As a remake/retreading/reimagining (take your pick) of the 2008 original, Etrian Odyssey comes with an actual preset story instead of the absolute hardcore focus on dungeon crawling (though that is also an option via Classic mode here), with predetermined classes and characters. You play the Highlander visiting the city of Etria, a town hub that rests next to the Labyrinth, a giant maze of dark forests, mythical earthen lands and strange technology hubs that serve the majority of the setting. Soon enough you stumble upon a group of allies, one of which is the titular Millennium Girl, an amnesia stricken girl with an affinity for technology. Insert obligatory JRPG clichés here: an amnesiac girl, a rising threat, a scholarly medic, the reckless pyrotechnic, the battle hardened commander, it’s all been done before. Thankfully the cast is made up of likeable characters, and their brief interludes between exploring and combat are a nice touch. Despite the likeability of the characters, their arcs are simple and obvious and originate from the oldest RPG stereotypes in the book.
Etrian Odyssey isn’t anything spectacular to look at, but it presents itself serviceably well. The dungeon layouts are repetitive which can lead to confusion as to where to go, but I suppose the limitations of the 3DS combined with the robust map system can make this a forgiving flaw. There’s nothing quite like looking at a complete map, one that you have done yourself without the help or the handholding from the game and it’s a remarkably satisfying feeling.
Cutscenes look great and the enemy types all look unique, which is refreshing after looking at the same dungeon layouts for hours. The menu system is a bit simplistic and cluttered but it’s all serviceable. Overall the presentation is nothing special; the cutscenes and characters all look nice, but repetitive dungeon layouts and clunky text brings it down.