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Video Game / Etrian Odyssey I

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The odyssey begins!

Etrian Odyssey is the first game in the series of the same name, originally released on Nintendo DS in 2007. It was developed by Atlus, as a homage to the old-school era of role-playing games like Wizardry.

In the idyllic town of Etria, there's a large, mystical tree known as Yggdrasil. For many years, it has piqued the curiosity of explorers, wanderers and researchers alike. Some wish to learn about its muysterious nature, others look for the riches that are said to lie within, others want to test their bravery by facing its well-publicized dangers. No matter the reason, people come to venture through the labyrinth that lies beneath this World Tree. The player control a guild of adventurers, each of a different class and talent, ready to test their wits and strengths. Over the course of the game, many fascinating discoveries are done, but many dangers are faced as well. What lies at the end of the labyrinth? There's only one way to find out...

Being a turn-based RPG, the game follows many conventions and tropes that are common in its genre: Defeating enemies and bosses yield experience points that help the characters level up, and the drops and items from said opponents can be sold to receive money and, at the same time, unlock new weapons and armor to purchase in the shop. Leveling up also grants skill points that can be used to either unlock new abilities or upgrade the ones available. Supporting characters ask for help via sidequests posted in a local tavern, and the main leader of the town entrusts official quests whose completion advances the story. There's an inn that can be used to rest and save the game, as well as a hospital to revive fallen characters. So far, nothing out of the ordinary.

However, the game also borrows a unique concept that was barely seen since the times of Wizardry: Exploring the labyrinth within Yggdrasil conveys the need to draw a map of every floor, so the difficulty is not only based on defeating the monsters that lurk around (and that alone is a tall order already), but also on avoiding getting lost. Another renowned feature is the presence of very powerful enemies known as FOE which, for first-time explorers, are a force to be reckoned with and best avoided at all costs; indeed, many of the puzzles pertaining the navigation through the labyrinth are based on how to avoid these monsters, as each FOE reacts, moves and behaves differently. Last, but not least, all the dungeons (known in-game as strata) that constitute the Yggdrasil labyrinth are explored in first person. These traits would be carried over in all subsequent installments in the series.

In 2013, a remake of this game (known as Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl) was released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan and the Americas, while Europe received it the following year. It retains much of the original version's content, but also adds several quality-of-life improvements (including those first implemented in fellow 3DS installment Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan, such as 3D models and mobility for all enemies, FOE and bosses) to improve the experience. It also adds a Story Mode which takes place in the same town and labyrinth as the original version, but is now narrating a deeper story and starring pre-existing characters. This Story Mode, in turn, stands out for also adding an extra dungeon, albeit located well outside the Yggdrasil, and which pertains a new side of the story that wasn't shown before.

In the story mode, the Highlander (the protagonist) is sent to Radha Hall for aid. His aid sends him to the mysterious dungeon Gladsheim, where he discovers a sleeping girl - Frederica Irving - within a mysterious device. Very quickly, both of them are (accidentally) found by a trio from the Midgard Library who happened to be exploring the dungeon: Simon Yorke, the leader of the investigation team and The Medic; Raquna Sheldon, the protector; and Arthur Charles, the upbeat alchemist. Together, the five band together for the mutual reason to explore the depths of Gladsheim and the Yggdrasil labyrinth, while Frederica reunites and receives aid from the highly advanced AI M.I.K.E., who's deeply connected to Gladsheim. What mysteries does Frederica carry that connect to Yggdrasil, and is her mission truly one without bloodshed?

Examples that apply to both versions of the game, or exclusively to the original:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Played with. The player's level cap is 70, but beating the main story's final boss can be done at slightly lower than 60. However, its Bonus Dungeon demands you to use all those 70 levels due to the numerous enemy encounters, and said enemies (plus the True Final Boss at the end) being merciless.
  • After the End: The game is established as being one of these in the intro... but the exact nature of the world Before The End is intentionally left vague at first.
  • A.I. Roulette: The Yggdrasil Core subverts this. It has three elemental attacks, any one of which will wipe out your entire party if not blocked by the specific, one-turn-only anti-elemental technique. The only way to beat him is to memorize the entire set 50-turn-long sequence of attacks he uses so you can counter them at the appropriate time; so strictly speaking (barring an insanely defensive tactic), he's only beatable because he subverts this trope.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemists are the game's Black Mages. They use the primary Fire, Ice, Lightning elements to cast powerful magic spells to attack enemies and bosses. They can also inflict poison onto said opponents, which periodically depletes their HP until the effect expires.
  • Badass Long Robe: The Hexer class has all its members wear robes to signal their power and talent to inflict debuffs, body binding and status ailments to enemies and bosses.
  • Belly Dancer: They use their dancing talents to empower their allies in combat as well as weaken the enemies, though their defense is low and thus are best placed in the backside.
