Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

It's fair to say that Japanese RPGs can be pretty daunting for those gamers who aren't fully acquainted with them. The grinding is usually slow and the games often take hours to get going.

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is unlikely to recruit anybody previously daunted by JRPGs into the scene.

But if you're already part of the scene the amount of customisation and hardcore dungeon-crawling on offer will more than likely quench your thirst for adventure.

The legend that is

Legends of the Titan is the first Etrian Odyssey for Nintendo 3DS, and sees you putting a band of warriors together and setting out for on a long and fulfilling quest.

The game consists mainly of a central hub, where you'll be messing around with stats and purchasing upgrades and items, and a series of dungeons to stroll around and beat enemies to death in.

The customisation options throughout are generous. You're able to pick each individual team member from the beginning, then choose everything from their name to their equipment and clothing colour.

It really helps to pull you into the story, as you find yourself caring so much more about these characters that you personally created.

The gameplay itself feels wonderfully non-linear at times, as you're able to venture out in your airship and visit multiple destinations from the get-go. Hardcore RPG enthusiasts will have an absolute ball.

Titanic grind

But this hardcore-focused angle will no doubt scare plenty of players away. Legends of the Titan is an almightily slow grind, and the many hours of battling simply to build your team's skills up and get ahead will prove repetitive for some.

Notably, the game isn't always as open plan as it makes out. Every now and again it'll say "You can go here, or do this instead!" when what it actually means is "You should really do the first option, because if you do the second one you'll get destroyed."

Some of the more hardcore elements, such as having to manually draw a map on the bottom screen as you move around, feel pretty pointless too. Having to take your stylus out and put it away again over and over isn't much fun.

You can, of course, stick Casual mode on, which addresses many of these issues. However, the resulting experience isn't full enough to satisfy anybody.

Whether you enjoy Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan or not depends on whether you count yourself as a hardcore RPG player. If you are, you'll be in heaven. If you're not, this is yet another JRPG that you don't need to play.

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Legends of the Titan is the perfect definition of niche RPG gaming, catering for the hardcore but leaving more casual players in the lurch
Mike Rose
Mike Rose
An expert in the indie games scene, Mike comes to Pocket Gamer as our handheld gaming correspondent. He is the author of 250 Indie Games You Must Play.