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Etrian Odyssey 4: Legends Of The Titan is an unashamed homage to the Japanese-style roleplaying adventure. Among it calls back to an earlier age of gaming, it invites you to create your own maps.
I realised just the other day that a part of me misses making my own maps for games. I have paper editions of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy novels going back nearly 30 years, some of which still have folded A4 paper in the first page featuring maps of the games' labyrinthine vaults, traps, enemies and opportunities. I even remember sticking tracing paper over the TV to complete Team 17's original Alien Breed (soon to be re-released) because the map was inaccessible during the self-destruct countdown.
It's a skill which has fallen by the wayside in gaming, alongside "Lives" and level codes, but I'm heartened to see the arrival of one game which puts map creating back at the centre of the experience. Etrian Odyssey 4: Legends Of The Titan is an old-school RPG through-and-through in which you are challenged to explore the world, fight monsters and win treasure.
Etrian Odyssey 4: Legends Of The Titan features only a very limited automatic mapping function, so along the way you will need to bring up the map editor, draw boundaries with the stylus and drag landmark icons onto the grid to mark important features. Presumable your return journey and subsequent visits will depend upon it.
Alongside this will be some great 3DS visuals, classic turn-based RPG combat and beautifully drawn Manga-style characters and animation. The exploration sections themselves are reminiscent more of classic Dungeon Crawlers such as Eye of the Beholder than they do Pokemon or Dragon Quest.
Etrian Odyssey 4: Legends Of The Titan is currently planned for release on the Nintendo 3DS on Feb 26th 2013 in the USA. A European release is yet to be confirmed.
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