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  • Accidental Innuendo: One of the Landsknecht's skills in Legends of the Titan is called "Mind Break"note .
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Olympia: Well-Intentioned Extremist doing what she must to protect the Deep City's secrets, or did she enjoy leading hapless, trusting explorers to their deaths?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Present in The Millennium Girl quite a bit.
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    • Frederica is from the distant past and left behind her family, everyone she knew, and all of the customs she was familiar with. This is mostly glossed over in favor of her being upset over having amnesia, a sub-plot which is resolved fairly quickly...only to replace it with the far more serious issue of Gungnir and the consequences of its use...
    • Arthur and Simon hail from a mining town called Gotham and were almost killed by Gungnir's activation when younger. Despite that fact, they remains cheerful most of the time (save, obviously, when the issue of firing Etria's Gungnir pops up, when M.I.K.E. and Frederica know full well it will kill everyone in Etria), and the only kind of problem Arthur seems to have developed from it is a fear of darkness... which is only brought up in an optional and missable scene.
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    • As the party enters the Sandy Barrens to fight and kill the infected members of the Forest Folk, Raquna feels exceptionally down about the idea of having to carry out these executions. No talk is made of it in the aftermath of the ensuing battles.
    • It's the end of the game. Several Forest Folk have been killed, the leader of Etria is dead, M.I.K.E. went rogue and had to be terminated, Kupala gave up her life, and Etria may become a ghost town now that the Labyrinth has been (near) fully explored. Well, see you next time! We're going to report to the Midgard Library!
  • Annoying Video Game Helper:
    • In Beyond The Myth, Necromancers' Wraiths and Rovers' Hawk and Hound can attack enemies, which does little damage but is still usually an acceptable supplement to your own party's attacks. Unfortunately, these attacks also wake up sleeping enemies, which means the sleep ailment is much more unreliable for any party containing these classes. Oh, and the Eternal Tyrant, the final boss is weak to sleep, so these "allies" will most likely deny you some precious opportunities to heal and reapply buffs during this difficult battle.
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    • In a similar vein, the Highlander's Bloodlust passive gives them a chance to counterattack upon taking damage, even if the damage from a source other than being attacked, such as one of their own HP-depleting skills or poison. While this is often helpful, it can be problematic when one of the enemies is asleep, wasting that free turn, or if the enemy has a counterattack skill; Stun Ananas and their last-ditch paralysis can be dangerous in this regard if they are not the only enemy remaining.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The Yggdrasil Core in Untold. It's markedly tougher in the first phase, but thanks to the virus, it actually doesn't have much more HP than your standard endgame F.O.E. and its attacks are easily handled with regular healing. Thanks to Kupala's Heroic Sacrifice, you'll deal boatloads of damage in the second phase, and while Necrosis is something to watch out for, the first time it's used is liable to fail across the board. Keep up the pressure and it won't have the chance to use it again.
    • The final boss of Mystery Dungeon, Dread Muspell. Her main body doesn't even do anything until you deal a lot of damage to her, and even then, her damage output and that of her minions is weak. She does have a mass confusion attack and the ability to summon a D.O.E., but for the former, several classes have abilities that can easily remedy this, and the latter move takes a long time to charge.
    • Sky Kaiser, the boss of the 10th Branch dungeon, also qualifies considering you have to beat the three elemental dragons to get to it (and the Blizzard King is That One Boss). Even though it can deal massive untyped Area of Effect damage with Deafening Roar, it will likely only uses this attack once, if at all, since it can only use two of that move and its more common random status spreader (which may even grant status buffs) before its depleted of amber and must generate more (easily destroyed) pieces to restore its condition. Its only other damaging move is its physical attack, so if your party can survive Deafening Roar, it essentially becomes a giant punching bag.
    • The Dryad in the postgame of Beyond the Myth would make for a threatening boss, if it weren't for the fact that she is quite vulnerable to a lot of disabling ailments and binds. The battle against her effectively becomes "disable or die", because her attacks are very powerful if not prevented.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl was hit with this since it was announced. Why? Well, take a franchise that's beloved by fans for the ability to create your own completely customizable party and interpret what the world is like for yourself, then make a game with an actual story mode with pre-existing characters, and you can see why people were skeptical. Sure, you could still create your own party in Classic Mode, but then you lose out on all the new content, including the Gunner and Highlander classes and the second dungeon.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Arianna from The Fafnir Knight. Is she a kind-hearted heroine that, despite being an airhead, is a nice reprise from the dark things that happen in the story? Or is she an idiot that has no idea what she's doing and ruins serious moments with her inability to grasp situations the party ends up in? The fact that the game's artbook says she was created to be the opposite of the fairly popular Fredericka isn't helping her.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice:
    • The series in general is known in the dungeon crawler community for the moe female portraits, due to the character artist Himukai's style.
    • Untold 2 has some infamy due to the Hot Springs DLC content.
    • Of the many things Beyond the Myth is known for, the younger female Necromancer who doesn't zip up her hoodie is one of the more prominent. It's also known for the "Sultry" personality option, which makes your character sound like someone from an adult game.
    • Nexus carries on with the racy DLC content with the female Heroine getting a Bikini Armor DLC costume, and the return of the "Sultry" voicepack, now in its original Japanese dubs and even more erogame-like in quality.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The "Etrian Nightmare"/Hurt Babirusa in The Fafnir Knight. It shows up out of nowhere, the party (in Story, anyway) makes a comment on it, then they fight. After the battle, there's no dialogue and the party just acts like it didn't happen.
