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Video Game / Etrian Odyssey Nexus

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Spoilers for this game will be marked as usual. However, due to this game's nature as a Megamix Game, this page assumes you have played all previous mainline Etrian Odyssey games, and therefore spoilers from those past games will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
All the paths cross now.

Etrian Odyssey Nexus is the sixth main installment in the Etrian Odyssey series. It was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2018 in Japan, and the following year overseas. It's the final installment in what has also become Nintendo's final dedicated handheld system.

The game's story takes place in the archipelago known as Lemuria. In the years following the calamity that greatly affected the world, researchers began harvesting a new Yggdrasil in the center of the archipelago to protect it, and to this end they studied the Yggdrasils of Etria, High Lagaard, Armoroad and the Empire located north of Tharsis to incorporate elements from them into their own project. As a result, this new Yggdrasil acquired a symbolic link with its fellows from the rest of the world. Unfortunately, while the land of Lemuria thrived for a long time, a large-scale tragedy occured and caused the death of thousands of people due to a creature that was originally created to protect the land. The monster was sealed, and the remaining Lemurians casted a seal to prevent its liberation. The power of the seal remains upheld from four strategic parts of the archipelago's corner, which are protected respectively by four ancient temples, or Shrines.

Many details of this story got blurred in the mists of time, to the point that people from future generations have seen all of it as a myth... until now. In the present time, the floating, wandering city of Maginia, governed by Princess Persephone of Maginias (herself a surviving descendant of the Lemurians, alongside her brother), has arrived to Lemuria to uncover its mysteries and rediscover its past and the details of its eventual decline. The princess invited adventurers, explorers and researchers from many parts of the world, including those from the aforementioned towns and cities with their own Yggdrasils, to answer the call to help in this cause. Maginia took settlement in the southeast island of Lemuria, the Isle of Origin, and from there all involved people make preparations to embark on the adventure of their lives. And thus the events of the game begin.

Etrian Odyssey Nexus acts as a celebratory chapter in the series, as it features locations, classes, enemies, bosses, mechanics and supporting characters from all previous games (albeit more loosely in the case of the then-recent Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, due to spoiler-sensitive lore reasons that are only revealed in its true ending). It has an overworld map like the third and fourth game, though it's interacted via point-and-click selection instead of a proper navigation gameplay; from there, the player can select the available dungeons, mini-dungeons and NPC locations that have been unlocked, as well as FOE that roam in the open field outside the former two locations. Despite its focus on revisiting old content, the game does feature new material in the aforementioned aspects, including a new class (the Hero) which serves as a well-rounded Jack of All Stats. It's also, by a wide margin, the most extensive game in the series.

This game provides examples of:

  • After Boss Recovery: The game gives your party a full recovery, including Force gauge refills (even if you used Force Breaks, which normally disable the Force gauge until you return to town), after you defeat the boss of the second Labyrinth, the Berserker King. It helps a lot, because this comes immediately before a fight with a second boss — the real endboss of the Labyrinth— that just appeared shortly before Wiglaf healed you.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The five-member limit is justified due to the presence of the Hero class. Heroes can summon Afterimages who replicate the performed attacks so enemies receive more damage per turn; but if a party already has five characters, then only one Afterimage can be created (and will occupy the extra sixth slot). Since Ninjas can cast duplicates called Mirages (like in the third game), they're also subjected to this restriction (and if the player has both a Hero and a Ninja on board, the two replica creations will be mutually exclusive unless there are four or fewer characters). This brings in an additional caveat in the boss fight against Narmer in Waterfall Wood, because Charis will offer you to help in the battle, meaning she'll occupy the sixth slot and thus no Afterimages or Mirages can be summoned unless, again, there are fewer than five standard characters.
