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Dr Spaceman's blog

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Dr Spaceman avatar 11:34 AM on 06.06.2008  (server time)
Tales of Etrian Odyssey

So, since this contest was started a few weeks ago, I have been playing Etrian
just about non-stop. Although it is not my first dive into RPG gaming, this has
been a unique experience. For those of you that don't know that much about it, Etrian
Odyssey is an old style RPG dungeon crawler type game.

You start by forming a guild, then you create your characters, picking from 7 classes (two
more become available later, but I'm not sure how, yet), and then it is of to the dungeon.
Most of the game play is centered around combat, which I think is done very well in this
game. But one of the things I like about Etrian Odyssey is the cartography. When you
enter a new floor of the dungeon, you must draw out your path on the in-game map. Here
is the throwback to old style text-based computer games from like 25-30 years ago, when
dirt was new and gas was 68 cents a gallon.

I find the map making mechanic so interesting that I have attempted traveling through
floors of the dungeon that are way above my combat level, just so I can paint my map with
pretty lines and symbols. I love how the DS stylus replaces the pen and paper map making
that was so crucial to a genre of gaming that has been missing for so long. Legend of
Zelda: Phantom Hourglass used this cartography mechanic in a similar way, and did it well,
but since it wasn't so important to your survival, Etrian Odyssey does it better. "it"
being the throwback to pen and paper dungeon crawling, not being awesome, we all know
LoZ is awesome.

Having grown up in the 80's and 90's, I missed out on some of types of game play that I
very well could have enjoyed, and Etrian Odyssey does a good job (from what I can
tell) of bringing some of it back.

Also, it is a bitch to revive dead characters, too expensive.

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