  • Breather Boss:
    • Gimle in The Millennium Girl. It's insanely bulky, but it isn't a threat at all when you consider that you just got past the Iwaoropenelep. Doubly so if you have Peace Ballad, as it removes any need for even TP restoring items.
    • Demi-Fafnir in The Fafnir Knight, particularly in Classic mode. After the one-two punch of Guild Esbat and Scylla, he's a step down, lacking any of the major heavy-hitting moves that the above threw at you. In Story Mode, this is slightly counterbalanced by the fact that you're missing one of your party for the fight (specifically, Bertrand, due to him kinda becoming the Demi-Fafnir). Classic Mode, however, places no such restrictions on you.
  • Broken Base:
    • Etrian Odyssey IV caused a rift between fans at one point, especially with Casual Mode, and the shift from a synthesizer-based soundtrack to "actual" instrumentation.
    • The Millennium Girl brought in all sorts of disagreements within the fanbase, ranging from the new Story Mode and the main characters, to Grimoire Stones (until the second Untold game, anyway) and the floor jump feature. In particular, the retcons to major plot elements in the original game are either seen as making the story worse by diluting the tragedy to the point of going against the original intended message, or the retcons were at least better than the original game guilt-tripping the player for things they had no control over.
    • Downloadable Content in The Fafnir Knight. There are there who are more than willing to purchase the additional features, and others who are accusing Atlus of implementing microtransactions when QR codes (as done in the fourth game) would've accomplished the same thing.
      • To add insult to injury, they are releasing QR codes for it...if you pre-order the game in North America. And even then, it's just grimoires that serve to make the game easier.
      • There was particular ire with one item of DLC unlocking nude portraits for Story Mode's two female characters, especially considering that one of the characters is twelve.
    • Etrian Mystery Dungeon. Is it an interesting take on the franchise and a solid roguelike? Or is it a mistake of a game that got the series' core concepts wrong and traded in the series' legitimate difficulty for a lot of Fake Difficulty and cheap shots?
      • The game's announcement alone was aggravating for some—not so much because of the game itself, but because of the timing. The game was announced about a week after the Japanese release of The Fafnir Knight, while there was still no word on localization for the latter. To add insult to injury, Mystery Dungeon got a localization announcement within a week of the Japanese announcement, while a localization announcement didn't come for The Fafnir Knight for another two months. And this is to say nothing of Europe's problems with Atlus localizations.
  • Contested Sequel: Whether you consider Beyond the Myth's immediate predecessor to be Legends of the Titan or The Fafnir Knight, it falls into this either way. Series fans either appreciate the expanded degree of cosmetic customization, the usual quality-of-life improvements, the four races, and the new classes, or find it disappointing that the game scrapped the Story Mode of the Untold games and the world exploration of the last two non-remake non-spinoff games and nerfed floor jumping thus resulting in what is considered a comparatively bare-bones product. The substitution of subclassing with Mastery is also a point of contention, with some enjoying how it effectively doubles the number of classes while others would much prefer the mix-and-match system of subclassing.
  • Critical Research Failure: The Furyhorn in The Fafnir Knight neighs like a horse when encountered.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Giving an adventurer in Beyond the Myth the "Sassy" voice option makes them into a good source of Black Comedy. Ally faints? "Aww, my toy broke!" Gets revived from death? "I didn't ask for this."
    • Fire Squirrels in Beyond the Myth. As if squirrels stealing your Ariadne Threads weren't notorious enough, here's a squirrel that just straight up destroys them.
  • Demonic Spiders: With its own page.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Downplayed in Beyond the Myth — while the floor design and random encounters of the final few floors of the fifth stratum and the entire Bonus Dungeon can certainly keep a player on their toes, it's difficult to ignore the fact that these floors are almost devoid of Adventure Episodes or floor events which would have made things a little less monotonous. The Bonus Dungeon doesn't even have any events at all barring the occasional story-focused cutscene, on top of only one postgame quest requiring items obtained there.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Shilleka from Etrian Odyssey, for exposing a lot of skin.
    • Hypatia from The Drowned City has a lot of fans due to her unique design and her cuteness. The later reveal in supplementary material that she dyed her hair since Agatia liked blondes made her even more popular.
    • Arthur from The Millennium Girl receives a lot of attention from fans due to being rather comical.
    • Lili and Solor from Beyond the Myth have their fair share of fans. Lili's cuteness and friendliness, plus her backstory, help her win over players, while Solor's chill but gradually defrosting mood, plus her towering figure and protectiveness of Lili, make the duo more popular than Jenetta. It helps that they have a supporting role in the player's quest as guest party members, and are actually pretty strong in their own right.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The first game. Hooray! You've defeated Visil and uncovered the truth! Too bad it involved killing the guy who probably saved the world and likely plunging Etria into an economic disaster. This gets fixed in the remake.
    • In an inversion, getting 100% completion in the first game has the characters lament that Etria will become a ghost town because there's no longer any mysteries left in the labyrinth. Instead, if you think about it, the exact opposite would occur: Lost Shinjuku and the Claret Hollows are goldmines for scientific research and will have Etria become a hub for scientists all over due to the massive amount of unique and valuable things to research that are quite literally unavailable anywhere else. Also, since the labyrinth is still incredibly dangerous, adventurers will still be needed and will have a far greater life expectancy due to everything being catalogued and mapped. Rather than being a suicidal destination for adventurers, it will end up becoming a scientific Mecca that adventurers will also thrive in.