  • Bleak Level: The first three strata are beautiful woodscapes. The fourth stratum is a barren, sandy land where you have to kill a bunch of Forest Folk, but at least it's still nothing really out of the ordinary. Then comes the fifth stratum and you find the ruins of Shinjuku, establishing that the game's fantasy setting actually takes place after the end of a modern Earth.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: The walls of the Claret Hollows are nothing but flesh, and since many of the other features are also of biological origin (the toxic fluids, the valve-shaped doors, and certain enemies like Leukocytes and Red Cells), it's made clear that the dungeon takes place inside the animalistic structure of the Yggdrasil, contrasting the botanical one from the labyrinth's highest floors.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Claret Hollows. A stratum with suspiciously organic features located within the deepest insides of the Yggdrasil Labyrinth, even below the ruins of Lost Shinjuku. It has a brutal combination of hazards (such as teleporters that make navigation difficult and toxic puddles that are harmful upon contact) and powerful enemies, and hosts the Primevil (Yggdrasil Core) at the very end.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: First appearing on the second floor of the first stratum (Emerald Grove), F.O.E. appear as arrows on your map, and most of them look exactly like the normal enemies in the dungeon... but have vastly higher HP and attack power. Some follow set movement patterns, while others will rush your party when you get in their line of sight. Others, once they sense blood (such as the Wolves and Skolls in Emerald Grove itself) will actually join other FOEs mid-fight to make your life even more of a living hell.
  • Broken Bridge: On the first floor of the Labyrinth, a guard stands posted at the entrance to a particular area to keep you from progressing to the second floor until you wander the rest of the current floor and create a perfect map for it to prove your worth (or something to that effect), despite the fact that there must be a million maps of the first floor created by the countless other exploration groups that came before you. It should be noted that drawing your own maps of the floors as you go is half the work of the game, with the other half being the encounters you can face.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Claret Hollows is easily cited as one of the most brutal bonus levels in the series, packing enemies that quickly classify as major hassles and unforgiving level design like fiendish teleport mazes or pitfalls to a floor half-covered in damage tiles.
  • But Thou Must!: The mayor gives you a mission to annihilate the forest people — that's right, an entire race of sapient beings — in order to protect the town's tourist industry. You cannot proceed until you accept it and carry it out.
  • Cernunnos: This mythical creature serves as the boss of the second stratum, the Primitive Jungle. In this game, it is a humanoid creature with massive ram-like horns rather than stag antlers.
  • Combat Medic: The Medic class isn't any good for physical attacks... at first, but later they can deal some of the best damage in the game. The first game is where the offense-oriented Medic is most effective; subsequent games and remakes greatly defang the Medic's offensive capabilities.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Manticore in Sandy Barrens is only vulnerable to brute force, being immune to ailments and binds.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Hexers have a spell called Revenge. The lower their HP, the stronger it becomes, and a high HP hexer with a single digit of health and a boosted up agility stat can blow through everything. Justified in that it's Blood Magic.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Chieftain Visil orders you to exterminate the forest folk. Not much you can do about it, especially since you have to kill about twenty of them to get at the fourth stratum's boss. Even worse, in the original game, Visil's rationale for this request? To protect the town's tourism industry, which will suffer if the Forest Folk keep the dungeon from being explored. Worse, dialog with the Forest Folk implies that there was a long-standing agreement with them that Visil is breaking by doing this. This is both pointed out and made less reprehensible in the remake's Story Mode. It turns out that the corruption of Yggdrasil's core is causing a contagious disease that causes the Forest Folk to mindlessly attack anyone in their way, and it's incurable. Killing the infected is the safest thing for everyone. Nobody in the party is particularly happy about this, but it's a lot better than the implication in the original that all the Forest Folk you killed were just trying to defend their homes.
  • Deadly Doctor: The Medics can be powerful front-line fighters, the exact opposite of their intended role as fragile healers. This requires very deliberate skill-tree setups but is surprisingly practical.
  • Desperation Attack: The Hexer's Revenge ability is straight defense-ignoring damage based on how little HP the Hexer has remaining. It was toned up and made even more powerful in the sequel.
  • Door to Before: While not very common in comparison to later games, shortcuts in dungeons still exist, and are enabled when the character party opens the walls' gaps from their rear ends. Of special note is the Bonus Dungeon, which has a shortcut right before the True Final Boss all the way back to the entrance of the dungeon, giving the player a chance to save the game before plunging in.
  • Downer Ending: The game's story ends somberly, with a healthy dose of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero for good measure. Once you've completely filled the codex by logging every single drop and enemy in the game, Subaltern Quinn comes to see you and offer recognition of your feat — which, he adds, will result in Etria eventually turning into a ghost town now that the Labyrinth no longer holds any mysteries to attract adventurers. The ending for beating the boss at the end of the fifth stratum also counts, since killing that boss killed Etria's Yggdrasil. The Millennium Girl averts this by having Quinn only praise the party for their feats and deeds, as well as the other NPCs being fairy optimistic of Etria's well-being since mystery certainly can't be the only factor keeping the town alive like Visil thinks.
  • The Dragon: Ren and Tlachtga serve as dragons for Visil in the story. It turns out they, like their boss, knew all along about the true secret of Yggdrasil, and were entrusted the job to prevent any explorer from learning about it.
