Alright, Etrian Odyssey..what a fantastic game. I was flooded with a sense of nostalgia as I played the throwback to oldschool RPGs. The game was brutally unforgiving, scouring the seemingly endless Yggdrassil Labryinth, encountering a mass variety of enemies, and the fearful FOEs. Methodically sneaking around the maze, trying not to be caught by the dreaded FOEs. You were never in any condition to fight them on your first visit to any stratum. Even after level grinding for two hours, ther were still brutal.
So many classes, having to constantly reconfigure your party to find the right combination of fighters and skills. Always training new classes, resting, redistributing skill points to make the most efficient killing machine. Only to have your star team cut down by a brutal boss, and having to start the process over again.
The gorgeous backgrounds of the Labryinth, being viewed from the first person perspective. The fun and freedom of mapping your own progress, making your own notes, and marking the areas that were important for you. The fast pace of the battles, never dragging exploration down.
So, with all this going on I have to choose a single, most memorable experience. I just don't think that's even possible.
Perhaps I will say it was finding out just how difficult and unforgiving this game actually was. I loved it. After playing modern RPGs, and just blowing through them with no effort, it was refreshing to finally play a game that would offer me a challenge. A game where skill distribution, and party build actually made a difference. You couldn't just throw any old party together in Etrian Odyseey and expect to survive.
My first foray into the labryinth was initially very easy. I was lulled into a false sense of security, cutting effortlessly through the enemies of the first and second floors. I thought I made myself a good party to pave my way through the depths. Until I encountered my first FOE, that is. First attack by the FOE, my Protector is dead. I revive him, he is killed again. Repeat until I am out of items, then slaughtered in seconds. Oddly enough, I was happy with this. The rate at which the enemy's difficulty increased was amazing. Even the generic enemies got hard fast.
I head immediately back to the Labryinth, and farm for items, sell them, reconfigure, and reequip my party. Didn't make much of a difference, but I manage to scrape by these battles.
You'd think the constant releveling of new party members would be annoying, but it was quite the opposite. It felt great. It offered countless hours of hardcore fun. I couldn't put the game down. I brought my DS with me whereever I went, and broke it out everywhere to level up a bit more, and make a push to the next Stratum.
Overall, my most memorable experience with Etrian Odyssey was Etrian Odyssey. The whole package the title offered was perfect. Now with Etrian Odyssey 2 on the way, I look forward to more brutallity and class building fun!