  • Even Better Sequel: The Fafnir Knight in comparison to The Millennium Girl. It boasts a better storyline and features 15 classes to use. The Story Mode characters and NPCs are also given more conversational lines than before, the restaurant management is an improved version of the Guildkeeper's enhancement system from EOU, Grimoires have been improved to be easier to acquire and actually show what skills you get mid-battle, the new Story Mode dungeon is available in Classic Mode, among other various and well-received changes.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • A one-sided one spent a long time simmering with Persona 5, with the popular belief that the localization of Etrian Odyssey V was being put off in order to focus on promotion and localization for Persona 5, which was delayed several times.
    • This came in the opposite direction with Etrian Odyssey Nexus and Persona Q 2. Persona fans were exceptionally vocal on every single social media post involving Nexus, all but outright demanding Atlus put them first due to it being the Cash Cow Franchise and being certain it wouldn't get released otherwise due to the 3DS's age. Meanwhile Etrian fans had been hopeful for either to get a release and, having been put first this time around, simply wanted Persona fans to at least wait until near Nexus's release before panicking, a stance proven justified by the announcement for a western release of Persona Q 2 made a week before Nexus's release.
  • Fanon: Outside of bits of story and the Untold games' story modes, this is literally encouraged by the developers! As explained on the first game's website (Director's Diary, entry 5), one of the major elements the games take from "old-school" dungeon crawlers is that the party is meant to be defined largely in the imagination of the player. How they react in detail to what's going on, what they adventure like, how they interact with one another, is meant to be up to the player to define. This is why the games only ever describe your actions in the broadest of terms - they want to encourage you to invent your own interpretation and "canon" for what your characters do and say. This is also why the Story Mode of the Untold games has proven divisive: having five pre-defined characters, as opposed to the party that lives in the mind of the player, seems to many to go against the wider spirit of the franchise.
  • Game-Breaker: Has a page here.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Fafnir Knight is generally considered one of the weaker games in the series in Japan, due to the many balancing issues, an average plot that contradicts itself at times, the HP stats of enemies being through the roof, and paid DLC. In the US, it's considered one of - if not the - best games in the series in spite of its flaws, largely thanks to its stylishness, the breadth of options in its Classic Mode, the availability of both soundtrack modes, and an absolutely on-point localization including some killer dub work courtesy of some of the best actors in the business.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • In Etrian Mystery Dungeon, one of the labyrinths features an owl monster which loves to spam mind-control spells at you. When controlled the first thing any character tends to do is unequip all of their gear and start chucking it in every direction. Oh yeah, and this particular dungeon doesn't have walls; the playable area is on raised platforms above a deep pit, and if your tossed gear happens to land "out of bounds" it is instantaneously and permanently destroyed and gone forever, even if it was rare or unique. Fortunately the owls are also fairly weak and easy to kill, and the control effect can be undone by a medic, but still one unlucky incident could mean the permanent loss of a piece of gear that you can literally only get one of in the game.
    • Myconoids in the 2nd floor of Beyond the Myth like to toss out petrification to entire lines at a time. What keeps them from being outright Demonic Spiders is the Nerf applied to stone status: it now wears off over time or when you finish the battle (and thus, a full party petrification is no longer an immediate Game Over). Still, having multiple party members unable to act for several turns can be a pain in the ass.
    • Eerie Chokers in the third stratum of Beyond the Myth are surprisingly fast and can throw head binds across the entire party, rendering your Warlocks and Necromancers helpless before they can even move. They also like to come in numbers, so having your entire party head bound becomes an inevitability.
    • Hypno Bats, goddamned literal bats in the 4th Stratum of Beyond the Myth who love to put your entire party to sleep.
    • Bloodhound Bats in the Nexus version of the Ancient Forest turn aggressive at the slightest provocation and can chase the player all across the floor. They are incredibly fragile and easily defeated, but it only temporarily staves off the problem as these bats will just respawn immediately.
    • The Giant Sloths in the Giant's Ruins in Nexus are not terribly powerful, but they are obnoxiously tanky despite being officially resistant to only one element. This seems to be intentional, as they can cause the resident FOEs, who only move when you're in battle, to move around and catch up to you. Outside of FOE rooms, they're primarily a waste of time.
  • Good Bad Bugs: The series has its fair share of bugs across all games. Some of them create some unintended interactions and give way to a few exploits...
    • You can skip Fenrir in the first game by exploiting the fact that FOEs maintain aggro even with a wall between you to lure him into a corridor so you can run past him. While you can't go far on the 6th floor without going back and killing him (as you need to report Fenrir's death to do so), it does allow you to warp to town, save, and fight stronger monsters for better gear and get a free turn on Fenrir by attacking him from behind, as well as open some new quests. This is all very helpful, as Fenrir is an Early-Bird Boss.
    • The Medic's Immunize skill in the same game. It was intended to reduce only elemental damage, according to the in-game description. However, the different physical attack types (Pierce, Slash, and Bash) were considered element types as well, turning it into a well-known Game Breaker. It was cut in Heroes of Lagaard, then made its reappearance The Millennium Girl after it was fixed.
    • 1st Turn and Slowstep in Heroes of Lagaard are supposed to have chances of failure which decrease with investment up until Level 8, but a bug skips the check for failure, so these skills are always effective (and far more efficient due to their low TP cost) at Level 1.
    • Koteuchi in the Japanese version of Heroes of Lagaard is a skill that's supposed to be able to land an arm bind on top of doing damage, but the arm bind effect instead went to Getsuei. On top of that, Getsuei's arm bind effect was far stronger than Koteuchi's intended strength, on top of having a speed bonus.
    • In The Drowned City, while the Monk's Fist skills require you to fight unarmed, for some odd reason, the second slot counts as a Weapon. If your first Armor Slot is blank, a Monk can use his/her fist skills with a Mace, even though he/she doesn't have the Shogun's Second Sword class skill. Whoops.