  • Asset Actor: Nexus is a Megamix Game with elements of various past games in the Etrian Odyssey series. In the Waterfall Woods, a Labyrinth from Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City, you encounter an NPC adventurer named Charis, and she can optionally and temporarily join your party. Charis's armor is modeled after the Hoplite class from Etrian Odyssey III, featuring distinctly bulky shoulder and chest plates. However, this game does not have the Hoplite class, so she's instead classified as a Protector, an Etrian Odyssey class that is also a defense-oriented class but whose official portraits lack the thick armor of Hoplites.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The theme "Hoist The Sword With Pride In The Heart", originally the main boss theme in the third game, is remixed into a rock-inspired version for the bosses of that game that reappear here. Same goes with "Calling That Detestable Name" from the same installment, which was played for its True Final Boss and is now played for the battle against that of this installment.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The game has examples in the first retro dungeons, and one of the last ones:
    • The first floor of the Lush Woodlands is a carbon copy of its original from Legends of the Titan. The second bears great similarity, with some minor tweaks to layouts and a few events for the cast of Nexus. Wiglaf even drops by to explain the Berserker King's threatening skills, giving the player an idea of what to expect at the end of the dungeon. Then you engage the third floor (which has a completely new map design), and a half-health Berserker King gets the drop on you just as you begin to expect a Bloodbear like before.
    • As expected, the Berserker King is fought right at the end of the floor for real. But shortly after its defeat, Cernunnos (of the first game's fame) appears and challenges your party. You do get a break in that Wiglaf restores your party to perfect shape before the second fight begins, on top of a save opportunity, but still...
    • Due to the earlier appearance of Cernunnos in this game, the boss of the Primitive Jungle is the Wyvern, and at first it seems like you'll be able to fight it in the second floor once you first meet it. But instead of fighting you, the Wyvern sends you to the third floor, and once you exit from there you have to plan a twofold assault with a second party of characters in order to properly challenge the monster.
    • Played with in the 4th Labyrinth's boss room. Narmer, now known as the Wicked Silurus, still has a bunch of puddles in its room, but unlike in The Drowned City there is no chase sequence nor does it summon flunkies to distract you. The actual twist comes from your end, as you can now get help from Charis (a Guest-Star Party Member) during battle, but since she has to occupy a slot in your party you won't be able to cast Afterimages or Doubles if you already have five regular members at that moment.
    • As you explore the Golden Lair, you'll find the Salamander (a boss from Heroes of Lagaard) in the second floor. You'd think that you can bypass it like you could in the source game when you met it in Auburn Thicket, or that it will somehow send you to another floor like Wyvern in Primitive Jungle... nope, you have to defeat it to proceed (this is because Blót put it there to obstruct your progression). The labyrinth's last boss is still the Boiling Lizard, just like in Legends of the Titan, but it only appears in the fourth floor (you're not dealing with a three-floor veteran stratum anymore!). The same thing happens in Sandy Barrens with the Basilisk, only there the fight takes place in the first floor.
  • Balance Buff: The game quells the strength of the elemental imbue skills, but expands their utility: First it introduces several skills that utilize the equipped weapon and thus will be affected by the imbues, next it makes the Sovereign's elemental Arms skill affect an entire line, and finally the Arms skill also provides a damage boost to other skills that attack with the matching element.
  • Block Puzzle: Block puzzles involving the ice blocks from The Fafnir Knight are added in the Nexus version of Golden Lair, being introduced during the dungeon's second half (the original Golden Lair from Legends of the Titan lacks them); Nexus also has them in the penultimate Mini-Dungeon (Frigid Lake, accessible during the Playable Epilogue), and the ensuing puzzles require masterful thinking to be solved. Lastly, the Western and Abyssal Shrines feature F.O.E. which can be safely pushed up to twice (a third time will prompt them to chase you, so beware), and have to be pushed onto certain positions so you can either walk over them once you climb onto the lower walls or simply make your way into previously-obstructed passageways.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Abyssal Shrine (not the same one from Etrian Odyssey III) has a layout and architecture reminiscent of the cardinal Shrines built all over Lemuria, and to a lesser extent the shrine built inside Yggdrasil Labyrinth, but the similarities end there. It features the most sordid fights against enemies (and have a much higher frequency rate than the Random Encounters from all previous strata), as well as mind-bending Block Puzzles that have to be solved for a successful navigation. It is here where the once-peaceful Abyssal Princess lies.
