Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is a first person dungeon crawler RPG published by Atlas for the Nintendo 3DS. While there are plenty of RPG’s available on the system, Etrian Odyssey 2 manages to bring its own unique flavor with its immersive, first person dungeon exploration segments that will have you charting out the labyrinth’s layout on the 3DS’ touchscreen just like a real spelunker would.

The story begins with you, the main character, answering a request from the Duchy of Caledonia. Along image150225_1455_001with your childhood friend, Flavio, you meet Princess Arianna, and it’s your mission to protect her as she explores the ruins of Ginnungagap in order to complete an ancient ritual that has been thrust upon her. As you continue on your quest, you’ll meet new friends and discover the hidden power of the Fafnir unlocked deep inside of you along the way. The characters you meet all have their own unique personalities, and the game’s voice acting helps you connect with them as the story progresses.

Visually, the game opens with a nice anime cut scene, and it really helps set the mysterious and lighthearted tone of the game. Character portraits displayed when there is dialog are well drawn, and Protag+Flaviothe 3D environments you get to explore in the game’s dungeons are varied and pleasant to look at.

Gameplay primarily consists of you exploring a dungeon to complete a mission, and then heading back into town to prepare for the next trip you make. The town features an equipment shop where you can buy or upgrade gear with the items you find within the dungeons, a bar where you can talk to the townsfolk in order to receive new quests, an Inn to rest your party up, a guild to manage your party’s stats, and a café where you can create stat boosting meals for your party as well as further the development of the town so you can receive more services and goods from the shops.

While there is plenty of preparations to make in town, most of your time will be spent exploring the image150225_1504_002dungeons of Ginnungagap. As you travel through the labyrinths, you are able to create detailed maps with your stylus on the 3DS’ touchscreen, and there are even plenty of icons for you to use to mark doorways or item collecting spots. This part of the game play will slow the pace of the game if you’re obsessed with creating a detailed map, but the experience is a lot of fun and really makes you feel like an explorer. For those who don’t wish to do any map-making, you can easily set the game to complete the map for you in the options mode.

Random encounters within the dungeons take form of a traditional RPG, with both the monsters and player attacking in first person turn-based combat. The enemy 3D models look great, and there are plenty of attack options available to you thanks to the tech point system. Whenever you level up, your character will gain a tech point, and you have the option to spend these points in a variety of ways in order to gain new abilities or strengthen old ones. This allows you to make your characters as specialized as you want, and this adds some nice micromanagement to spice things up a bit.

As you progress further into the story, you’ll unlock the abilities of the Fafnir knight for your main image150225_1512_000character. Whenever you act in a battle, your force gauge will slowly raise. Once full, you can transform into a monstrous form with access more powerful attacks for a short while. On the flipside, you can also use your force energy to unleash a single, powerful attack instead. Choosing how to use your force is fun, and it makes the boss battles in particular far more engaging.

Etrian Odyssey 2 even features a classic mode, and in this mode you have the option of crafting your Classic Mode (2)team from scratch with the 13 different classes available to you. Each one has its own unique set of abilities and stats, and this offers you far more freedom than the story mode, which gives you a set party with specific character classes.

In the end, Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight has all the makings of a typical RPG. There’s plenty of character customization and micromanagement, lots of skills and status effects to avoid and use against your foes, and the story and characters are fun and engaging. The map-drawing mechanic certainly adds to the immersive experience of the game, but for those who feel like it would be too much work, there is an option to have the game handle the drawing for you. The classic mode option is certainly a draw for RPG veterans looking for more customization options, and the fact that the game has a difficulty setting means hard-core RPG fans and casual players alike can find enjoyment with the game. Etrian Odyssey 2 may not do anything too new or radical, but it is a fun, immersive experience that anyone can pick up and enjoy. If you like RPGs or exploration games, you should have fun with this title.