Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is a role-playing game for Nintendo 3DS. Atlus developed the title and Atlus USA published the game in North America. The Millennium Girl serves as both a re-make of the first Etrian Odyssey, but also as a re-imagining of the series.
The game features both a Story and Classic mode. In Classic mode, players can enjoy the same dungeon crawling and cartography gameplay the series is known for. Story, which is new to the series, gives a more traditional story-based approach to Etrian Odyssey featuring pre-determined characters, voice acting and animated cutscenes. While Story mode emphasizes story, it is loosely told so it never gets in the way of The Millennium Girl’s core RPG and dungeon mapping gameplay. Even though the story is not as tightly scripted as most RPGs, The Millennium Girl’s Story mode serves as an excellent entry point into the Etrian Odyssey series and offers some intriguing bits along the way.
Radha Hall has called upon a Highlander, an order of justice to Etria to investigate some recent bizarre happenings in the Labyrinth. As the Highlander takes on missions tasked to him from the Radha Hall, he uncovers an underground labyrinth lurking below the Labyrinth. While exploring this underground maze, he runs into a strange pod. The pod opens up to reveal a blonde girl who has amnesia and a tie to the ancient civilization that seems to have built the underground maze.
When trying to help the girl, a monster and an investigation team from the Midgar Library crash into the room. The five come together to fight off the monster and begin to ask questions about this mysterious area and the girl’s true identity. Forming a guild, the five adventurers unite under a common goal to explore the Labyrinth and the Gladsheim (the underground area) to figure out the truth behind it and to help Frederica (the mysterious girl) regain her memories.
There is something retro-futuristic about the Gladsheim elements of The Millennium Girl’s story, which brings to mind elements of Shin Megami Tensei IV’s story. It was a fascinating element there and it works here too. The main issue with the story mode of The Millennium Girl is how it is loosely told. Since story progress is tied to exploring dungeon floors, it could take a while as players grind it out and map each floor, bouncing from story beat to story beat. It is a minor issue, but the story the game is trying to tell is pretty good.
The Millennium Girl’s core gameplay is traditional turn-based RPG combat with random encounters. As players explore the various dungeon floors in the game, they will run into random monsters that they need to fight. Each team can have up to five members with specific classes and skills. Enemies have certain weaknesses to elemental attacks, which is par for the course in an RPG, but what makes the combat in The Millennium Girl standout is the binding weaknesses. Certain enemies need to be bound in specific ways to get the best loot from them. Players can bind an enemies head, arms or legs and doing so for specific enemies will make them easier to defeat or net better loot. It is an interesting wrinkle that adds some flavor to battles.
There is a robust skill tree system that can be utilized after leveling up characters to make them better in combat or improve useful skills. There are plenty of options, allowing for flexibility depending on a player’s style. Aiding the skill system are Grimoires, which are gems that contain certain skills. Players can equip Grimoires to improve upon a weakness or add to specific strengths. During battle, there are opportunities to earn new Grimoires and skills that can then be fused to form better stones. Outside of exploring dungeon floors, missions can be taken on from various people in town. These missions include pointing out specific map locations, collecting items and fighting monsters. It adds a way to earn more experience, money and loot.
What makes The Millennium Girl and the series so compelling is the cartography element of gameplay. Players will need to explore the numerous dungeon floors in the game and make their own maps using the 3DS’ bottom screen using the stylus and the provided icons given to them. How complete or incomplete a floor’s map is, is entirely determined by the player. Diligent explorers can create a full map with all the various events and important areas while those trying to run from point to point will have a map that looks like it was scrawled quickly on a Taco Bell napkin by an epileptic. Much of the joy of Etrian Odyssey Untold is mapping out the game’s many dungeon floors.
Graphics and Sound
The presentation of The Millennium Girl is great. The art style for characters in the game and cutscenes have excellent detail and create a sense of personality for the various characters. The different Stratum of the Labyrinth and the Gladsheim have very specific motifs and themes that are exciting to explore and map. The first-person perspective for dungeon exploration works extremely well in the game mainly due to the necessity of players to draw their own maps. Often, first-person dungeon exploring is headache inducing, but it works extremely well in the game. The soundtrack is fantastic with some very well scored music. There is great change to music as players slowly explore the various floors in the game.
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is a solid game featuring an intriguing yet loosely-crafted story that never detracts from the compelling and rewarding gameplay. The story has an intriguing plot with mysteries that echo similar ideas from the story of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei IV. Gameplay is the main draw of the game. The Millennium Girl’s gameplay offers smart turn-based combat and emphasizes deep exploration to create player-generated maps.
Atlus packed The Millennium Girl with two modes, offering both the traditional Etrian Odyssey experience and a new story-based approach to the game. For anyone looking for a way to jump into the Etrian series, Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is a perfect starting point.