  • Boss-Altering Consequence: Like in Legends of the Titan, it is possible to halve the HP of the Boiling Lizard before starting its boss fight by heading to the room where the last floor's hot scale is and then destroy it with an Ice Stake. However, due to how far away that room is, it becomes an inconvenience to go back to it in case the party characters die during battle (and thus get a Game Over) or leave the floor before going to the boss, since returning to the floor afterwards will bring back the hot scale.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Abyssal Shrine brings back the block puzzle gimmick first seen in Western Shrine, now applied to very devious puzzles based on dodging formidable F.O.E. that either walk within the higher-level tiles, or move across solid walls and only take a detour when a Silent Assassin (the boulder-like crustaceans that can be pushed as if they were blocks) is on the way. Also, the encounter rate with enemies is unusually high, so unless you use a skill or item that mitigates that rate, you'll be facing strong enemies so often that your characters' Mana Meter won't last for too long if you don't have a way to refill it; for the unprepared, there will be a strong reliance on enabling shortcuts between walls so you can return to the city to rest your characters, save your progress and return to where you were to resume exploration.
  • Cap: A special case with the level of the player's characters. In previous games, the default cap was Level 70, and the very first game kept it. From the second game onwards, it was possible to raise it to Level 99 during the postgame (though the process was extremely long in the second game proper, as it required a repeated cycle of leveling up a character and then retiring them). Nexus, being a Prolonged Video Game Sequel with a much longer campaign, has Level 99 as the standard cap, and can be extended to 130 during the postgame.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The hot scales of the Boiling Lizard in Golden Lair put the whole stratum into a high temperature (to the point that cooling them will freeze the moats of water located within), yet approaching them doesn't harm the characters in any way. This is a major change from how the scales acted in the fourth game, as they averted the trope there.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: The four Shrines of Nexus all share the same tile set and theme. Although their map layouts and puzzles are different, their length makes them collectively take up a significant portion of the game. Sixteen floors worth of the same environmental features and theme can get old quickly, even if spaced out across the game. The Yggdrasil Labyrinth makes a few minor changes to the environmental features, namely a palette swap and a small rearrangement of the theme, so one can argue the main game features twenty-one floors of the same thing.
  • Damsel in Distress: After the party conquers the Western Shrine, Princess Persephone goes missing. Once they reach Sandy Barrens in the Isle of Bluffs, it's shown that Blót used his Hexer powers to mentally control her, as he needs to take her to the Northern Shrine to fully dispel the seal that holds Jormungandr captive. The party reaches Northern Shrine and manages to defeat the captor, but Blót's twin, unbeknownst to the party, completes the job and orders Persephone to use some of her blood to break the seal. She's finally rescued in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, shortly before the Final Boss fight.
  • Developer's Foresight: The script in certain events can vary differently depending on your party's composition (even if it's a one-man party). For example, in the "Guardian of the Lake" quest, while attempting to catch the guardian, certain party members have a different script when they're taking action to weaken the guardian, such as a Survivalist firing their bow, a Gunner aims their gun and fire at the guardian, or a Highlander throwing their spear at the fish. Imperials will pull out their drive blade and fire them at the lake, paying no attention to other party members (if there are any), which causes everyone else to instinctively squeeze their eye shut as the sound of explosion rocks the lake, and a Zodiac will cast Volt Star upon the lake in order to stun the fish, but this will cause 1 HP damage (which is reflected in the party status) on another party member if they're pulling the rod. Naturally, this doesn't apply if the Zodiac is the only active party member (since they stabilize the rod before casting).
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Defeating the Blossombeast allows you to make and buy the Thorn Scythe. While it cannot be upgraded, its stats make it useful for the next few Labyrinths and it also comes with Vine Grab: Arm, which inflicts modest damage to an enemy line with a chance of arm bind, in a game where binds can mean the difference between life and death. Helping matters is that scythes are equippable by Harbingers and Farmers, both of which have the LUC parameters necessary to reliably inflict binds. Later, Farmers can use the Thorn Scythe in conjunction with Harvest Festival, a skill that targets all reachable enemies and has a chance to instant-kill bound enemies to clear out random encounters with ease.