  • Dual Boss: Ren and Tlachga, fought together in Lost Shinjuku. The paired characters use skills based on certain explorer classes, so they also qualify as Mirror Bosses; and by the time you face them you realize their intentions aren't as benevolent as you originally thought.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy:
    • There are base camp towns at the entrance of dungeons that become more prosperous and better-equipped as adventurers recover valuable materials and Organ Drops from within. The hard bits of monsters can be crafted into equipment, and chemicals derived from plant material can be used to concoct healing potions and such, for example. Later games actually reduce the prices of some of the restorative items you can buy, but balance that with requiring the player to harvest the necessary active ingredients for brewing them first.
    • In the True Ending, the loss of the dungeon via destruction of the berserk Yggdrasil Core means that the inhabitants of the base camp town would drift off to other locations with the loss of a steady income of materials. The remake fixes this, instead having you save the woodsfolk from a deadly disease, stopping a pointless apocalypse started from a rogue AI (due to it deciding bullheadedly to fire the Gungir despite there being too much collateral damage from its blast), and capping it all by destroying the Eldritch Abomination lurking at the final bottom of the dungeon (The aforementioned Berserk Yggdrasil Core that the Gungnir was meant to terminate in the event of the Core going crazy).
  • Dying Town: As a way of deconstructing 100% Completion, the titular town becomes this if you 100% the game (with people losing interest by Etria's main attraction, the labyrinth, not having any mysteries anymore).
  • Early Game Hell: Patching up party members and replacing your Warp Wires takes up all the money you earned getting the injuries, giving you no cash for even basic equipment. Running into FOEs means an instant game over. Skill-heavy characters like mages and healers run out of TP after only a few battles, reducing them to plinking with daggers for Scratch Damage. It's not until you can level up a few times and get some decent skills that you can start saving for better gear. Even worse, this game in particular does not let you reset your skills until halfway through the adventure, meaning if you made bad decisions assigning skillpoints before the first boss, you may have to either train an entire second team almost from scratch or just restart your playthrough.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The level cap is 70 with no way to raise it in the postgame (or ever). In the second game, it's possible to raise it by exploiting the Retire mechanic (though it's a very long process, as the level is only raised by one at a time), and all subsequent games (including the remake of the first game, Millennium Girl) allow the player to raise the party characters' cap by defeating certain Superbosses.
    • This level has the biggest level penalty for using Rest (resetting a character's skill points), with 10. The second and third only lower the character's level by 5, and all 3DS games (including this game's own remake) only lower it by 2.
    • Neither this game nor the second have subclasses. This game also lacks any form of Limit Break mechanic, the closest being the "Boost" system that gives a one-time amplification to a character's skill.
    • This game is the only one that incorporates a system where lower-level combatants will deal less and take more damage in addition to those done by stat disparities. This makes it difficult to bring your weaker characters up to speed.
    • The iconic Hex trio of pumpkin-headed FOE didn't debut until the second game. The remake of the first game also lacks them.
  • Earth All Along: The game is set up as taking place After the End and leaving a more fantasy-medieval world, but it's not until the fifth stratum — Lost Shinjuku — that it's revealed the games take place after Earth suffered a massive ecological disaster. It turns out that recklessly advancing science and technology brought about global warming and miscellaneous environmental calamities to the point that Earth was an uninhabitable wasteland, killing off almost everyone. The few survivors started something called the Yggdrasil Project to try to restore the environment, eventually leading to the low-population, completely lush greenery-everywhere medieval fantasy-looking world you're used to. The subsequent games, most of which take place on the same planet, subtly expand on how the rest of the world responded to the disaster.
  • Escape Battle Technique: The Protector can learn the Flee skill, which always escapes the party from any battle where they aren't trapped, and has a chance of dropping them at the last staircase they used.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning:
    • This being the first game in the series, it's also the one that introduced this trope to it. Not only are there three types of elemental attacks (fire, ice and volt), but also classes that relate to it in some way: Alchemists can learn to harness all three, specializing in area-of-effect attacks that reach most if not all enemies; however, the player may decide it's better to focus on one or two than spread their precious points across all three. Protectors, being tank-based combatants, can learn their element-based skills that focus on reducing or negating the elemental attacks coming from enemies and bosses (Antifire or Fire Wall, Anticold or Ice Wall, and Antivolt or Volt Wall). Landsknechts can perform stab attacks imbued with these three elements, but require the allies' attacks to target the enemy the former hit first for the resulting follow-up hits to work. Last, but not least, Troubadours can perform dances that imbue one of the three elements to an ally's weapon.
    • This game also introduces the three Elemental Dragons, each of which excels at one of the three main elements.
