(Or: Oh no! My dignity!)
It had been months and months since the first Etrian Odyssey had been released, and I had yet to beat it. This was for a number of reasons. I had moved twice. I had to work. I had classes. Even pirates kept me from beating the game. But with the announcement of the sequel being released in the US I resolved to finally get around to beating the game. To kick butt, take names, basically be the most badass mofo the Yggy Labyrinth had ever seen get lost in its foresty depths. More importantly, I was stuck in a plane and didn't exactly have anything better to do.
I ran into a number of problems right at the outset. I didn't exactly recall what as going on...where was I? Where was I supposed to go? And what the heck was I doing when I was working on my character builds? One thing I quickly remembered was that the first real boss had slaughtered my party with reckless abandon, and did so often, most likely because my characters had horrible builds. A restart was clearly called for.
I named my new guild Einherjar...or, you know, I would've if I had an extra character to work with. I did not. I briefly considered awkward shortened names like Einhejar, or melodramatic names like Fallen or Avengers. But...Fallen was a bit of a bad omen, or at least melodramatic, and it wasn't like my guild would've been avenging much. Plus, it made me think of Marvel comics and I'm not that much of a fan. (What would Spider-Man be? A Dark Hunter?) I ended up giving up and in an obscure Riviera reference ended up naming my guild Diviner and proceeded with the game.
To recount the bold adventures of Diviner would be long, epic, and involve lots of rabbit farming. It would also involve from killer deer whose only desire was to slaughter my party, feast upon their entrails, and bathe in the blood of the recently deceased. There were bull-like monsters whose goals were much like the deer, save that they were a great deal better at the killing part. There were vicious wolves who were surprisingly wimpy considering the fact that they came after the monstrous bulls, but I wasn't arguing.
....and actually, at this point, allow me to note that there's going to be a technical spoiler. I doubt it would really matter, as for one thing you're reading a blog about this game, and for another it's not really much of a spoiler. It would be like saying one obtains Bahamut in a Final Fantasy game or announcing that a Star Ocean game crashes on an underdeveloped planet at some point. You know, a non-spoiler spoiler. Point being, here's a warning, don't come crying to me if I ruined your game experience.
And deeper within the bowels of the First Stratum was him. Fenrir. Dark wolf, master of the lesser F.O.E., alpha male who had no doubt had a taste for guild Diviner. In fact, I reused a lot of character names and character portraits, as in the name/portrait combinations who had previously been gnawed on by Fenrir. I suspect that if my characters could talk, they'd be saying stuff like, "Why do I feel like I've been here before?" "AAAAH! ...sorry. It was the wolf nightmare again." "I've got a bad feeling ab-- OH CRAP RUN." Ah, reincarnation.
But it wasn't like I had anything better to do, and after a couple of hours of grinding I was ready to kill or have my characters be killed by Fenrir. So down I went, leaving a bloodbath in my wake, strolling towards the beast. I had a bit of trepidation, but I knew that I did not want to live a life of fear and be stuck in the First Stratum, which was getting kinda boring at that point.
I...well, Diviner...approached Fenrir. The beast attacked. The dramatic boss music started pumping through my headphones, and with salted peanuts in my stomach and a cup of nasty soda at my side, I readied my moves. My party attacked! He attacked. My group attacked again. I briefly wondered about the mythological significance of Loki (a dark hunter in Team Awesome aka Diviner) attacking Fenrir and if this could be interpreted a filial spat about something like allowance or whatever, but then decided that mythology was a can of worms I didn't feel like opening. My party attacked again! Perhaps sharing my thought, Fenrir started wailing on poor Loki, who was most likely wishing that I had named him something else or made him a protector or whatever. But hey, sucks to be him.
This went on for...a surprisingly short time, actually. In fact, the battle was so brief I found myself surprised that it had been so difficult the first time, but I realized that this was most likely the power of knowing what the heck I was doing. Still. I was amazed enough that I pumped my fist and declared, "Finally."
Then I belatedly remembered that I was in an airplane.
...my seatmate was giving me a funny look.