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Games I won’t review – Etrian Odyssey V, Mario & Luigi

Mario just came out and I’m literally taking some of my gameplay time to finish writing this… might as well do it before I forget the rest of the world exists.

These 2 games would go in one of these posts anyways, because they’re both games I wouldn’t write full reviews for; Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth and the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake.

So let’s go!

Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth

Etrian Odyssey is a series of first-person grid-based dungeon-crawling RPGs, one of the best of the bunch. Why am I not reviewing it? Because there’s no need, really. There’s a bunch of these games, they’re all good, and there’s not much to say about them that can’t be said about the previous ones.

Not that there’s no unique features, but in general you know what you’re getting when you get when you get one of these games. Etrian Odyssey IV made some changes to the formula, adding a world map which led to different dungeons, and made the graphics fully 3D. Etrian Odyssey V removes the world map style and goes back to a single dungeon, that being Yggdrasil, but keeps the 3D graphics. It has an auto-mapping feature I don’t remember the previous ones having (which does both the ground and the walls, I think the previous ones only did the ground). Very useful for the first dungeon “map out this area” mission that’s always in these games.

On the character class side of things they’ve changed a lot of them. At least the names are different, a lot of the things that were there in the previous games are here in some form or another. Several frontline attackers, several mages (some do damage, some are healers, some do status effects or debuffs), and a tank… the tank is weird though, as it’s meant to be in the backline. At first classes are limited to specific character races, however after the first story mission you get the ability to change classes without race limitations. This costs 5 levels for the character but it also gives them bonus skill points and stats. Also, as you get far enough into the game, you unlock the ability to get a legendary title (which you get to rename… I gave the title of “Chris Redfield” to my character who’s specialized in punching things), which unlocks the “Master” skill tree. Each class has 2 title choices which leads to different master skill trees. There’s some decent customization here.

You can also forge your weapons, which make them go up to +5. The core is that they get better stats, but some weapons give a new skill, or extra stat boosts, depending on the level. You level them up with either Ingots, or the material that’s required to buy them in the first place. I believe this is different from the forging in the previous 2 games.

As for the rest of the game, it’s basically as you’d expect from Etrian Odyssey. Walk around in first-person in a grid, find treasures and spots to gather resources, fight strong enemies, usually try to avoid stronger enemies (called FOEs), find how to get to the next level of the labyrinth. The loop of gathering resources, buying new equipment with it, doing quests from the Tavern and Council, assigning skill points, it’s all pretty great. Battles are as you can expect from this type of game. Give orders to your party, then the attacks come out in order of the speed stats. Some attacks are elemental, others can cause status effects and some can bind. Binding can stop certain actions or lower their strength. It’s entertaining, and the enemies are always really tough.

I find that this may be a little bit easier than the previous Etrian games, but that might just be because I’ve played 4 of them so far.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

I think the reason for not reviewing this one is fairly obvious… it’s a pretty old game, and it doesn’t really introduce much new, on its face. The one entirely new thing here is the Bowser’s Minions minigame which… I haven’t played, so I can’t comment on it.

The “main” change is the graphics. It removes the cool stylized pixely graphics of the original and replaced it with the more modern style of Mario & Luigi graphics which I’ll call “semi-3D” sprites. I prefer the older style, but these graphics are a lot more polished.

There’s several other small changes that you won’t really notice if you’re not intimately familiar with the original, like stat changes for the Bros and the enemies, some item locations, some sprites are completely different designs and… a lot of other small shit. A LOT. There’s some minor changes from other games in the series and stuff. Nothing MASSIVE, except for the removal of Geno.

As far as quality, it’s the first Mario & Luigi, and IMO the best of the series. I have a lot more fun with this one than any of the sequels. It feels like the “purest” form of the series. There’s fewer “gimmicks”, the combat is less marred with really long annoying attacks to perform (the Bros Attacks here are very short), the story is less overblown… I really enjoyed this game up until the final boss. The final boss is cheap as fuck.

Overall it is a great game, if you haven’t tried the original I do recommend checking out the remake.

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