Etrian Odyssey is an interestingly crafted experience in that there isn't much in the way of story or character development. Interesting in that there is no story beyond "get as far down into this goddamn tree as possible" and interesting that as far as your characters go, they might as well not even exist. I'm one of those hopelessly lonely people that yearn for any kind of connection I can form with anything at all; it's of no particular consequence whether or not that particular "thing" is real or not.
Etrian Odyssey was wonderful for me because it allowed me to create characters (that you never hear from or see) and imagine them in whatever light I see fit. After spending so much time crawling around in dungeons with these characters, you eventually begin to imagine what they would be like. As the largest part of my experience with Etrian Odyssey revolved around these characters and how I imagined they would be, I feel the best way to explain my feelings for this game would be to introduce you to the members of my team. As such,
Virtuous (Virtue) Patience - Female Protector - Front Left
Virtue is not a terribly intelligent human being. Growing up, it would become readily apparent on countless occasions that she has no marketable skills and cannot begin to comprehend even the simplest of ideas. Being that she will never be able to find herself employable in any way, shape or form she had decided to beg her parents for whatever armour is cheapest so that she meet other people with similar shortcomings and go on an adventure of her own. Needing to do something with her life, it is through Virtue's initiative that these five people have come together and committed themselves to throwing their lives away thousands of feet under the earth deep in some God-forsaken tree.
Angela Forcelius Cortez Holisticus IV - Female Landsknecht - Front Right
Latest in a long line of cobblers, Angela had originally been planning to continue the family business and make a living off of delicately crafting high-priced shoes from low-quality materials. It was her longtime friend Virtue (who Angela kept around mostly to make herself seem and feel more intelligent) who had convinced her to eschew the family business in favour of an expedition in the direction of the planet's very core. The major contention here is that Angela has an unfortunate combination of dendrophobia and claustrophobia, which makes her increasingly useless as the group passed deeper into this dimly-lit, possibly smelly tree.
Arklus Anton - Male Troubadour - Back Left
Ark is broke. He has no money. Having no previously established relationship with Virtue, the only reason he's assisting in their madcap adventure towards certain death is because he was promised an unspecified, yet glorious, amount of treasure. Virtue herself wasn't entirely sure what there was to be found, so lacking any imagination she had simply described his reward as "beyond his wildest dreams". Luckily for the group, Arklus doesn't appear to be any more of a genius than Virtue is.
Pious Consideration - Male Medic - Back Middle
Pious is an old codger. Being present when Virtue was born and watching her develop throughout her life, Pious was really goddamn concerned when he had heard that she was going to collect anyone willing to go with her for what more or less amounted to nothing beyond a suicide mission. It would be no exaggeration to claim that the only reason their group had made it as far as they did would be due to his efforts. After all, with Virtue being as intelligent as a pheasant, Angela being crippled by a combination of all her greatest fears at once, Arklus being either asleep or pretending to be asleep and Geese often nowhere to be found, all Pious could do was fix everyone up in the hopes that they might survive for at least a little while longer.
Geese Geeste - Male Survivalist - Back Right
Geese is upset. Geese is upset that his given name is Geese, that his family name is Geeste, and that they disappeared from his life before he could ever get back at them for it. This fellow's parents were renowned adventurers the both of them, and Geese was often left in the care of his relatives when his parents would disappear for years at a time to do whatever the hell it is adventurers do-- Geese was never terribly clear on that subject. After coming of an unspecified age, Geese had deliberated the only way he would be able to find his parents so that he can slap them is if he went out on some venture of his own. Even though he had joined up with Virtue's team in the hope that his family might be somewhere deep within Yggdrasil (which was an entirely stupid idea, as I'm sure Geese was aware; he just needed to a reason to get out of the house) so that he can reward them both for their terrible choice in names with a firm open hand. Unfortunately, Geese is absolutely terrified of his own mortality, and tends to disappear when his group needs him most. I still love him, though.
So that's the team that I believed would be able to take me through Etrian Odyssey. It's not as though they did terribly, but they sure did get themselves wrecked in postgame. I'm very excited for Etrian Odyssey 2; those kind of archaic dungeon-crawlers are extremely rare nowadays, and the original Etrian Odyssey was the most fun I had had since Arcana. I mean, if they rereleased Arcana for the DS now and stole Etrian Odyssey's whole map-making thing... well, I think it would be swell. That's an understatement.