    • If you are willing to put in the legwork to unlock the Vampire "subclass" early (and you can unlock it as early as the second Labyrinth if you StreetPass the right player or make good use of the QR code scanning system; the Vampire sidequest itself has no mandatory enemy encounters), the accessory that grants it provides a bunch of stat boosts, the biggest one being an additional 100 hit points. The only real catches are that they'll take damage during the daytime, which can be solved simply by only going out at night, and that equipping the accessory replaces the user's Force skills with different ones.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The game has an interesting twist on this trope where the punishment for picking the easiest difficulty, Picnic, locks you to that difficulty for the rest of the game. This is to stop players from using Picnic to cheese through a troublesome part of the game and then turn the difficulty back up afterwads.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Several classes whose skills are related to these three elements return in this game, excelling at unleashing AOE attacks or even vetoing upcoming enemy attacks (Zodiac), performing elemental follow-up attacks (Landsknecht), shooting elemental bullets (Gunner), imbuing elements to ally weapons (Sovereign), attacking with powerful drive slashes (Imperial), or reducing, nullifying and eventually draining elemental attacks from enemies (Protectors); as a special note, Zodiacs now have a Limit Break skill that casts an attack encompassing all three elements to all enemies present, called Astrosign. Joining them all is the new Hero class, who can learn an asymmetric trio of elemental attacks (Frigid Slash, Spark Blade, Regiment Rave). Lastly, the three Elemental Dragons are present as usual (though they were absent in the previous game).
  • Flunky Boss: At one point, the boss of Southern Shrine (Shellbeast) will start summoning Dark Skulls which, though unable to attack individually, can team up to invoke a skill called Dark Mist. This skill is very dangerous, because it prevents the party from curing binds and ailments. The game also has the True Final Boss, the Abyssal Princess, who will start summoning Gothic Souls (one per turn) that do nothing by themselves; but when four of them are in the field, they'll allow the boss to perform a Total Party Kill (killing at least one Gothic Soul will prevent this).
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The certain adventuring events tend to ignore about the characters' equipment or skills, only considering their classes. This also applies on a note in the "Guardian of the Lake" event, as a Farmer would throw their weapon at the guardian's shadow (much like most of the playable classes), even if they're equipped with a gun (while Gunners actually fire and aim their gun at the fish).
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Unlike in her previous series appearances, the Ant Queen attempts to run away from the player's characters, and the vast width of the surrounding area in Seditious Colony makes catching her more difficult. In addition, from time to time she expels egg sacs which, if left unchecked, will hatch eggs to give birth to numerous Ant FOE. The trick is to chase her (and destroy the sacs in the process) until she passes by the entrance door; the party crosses the door to make the Queen think she's not being pursued anymore, and then re-enter to catch the Queen and start the boss battle.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The game has the Platinum Pillbug in Western Shrine, as well as the related Silent Assassin in Abyssal Shrine. At first, they will be completely docile and can even be pushed up to twice (which is handy in Block Puzzle-type gameplay), but will chase the player's party if pushed for a third time. Their King Mook is the Bugbeast, a gigantic armored pillbug with a wide array of attack-based skills as well as the ability to self-heal up to three times during battle.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Charis, who can optionally join you during the fight against the Wicked Silurus in Waterfall Wood (as a caveat, if your party already has five characters, Charis will be added as an extra sixth; because of this, Hero-class characters won't be able to cast Afterimages, and Ninja-class characters won't be able to use Mirages). In other strata and mini-dungeons, whenever a character joins you, they won't fight in battle nor need to be protected, but do have field-based skills that are useful during standard exploration.
  • Instakill Mook: The Archpixie has an instakill move as a standard attack (this enemy appeared first in the original game, but its main skill there is Petrify instead), which is why it only appears in a post-game Mini-Dungeon.
