Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight Review: Grind For Glory

Etrian Odyssey is a beloved game series that has seen eight various installments, including core games, a “Mystery Dungeon” offshoot, and even Persona Q. But the “Untold” subsets may be the best of them all, as they take the classic core games and add a dedicated story mode and tons of new features and polish it into something new, even if it is just a remake.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is a remake of Etrian Odyssey II that came out for the Nintendo DS in 2008. With upgraded graphics, stereoscopic 3D, and full orchestra music, and the inclusion of voice work, animations, and character designs taken from Mad House Studios, who produce the anime series from which it is based, Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight on the Nintendo 3DS is, by far, the best game in the series and there is still tons of room for improvement going forward.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight, like previous Etrian Odyssey games, tasks players with grinding dungeons in first person POV. The rub here is that the player is also expected to draw the maps (using the 3DS’s bottom touch screen) as they explore. The developers give the player ample tools to carry out their cartography, and there are some great rewards for completing a level map, such as floor jumping and of course, story progression. Since each level of the dungeons — here, the Yggdrasil Tree and an ancient temple called the Ginnugagap Ruins — is full of monsters and treasure and gathering spots, marking them on the map as you explore makes it so much easier when grinding for items. And you will grind. A lot.

Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight Review

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight features the classic mode, which is exactly how it sounds, where players can create a team of explorers from scratch and change classes (think jobs) and skills on the fly as they explore. This is a remake of the original EO2. There is a story here, but it’s no where near as refined as in the new story mode.

In the new story mode, the characters come pre-made (again, based on the Mad House anime), save for the main, who is created by the player. The player-created main character is the titular Fafnir Knight, who is surrounded by mystery as they have special powers that, when activated, turn them into a demonic-inspired battle powerhouse. Joining this character is a best friend, Flavio, a fellow student at the Midgard Library. These two journey to High Lagaard and are tasked with helping a princess, Arianna, complete a ceremony that will seal off a coming evil. The trio later meet up with an older sell-sword named Betrand and his companion, a nerdy War Mage named Chloe. This group of five handle the exploration and mapping of the Yggdrasil Tree, along with several other duties that arise. Players can still swap out classes, but there is a penalty to do so (loss of earned levels). Also, new classes are included in EO2U that weren’t in the original.

Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight Review

In addition to the story of Arianna and her quest, the group is also asked to help build the town of High Lagaard. Exploring leads to loot, which can be sold to the trading post, and the shopkeep then turns those materials into better weapons and armor and accessories. There’s a bar where side quests are handed out and the team can talk to townies to learn new things about the dungeon. Completing these quests helps earn huge amounts of money and XP. There is also a cafe that opens up and the team works hand-in-hand with the owner (the Duke’s granddaughter) in finding ingredients and recipes, which in turn can be eaten for stat boosts while exploring. This idea develops further when the team is asked to start advertising certain dishes in certain districts of High Lagaard. This becomes a revenue stream as the team of heroes pockets all the proceeds from the advertising. This, in turn, allows the group to start building up sections of town, attracting more people who may buy more food and make more money for the heroes. As you can see, Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is absolutely packed with stuff to do.

Grimoire stones are introduced early, and they give the characters the ability to share skills by equipping the powerful relics. Hunting for unique and high-level grimoire stones (which are earned by defeating certain enemies in sometimes certain ways) becomes a quest in itself, as you will be fighting some pretty fierce FOEs (Field on Enemies) and mini-bosses, and each stratum (made up of five floors of the dungeon) of the Yggdrasil Tree ends with a spectacularly difficult boss fight. Grinding is a definite must in Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight, and luckily, developer Atlus has made combat fun. Each character has a core specialty (tank, DPS, healer, etc.) and managing epic fights with five characters is exciting and seldom boring, even when fighting the same things over and over.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is one of those rare games that balances difficulty well, while adding new ideas and concepts to the gameplay as the 60-plus hour adventure marches on. I never felt out of my league, nor has anything ever felt too simple. To help with this, Atlus has given players the options of multiple difficulty levels. Picnic is the easiest, but for long-time fans, there is a hard Expert mode, just in case the normal mode is too hard or too easy.

Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight Review

The boss fights (and early FOE battles) were outrageous, but when the beast finally fell, the sheer amount of elation I felt was real. That says a lot coming for a Nintendo 3DS game. EO2U offers grinding and exploration, and pay offs for both. The story mode — with localized voice work — makes the experience that much more satisfying and I can’t help but tell anyone who will listen that this is a must-play game. Luckily, Atlus has a demo in the Nintendo eShop for those on the fence, but once you begin the journey, you will leap that fence and begin your career as an adventurer for High Lagaard and the Midgard Library.

Atlus is also sweetening the game with DLC drops that unlock new classes, character portraits, and neat quests that help players amass new ingredients and wealth (needed for high armor and weapons), and the best part is that a good portion of the DLC is FREE during the launch week (like, NOW).

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is a wonderful gaming experience that proves that dungeon grinding can still be fun and rewarding, all the while telling a fun story that I enjoyed taking part in. The voice acting, artwork, and animated cutscenes (I’m admittedly a huge Mad House fan), coupled with a deep RPG experience and layered with the mapping element and all of the “world building” that Atlus has shoved into the game makes Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight a must-play for any RPG fan, and still offers so much new content for veteran Etrian Odyssey II players that there is no excuse to not take up the map-making kit and get to exploring. You won’t be disappointed.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is available now in physical form at retail (a limited edition is available that includes art books and soundtracks) and digitally in the Nintendo eShop. This review was based off a review code provided by Atlus.

Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight Review

Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight Review
out of 5

TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.