Not a Review: Etrian Odyssey 3: The Drowned City

I’ve been playing EO3 off and on now for the better part of a year (Editor: now two years…) and I’m only at  the 10th floor of what I believe are twenty five floors in the game. This might convey in some small way just what type of game EO3 is. Atlus games don’t get a lot of press here in the states (or they didn’t before this summer and Nintendo’s big push of Shin Megami Tensei IV on the 3DS), it seems they rely on the internet and their fans to spread the word about their games. That’s how I heard about the EO franchise, and EO3, which at the time was considered the best. I believe EO4 on the 3DS is now has the title of best game in the franchise, a rare feat as most games this far along begin to degrade in quality

The people at Talking Time are huge fans of the series and have been talking about the games since the first one came out in 2007 (Editor: has it been that long?! I’m getting old). I picked up the first one spent maybe an hour or two with the game before I set it down. It sat in its case for half a year and then I sold it.  I believe the difficulty curve of the game and the potential for making poor choices at the beginning of the game that would virtually lock you out of completing it many hours later was what originally turned me off. But, it’s been six years. I avoided the second game completely, despite all the encouragement from critics and friends. My complaints with the original stood and nothing I saw or read dissuaded me.

Screenshots of Etrian Odyssey 3 via Destructoid
Screenshots of Etrian Odyssey 3 via Destructoid

Then EO3 came out. Again, the critics praised the game and all of my friends were busy guiding teams of adventurers through dungeons. I asked if the game’s difficulty curve was fixed. Did it now resemble something more like a hill and less like a sheer cliff face? I asked if they’d balanced out the adventurers, the enemies,  the bosses, and the skill trees to insure that early game mistakes wouldn’t bar players from end-game content. ‘Yes’ and ‘yes’ I was told this game is perfect! I believed them, and I bought it. And, at first things were okay. No, things were good! I made a party of adventurers and then I delved into the dungeons. The game was challenging but also fair. When I died it felt like I was still learning, that difficulty curve seemed to be more the curve I was looking for! Everything was going great!

Then I got to the 10th level, or in the game’s lingo tenth floor basement in the third stratum, there is a boss battle on this floor. I’ve reached the boss now innumerable times., I’ve tried dozens of different strategies from intricate and complicated to sheer brute force. Nothing I have tried has worked. I’ve asked friends for help, I’ve read game guides. Nothing I see seems to apply to me. The advice I’m most often given? “Make a new team with different skills!” BUT WAIT! This was the problem I had with earlier versions of this game! This was the issue I was told had been dealt with!

I guess it hasn’t. It’s a shame too because up until the 10th level I was having a lot of fun, the game’s art and music is charming and the world I’m exploring is unique. I want to spend more time here. But, I don’t want it to feel like I’m smashing my head against a wall.

Occasionally, I put the EO3 cartridge in my DS and I play through level 10, like I always do. I get to the boss and I die. I reload my game, I grind a little, and try again. I die. I turn my DS off and I go watch some TV. And that kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

In Deepest, Darkest Fricana: Let’s Play QFG3

Info Dump

Wages of War is the third game in the Quest for Glory series. It is set in the Africa-like world of Tarna, where the hero travels with paladin Rakeesh, his new Liontaur friend he has met in the previous game. Shortly after his arrival, the hero learns about the conflict between the human Simbani tribe and the seemingly malevolent neighboring Leopardmen. It is now time for our hero to become a skillful diplomat and prevent an upcoming war between the two nations.

The basic gameplay system is similar to that of the two preceding games. The game has an adventure-like structure and gameplay elements, including puzzles to solve, inventory items to use, and characters to talk to, as well as a role-playing system with combat and character development. As in the predecessors, the player character can be either a fighter, a thief, or a mage; in this installment, the paladin class is selectable from the beginning of the game (unlike the previous game, where the hero could only earn the title of a paladin during the course of the story). Saved characters from the previous game can be imported.

Like in the earlier Quest for Glory games, the main character’s parameters increase directly after battles or by repeatedly performing various actions. New to the series is an overworld map on which the hero travels between locations. Hostile encounters may occur randomly while traversing the map. Combat system is similar to the predecessors, with real-time battles where the player selects various offensive and defensive options.