  • Flunky Boss: The fourth stratum's boss (Iwaoropenelep) is on an entire floor of F.O.E.s (fighting one on by itself is hard) that become aggressive upon the player entering a battle. This can be avoided by simply killing said F.O.E.s and somehow not dying, or killing the boss before they force themselves into the battle.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Corotrangul, a higly evolved manta ray that can hover in the air and take control of water as well as wind; it serves as the boss of Azure Rainforest. There's also an orange clownfish-like creature with blue fins that appears in Sandy Barrens, but it's just a regular enemy.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Aquatic Butchers are large crabs with overgrown pincers that appear in Azure Rainforest. At first, they lay hidden beneath the water; but when the character party enters a battle against normal enemies, a nearby Butcher will sense the violence and begin approaching the whereabouts of the fights to join the enemies. There's also the Iron Crab, a creature of exceptional strength that appears in the Bonus Dungeon, Claret Hollows.
  • Glass Cannon: The Ronin class possess incredibly high attack power, and have exclusive access to one of the strongest classes of weapon, but can equip very little in terms of armor, leaving them quite vulnerable.
  • Golem: One of the hidden superbosses in the game is a gigantic Golem that appears to also have some mechanical parts. It's a powerful monster with strong melee attacks, and the ability to restore a part of its HP when all of it is depleted (though this only works once).
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The whole 6th stratum, Claret Hollows, is downright evil; it features warps and pitfall traps throughout it, but it's at least theoretically possible to muddle through if you have a lot of time to burn. Navigating around the pitfalls is a bit easier when you realize an FOE will never step on a pitfall but good luck noticing this with the game's short draw distance.
    • The True Final Boss can be beaten only if you can predict every single one of its elemental attacks (and it will probably get off about 50 of them during a typical fight) and use the appropriate one-turn elemental defense against every single one. It turns out that if you have less than ten buffs, its elemental attacks follow a set pattern (which is not hinted anywhere, and which you must know exactly in order to beat it.) Any more of them, and it's random. Worse, the defense powers you need to use are only learned by one specific class (which you may not even have) and you must level those powers to exactly 5 (out of 10) — any higher and they start to absorb damage instead of negating it. It sounds good at first, but the absorption won't protect you from accompanying status effects, which will cripple your party, and, if you're unlucky, will make the boss start attacking at random and cause you to lose immediately. It also has all three OHKO spells that former FOE bosses had and seems to use them at random.
  • Insect Queen: The game introduces the Ant Queen, fought as a Mini-Boss in Azure Rainforest (this also applies to the remake Millenium Girl), and in later games as an Optional Boss in the sea (The Drowned City) and in a Mini-Dungeon (Nexus). If the egg sacs she drops aren't gotten rid of prior to the battle, the newborn Ants will eventually join the battle, making things more difficult.
  • Interface Screw: In the bonus sixth stratum, the second floor is made up of dark areas combined with pitfalls and F.O.E.s, forcing the player to fully map out the area and either remember their location at all times or match up what they see with the map.
  • Jungle Japes: Primitive Jungle. It's a dense biome with robust flora and crystalline water, but also harmful floors that deplete the party characters' HP whenever they stand onto it (though it's possible to mitigate the damage). The boss is Cernunnos, though it also has the Wyvern as a Skippable Boss. This stratum is followed by the Azure Rainforest, a more waterlogged biome where the player's characters have to use water lilies to cross the bodies of water, and it's guarded by the Queen Ant (who installed a colony in the first two floors) and the boss Corotrangul.
  • Limit Break: The "Boost" action, which increases the effectiveness of a normal skill during the turn when it's executed. When entering a stratum, the Boost gauge for each party member starts empty; but during battle, any action performed (attacking, defending or using an item or passive skill) will gradually increase it until it's full (and only then can the Boost be performed). How effective the Boost is will depend on how leveled up the applied skill currently is. When a character is killed or knocked out and then revived, their gauge will reset to zero and has to be filled up again.
  • King Mook: Two of the bosses in the game are Fenrir (the alpha male of the Skolls) in Emerald Grove, and the Queen Ant (self-explanatory) in Azure Rainforest.
  • The Lost Woods: The Emerald Grove is pretty rudimentary in terms of gameplay, but serves as a starter place for explorers willing to delve into the depths of the Yggdrasil. It is overrun by wolves led by the stratum's boss (Fenrir).
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Protector class uses shields, which is visually more prominent than their swords. The shield is used for most of their special abilities, particularly when it is used as a weapon for the powerful Smite attack.
  • Marathon Boss: The Golem is surprisingly tough due to its associated quest becoming available while you're about 10 levels too low to match it. When its HP is depleted, it gets back up at half health, putting the player in for a longer fight than they bargained for.
  • Master of All: The Survivalist class is designed as a Utility Party Member whose skills make up for its lower attacking and defensive power compared to other classes. However, the first game also gave it immensely powerful damage dealing skills in Apollon and Multihit, as well as a solid HP stat and additional defense from being able to attack with full power from the back row. Coupled with 1st Turn to allow other party members to instantly execute healing or buffing skills before the enemy can get a move in, this resulted in a class that, by the end game, could do everything. Suffice to say, it received significant nerfs in following games.