    • One of the three-headed Dragon Bosses in Drowned City's Sea Quests can have its AI script to regenerate severed heads disrupted, rendering it incapable of regrowing any heads that destroyed each other due to Confusion-caused self-inflicted damage.
    • Tagen Battou in The Drowned City deals damage before merging the Ninja's clones to the user. If the user is killed from curse recoil damage, the clones are not used up, allowing for an immediate use of Tagen Battou next turn.
    • In Legends of the Titan, "Auto" skills activate at the beginning of a battle, giving you a buff immediately without costing a turn. However, since the non-"Auto" variants of the buff do cost a turn, they actually last one turn less than their "Auto" variants (because it activated on the middle of your turn, and once the turn ends the buff's duration ticks down one turn). Especially useful with "Auto-Throw", which usually just lasts for one Throw skill, but when activated via Auto-Throw can be used twice. And seeing as mentioned above that Venom Throw is one massive Game Breaker on its own...
      • This quirk was preserved in The Fafnir Knight, and is most noticeable with the Ronin's Stances, Troubadour's Songs, and Hexer's debuffs, as their Force Boosts prevent turn count depletion.
    • There are two notable and extremely useful glitches in The Millennium Girl; one allows infinite replication of any item that can be used in battle, while the other lets you pass down a large number of skill slots from a grimoire in synthesis without actually consuming it.
    • In Mystery Dungeon, the Sovereign's "Arms" skills makes an ally's attack become a certain element, adds resistance to that element, and raises STR by 3 when applied. All well and good...except you can apply the STR bonus multiple times, and when it wears off, only 3 STR is lost, meaning that you can get at least 3 net STR.
    • Accuracy-boosting equipment in Nexus, through a bug, become incredibly effective. When equipped to a dual-wielding character, they give twice the stated boost; on a single-wielding character, it's tripled. This pretty much eliminates the downside of anything intended to be Powerful, but Inaccurate.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: When Erik asks you what to write to his penpal in The Drowned City, one choice is to talk about flowers. Her homeland is being destroyed by them.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Part of the problem veterans have with The Fafnir Knight is that the difficulty is toned down compared to previous entries, even on the hardest difficulty. Boss fights in particular feel less like a challenge and more like a slog, due to everything being a Damage Sponge.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: Some players who had taken interest in The Drowned City's and Legends of the Titan's overworld exploration and the Untold games' Story modes find it disappointing that Beyond the Myth has neither.
  • Memetic Badass: The FOEs as a whole, not only known for making players' pants turn brown but also being immortalized in an extremely catchy IOSYS song.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Even in _____, F.O.E.! Explanation 
    • "NeVer eVer" Explanation 
    • Wynne's lady bonerExplanation 
    • Never trust squirrels! Explanation 
  • Memetic Psychopath:
    • The FOEs in general and the Ragelope/Furyhorn in particular are often made out by the fandom to be more bloodthirsty and unstoppable than they usually are in actual gameplay. Not helping matters is when one reads their Japanese names and realizes they are quite grandiose — compare, for instance, "Cutter" with "Destroyer of the Forest".
    • Squirrels throughout the series, due to field events in which they steal the player's Warp Wires / Ariadne Threads. In Etrian Odyssey V, one type of enemy squirrel can destroy the player's Threads with a battle skill. They may as well be doing it less out of some sort of necessity and more out of straight-up sadism.
  • Memetic Troll:
    • Etrian 2/Fafnir Knight and Beyond the Myth have the memetically annoying/dangerous Ariadne Thread-stealing/destroying Squirrels, that actively seek to deprive adventuring parties of their emergency escape tools.
    • Beyond the Myth has Conrad and his Freeblade guild, who demonstrates Guild Card perks including field events where a character from one of the player's Guild Cards (which can be exchanged via QR codes or StreetPass) can show up but then sometimes shows up in said events which has led to Guild Card collectors believing he's just showing up to piss the player off. And since many of these particular events are one-time, each appearance of Conrad means a wasted chance to see a fellow player's character as the Hero of Another Story.
  • Moe:
    • Present throughout the series, but the female Yggdroids from The Drowned City take the cake. The males look like you'd expect humanoid robots to look, but the females really had moe shoehorned onto them. They're tiny, have human faces and look like they would break if you looked at them too hard. Any why would robots need to wear glasses?
    • Abigail from Heroes of Lagaard, Lili from Beyond the Myth, and Missy from The Drowned City also count.
    • Hypatia gets extra moe points for having a tragic backstory and being potentially doomed by your choices.
    • Beyond the Myth has an entire race of these, the Brouni: short, cheerful humanoids who specialize in party support and look extremely cuddly. Lampshaded in one bar conversation, in which a "pouting Brouni" complains about being used as a cuddle companion by a Celestrian.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In The Drowned City, not only does Olympia betray the party after pretending to guide them and leave them to die against seemingly impossible odds multiple times, its heavily implied that she similarly led countless other explorers to their deaths, possibly even murdering them herself, thanks to her orders to keep explorers from discovering the Deep City at any cost.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The chime that plays when you get bonus EXP from a rare breed.
    • The extended death rattle that plays when you kill an FOE or boss.
    • The extended variation of the current area's random battle theme (not the one that begins with a guitar riff) if you get a preemptive strike.
    • The "da-ding!" of a Zodiac's or Runemaster's Singularity / Runic Flare damage multiplier triggering from hitting an enemy's weapon-type or elemental weakness.