  • Jungle Japes: The Primitive Jungle makes a return from the first game, though unlike before the boss is the Wyvern (as Cernunnos now appears elsewhere). The game also features a new Mini-Dungeon set in the jungle area (Giant's Ruins).
  • Kamaitachi: Though multiple games in the series have Kamaitachi as enemies, Nexus goes as far as including a quest to investigate strange icy winds that have been knocking other explorers down with strange slashes at their ankles; it turns out to be a stronger Icy Wind Cutter.
  • King Mook: Besides bringing back several King Mooks, the game introduces the Bugbeast (the alpha version of the Platinum Pillbug F.O.E., and the boss of the Western Shrine; by extension, it also represents the Silent Assassins which appear in the postgame Bonus Dungeon).
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: In Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan, there is a secret class available in the last quarter of the game, the Imperial class; the name of the class is a reference to the Empire of Yggdrasil where people of this class come from and which is the highly-advanced aggressor country in opposition to the civilizations and races of the other three lands. Nexus has this class available to recruit right from the start, with their position in the class list (classes are organized by debut game) making it clear which game they're from.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Being the final Etrian Odyssey game on the 3DS (and by extension the era of Nintendo handhelds that began with the original DS), the game has many oddities in gameplay and progression that can be chalked up to being a Megamix Game; however, there is one that particularly stands out regarding how geomagnetic poles work in this game. In past games, they serve as save points and warps back to town. In Nexus, however, the poles are used to travel to new locations and only appear in Shrines, rather than in every major dungeon.
  • Lethal Lava Land: A red-hot palette dominates the atmosphere of Golden Lair while the Boiling Lizard's fiery scale found in the current floor is active, reminiscent of the ambiance of Molten Caves from Etrian Odyssey III; this didn't happen in the original Golden Lair from Etrian Odyssey IV, which retains its usual Underground Level tileset regardless of the current temperature, but the heat of the large scale is definitely enough to keep the water bodies warm (destroying the scale will cool down the whole floor and freeze the water).
  • Lettered Sequel: The X in the Japanese name (Labyrinth of Yggdrasil X) doesn't stand for 10 (it's the ninth game overall, and the sixth main one), but for Cross. In the West, the trope is replaced with Word Sequel.
  • Limit Break: The revamped Force mechanic from The Fafnir Knight returns in this game, now available not only for all classes present in that game but also the ones from the other games that also appear here.
  • The Lost Woods: Being a Megamix Game, Nexus brings back some of the forest strata seen in previous games (namely Lush Woodlands, Waterfall Wood, Petal Bridge and Ancient Forest). The Small Orchard Mini-Dungeon returns as well, and new mini-dungeons based on the forest-related main strata are added (Alpha Plains, Untrodden Basin, Blossom Bridge and Buried Castle).
  • Megamix Game: This game is the culmination of the series. It brings back classes, bosses and dungeons from all five previous titles, although it also features a few new dungeons and a new class. There's plot-relevant explanations for this, too; for returning classes represent explorers responding to Persephone's call across many different lands to Maginia, while the returning non-playable characters are supporting Maginia in its cause (or, in the case of Artelinde, having her own agenda with the Seafarers). For the dungeons, it's explained that Lemuria's Yggdrasil is derived by splicing the DNA of the Yggdrasils of Etria, High Lagaard, Amoroad, and Tharsis, so it's recreated the biomes of its ancestors as it reinvigorates surrounding lands, and the recurring enemies and bosses that populate it are a product of the wildlife adapting to each biome.
  • Me's a Crowd: In addition to bringing back the Ninjas and their duplication skill, also has the Hero class. They're capable of casting Afterimages that autonomously replicate the attacks that summoned them in the prior turns (for example, if the Hero performs Frigid Slash and an Afterimage is created, then that Afterimage will repeat the Frigid Slash in the next turn so the original Hero performs a different skill or action). Since both the Ninja mirages and the Afterimages need a slot to appear, the player has to know whom to reserve the sixth slot (though if there are less than five standard party members, both Ninjas and Heroes can potentially cast more than one Mirage/Afterimage to invoke this trope).