  • Mini-Boss: It is necessary to defeat the Queen Ant in the second floor of the Azure Rainforest in order to progress in that stratum (the actual boss is Corotrangul, found in the fifth floor). This is repeated in the fifth stratum (Lost Shinjuku), where the player's party has to defeat Ren and Tlachga before they can proceed further (the main boss is Etreant, the monster form of Visil who is revealed to be the game's Big Bad). Lastly, during the postgame, to reach the chamber of the Yggdrasil Core (the game's True Final Boss) in Claret Hollows, it is necessary to defeat three dragons that are duplicated versions of the three Elemental Dragons, and given the role to protect the Core. Luckily, they're all weaker than the originals and, in the remake Millenium Girl, it is not necessary to fight them as they have been relocated.
  • Mook Maker: The Queen Ant, which lays egg sacs from which ant enemies can be hatched. If these sacs are left unchecked by the time the Queen is fought, the ants will eventually join the fray and make the fight much harder.
  • Multi Shot: The Survivalist class has the Double Shot/Multihit ability. Upgraded to its maximum level, this ability lets go of 3 arrows at once, all of which deal noticeably more damage than a regular shot, making rangers better damage dealers than any of the attack specialist classes. The ability got nerfed beyond recognition in the second game, along with a major upgrade for the typical attackers.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Hexers can become this, if you try to maximize the damage for their Revenge skill — 255% of the health they've lost will be dealt to the enemy, but the Hexer will not survive a single blow.
  • The Paladin: The Protector class (actually called Paladins in the Japanese version). They can equip the heaviest armor and most of their abilities revolve around protecting the rest of their party from harm. Their offensive power is decent at best compared to other classes, being bolstered by a Shield Bash skill, and they possess some basic healing abilities.
  • Plant Person: The Forest Folk is a sentient race of plant people who guard the Sandy Barrens, and will refuse to let any group of explorers advance further in the labyrinth of Yggdrasil. There's also Alraune, a very powerful Superboss who takes advantage of her appearance (a humanoid female) to fool careless explorers into thinking she's an innocent entity.
  • Power Up Letdown:
    • Landsknecht's Arm Heal is more or less a trap to make ignorant players waste their skill points. Like any skill, one can place up to ten points in it, which is a lot considering all characters have a hard limit of 73-78 or so points total to spend on everything, including all their useful skills, stat boosts, and their prerequisites. Level 1 Arm Heal is a head skill (meaning it can't be used if the Landsknecht's head is bound) that self-cures bound arms for 2 TP. In other words, one uses it when their arms are bound, their head is not, and it's somehow deemed more useful to spend the Landsknecht's turn arm-healing instead of having the medic do it or simply using non-arm skill-requiring regular attacks. But hey, at least it's practically free. Needless to say, its being worth even a single point is hotly debated, but not even its most dedicated fans advocate maxing it, as the only additional perks are that the cost of using it drops to 1 TP at level 5, and 0 at level 10.
    • Protector's Provoke, a skill to goad enemies into attacking the Protector instead of anyone else, has a success rate way too low even at level 10 to be reliably used for the usual keeping-everyone-else-alive tank purposes.
    • Medic's H. Touch, a skill that heals the party for very low TP, but can only be used outside of battle and can only heal up to a certain percentage of their maximum health — for example, if the cap is 10% and someone has 100 HP, it will only heal for as much as it takes to bring them up to 10 HP, and is completely useless if they have more than that. The cap at level 10 is 40%.
    • Fortunately, Provoke and Arm Heal (renamed "Unbound" as it is now no longer arm-specific) are dramatically improved for the sequel, and H. Touch is removed entirely. (The Medic's Limit Break in the sequel is technically called "H. Touch," but the actual move and effect are extremely different.)
    • Protector's Anti(element) skills will completely block attacks of the corresponding element at level 5. If you upgrade them to 6 or higher, you will absorb the attack's damage and recover health, but this also lets through any secondary effects. This has been fixed in various ways in other games: in 2 and Millennium Girl absorption prevents status effects and 3 required mastery just to completely nullify the damage.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Hexers have the ability Evil Eye, which grants them control over an enemy. Once dominated, they can follow up with Suicide Word, which forces the victim to attack itself.
  • Rare Random Drop: The Shinryu Sword. The sword itself is forged and not dropped by enemies, but the materials used to make the sword (the Fire Scale, the Volt Scale, and the Ice Scale) are dropped by the three elemental dragons only when they are killed by an attack of the element they resist the most. In the first and second games' remakes, the Shinryu sword instead requires non-conditional but rare drops from the Dragons, which may force many a player to break out the Formaldehyde to obtain them.
  • Rōnin: The Ronin class is focused around a unique Stance System of buffs that allows them to use different skills (or, in the case of Etrian Odyssey Nexus, apply bonus effects to certain skills) depending on which stance they're currently in. However, despite their power, they are one of the physically frailest classes in the game, with terrible HP and the lightest armor class.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The fifth stratum shows up alongside the reveal that the setting where it's hosted is Earth All Along, some indeterminate amount of time after the end.
