With a game like Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold, it can be easy going in completely blind and being overwhelmed to the point of losing interest. If you’ve played something like it before, none of this will be revolutionary advice, but somebody new to this style of RPG could use a primer for approaching the ass-kickery of the floors of the Labyrinth and the dungeon of Ginnungagap (which I posit is one of the weirdest names of a place I’ve heard). Even if you’re familiar, hopefully some of this advice might be of help.
To start with, the number one rule of a game like this is...
Grinding Is Necessary
Many of the enemies, even early on, require a lot of grinding to get through. Each has a general pattern and select range of attacks, usually one attacking a single character and one either lightly attacking a line or a status attack across multiple enemies. One early example being the FOE knows as the Ragelope, who attacks a single enemy with its antlers, but can attack all characters with a confusion attack that can end up in your killing your own team. Leveling up and simply wailing on it will work, but you’ll need the experience of ordinary enemies a few levels higher before you’ll feel comfortable taking down early FOEs.
FOEs are significantly more powerful enemies that you’ll see roaming the map in various patterns, and will be the only enemies you actually can see coming. Some will follow you if they spot you, so you’ll need to know where your escape routes are if you know you’re not ready for them. But on the same ticket, should you find yourself in one’s path and you’re attacked by a random baddie, the FOE will continue to approach every turn until they reach you and start wailing.
And speaking of the FOEs…
Don’t Fight FOEs Until You’re SURE You’re Ready
FOEs will litter the landscape of every stage, and they are all fully capable of seriously messing you up. They’re not only stronger, but have a wider range of attacks that they can use at their disposal. Typically they will have a routine, however, and that routine can be interrupted before they either beef themselves up too strong or they weaken your team too quickly.
One example being the Chimera, that will not only outwardly attack you with strong physical attacks, but will occasionally let its serpent tail do damage to multiple team members with the possibility of poisoning. In EO2U that doesn’t mean you slowly start to lose health points, but rather, you’ll either need copious amounts of healing to weather the storm, or you will need to heal that **** FAST, because it can take as much as half your health bar every completed turn. If you’ve taken damage in the interim, you’re in danger of getting knocked out, and those revival Nectars don’t come cheap… and it’ll take time to develop any sort of revival spell in your arsenal.
However, once you have advanced far beyond the initial FOEs, it’s beneficial to go back to earlier stages and clear them out for the loot they drop, which may help with unlocking recipes for both profit and special effects, or just selling their bones and whatnot to the shop to develop further weapons and armor.
Backtracking Will Be Necessary, So Make That Map Dammit!
In most RPGs this is a given, as dictated by the story. You’ll need to go back to this or that town to find this or that item, then do this or that thing in the place you couldn’t access before. Here, besides the fact that you can pretty easily get lost when most scenery looks the same, you’re going to need to backtrack to find more items, refresh without need of the inn, and avoid dangerous and life-draining floor traps (or in knowing where some enemy-specific traps might be to help plan your strategy accordingly). So, draw the damn map, and be as complete about it as you can.
If you find a TP restore spot, mark it with the red arrow element on the map’s right-side tools and leave yourself a note of how much TP is restored. If you need to collect a certain number of something, for example healing flowers on the 12th floor, then label those flowers so you’re not checking the same spots twice. And mark down wherever you find an item collection space - they’ll be glowing on the map once you discover them - so you can gain more ingredients for recipes and stuff to sell at the shop later. Weaponry and armor are expensive in this game, so every little bit helps.
And even more important, labeling the map where the stairs are is even more vital. Completed floors can utilize the Floor Jump feature, which means you’ve labeled where both the up and down stairs are, and you can instantly teleport to them if you’re on a Floor Jump-enabled map. So instead of needing to carry multiple items to either send you back to town or simply transport you back to the last set of stairs or beacon you used on a floor, Floor Jump your way back to town and save those items for honest-to-goodness emergencies.
And about those items…
Don’t Overpack Your Bag
You won’t have an infinite “Bag of Holding” here. Your item space is limited, including when you pick up the before-mentioned ingredients. This is another reason why the Floor Jump feature is so incredibly necessary - you’ll need to head back to town to both save and sell your stuff to clear space in your bag before you head back out in the fight. Extra cash, saving opportunities, you can upgrade your armor and weapons… there’s not a single bad thing about heading back to town with a full bag of sellable goodies. With money in such limited supply, selling all kinds of stuff will help you be able to take down the tougher enemies that much faster.
And one of the easiest ways to earn that cash is…
The cooking economy in your restaurant (whatever you may decide to name it… my gourmet chef’s domain is “Buttfart”), if utilized well, can be an excellent source of income when the time comes to use it. Players have the ability to set up advertising campaigns in different districts, each of which will request a different type of dish. So, defeating as many different types of enemies and accessing as many ingredients as possible will help you to access new recipes, and in turn offer more citizens the food they’re looking for.
Recipe books can be accessed by both the main quest and earned through side-quests, and every one will use a different set of ingredients that your customers are looking for. Some may simply want a cup of coffee, which isn’t hard to make and can be unlocked early, but won’t earn a lot of money. Another district may be interested in “eating a bug”, so if you have multiple bug-centric dishes you can select the most expensive one to reel in more cash. The more recipe books you can find through treasure chests and completing quests, the better the possibility of reeling in serious cash to unlock more customer access, more items, and even further boosts for yourself as you explore.