  • Mini-Boss: The last two returning strata to appear in the game (both located in the Isle of Bluffs) have one each: Salamander (originally from Heroes of Lagaard) in the Golden Lair, and Basilisk (of Fafnir Knight fame) in the Sandy Barrens. The Queen Ant from the first game, as well as the Juggernaut from the second and Chameleon King from the fourth, return as well (they now guard respectively three mini-dungeons).
  • Mini-Dungeon: The game has, in addition to full-fledged labyrinths, sub-dungeons of varying width (though all of them are still only one-floor tall). They're placed not too far from the main dungeons in the overworld map, and employ the same gimmicks seen in them (though often remixed to provide much harder puzzles, as seen with the Blossom Bridge which requires a much more clever use of the transport platforms than in the Petal Bridge). These sub-dungeons are the setting for unique sidequests involving the game's supporting characters.
  • Mobile City: The game is set aboard Maginia, a flying city that serves as the base of operations for adventurers exploring the island of Lemuria on the surface.
  • Mook-Themed Level: There's the Seditious Colony, where the only mooks present are Ants of different breeds, as well as ant-based F.O.E. and the Ant Queen as the boss.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Like the Masurao in the fifth game, the Hero has a skill called Challenger, which allows its user to lure a series of enemies into battle so the party can defeat them and increase experience. Depending on how upgraded this skill is, the number of consecutive battles can range from two to eight, and each upgrade also increases the chance to summon a shining enemy (whose defeat adds extra experience points, though they're prone to flee so it's important to kill them quickly).
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The game introduces the Vampire subclass and brings back the Ninja class and, as part of free DLC, every single player character portrait from past games, along with allowing you to pick character portraits independent of class. While this game does not have the Pirate class, you can have a Ninja Vampire who looks like a pirate or a robot.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Like in the fifth game, there are "Adventurer's Log" field events that will also grant EXP even if the event doesn't result in any combat.
  • Noob Cave: The Eastern Shrine, despite being the first major stratum instead of a Mini-Dungeon, is designed to be a tutorial dungeon, having only one floor (instead of three, four or five like the other main strata), being devoid of gimmicks and having a boss that focuses more on inflicting binds to the party than trying to inflict major damage.
  • Nostalgia Level: Being a Megamix Game, the game has several dungeons from previous games in the series, with their map designs overhauled to keep them fresh: Primitive Jungle and Sandy Barrens from the first, Ancient Forest and Petal Bridge from the second, Waterfall Wood and Undersea Grotto from the third, and Lush Woodlands and Golden Lair from the fourth (there are no dungeons from the fifth game, nor a dungeon that was originally the fifth in any of the other games, due to lore reasons). One of the fourth game's mini-dungeons, Small Orchard, returns in this one as well. The other dungeons (namely the Shrines and Yggdrasil Labyrinth) and mini-dungeons are new.
  • Ominous Save Prompt: At the end of the 2nd Labyrinth, after defeating the Berserker King, an even stronger boss (Cernunnos) shows up, and you are prevented from just jumping back to town, though Wiglaf shows up to fully heal your party, Force Gauges included; a save prompt then appears, which normally only does in the series when you rest at the local inn or interact with a geomagnetic pole. The game will strongly advise you to save in a new slot and that saving over your existing file could "greatly affect the game", as loading the save back up will jump you to the boss fight right away; you can wedge yourself into a "no choice but to start the entire game over" situation if you don't have a town save to fall back on.
  • Pressure Plate: One of the gimmicks introduced in the final standard stratum is the presence of platforms that, upon being stepped on and then walked away from, either lower into the ground's level or rise to the level of the middle walls' paths, depending on their previous state. These act effectively as columns whose motion is operated by the weight of the party characters, and working with them is necessary to make way through the first and fifth floors.
  • Prolonged Video Game Sequel: The first five mainline Etrian Odyssey games have each six strata, while the Untold remakes of the first two games add one more for a total of seven. This game? It has fourteen, as it not only has its own strata but also brings back many familiar ones for being a Megamix Game.
