Why Etrian Odyssey 4 Deserves Your Applause

Games like Etrian Odyssey 4 are a blessing in the current state of gaming. I’ve been playing Etrian Odyssey 4 a lot and, though, to be fair, it’s a pretty darned harsh game and in some ways flipping weird, it’s also the kind of game the gaming world needs more of at the moment.

In many ways, Etrian Odyssey 4 is totally F****D Up. . . for which we applaud it

It’s easy to see a lot wrong with Etrian Odyssey at first sight. There’s sections where you’re fighting  afro-monkeys. There’s the fact that an abnormal number of the characters look like preteens in bikinis. There’s a ton of misogyny and racism. In a lot of ways, Etrian Odyssey 4 is offensive, even if it does cover a lot of those offenses up with gorgeous anime style graphics and lush environments.

Normally, I’d turn my nose up at a game with as many dodgy elements as Etrian Odyssey 4. Yet here I am still loving this game and for one single reason: it oozes personality. It’s unique. Atlus have made it their game. They know what they want to accomplish with the game, they know it won’t be for everybody, but they’ve gone and created precisely the game they wanted to create regardless of its public perception.

Sitting among formulaic sequels, Etrian Odyssey 4 stands out like a mad but proud individual

In a day and age where games are often made off a template with a bunch of tick-boxes to fill (I’m looking at you, God of War Ascension), Etrian Odyssey stands out from the pack, its own proud, bizarre but unique game.

If only all developers pulled their fingers out their ass and dared to be as adventurous and creative as Atlus have been with Etrian Odyssey 4, the gaming industry would burgeon with colourful, unique and creative titles. But instead, we have the usual suspects gang of Tomb Raider, God of War, Bioshock (actually, Bioshock is pretty creative so I’ll let that one slip). The point is, in a world governed by finance rather than creativity, the gaming industry has lost sense of the fun and the originality that once made older gamers like me cry tears of joy.

If all games showed the creative spark of Etrian Odyssey 4, we’d be in gaming heaven

Among the production line of formulaic sequels that is gaming today, Etrian Odyssey stands out with pride. It’s not a perfect game and it’s not going to become one of the bestselling games of the year, but what it is it itself. Etrian Odyssey 4 is its own creation, a whacky, imperfect but stunningly unique title. And for that, Atlus deserve a rapturous round of applause.


Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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