a review of Etrian Odssey II : Heroes of Lagaard
a videogame developed by Atlus
and published by Atlus
for the nintendo DS
text by Remy Cote D'ivoire
I have no idea why I bought this game. I don’t even like this nonsense! This leveling up. And yet here I am. Leveling. Amory Blaine once said that men would be willing to work for gold ribbons. He is so right. I find myself playing this game and leveling up and clearing another floor of the dungeon just so I can go back to town and talk to the villagers and read their new dialogue. It’s like coming home from work and, upon walking through your door, seeing your girlfriend standing there, lovely and smiling, and having her say “hi, how was your day?” in a different language. It’s like having that happen everyday. It’s really great. I like it.
But is this enough? To keep me interested? Considering I haven’t played the game for over a month, probably not. I still think about the game every day though, sometimes asking myself the question: “What would it be like, if…like, my Ronin were one level higher? How much more damage would he do?” Does it matter if my ronin is one level higher? If I want to beat the game, then yes, it does matter. And I’m comforted by the fact that the game has an ending, and that to see it you have to level up, which gives the act of leveling up a purpose.
The game doesn’t even really have a story, though! Damn! They’ve tricked me! The “purpose” of the game has become a cruel joke! Now, I will play games the require a whole hell of a lot of monotonous bullstuff just so I can see how the story plays out. Boy howdy, let me tell you. I beat Killer 7. I had a pretty hecking stuffty time doing it, but I did it, and felt rewarded at the end, I guess. So basically what I’m trying to communicate here is that my motivation for playing the game has become suspect: I’m not doing it because the story or the gameplay is going to leave a lasting impression on me; I’m doing it because I just want to see what’s at the top of the tower.
I have to admit though, that the whole reason I bought the game in the first place is because Yuzo Koshiro composed the music. And, like, it’s not that great. It’s solid, of course. I mean, Yuzo Koshiro, that guy, damn, he makes some pretty good music! In France, there is an old saying:
“BURN THE MUSICIAN”
Ok, well, maybe we shouldn’t get that carried away! However, the power, the romance of music is such that the listener is swept up in like, this, this whirlwind of emotions. So if you look at it that way, it makes perfect sense that the French would want to light people on fire. Man, I miss those days, on the Champs-ElysÃ©es. The wine flowing freely, and those Algerian street musicians, grooving all day and all night. We called it power leveling. And we pretended we were Frodo Baggins.
–Remy Cote D’ivoire