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: Thought of temporarily downgrading the difficulty to Picnic because of a difficult boss, then turning it back up afterwards? Well, the game will lock you into Picnic for the rest of your playthrough.
  • Remixed Level: Lush Woodlands, which originally debuted in the fourth game, retains the layout of its previous incarnation's first two floors, only altering the location of the staircase leading to the third floor. From there, the stratum changes everything: The usual boss (Berserker King) is fought twice (and the first fight occurs out of nowhere), and at the very end Cernunnos from the first game's second stratum makes a sudden appearance to challenge the player's characters. From that point, the game makes it clear that all the retro dungeons have been remixed (and the following ones, Primitive Jungle and Waterfall Wood, also introduce their own progression-based curveballs), with the change in layout being a constant.
  • Sand Is Water: The drifting sands originally seen in Sandy Barrens in the first game and its remake make a return here, not only in the first floor of Sandy Barrens once again but also in the Mini-Dungeon Forest of the End (despite its name, it's also a Shifting Sand Land location like Sandy Barrens).
  • Scratch Damage Enemy: Unlike in their previous appearances in the series, the Hexgourd FOE has honed its melee and elemental resistance to the fullest extent, so any attack from those fronts (stab, cut, bash, Fire, Ice, Lightning), will at best inflict only 1 HP of damage to the monster. The player is supposed to inflict curse or poison damage, or use a special attack that can somehow bypass the enemy's immunity stats.
  • Sequel Escalation: Granted, it's a Megamix Game, but Nexus notably crams in a lot more content compared to other games. There are 19 classes to choose from (compared to the roughly dozen classes in past games), there are thirteen main dungeons in the main, non-postgame portion of the game (as opposed to five labyrinths/strata in previous games), and the level caps have been increased from 70 base cap and 99 max to 99 base cap and 130 max. In terms of story, the game's stakes are raised even further, as not only do many supporting characters from previous games get involved, but the Big Bad is planning to break the seal containing a monster of exceptional might that can destroy not only Lemuria (the game's setting), but also the entire world.
  • Shield Bash: Normally in the series, shields are used for their defensive stats and for defense-based skills, but some shield skills are attack skills that inflict bash-type damage. They are notable in this game for using the shield's defense stat with a rather large multiplier to calculate damage, allowing the otherwise-Stone Wall Protector class to inflict massive damage with the correct build.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Sandy Barrens returns from the first game, retaining many of the original features (like the sand currents in the first floor and the one-way wall gaps in the second) though the warp points are removed (they now appear in one of the game's mini-dungeons, Illusory Woods). Nexus also features the Mini-Dungeon Forest of the End, which has even larger rivers of sand (though here they're pretty useful to dodge the F.O.E., even when they dive under that flowing sand).
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The mini-dungeon Frigid Lake, unlockable during the Playable Epilogue. Its layout is largely based on that of Golden Lair (which, incidentally, makes a return for this game), but due to the absence of the Boiling Lizard and its hot scales the cave is always cold, so the water remains frozen at all times. Like in the later floors of Golden Lair and the entirety of Frozen Grounds in The Fafnir Knight, there are ice blocks that can be pushed to improve the navigation in the frozen water (as it's Frictionless Ice).
  • Superboss: Golem, Alraune and the Elemental Dragons make a return in the game, whereas Scylla and Juggernaut (who were respectively a normal boss and a miniboss in the second game) get promoted to this for being the final opponents of the post-game mini-dungeons (Frigid Lake and Illusory Woods respectively). The game also promotes a veteran FOE to this status (Dinotyrant), as it only appears during the postgame in the overworld map and can easily kill even a Level 130 party that doesn't come with expert preparation.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: An example with a character class rather than the character themselves. Charis wears what's clearly Hoplite armor, but due to the Hoplite class not being in this game proper, she instead has the Protector class.