  • Sand Is Water: In the first floor of Sandy Barrens (16th floor overall in the Yggdrasil Labyrinth), there are several passageways where sand is flowing steadily, effectively acting as conveyor belts. These cannot be overriden, so the player's character party has to figure out the right path to advance to the next floor.
  • Sarashi: Female Ronin (Bushido) characters wear what looks almost like a standard miko outfit... with the top open to show a sarashi underneath. Male Ronin, meanwhile, are Walking Shirtless Scenes.
  • Scenery Dissonance: There's a lush, beautiful scenery, with an emphasis on forests, in many of the games. These games also make up some of the hardest games produced by Atlus, a company already known for Nintendo Hard games, with difficult enemy encounters attacking you in these lush woodlands from the get-go and horrific Roaming Enemies called FOEs that will completely destroy an unprepared party. Also, as revealed much later, some of these woods were built on top of the ruins of a modern Japanese city and are the byproduct of a gigantic World Tree that was built to bring the world back to a livable state after a global apocalypse destroyed it.
  • Self-Recovery Surprise: The Golem isn't the toughest secret boss but, aside from being way overpowered in general for the time you can first access it, it heals to half health on the first mortal blow. And when it gets into the last 25% health area after that it casts Regen, which further heals it. However, it is possible to get around all that if a one-hit kill technique triggers. If fact, doing so is required to get a secondary drop from the Golem.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Sandy Barrens, a desolate desert with dried, withered flora overrun by monsters and creatures, though it's also inhabited by a reclusive race known as the Forest Folk. Its primary features are spots that warp explorers from one room to another, currents of sand that are impossible to override (thus acting like conveyor belts), one-way junctions through certain walls, and a large area patrolled by F.O.E. and the boss Iwaoropenelep.
  • Skippable Boss: The Wyvern in Primitive Jungle can be skipped. In fact, it's highly advised to do so at first, due to its exceptional power and defense. The earliest moment to consider fighting it is during the postgame.
  • Smash Mook: The Forest Ogre F.O.E. has only one attack: hit one of your guys hard. It will kill one or zero characters per turn. Your healer can resurrect one character per turn. It is mathematically impossible to lose to, but boy will you burn through a lot of resources trying to kill it.
  • Stance System: The Ronin class has certain skills based on which of the three stances are active. Overhead/Upper increases offence and defence, with focus on offence, Seigan/Clear increases the same, but with focus on defence, and Iai/Drawing increases speed.
  • Stone Wall: The Protector class. While their offense will sometimes be the weakest of the front row, most Protectors will simply laugh at hits that would have overkilled other characters a few levels higher than they. They have skills that further increase their/ally's defense, attract enemy attacks towards themselves, resurrect themselves automatically once per battle, take hits for other, squishier units, and nullify, to add insult to (non)injury, physical attacks.
  • Superboss: Being the first game overall in the series, it's also the first to feature the postgame three elemental dragons (Great Dragon, Blizzard King and Storm Emperor), who each has an elemental attack that can wipe out your entire party in one hit unless you negate it with specific skill at the right time. They've since been prevalent in all games except the fifth, thus doubling as Legacy Boss Battle opponents. From the third game onwards, their defeat also raises the level cap for your entire guild — an important asset for the postgame.
  • Thunderbird: Iwaoropenelep is a large yellow bird that appears in the game's fourth stratum (Sandy Barrens) as its boss. Among it vast repertoire of attacks, there's a Thunderwing skill capable of electrocuting the playable party, with a chance of paralyzing one or more characters; it is the guardian that protects the way to the remnants of a deceased past world.
  • Universal Poison: The Alchemist has a poison ability which doesn't really fit into the general fire/ice/volt/physical attack pattern. It's no different from the enemy or player skills that inflict the standard poison ailment (which depletes part of the victim's HP once per turn while it's in effect). As a side note, some skills from players and enemies can cause paralysis, but that's treated as a separate ailment unrelated to poison.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • The Dark Hunters can learn a skill named Climax, which can instantly kill any enemy on low health. If an enemy is at low health, you can just kill it the conventional way, and bosses with mountains of health are immune to instant kills. FOEs, though, have both the health counts to warrant its use and aren't outright immune to instant kills. On the other hand, this last point is what turns Climax into an overpowered skill in the second game, as it always instantly kills an enemy and, as a result, dramatically shortens an FOE fight.
    • The Medic's Refresh skill in the original game starts by being only able to cure one type of ailment, and further investment will increase the number of ailments it can remove. Since skill points are at a premium in this game, it's more efficient to just use Theriaca B which cures all types of ailments on the whole party. All subsequent games (and the Untold remake) have the skill cure all ailments from the get-go, with further investment only affecting its range and cost, and the Theriaca gets watered down to affecting only one party member at a time.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Lost Shinjuku, whose existence provides the horrifying reveal that the characters are living in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • Waltz on Water: Azure Millennial Woodlands for the third stratum of the game, Azure Rainforest, the bluest and wettest area of the game.