Graphics engine and interface in this installment are the same as in the remake of the first game: it has 256-color graphics and an icon-based interface which was used by Sierra for their contemporary adventure games.

Mobygames

Just like the previous installments, this one offers three ‘standard’ character classes: Warrior, Magic User and Thief. However a ‘hidden’ class can be opened: a Paladin. In the finale of the previous game a Warrior character who has proved honorable enough is named ‘Paladin’ by Rakeesh, and can be imported to Quest for Glory III as such.

However, any saved character of any other class can be imported as a Paladin as well, preserving all of his skills acquired in the previous games. Such system allows to create a cross-class characters, so that Paladin for instance can use his own specific abilities along with the spells intended for Magic User without any penalties.

The Magic User character is given the opportunity to create a magical staff. While it is summoned, the player can’t move and retain the staff, but the spells don’t cost mana points (yet their skills don’t raise either).

As for Thieves, the game’s reliance on combat and tests of physical strength leave this character underdeveloped in this sequel. Furthermore, Quest for Glory III is the only game in the series to feature neither a single place to steal from anywhere nor a Thieves’ Guild to fence stolen goods, upgrade skills and equipment.

In a departure from the first two games, Quest for Glory III features an “overworld” screen where all important cities and landmarks are represented in miniature. While traveling from one landmark to another, time passes rapidly, and the player is prone to random encounters, most of which are hostile. The stealthy Thief character is less prone to these encounters. Some random encounters are not hostile, and others are downright silly yet nevertheless helpful in one way or another, such as the Awful Waffle Walker (meant to save the Hero from starvation), and Arne the Aardvark (possible to question for hints).

Each Quest For Glory title usually had a cameo by a comedian or a comedy team: the designers put Sanford and Son in this game, as merchants (i.e. junk dealers) in the Tarna marketplace.

It is also possible to randomly meet Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the savannah, as French Foreign Legion soldiers.

Wikipedia

The developers originally intended to continue the Quest for Glory series with “Shadows of Darkness”, which would’ve taken place in the Translyvania-esque village of Mordavia. They put these plans on hold though, with the release of “Wages of War”. (Apparently the Coles once again ran into copyright issues, and had planned to re-release the game under the subtitle “Seekers of the Lost City”.) This time, our hero visits the land of Tarna, the homeland of Uhura and Rakeesh, the residents of the Adventurer’s Guild in Quest for Glory II. Tarna is much like Africa, although it is ruled primarily by lion-like creatures Liontaurs. As you and Rakeesh return, you learn of a mounting war between the human Simbani tribe and the apparently evil Leopardman. Obviously, things aren’t as they seem, and it’s to you, as the hero, to find a way to avoid a bloody and unnecessary conflict.

Hardcore Gaming 101

Front Cover:

Back Cover:

As always the best play to start is usually at the beginning!

I was hoping I could make a video of the introduction of QfG3 but for whatever reason DOSBox doesn’t like how Sierra’s SCI engine deals with music stuff and so it refuses to record any of it when you make a video. I know there are other ways to capture video but I’m lazy. So, this Let’s Play is going to be all pictures (You’re welcome Shivam.)

The introduction of the game goes over the ending of QfG2 and then quickly transitions into the new setting for QfG3: Tarna. First, let’s make sure we can get Garçon in to the game:



Yay!

So, if you wanted to play as a Paladin but couldn’t manage to figure it out in QfG2 you’re covered…

Since I didn’t use performance enhancing drugs in the last game Perseii doesn’t have maxed out stats. QfG3 gives us 50 points to play around with in order to bring Jackson up to a level that makes the puzzles and monsters in the game not impossible. I throw most of the points into agility and intelligence with a few spread around in climbing and stealth. In the end Garçon looks like this: Continue reading “In Deepest, Darkest Fricana: Let’s Play QFG3”

Let’s Play Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire Part Ten

To WIT!

You all know what happened last time so we’re just going to fast forward to that point:

cast fetch

cast force bolt

Continue reading “Let’s Play Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire Part Ten”