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Re(5):Japan loevs their dungeon crawlan...
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[QUOTE] I don't know if you could really compare Etrian Odyssey to a roguelike, because it really isn't. Etrian Odyssey is a game about grinding and numbers STOP right there. Etrian is [i]definitely not[/i] about grinding, and you could care less about the numbers if you know what you're doing (i.e. status effects and buffs play a major role as opposed to most RPGs). The enemies in this game teach this the hard way, so you will be screwed if you didn't assign those tech points once you step into the first labyrinth. Like Shiren, being cleaver and prepared IS the major point of the game (and not just mash attack/save TP for the bosses). It doesn't hold your hand, I admit, but neither is it unfair if you didn't heed its warnings beforehand. FOEs in EO3/SQ3 are said to give experience like in EO1, but just like in that game, FOEs aren't meant to be killed in your first encounter, and are largly for avoidance. [/QUOTE] Being prepared is part of it, but it's pretty hard for me to believe that the game isn't about grinding when it simply isn't possible to do certain things without levelling. It doesn't matter how clever you are; you aren't going to beat the first Stalker or Ragelope you meet with a low level party. Or if you do, it's probably just because of Poison, and you're going to have to run back home anyway because half your party is dead. The dungeon layouts are static, the only enemies that can be avoided by manual maneuvering have predefined placement and behaviour, and there's no real influence of the environment on combat; when you are fighting, you are in the "combat game", and when you are walking around, you are in the "exploring game". Skills and builds are very important, but those are predicated by levelling. EO is quite a good dungeon crawler, but I just don't think that it can be categorized as a roguelike. SMT games all about preparation, too, but they certainly aren't roguelikes.
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