  • Wham Line: Not a conversation line, but an area name (specifically, that of the fifth and final non-postgame stratum): Lost Shinjuku. This establishes that not only does the game take place After the End, but after the end of a modern Earth.
  • Whip It Good: The Dark Hunter class has the option to use whips. The females in particular like to dress in scant leather outfits, and they all sport skills such as Climax and Ecstasy. They even specialize in tying up enemies and their Dominate skill lets them completely bind and gag an enemy without fail.
  • Wolfpack Boss: A literal example. By itself, the Fenrir is merely a powerful boss (in a game where every boss is difficult to some degree). However, if you don't take care of the nearby Skoll F.O.E.s before challenging it, they will quickly join the fight and cause even more trouble for you. The Video Game Remake Etrian Odyssey Untold makes Fenrir much worse; he'll actively prevent you from dispatching the Skoll before the fight, forcing one of your characters into spamming Flash Bombs (and the occasional Sonic Bomb to prevent Fenrir from summoning a trio of Forest Wolves who, by the way, are immune to Flash Bombs) just so you aren't overwhelmed by numbers. The Nexus version is more forgiving: Every Skoll minus one can be dispatched without Fenrir or the other Skolls being alerted, which allows you to carefreely inflict damage to Fenrir for many of the first turns as all it will do is summon extra Skolls until a total of four is present in the area.
  • Womb Level: The Bonus Dungeon Claret Hollows has walls made of flesh and skulls, powerful cells as enemies, damage tiles that look like stomach acid, and the final boss is called the "heart of the labyrinth".

Examples that apply exclusively to the remake (The Millennium Girl):

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In Story Mode, Kupala of the Forest Folk pulls a Heroic Sacrifice in order for the party to have their weapons become strong enough to defeat the final boss. That said, it does not make the boss easy for the unprepared.
  • Abandoned Laboratory: The newly-added stratum, Gladsheim, is an overgrown research facility that was involved with the Yggdrasil Project. It is guarded by M.I.K.E., an AI who has good intentions with very lethal solutions.
  • Arrange Mode: Story Mode is this to the series' traditional "assemble your own party of blank slates" gameplay. Instead of creating characters, you have a fixed set of five canon characters who are pre-named except for the protagonist, there are a fair bit more cutscenes and dialogue, and areas and bosses have many distinct differences including content that is not available in Classic Mode. As compensation for having five fixed characters in your guild and not being allowed to add more, you are given the option to change their classes.
  • Balance Buff: Between the original game and this one, the Ronin's Stances remain as buffs that are required for their stronger skills, but this game adds Slantwise Cut, a damaging skill that enables Stance-reliant abilities for the next turn so that the Ronin can still do something in faster-paced random encounters.
  • Balkanize Me: The game has the Canadian province of Ontario as an independent kingdom. The rest of North America, and presumably the world, is in a similar state, Ontario is just the only one still going by its original name.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The boss drop that forms the ultimate katana will only be obtained from the fight at the conclusion of Story Mode. While this does mean that you have an entire sixth stratum to use it, none of the Story Mode party can equip katanas without assistance from Grimoire Stones. Start a New Game Plus in Classic Mode, though, and you can have a Ronin tear up enemies with that ultimate katana.
  • Buffy Speak: The game has this gem from Child Mage Arthur:
    Arthur: I just go "Zoom!" and it goes "Whoosh!" and then "Bam!" and the enemies are like "Noooooo!" and I'm all "Hahaha!"
  • Cast from Hit Points: This is the entire modus operandi of the protagonist in the remake, the Highlander. The majority of his moveset consists of skills that consume his (and in a few cases the entire party's) HP, with effects ranging from powerful multi-target attacks to strong Status Buffs.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Gungnir, a weapon designed to neutralize the Yggdrasil Cores before they awaken and wreak havoc upon the world. The party decides against using it once they learn of the widespread destruction its impact would cause. Given the setting, it could very well be an actual nuke.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Frederica "Ricky" may have slept in a stasis capsule for over a thousand years, but she still wears her hair in small twintails that emphasize her "born-again youth", girlishness, and innocence from amnesia.
  • Glass Cannon: The Highlander can perform powerful Spear attacks at the cost of a part of his HP, thus overlapping with Cast from Hit Points (and his defense isn't too high either). A Highlander class is added in later games, retaining these characteristics.
  • Guide Dang It!: The King Grimoires are obtained either through sheer luck or by matching the last digit of certain numbers on your Guild Card. The game doesn't tell you about their existence at all.
  • Insect Queen: The Queen Bee serves as the second boss of the remake-exclusive Gladsheim. She's not aggresive by nature, but since she's nesting in the power source (which your party needs to activate), fighting her will be an unfortunate necessity.
  • King Mook: Besides retaining Queen Ant and Fenrir from the original game, the remake also adds the Queen Bee, who commands the bee-based enemies and FOE that roam the second area of Gladsheim.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Despite being a remake of this game in the series, Etrian Odyssey Untold has late arrival spoilers for the series. The intro features scenes of futuristic technology, and early on in the story mode you visit a ruined high-tech facility, and Raquna reveals she's from Ontario — which is heavily implied to be exactly where it sounds like. The fact that series is set in a post-apocalyptic future Earth was originally a twist revealed extremely late in the original version of the game.
