Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection: A throwback dungeon crawler that’s a must-play for JRPG fans

JRPG fans should be plenty excited for Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection as it will be released soon on the Nintendo Switch and PC!

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JRPG fans should be plenty excited for Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection as it will be released very soon on the Nintendo Switch and PC!

In case you missed its reveal a few months ago, this collection is a package featuring the first three Etrian Odyssey titles that were initially released on the Nintendo DS in the late 2000s. With this collection, JRPG fans will finally be able to replay these beloved dungeon crawlers that have the unique mechanic of having players map out the dungeons on their own.

If you have fond memories of these games, chances are that you’ve already pre-ordered. But if you missed these games during the DS era, this upcoming release should still definitely be on your to-play list.

Need more convincing? Well, here’s a rundown of why the Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection is a must-play for any and every JRPG fan, especially for those who are also big fans of the Persona and Soul Hackers games.

What’s new in the Etrian Odyssey remasters

Instead of reinventing the wheel for this release, ATLUS instead went with a 100% faithful release for the Origins Collection. This means the collection features the three original Etrian Odyssey games in their original forms, at least when it comes to gameplay.

As they are remasters, there are of course some changes, but they are made to make the gameplay experience more accessible to newcomers, and more enjoyable for series veterans.

For instance, the three Etrian Odyssey remasters all feature enhanced HD graphics that will make them look much better, whether you play on a PC monitor or on the Switch’s display. While the graphics are enhanced, they still retain the look of the original games, so long-time fans should not worry when it comes to visual changes.

Also improved in the games are the soundtracks which have been fully remastered, as well as the addition of a difficulty selection and other quality-of-life features that will help the game be much more accessible.

Plus, as the game’s map-drawing function on the DS touchscreen is a key highlight of the series, ATLUS added touch-screen mapping functionality on the Switch version to emulate the original DS version. Meanwhile, the PC release will have full mouse support for map drawing, menu navigation, and dungeon exploration.

As a bonus, there will also be some cool additions that long-time fans of the series will enjoy. For instance, Etrian Odyssey II will include three new classes for a total of twelve playable classes.

What you need to know about the gameplay

As mentioned above, the Etrian Odyssey games are dungeon-crawling RPGs, meaning the focus is pretty much on exploring dungeons. This kind of gameplay should be familiar to many ATLUS RPG fans given that titles like Persona Q are also dungeon crawlers.

But what makes the game unique is its map. Specifically, the game does not give a map that reveals to players everything there is to see in a dungeon. Instead, players need to maintain their own map by marking various elements that they come across.

This map-marking system makes the game’s dungeon exploration more involved as players won’t be able to rely on just looking at the map to navigate. Thanks to this, there’s an extra layer to the gameplay that makes the exploration more dynamic and rewarding.

What’s more, is that players are free to mark the map as detailed or as unevenly as they want. Though there is a limit in that players cannot draw their own symbols as they must rely on the game’s preset symbols.

The original DS versions were tailor-made for the system as this map-marking feature made full use of the DS’s touch display and stylus. Though with the remasters, as mentioned, the game integrates this map-marking via Switch touch controls and mouse controls on PC.

As for combat, this game features a turn-based system where players control five party members. This setup should fit like a glove for any JRPG player, as will the random encounters that they’ll face while exploring.

Speaking of party members, the games have multiple classes to choose from, meaning players can tailor their party to fit their preferred playstyle. This should also add replay value as playing with different party setups should make each run feel a bit more distinct.

While the exploration and map-marking are already deep on their own, what adds a wrinkle to exploration are Field On Enemies or FOEs which are strong monsters that wander the dungeon and seek a player’s party out when they sense them. This adds a lot of fun and tension to exploring the game’s dungeons.

About the Trilogy

As the Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection features three games, you’ll get to see how the series has progressed in each title. Starting with the first game that sets the core tenets of the series, you’ll see how ATLUS has added to and improved on the formula.

Though take note that the Etrian Odyssey games are similar to series like Final Fantasy in that each game is standalone. While there are recurring elements story-wise, each game features a story that is not connected to the other games, meaning you can start playing whichever title you fancy in the collection.

While we definitely prefer playing the games in order, you can opt to play which one catches your attention first. For instance, if you are drawn to the aquatic setting of Etrian Odyssey III, you can start there. Or if you the more familiar fantasy setting of the first game, you have the option to start there.

Special ATLUS pre-order bonuses

As a treat for those who pre-order the game, the Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection will come with the  Character Portrait DLC Set Early-Bird Bonus DLC for pre-orders.

This DLC will allow players to change the appearances of their adventurers to various fan-favorite characters from other ATLUS titles. These include Joker from Persona 5, Ringo from Soul Hackers 2, Demi-Fiend from Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne, Teddie from Persona 4, Nahobino from Shin Megami Tensei V, and Aigis from Persona 3.

Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection will be released on the Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on June 1, 2023.  Act fast to pre-order on Steam to get the bonuses!

For more info on the game, visit the official website.

*Screenshots and gameplay captures were taken from the Japanese version of the game. In-game language options are available