  • Temple of Doom: There are four Shrines built in the floating islands of Lemuria, surrounding this land's Yggdrasil. They were built to keep the monster Jörmungandr sealed, as it would bring doomsday to the world if it were released. The Eastern Shrine merely introduces the temple archetype to the game, as it has only one floor and has no gimmicks or even F.O.E. on its own, serving as a Noob Cave. But each subsequent Shrine, on top of having five floors, adds a new concept: climbable walls in the Southern Shrine, boulder-like F.O.E. that can be pushed (up to twice, as a third push would awaken the monster and chase the player's party) for puzzle solving in the Western Shrine, and floating rafts that can take explorers from one spot to the other in the Northern Shrine. They're also overrun by all sorts of F.O.E. and deadly enemies, becoming even more dangerous as a result. It is revealed by the game's Big Bad, that in their efforts to conquer these strata, the player's characters have contributed to the seal's weakening. Completing all four Shrines unlocks the final dungeon, the Yggdrasil Labyrinth itself; this dungeon features hovering rafts like those of Northern Shrine, but these drag two wagons attached to them and which make their management trickier (as they impede someone from backtracking directly to their previous spot); there are also pressure plates that raise or lower each time they're stepped on. Lastly, the Abyssal Shrine (not to be confused with the one from The Drowned City) serves as the Bonus Dungeon, and not only brings back the boulder concept from Western Shrine (though with a stronger version of the F.O.E.) but is also there where the True Final Boss awaits.
  • Title Drop Chapter: There's one that's Lost in Translation. The final main story Labyrinth is called Yggdrasil Labyrinth, referring to the Japanese title, Sekaiju no Meikyuu.
  • Underground Level: The Golden Lair returns in this game as a Nostalgia Level and, besides retaining its gimmick and boss, also adds the ice block puzzles from the second game's Frozen Grounds as well as a Mini-Boss (Salamander) that was originally a souped-up Skippable Boss in that game; also, when the dungeon's temperature is at its highest, the atmosphere is brighting red hot (similar to the Molten Caves from the third game; this didn't happen in the original Golden Lair). Additionally, the game adds two underground mini-dungeons: Seditious Colony (a cave that has been plagued by Ants originated from the Ant Queen), and Frigid Lake (a Slippy-Slidey Ice World cavern filled with frozen water and ice blocks).
  • Under the Sea: The Undersea Grotto from the third game returns as a Nostalgia Level, retaining many of its original features (as well as the same boss). However, it also adds a special Fetch Quest where the character has to look for certain sunken scrolls that document the history of Lemuria. In fact, due to not being able to turn off the sea currents until reaching a certain point in the third floor, they have to backtrack to the second floor to get a previously-inaccessible scroll.
  • The Unfought: While Blót (who eventually reveals himself as the Big Bad) is fought in a boss battle, his twin brother isn't. The latter character meets his demise offscreen shortly before the awakening of the Final Boss (Jormungandr); ironically, the former character not only survives his boss defeat, but also redeems himself near the end of the postgame.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The game features a Trick Boss segment: One boss is defeated (The Berserker King) only for another to show up with no chance for you to jump back to town and rest (Cernunnos). Between these fights, you're given a full-party heal (HP, TP, Force gauges) and a chance to save — one of the very few times in the series where you can save away from a town or geomagnetic pole, no less. If you choose to save, the game warns you to please save your game in a new slot (which in turn requires having an SD card), because if you can't defeat the second boss with everything you've got and you've got no other save to fall back on, it's time to start the entire game over!
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: After touring the landmasses of Lemuria, the final plot mission sends you to the Yggdrasil Labyrinth itself. It serves as the prison for Jormungandr, falsely believed to be the source of unlimited treasure when it's actually an apocalyptic monster that is sealed by the four Shrines built across the corners of Lemuria. This labyrinth is also a series Title Drop for Japanese players, adding to the finality of the stage.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Like in the fifth game, there are no restrictions on portraitnote -voice combinations. As such, it is entirely possible to create an elderly man character with the voice of a young girl, among other silly possibilities.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Blót staunchly believes that The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People, while peace and prosperity does the opposite. The solution they arrive at is to unseal an ancient Living Weapon and use it to plunge the world into an age of strife, "for the good of humanity".