For fans of Etrian Odyssey, 2013 has been a great year without a doubt for the series. Earlier this spring Atlus released Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (which we reviewed if you're new to the series and want to get caught up) with NIS America releasing the game in Europe this month. In North America Atlus is set to release Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, a re-imagining of sort of the original Etrian Odyssey that first appeared back on the original Nintendo DS.
Until now the Etrian Odyssey series has had a story but it's really meant more as a reason to explore the dungeons and progress further in the game, which is normal for the genre. Instead of creating another numbered sequel, however, Atlus decided to go back to the original game as a base. Purists can still play the game by building their own party like they did in the original (along with some other extras that'll be brought up later in this preview), but for newcomers and those who want a new experience there's a brand-new story mode which builds on the original Etrian Odyssey's story with new pre-defined characters and classes.
From my experience so far playing through the game's story mode, Atlus has done quite an excellent job in enhancing the narrative without taking away from the dungeon trekking aspect that the series is known for. In dungeons where normally the player would come across a random item laying on the ground and pick it up (with either a good or bad consequence depending on their actions), Untold's story mode includes some banter between the characters. The important scenes inside the dungeons also receive this approach as well.
Exclusive to Untold's story mode is a new area, Gladsheim (fans who already played the original and remember that game's story might find this name interesting from a mythology standpoint). Initially limited to just one section from the outset, players can gain access to new areas inside the dungeon by exploring the main dungeon. There's some interesting gimmicks inside this area that weren't really touched upon in the original game's dungeons and the story segments gained by exploring Gladsheim helps to expand on what existed in the original Etrian Odyssey.
Available in both the original and story mode are new items called Grimoire Stones. In Etrian Odyssey IV, players could subclass their units to gain access to new skills. In Untold this is now done by equipping those stones which can give access to new skills and the ability to equip new weapons depending on what stone is chosen. Three stones can also be combined with one another to create a stronger stone as well.
We'll have more details and our final thoughts about the game later this month, but if you're interested in a sneak peak at Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl Atlus has now released a demo on the Nintendo eShop that includes access to the first few dungeons in the game and allows for transfer of your progress to the full version of the game (both retail and digital).
After you've played through the demo some, please let us know what you'd be interested in having us focus on in our full review of the game later this month by commenting below.