I just finished the first Etrian Odyssey and thought I was going to start a new game on it just so I wouldn't of gone through withdrawals, and then a friend tells me there is an Etrian Odyssey II!!! So I bought it right away.
If you haven't played an Etrian Odyssey game yet, it is a fun RPG that has you take 5 characters out and about fighting monsters, mapping a multi-level labrinth, finding treasures, and fulfilling missions and quests. You don't need to play the first one to enjoy this game, in fact this game gives you more of a tutorial as you go through for new people.
I really like the mapping feature, at first I thought it was dumb but then I found it really keeps me going, I want to keep seeing how the map will turn out on each floor. And the mapping tools are improved on this version, there are now more icons to use, including three different colors of item points (you can chop, mine or take in this game to collect things to sell or use) and there is now a open door and locked door icons, for those special doors that need a key.
Other new features I like - if you forget what you need to do for a quest, you can find out in your quest menu exactly what it is. Also in the store, you can look at your characters as you look at the weapons for sale and see how they would improve with a new weapon without having to go to "eqiup". Probably my favorite new feature is when you go to the custom list - this is how you upgrade your characters whenever you get a new skill point for them - the skills that are not available now show a prerequisite feature on the side, telling you which skills you need to add before you can aquire the skill. In the first game, some of the skills I wanted I could never figure out how to get to them.
There are extra types of players available now, War Magus and Beast, and Ronin and Hexer are available immediatly. Watch out though cause some of the characters that had certain skills do not have them and other characters do. Such as the Protector used to have Stalker, now the Survivalist has it.
The Geomagnetic fields are different now, at first I was thinking they were less convienient but then I discovered they are more helpful. There are poles every few floors now and you can warp to them from town, to the latest one anyway, but not from them to town. Always have a Warp Wire with you! Then there are the fields - you can use them both to the statum and to town, and you access these on the first option at the forest - the labrinth option. These go to the beginning of each stratum. By the way the second Statum is really pretty! I enjoy in this game and the last one seeing what the new stratums will be. Each one has about 5 floors on it, and has a different theme, so the forest looks that way for the 5 floors.
Some things I don't like about the new game - there is no Amrita right away! I found out on a website that you have to wait till floor 15 for it to show up at the store! In the first game it is there right away, and is an essential item as it allows you to replenish your TP, which is magic points that you use to use specialized skills. Also, there is only one file for saving on the game, bummer (was the same for the first game too).
Also, you do not get experience points for fighting FOES! This really bugs me. And they are really hard to fight. There are even some that don't show up on the map.
If you haven't played Etrian Odyssey yet, these are extra bad monsters that stalk a certain area until you kill them, and sometimes they even come back later. They show up on the map as purple arrows.
(Ordinary monsters just randomly show up every so often, and you can use Stalker to help lower the encounter rate.)
This game is more challenging than the first one. I am doing a lot more running around building up my characters than even in Etrian Odyssey. I have some advice. Make sure you have a gunner in your group. He/She can get the skill Haltshot right away if you give it to him/her. Then use it to freeze FOES for a few turns. You will need this on the 2nd and 3rd floor to even get past them in the beginning so you don't get bored on the first floor after you've mapped it.
Also, you can now register up to 30 characters. I registered my main 5 people, then one of each kind at at least (you may need other characters later for certain gameplay and quests) and then I am making additional Survivalists cause they can have all three of the collectings skills, Mine, Chop and Take. Then I take 4 of my main ones and one of the newer ones out to the 4-5 floors to collect stuff, when you take a weaker character out with stronger ones they upgrade in a hurry! So they can do a lot of collecting pretty quick. There is a limit each day so I try to take as many characters out as I can before I sleep. Remember to take strong characters with the weak one or you will die fast. This helps me gain money and also helps upgrade my main characters, and at the Take item points I can collect Sour Fruit or Mugwort, which gives you a little bit of TP. Since there is no Armirita right away, this is important. Also have some of your main party have Take as well so you can collect what you need when out and about doing new mapping.