  • Narm:
  • Outside-Context Villain: The Final Boss of Beyond the Myth is suddenly introduced at the penultimate floor without much buildup. Even those of the previous games had plot significance for a longer period of time.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Gathering runs can be disrupted and lead to fatal results because there is a chance after each attempt that an enemy ambush will take place. While some classes can learn passive skills to block an ambush, they don't have a 100% success rate.
  • Player Punch: Early in The Drowned City, a quest becomes available to locate a camping-obsessed guild that has been missing in the labyrinth for several days. Following the clues they leave from campsite to campsite, the last you stumble on is described as a scene of carnage (blood everywhere, tattered and broken equipment and whatnot); naturally, you believe they were all killed by monsters. Subverted when you go to report the quest at the pub, as Missy almost flat-out tells you that the guild members are freakin' fine, and that all the blood at the campsite was from the monsters that interrupted their beauty sleep.
    • Played straight later (maybe, the game never explicitly says that either character is dead: If you agreed to help Hypatia and Agata enter the second stratum, then you eventually find them there, and Agata presses you to tell him the location of a nest of Sea Wanderers you found earlier while Hypatia begs you not to, as she already had a traumatizing encounter with them before. You just decide whether to tell him or not and think nothing of it when he runs off to find them. Then you decide to follow him, and go to the room and find one of the two either dead or unconscious while the other is cradling their body. There is no way to avoid this happening, as saying "Yes" or "No" only determines which dies (saying "Yes" means Agata gets hurt, while "No" is for Hypatia). There is no way to back out of this, except for refusing to help them enter the second stratum in the first place. Then you literally never see them again, and you're free to pretend they gave up and went home peacefully if you'd like.
  • Replacement Scrappy: When early info about The Drowned City was released, and fans learned the original classes wouldn't return, Gladiators were blasted as being generic and vastly inferior 'replacements' for the Dark Hunter class, despite players not knowing anything about it beyond the physical appearance of one representative. Thankfully, this reaction died down over time.
    • Even funnier when you finally found out that Gladiator is supposed to replace Landsknecht instead. note 
  • The Scrappy: The titular Fafnir Knight himself is this, essentially being a Base-Breaking Character where neither side can agree how awful he is. He's either hated for being so overpowered that he demands the increased HP of bosses of 2U, or he's the single worst character in the game that ruined the experience of having to play story mode with a deadweight, with little in between. The only thing people can agree on is that nobody likes him.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • While Grimoire Stones in The Millennium Girl offer a lot of flexibility, one big problem with them is that the skills you can obtain in one is random. Creating the ideal stone will likely take a lot of skill point manipulation and praying to the random number gods that the right skills drop quickly. They're still random in The Fafnir Knight but a reworking of the systems around the Grimoire Stones, including the means of influencing the skill you get, means that it's not as annoying.
    • Issuing commands to your party members in Etrian Mystery Dungeon requires you to spend Blast Points to use them. These include orders like scattering or following you, which feel like something that should be issuable at no cost. Given that you use Blast Points for things like your class-specific Limit Breaks as well, it makes the commands costing something even more annoying.
    • In the DS games, you can rename your characters, but it costs 1,000 en per rename; early on, it's a steep cost that could go towards things of actual functionality such as equipment and Warp Wires / Ariadne Threads. The cost is thankfully gone in the 3DS games, where you can rename your characters as much as you want at no cost.
    • The 3DS games allow you to scan QR codes for a variety of purposes, such as items and exchanging Guild Cards (which can also be exchanged via StreetPass). However, In Beyond the Myth and ''Nexus, they have a few problems:
      • In the Western releases, the game has difficulty reading the QR codes that the game itself generates, even ones from QR code image files generated by the game itself (as opposed to QR codes in photos). They generally work best if you align the QR code with the 3DS's right camera (which the game uses for scanning), but the game does not tell you that.note 
      • The QR codes are not not cross-region compatible, not even between NA and EU/AUS copies.note 
    • The Double Attack Union Skill in Beyond the Myth, for whatever reason, does not allow targeting of back-row enemies if the one initiating the attack is in your party's back row, even if they're using a ranged weapon and the other participant also has enemy back row access.
    • In Beyond the Myth, you can show your maps to the council and get rewarded if they're accurate enough. But for some reason, using blue squares to mark water counts as a mistake, and you are expected to represent it as normal walls. And some FOEs can swim through water, so you do have a reason to want to distinguish water from walls (only made even more egregious in the Fifth Stratum, where blue is used for the ponds you pass over.) Plus, the fact that a game about cartography penalizes you for making a more accurate map is just infuriating. This seems to have been fixed in Nexus, where you only need to map most of the floor instead of all of it and the game explicitly notifies you when you are able to turn in a map.
    • Beyond the Myth has portrait DLC...that can only be used on new characters and apprentice characters that replace retired ones. So you buy the base game or get the demo, break in a fresh party, only to find that your level 10 units can't get that cool school uniform portrait. While there are items to get a new character to level 20 immediately, it's a waste to use one of those rare items just to have a character that's the same as an existing one with a new portrait. Nexus fixes this by letting you change an existing character's portrait to another one, including the DLC portraits, any time you want.
    • While conditional drops are generally accepted by the fandom for injecting a little challenge to fighting monsters, some of the more difficult conditions are guaranteed to elicit much rage and make people reach for their Formaldehydes with disgust.
      • Conditionals that require killing with Curse backlash damage are some of the worst, because Health/Damage Asymmetry means that curse damage incurred by bosses and FOEs will only constitute a small amount of their HP while your party still runs the risk of dying.
