Dungeon crawlers have been one of the biggest surprises for me in all my years of gaming. The idea of rigorously treading through a seemingly endless dungeon full of ridiculously challenging enemies and assured failure around nay every corner just didn’t seem all that fun. When I had the opportunity to play Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan on Nintendo 3DS, all my perceptions shifted. Suddenly the idea of immense challenge and discovery was fun, fresh, and exciting. Exploring a dungeon for the first time was unlike any other RPG before, and I found myself bleeding countless hours into the game only to progress forward a small bit. Being able to map out the dungeon floor, marking the location of items and major enemies gave myself a grand sense of security, like I had an advantage over the once threatening world which spelled my doom numerous times before.
So then why is Etrian Mystery Dungeon, a game which strips away that safety blanket of knowing the coordinates of each dungeon and replaces it with randomly generated floors while still maintaining the degree of difficulty of past Etrian games, still incredibly fun, fresh, and exciting?
It comes down to Etrian Mystery Dungeon doing two things right: exploration and development. (more…)