adds an actual story, with named characters and set-pieces throughout. As the Highlander - the only blank slate character, given he's meant to be you - you're hired to investigate mysterious ruins near the city of Etria. Finding a girl named Frederica locked in stasis there - a curiously high-tech situation for a fantasy world - you're joined by knight Raquna, alchemist Arthur, and medic Simon in uncovering the secrets of the ruins and Frederica's past.

The game very obviously uses the same engine as last year's Etrian Odyssey IV, and even repeats some of the same enemies and attacks. This leads to a sense of repetition for returning players. However, it's not as punishingly challenging as its predecessor, which makes it far more appealing. Make no mistake, this is still a beast of a game, with enemies so tough that cautious progression remains a necessity.

The map-making is likely the most divisive element. We appreciated the test of marking down every hidden facet, but can see how many gamers would find it a dull element - very much a love / hate situation.

With anime cut scenes and surprisingly solid voice-acting throughout, The Millennium Girl is likely to appeal to more J-RPG fans than previous Odyssey games did - just don't expect a Final Fantasy-type experience.

A tough, alternative option for fans of Japanese games. It's not to everyone's tastes, but those who 'get' it will adore it.
SCORE: 4/5
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