      • Death by poison damage is not as difficult to achieve on random encounters, but on bosses or FOEs that possess mountains of health, trying to whittle their health low enough for the poison tick to kill without actually killing the boss yourself can become difficult, even if you're using the strongest source of poison available to you. And while you're carefully managing the target's health there's still the chance the target can simply wean off the poison by itself.
      • Killing a target while it sleeps gets tricky because the status condition is automatically lifted when damage is dealt to it. You do get a significant damage bonus when attacking a sleeping enemy, so the plan on a boss is to whittle its health down, put it to sleep, then set up several buffs and debuffs before bursting it down. It's easier said than done.
    • The Drowned City and Legends of the Titan have classes that are unlocked partway through the game (Shogun and Yggdroid in the former; Arcanist, Bushi, and a spoiler class in the latter). Creating a character always starts them at level 1, and no exception is made if the character is one of those late-unlock classes; the spoiler class in particular is not unlocked until the last Land of its respective game. This means if you want to try out those sick new classes, you'll have to put your game progress on hold for a while. You can retire a character to get a head start on leveling (half of the retired character's class or level 30, whichever is lower), but that means having to effectively erase an existing character, which depending on guild size may not be something you want to do. Beyond the Myth introduces an item that boosts a character to level 20 instantly without needing to delete a character, but all of that game's classes are unlocked from the start.
    • A small issue exists on Nexus's world map, where the game only responds to cardinal direction input and sometimes it's unclear which direction(s) you need to push to get to a specific spot you want. Since the map is on the top screen, you can't just use the touchscreen to directly pick your destination.
  • Signature Scene: The reveal of the original game's 5th stratum is the most talked about scene in the entire series, since the labyrinth goes from standard forest and desert settings to the ruins of the Shinjuku district.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: As Jeremy Parish from 1UP pointed out, the original game's Twist Ending is this to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
  • Surprise Difficulty: Do not be fooled by the cute art style (especially compared to fellow Atlus series Shin Megami Tensei) of promotional material, the games' box art, or the characters, or the relaxing designs of the game interfaces. These games will destroy unprepared players young and old alike, and maybe destroy them if they are prepared.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Super Arrange of the boss theme Their Own Brand of Justice has moments that seem like Far Beyond The Sun and a few other Yngwie Malmsteen songs. A less distinct, but similar part occurs here as well.
  • That One Achievement: Attaining the Seven Kings Grimoire in The Millennium Girl is a Guide Dang It!. Nothing in the game clues you in on where and how to get the King Grimoire skills, and even if you do know how note  it takes a significant amount of effort to get everything to line up and for the Grimoire Stone to appear during the battle. Then you need to fuse all of the skills into a single stone that has 7 slots, and again it takes luck to get a 7-slot stone to drop. At least you can attain these skills off other players' Guild Cards, either through Streetpass or QR codes, but the skills generated from Grimoire Stones obtained this way are, again, random.
  • That One Attack: Many a cause of a Total Party Kill.
    • Alraune in The Millennium Girl has Ancient Pollen which inflicts random status ailments across the party, leaving them severely disabled if not completely petrified. The superboss also has this skill.
    • The Yggdrasil Core's Cell Membrane in The Millennium Girl. It prevents any and all damage for a turn and releases a painful party-wide counter in return for getting hit. If you just so happen to have a character that has the Highlander skill that may cause an attack upon being dealt damage, you may go down from a single attack triggering a chain. The only saving grace is that it can be predicted with the assistance of a guide.
      • That same boss also has Armageddon, which deals massive amounts of damage and is very difficult to survive. The problem is that this happens outside of its designated pattern, triggered only if you happen to have one too many buffs, so your loss can be randomly guaranteed the moment you see it use King's Resolve.
    • In the original Etrian Odyssey, Primevil had a very accurate version of Necrosis that retained the instant-death status effect. Any party that avoided the TPK would lose its momentum, which could be fatal anyway.
    • The Fallen One in Legends of the Titan has Darkness Curse, which can almost completely bind the party while also applying some binds on itself. This conveniently doesn't bind the limbs this boss needs to execute its next attacks, while your party is mostly rendered helpless until they unbind themselves. The skill is very likely to go before anyone else does, and cannot be stopped with any bind. While it is guaranteed to open the battle with this skill, its subsequent uses become less predictable.
    • The Warped Savior in Legends of the Titan has two. The first is Ragnarok, a very accurate instant kill attack. There are only two ways to avoid it: stun it, or traverse the floor to weaken it. The second is Chaotic Embrace which inflicts random ailments across the party. This one is still used while the boss is weakened, with the only reliable way of stopping it is by landing a bind.
    • The DLC Ur-Devil in The Fafnir Knight has several means of instantly killing the party, but the attack that takes the cake is Realm of Death, which is an environmental effect that cannot be dispelled. Not only does it reduce the party's ailment and bind resistance, it also prevents them from recovering from or removing these ailments, while also blocking revival of fallen party members. The only saving grace is that preventative measures like Barrier or Prevent Order still work, if they haven't already been mandated by the rest of the fight.
    • The Crystal Dragon of Beyond the Myth uses Clear Breath, an almighty attack that does more damage if it hits a buffed party member, on top of erasing their buffs if it hits them. For players trying to make the most out of the Shaman's buffs, getting subject to Clear Breath can result in a Total Party Kill before they realize why it's so strong. Parties without Shamans aren't safe, either, as most classes carry an indispensable skill that also counts as a buff, meaning they'd have to deliberately fight with a handicap to avoid taking near-lethal amounts of damage.