  • Mechanical Monster: The remake adds two robotic bosses in the also-added dungeon Gladsheim: The first is Gimle, which is capable of shooting powerful missiles at the player's party even before its boss battle properly begins; and the second is M.I.K.E., which by the point it's found goes haywire and must be destroyed).
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Boulder Boars and Medusa Trees are major offenders, forcing you to look funny at all the rocks in the Emerald Grove and dead trees in the Sandy Barrens (and there are a lot of dead trees in the latter).
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The updated version of the final boss theme in this remake, "Throne of Creation".
  • Power Copying: Grimoire Stones can contain enemies' skills along with regular class skills.
  • Powers as Programs: Grimoire Stones allow the equipping characters to access skills outside their normal skill set. These stones are normally generated in combat and can feature a mixture of skills from the one who created the stone on top of any enemy skills. They also can be equipped and swapped around your party outside the dungeon.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The remake has Grimoire Stones as a random drop, which let characters obtain certain enemy skills or share their own skills. The enemy skills include the Final Boss's hilariously overpowering Signature Moves. One step beyond that is the Seven King Grimoire, which combines the powers of seven of the game's story bosses. note .
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Visil is posed as one in The Millennium Girl, though it's not obvious until after you're forced to kill him. This contrasts his portrayal in the game's original version as well as the remake¿s Classic Mode, whose inner intentions are unambiguously sordid.
  • Robot Names: M.I.K.E., the AI who watches over Gladsheim and becomes the last boss found there, stands for Memetic Installation Keeper Engine.
  • Scolded for Not Buying: The remake has Shilleka comment "Next time you should buy something" if you didn't so when you leave her shop.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: There's an anime cutscene where M.I.K.E. shows a map of Etria being completely covered by a massive red area marked with "NO SURVIVORS", to show the effects of activating Gungnir. And the heroes are told that letting Yggdrasil live by not activating the weapon would cause even greater destruction.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Starting from this remake, the Etrian Odyssey series has incorporated voice acting to plot-critical characters as well as the player-created characters (for each of which the specific voice can be selected as well).
  • Supporting Protagonist: Story Mode puts you in the shoes of a highlander recruited by the Radha in order to investigate the Yggdrasil ruin. However, the subtitle of the game, Millennium Girl, refers to Frederica Irving, an amnesiac gunner whom you awaken from a capsule while exploring a different ruin that's connected to the one you're searching. Your goal is twofold: assist the investigation team and unlock the secrets of the ruin, and help Frederica regain her lost memories.
  • Time-Limit Boss: In Area V of Gladsheim, an unwavering M.I.K.E. must be fought along the path to stop Gungnir from destroying Etria, making him this. The time limit from the moment the main characters enter Area V is 50, and decreases by 1 every time they take a step out of battle or a turn passes in battle. As a result, efficiency is key to defeat the boss quickly enough.
  • Timed Mission: The final area of Gladsheim gives you 50 turns to reach and defeat M.I.K.E. Each step you take counts as a turn, and each turn in combat counts to that limit as well. The area has a few chokepoints guarded by hardy FOEs, and if you reach M.I.K.E. the countdown keeps ticking during the fight with him.
  • Treacherous Quest Giver: Compared to the original game, there are several:
    • An enemy of local Sherlock Holmes Expy Austin impersonates Valerie, the quest giver, and sends you to find Austin with a note soaked in a chemical that attracts several waves of monsters. It's implied it was Barodeur, Austin's Moriarty equivalent.
    • An old man posts a mission to investigate the tales of a legendary thief's treasure, which just happens to be guarded by Golem, the first of the game's Superbosses. He knew perfectly well there was no treasure, but he wanted revenge upon the machine for killing his grandson. He did eventually feel remorse and tried to take down the quest, but it was way too late, seeing your team has already wrecked Golem's shit.
    • Gladsheim AI M.I.K.E.'s plan to activate Gungnir just so happens to consider Etria and the entire country expendable if the Yggdrasil Core's destroyed...
    • Visil originally has no agenda other than work for Etria. However, after a point, due to possession by Yggdrasil, he starts finding ways to kill your guild.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • With Grimoire Stones allowing you to copy skills from one class to another, elements of this trope show up to encourage the player to try and rectify the skills' shortcomings. For instance, the Ronin lacks the Luck to make Severing Slash trigger consistently and the Alchemist is too squishy to make the most of Pain Formula and its related skills, but with the Grimoire Stones you can put them onto a character who can make better use of them.
    • Owl Eye and Sight Formula are redundant now that the new mapping system lets you innately see the movements of FOEs within a small radius around you, even in uncharted corners of the map. The ability to track invisible FOEs is not as important since you can do so easily on a return trip.

Alternative Title(s): Etrian Odyssey Untold The Millennium Girl