Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard is the second game in Atlus' Nintendo DS franchise, known for its cartography elements and old school role-playing tenets. The game was released on February 21, 2008 in Japan, and June 13, 2008 in America. Kazuya Niinou, creator of the first game, did not work on Etrian Odyssey II, with scenario writer Shigeo Komori taking over the reigns of the project. The game retained the series' dungeon crawling gameplay and high difficulty, while adding improvements to map creation and gameplay balance.
Etrian Odyssey II leaves the town of Etria, travelling to the Grand Duchy of High Lagaard and their own Yggdrasil Labyrinth. A crisis within the dukedom has caused renewed interest in a mysterious floating castle, said to reside at the top of the Yggdrasil Tree. This floating castle has survived the drowning of the land by the oceans, filled with ancient technologies of times gone past. Adventurers are tasked to climb the dangerous maze to reach the castle and uncover its secrets, even at the cost of their own lives...
Etrian Odyssey II, like its predecessor, is an old school first-person dungeon crawler focused on a singular dungeon, the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. Like the first game, there are 30 floors to the dungeon, 5 for each strata, and the main story takes place on the first 25 floors. This time, however, players travel up the Labyrinth, instead of down in the first game. The floors are not randomly generated, and have many dead ends, secret spots, and traps waiting to surprise unprepared players.
Combet encounters in Etrian Odyssey are somewhat random, dictated by a proximity gauge found on the bottom right of the top screen. Each step a player takes in the dungeon increases the chance of a random encounter. The combat remains similar to the first game, a traditional turn-based RPG format where players choose commands from a menu. Players can speed up a battle my using the auto-battle option, activated using the L shoulder button.
New to Etrian Odyssey II however are Force Skills, replacing the old boost bar. Each class as its own unique ultimate skill that can be used when the force bar is filled. They are:
- Alchemist: Eschaton - Massive Almighty damage to all foes.
- Beast: Salivall - Restores party HP and status.
- Dark Hunter: Dominate - Binds an enemy entirely.
- Gunner: Riot Gun - A powerful shot that will stun an enemy.
- Hexer: Caprice - Inflicts multiple status effects on all enemies.
- Landsknecht: All Out - A powerful attack that hits all enemies.
- Medic: Healing Touch - Restores party HP and status.
- Protector: Painless - Nullifies all damage for 1 turn.
- Ronin: Issen - Slashes all enemies with a chance of instant death.
- Survivalist: Airwalk - Increases party speed and evasion.
- Troubadour: Crusade - Boosts party attack, defense, and HP.
- War Magus: Invoke - Restores party HP and increases elemental resistance.
F.O.E.s return in Etrian Odyssey II, and are as dangerous as before. The game introduces 2 new types of F.O.E: a blue flying type that ignores terrain, and a purple stealth type that does not appear on the minimap. Some F.O.E.s display different movement patterns, like moving only at night, or taking 2 steps forward then a step back. Defeating an F.O.E. in Etrian Odyssey II does not give the player's party any experience points, unlike the first game, but will still drop materials that can be sold to unlock new items and equipment in the store.
Etrian Odyssey II will track where the player walks, but that's about it. The rest - boundaries, stairwells, doors and treasure chests - is up to the player. The cartography in Etrian Odyssey II improves upon its predecessor to the point where there's not likely to be a scenario for which the player cannot find a suitable icon. The mapping options include:
- 3 floor tile colorings, which you can use any way the player wants
- Two-way shortcut arrows
- One-way shortcut arrows
- 2 door icons
- An "event" icon, used for marking down encounters and events
- A trap icon, for noting floor tiles that sap hit points
- A warp tile icon
- A monument icon for jotting down items or places of note
- A catch-all exclamation point icon
- A memo icon. After placing this icon, players can jot down a few words about the tile in question
- 3 resource point icons, used for marking down tiles where players can harvest for items
- A F.O.E. icon, used for marking down where more dangerous monsters roost
- A treasure chest icon
Skills and Customization
Each character class has at least 15 different skills for players to upgrade. For every level gain, the character is given a skill point, and some skills must be unlocked by putting points in other skills first, effectively forming a skill tree similar to role-playing games like Diablo. Players can also rest their character at the Explorer's Guild to re-spec, lowering their levels by 5 but returning all spent skill points.
The level cap in Etrian Odyssey II is 70, but from level 30 onwards, players get a new option to retire their character to create a new one. This gives the new character additional skill points and stats based on the level that the retired character was. If the character was at the level cap when they retired, the new character also raises their level cap, adding 1 to the previous cap. This goes all the way to level 99, the theoretical maximum.
The 9 classes from Etrian Odyssey return in Etrian Odyssey II, and are joined by 3 new classes: Gunner, War Magus, and Beast. All classes except the Beast are now available from the start.
|Alchemist: A spellcaster that uses elemental spells to destroy enemies.|
|Beast: Unlocked after beating the 1st stratum, it excels at both attacking foes with their teeth and claws, and defending their masters from enemy attacks.|
|Dark Hunter: A melee warrior that binds enemies with their whips and inflict many status effects on them.|
|Gunner: A ranged class that uses elemental bullets to deal tremendous damage.|
|Hexer: A spellcaster with the ability to curse and debuff enemies.|
|Landsknecht: A powerful warrior that uses swords and axes to crush their enemies.|
|Medic: A healer that can also buff and revive the party.|
|Protector: A knight with a great shield that can block attacks and defend the party.|
|Ronin: Mysterious warriors that excel on the offense, cutting down enemies with their blade skills.|
|Survivalist: A ranger with powerful bow skills and dungeon survival techniques.|
|Troubadour: Entertainers that provide party-wide buffs and debuffs.|
|War Magus: Spellcasters that can both heal the party and cause massive damage with their weapons.|
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