    • Of the many skills possessed by the limbs of the ultimate Bonus Boss in Beyond the Myth, two stand out: Parry blocks all physical attacks to it and its parts for the turn, and Elemental Decoy does the same for elemental attacks. If an attack has both a physical and elemental component, like a Fencer's Chain skill, it's susceptible to both moves. Getting your attacks blocked by these moves at inopportune times practically buys the boss a free turn while its other parts can wreak havoc with impunity.
    • Blót has Clear Mind EX, which is used to heal off all binds, ailments, and debuffs. On top of him already resisting a majority of disabling status effects, he uses this move often enough that those ailments will never stick for very long, putting a great damper on any team setup built around shutdown.
  • That One Boss: See here for more details.
  • That One Level: There's always one particular floor that is really tedious to map and navigate, or is crawling with deadly encounters.
    • The Claret Hollows, the Brutal Bonus Level of the first game and its remake, is rife with such floors to push the player's patience to the absolute limit. Two of its five floors are extensive teleport mazes which enjoy sending you back to the beginning of the floor for making a wrong turn. It's telling when you will likely hit the icon cap before you're done mapping out the floor.
      • B26F is rife with one-way passageways that lock you into a dead end that leads into a warp that returns you to the beginning. Its parallel in The Millennium Girl is a fair bit more forgiving as it reduces the number of duds.
      • B29F is the most tedious teleporter maze, perhaps in the entire series. With more warps and destinations than your icon cap can handle, you will easily find yourself lost and driven Half-Mad From Self-Doubt. Again, its parallel in the remake only slightly simplifies the maze.
      • To top it all off, in the original, the only shortcut in the stratum is right at the very end, linking the beginning of the stratum to the doors to the ultimate Bonus Boss, so if you're making any return trips you must traverse the floors in their entirety. Mercifully, the remake adds shortcuts in each floor to shorten your return trips.
    • B3F of Ginnungagap in The Fafnir Knight. When you enter for the first time, you're forced to undergo a trial to the very end. You are unable to use Ariadne Threads to escape the floor (they'll instead take you to the beginning of the floor), and the the F.O.E. of the floor is utterly relentless, chasing you down and preventing you from escaping if it engages you in a battle note . Thankfully, saves are disabled, so you can't become permanently stuck in it, but the alternative of losing your progress still stings a lot.
    • B24F of The Drowned City combines regions that disable auto-mapping with tiles that spin the player around and disorient them.
    • 25F of Beyond the Myth is the epitome of the rather annoying anti-gravity mechanic of the 5th Stratum. For context, there are switches throughout the stratum that cause your party to levitate, and while they are in this state, moving will cause you to keep moving in that direction until you hit something, such as a wall, door, or an FOE; functionally, it's like applying Frictionless Ice to the entire dungeon, except it also lets you cross the pits in the floor. 25F in particular requires you to trigger a switch and go through multiple FOE-infested rooms, and the rooms are big and difficult to map when your movement options are so limited. Eventually you hit a second gravity switch, the second one in the entire floor (whereas previous floors have switches at more frequent intervals), to land back on the floor and have to backtrack through all of those rooms full of FOEs just to make your way to the Final Boss.
    • 29F of Beyond the Myth is not just any teleporter maze — it's a teleporter maze that sends the player all the way back through the unexplored parts of the lower floors and back up again, traversing rooms with FOEs that frustrate a player trying to thoroughly fill out their map. Shortcuts that speed up return trips are scarce, and from time to time there will be certain teleporters positioned to send the player back to already-explored regions of the map if they enter it from the wrong angle, wasting a lot of time returning to where they left off. To top it off, near the end is a door with a teleporter placed directly behind it that sets the player back by a good amount, and if they forgot to unlock a shortcut not too far away, well...
    • The Giant's Ruin in Nexus can get very irritating because of the deliberately inflated encounter rate. Not helping matters is that this is done to set up FOE gimmicks, as they are statues that will not move or engage in battle until the player already is in battle, but can still block chokepoints at the wrong times. Also, damage tiles there are guaranteed to initiate a battle. To make matters worse, the random monsters have markedly more HP than any non-FOE enemy you've fought up until that point, which gives those statues more time to catch up to you.
    • The Blossom Bridge in Nexus throws some extremely confusing floating platform puzzles at you that can take hours of frustration to figure out, assuming you don't just give up trying to figure out the logic behind each puzzle. It also has Big Moths, who can generate a swift Game Over by using Confusion Dust to spread Panic to your party so that they can quickly kill themselves while being unable to evade the enemies' attacks.
    • The Illusory Woods makes for a rather rude awakening in the transition to the Nexus postgame. Before you even start, the game warns you to make sure you have Ariadne Threads on hand. That's because the FOEs here can chase you everywhere and can even pass through walls. Once one of them has been alerted to your presence there's no escaping it except by returning to town. To make matters worse, the place is infested with Demonic Spiders that give the FOE more time to close in on you.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Heroes of Lagaard: The Beautiful Queen. This is a quest you receive very early on to get a Queen chess piece. It is only by a Chain of Deals that lasts beyond the storyline endboss and well into the Bonus Dungeon that you are finally able to complete it. And it's all for a weapon that is absolutely useless unless you have a Landsknecht, at which point it's probably still useless, though that is slightly more arguable. (It's a weapon only Landsknechts can equip that has the highest attack power in the game, but like every other weapon type in the game, the one with the second-highest attack power comes with side bonuses that end up making it better anyway.) And if you decide to hang on to that quest as you progress the main story, well, quest items take up inventory space in this game, so you're effectively limiting your inventory space.
      • The quest returns in the remake largely unmodified, but since every quest (including the quests unlocked in the chain) rewards experience points and quest items no longer clog your inventory, some of the frustration associated with this has been alleviated.
