Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard Review
Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Atlus 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Atlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 17, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

An expanded bestiary offers reams of new and unique adversaries to face in the labyrinth. The previously fearsome FOEs have been re-imagined in more horrifying detail. These meandering mini-bosses appear with greater frequency, and they're far more powerful than in the first game. Some are invisible, others can traverse areas where you can't move, and all are easily capable of dispatching your entire party within seconds. The worst part is you'll no longer receive experience by taking these beasts down, so the rule of thumb is to avoid these creatures like the plague unless it's absolutely necessary to progress.

Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot

Stylus-driven mapmaking is still a highlight of the series, and a handful of additional icons are included to make the process even easier. Players are given a blank grid canvas on which to notate every nook and cranny of the maze-like dungeons using the touch screen. The auto-tile feature can be set to draw the floors behind you as you walk along them, but walls and other features must be drawn by hand. Navigation has also been improved by the ability to side-step and more frequent teleport spots that allow you to warp into (but not out of) certain levels in the labyrinth. The cartography element is still simple and quite fun, giving players a greater purpose beyond battle and character management.

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To call Heroes of Lagaard a tough game is a bold understatement. The first adventure was tough; this game is downright sadistic. Even hardcore RPG enthusiasts will find themselves frequently shaking their fists skyward and uttering streams of curses at the difficulty curve. The first few levels are completely unforgiving, but things start to look up by the time your party has attained a handful of abilities and sweet armaments. There are bound to be moments when you'll feel like bashing your head repeatedly onto a hard surface - usually after spending several hours level grinding and mapping out terrain only to have your backside handed to you on a platter by one of the sadistically positioned FOEs. When all is said and done it's entirely worth the frustration, since anyone who loves RPGs will understand much of their enjoyment comes from the strategy of building and leveling up your characters into increasingly powerful, death-dealing machines.

Though it's hard to tell initially, Heroes of Lagaard features more than just a new coat of pain slapped over the first Etrian Odyssey adventure. It looks and feels only slightly newer, and it's still very much the classic dungeon crawl of the original, but the minor improvements make it a much better game. It's simultaneously sadistic and marvelous.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
A little extra polish from the first game makes a slight visual improvement. There are plenty of lush forested corridors to explore.
4.7
Control
Stylus mapping is still extremely fun, and other tweaks make controls even better.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is still not this game's strong point, but it's less irritating on the whole. However, a part in one of the tunes sounds painfully close to Barry Manilow's "Copacabana," and it's been driving me nuts for days.
4.8

Play Value
There's tons to do and literally months worth of content to explore. You'll still want to keep at it, even after having your party wiped out completely over and over again.

4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Make the adventure yours - Rediscover true role-playing as you build your party of stalwart adventurers from 12 different classes. From basics like name and sex to advanced settings like combat formation, skills, and spells, every detail is yours to customize!
  • The Odyssey continues - Experience an all-new story, more classes, improved mapping capabilities, new Force Skills, and over 100 side-quests.
  • Chart your progress through the dungeons - Etrian Odyssey's innovative mapmaking tool returns with more options and features! Use the touch screen to map out the halls, chambers, treasures, and dangers of the realms you explore.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard screenshot - click to enlarge

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