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Etrian Mystery Dungeon Review (3DS)

Etrian Odyssey is a familiar RPG series to any DS owner, but Mystery Dungeon games, while they have quite the following in Japan, most western gamers only know the Pokemon Dungeon series. Enter Etrian Mystery Dungeon, the latest RPG from Atlus, that combines two great styles of games into one of the best RPG's on the Nintendo 3DS.

Etrian Odyssey is at its core, a pure dungeon crawler. Your team is made up of 4 characters that you level up and acquire skills that you can choose through the talent tree system. After making a guild, you can choose who is on your team from a pool of different classes like Medic, Gunner and Landsknecht and swap characters out between dungeons in the city. Figuring out the perfect combination of classes is essential to success in the dungeons. 

All dungeons are randomly generated, so layout and enemy placement changes. You also want to keep in mind while exploring, there are hidden traps, item boxes and colored tiles. Amber tiles are usually found in groups, and these restore technique points and food points. Keep an eye on your food points gauge so you don't end up losing health with an empty food gauge. The red tiles let you spread out your party in various formations. Also, did I forget to mention that if you die in a dungeon that you will lose any items or gold you collected along the way?

Movement is tile based and for the most part you can control all four party members. Battles are in real time and you have basic attacks on each of the buttons, but you can access the skill menu and any point to use other abilities. How you built your team is most important during battles. You will have control over the party leader and the AI will control the rest of the party. You can change the party leader at any time other than in combat. 

One feature you unlock early in the game is the ability to build forts on any explored level of the dungeon you are currently in. This will lock the layout of the floor. They will also act as a way of handling the DOE (Dungeon On Enemies), which are roaming ultra-monsters that wander up the floors of the dungeon and they attempt to get to floor one and destroy the town. If a fort is in the way, the DOE crushes the fort and retreats back into the dungeon. You can staff your forts with adventurers from your guild and then join your crew at the fort for a massive assault on the DOE. If you win, you will find some great loot or a quest completion.

Overall, Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a fantastic, difficult, slow-paced and occasionally frustrating experience. I mean that in the best way possible! It really is a great game that even though at times you will want to throw your 3DS across the room, but when you get in the groove, you don't want to put it down. If you are an RPG fan, this game is a must buy!

4 out of 5

Etrian Mystery Dungeon is available now in store and on the Nintendo E-shop for $39.99.

Thanks to Atlus for supplying a code for review. 

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