    • Early in The Drowned City, the game gives you the 'Fish Festival' sidequest, tasking you with killing 15 different fish enemies (Fanged Fish or Devilfish) on B4F. At the level you're likely to take it, just surviving long enough to encounter 15 fish is tricky, and surviving to kill 50 takes either a lot of planning or a lot of grinding. Not helping matters is the fact that B4F is also swarming with Great Anacondas.
    • A second-stratum quest in Beyond the Myth requires you to investigate a Toxipede nest back in 2F. At this point, a single Toxipede FOE will most likely be a simple cleanout for your guild (and have the blue aura around their map icon as a result), but this quest requires you to fight four of them at once. Poison is still a deadly status ailment at this point in the game due to the damage it inflicts and the lack of an efficient way to reliably remove poison from multiple party members, especially if the afflicted ones are on different lines. And all of the good Area of Effect attacks (the ones that target all enemies, not just one line) aren't available until you unlock Legendary Titles (which have "beat the second stratum endboss" as a prerequisite), meaning that of the quests you get while exploring the second stratum, this will probably be the one you beat last.
    • A fourth-stratum quest in Beyond the Myth requires you to visit the section of the second stratum that is hidden behind a sealed door in order to secure an "Old Book" key item for Ramus. By now, you hopefully know that Fetch Quests will often require you to fight something in the process of getting the necessary item or immediately after getting it. However, this particular item is guarded by two Megavolt Marmots — basically Volt Squirrels on squirrel steroids — that are hidden in a chest in a big open room. Not only do they have some hard-hitting attacks that can easily paralyze and cripple a party capable of taking on enemies in the fourth-stratum, the battle opens up with an unavoidable ambush by these killer squirrels, meaning that you will have to contend with massive damage and likely paralysis on the first turn. If the RNG is cruel enough to paralyze more than one row and/or your healer, you are going to have a bad time. And you thought stealing your Ariadne Threads was the only way squirrels could be dangerous to you...
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • When the first preview screens of The Drowned City were released, some fans complained about the new seafaring setting and the new roster of character classes, bemoaning the loss of the classes from the first two games.
    • Inverted come Beyond the Myth, with its ten entirely new classes being met with excitement.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • A DLC boss for The Fafnir Knight is a giant version of an animal. Is it a squirrel, which has been hated since the second game in the series? Nope, it's a giant chicken that's unrelated to anything else.
    • The game's Alternative Calendar has never been explored in any way other than being a way to keep track of time in a way that's more flavorful than "Day x". Conspicuously, the final month, Summoner, is a one-day month, unlike all of the other months which have 28 days, but as far as what's known of the game's canon is concerned, it's a perfectly normal month/day like all of the other 13 months and 364 days.
    • The early game of Nexus toys with the expectations of a veteran player as they visit returning dungeons. The Berserker King getting the drop on the party and Cernunnos showing up as the Lush Woodlands' actual boss stand out this way. However, once the player's proceeded to the later phases of the game, the Bait-and-Switch just... stops, and most of the rest of labyrinth events proceed like a normal Etrian game.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • Co-Op Multiplayer in The Drowned City is an interesting concept that allows players to combine their tactics and synergize characters to defeat the Bonus Bosses, though it was not used again in any subsequent game in the series.
    • The four-races system was only used for Beyond the Myth and was dropped for Nexus, likely because it would not be compatible with the game bringing back classes from all previous games. Not just that, but the two classes (out of the 18 returning ones; note that EOI and II are repretented by 7 classes, III by 5 classes, and IV by 4 classes) representing EOV in Nexus are Earthlain classes, with no classes native to any other race available. Were you hoping to have a Necromancer, Masurao, or Shaman in your Nexus guild, for example, even just as subclasses? Too bad! The closest you can get is the free Beyond the Myth portrait DLC that allows you to put any of the EOV player character portraits onto your Nexus characters, which is strictly cosmetic.
    • After Beyond the Myth introduced the third row for summons (Rover pets, Necromancer wraiths, and Dragoon buildings), helping preventing previous games' problem of only allowing one party member to summon at a time in a full party and no summons at all if you have a Guest-Star Party Member with you, Nexus ditched the summon-exclusive row in favor of using spare party slots once again. That said, guest member participation is optional for certain bosses if you still want to run an empty-slot meta.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: All classes have four character portraits to choose from. Two are male, and two are female. This is highly important information for the Survivalist, Troubadour, and Hoplite classes in particular, which have some portraits that can only be identified via process of elimination.
  • Woolseyism: Atlus changed the names of the character classes during translation; Landsknechts were originally Swordman, Protectors were Paladins, Survivalists were Rangers, and so on. This may have been done to give the game a more original flair and help it stand out. A later example from The Drowned City is Beast King to Wildling, probably because (like most classes) you can make a female version, and it didn't change the class name like it did for Prince/Princess.
    • For the rest of the classes, it was more than likely to avoid classes having the same first letter in their name as to make it easier for the item shop menu to characterize them. It would have been a little difficult to tell the difference between Princess and Phalanx or Ballista and Beast King (the class names in the Japanese version).
      • The Millennium Girl, with the addition of the Highlander class (not to mention the expanded screen real-estate of the 3DS), had the abbreviation icon as "Hi" in the English version, breaking this pattern. The Fafnir Knight does a similar thing, abbreviating Sovereigns to "So".
    • Despite being a cheesy pun, Primevil is a more memorable and intimidating name for an Eldritch Abomination superboss than the generic Yggdrasil Core, and many fans still call it by the former name even after Untold reverted the name back to the latter.
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