I’m a longtime fan of the series, and played a lot of the demo, so I came into the game with high but reasonable expectations. But after I picked up EO5 yesterday, I’ve found myself not enjoying it as much as I expected to, and I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on why.

One of the currently suspended Original Group.

I played through the demo with a cobbled-together party that had a decent balance, based loosely on a party from a tabletop RPG campaign I’d recently been in. But it’s been a few weeks since I touched the demo, and there was some stuff obviously blocked off in it, so I figured I’d start fresh. I read up on various classes and team composition ideas on some forums, mashed a couple team concepts together, and took off; I made extra party members, all based on a shared theme, and started traipsing through the dungeon.

And it sucked.

We got our asses handed to us in nearly every encounter. I’d expected a bit of difficulty without a simple, dedicated healer (no Botanist/Rover) but I had expected the Necromancer to pull some weight there; she really didn’t. Even forging all our weapons up wasn’t helping. So I switched things up, did an Alter Class to turn the Shaman into a Botanist, took another tack at it... still terrible. Next, I completely changed out the team for a pack of fresh faces who inherited their seniors’ better equipment. Still having serious trouble, even just grinding on lower floors.

One of the new kids.

I tried turning the difficulty down to Basic, and while we’re no longer getting our asses handed to us, I’m still not really having fun. I can’t seem to find a team composition that’s actually entertaining while still being functional. It feels like any strategy or cohesive synergy requires a boatload more levels to start meshing - like levels far out of depth even for something like the boss or even the FOE quests in the first stratum, which is kind of when you need your team to really start gelling together.

The race skills feel like a strange point sink in a lot of ways.

I’ve never had anywhere near this much trouble in any previous entry in the series, and I’m starting to despair of finding this game fun for long enough to actually get to the point where you start picking up class specializations and really get builds rolling. The monster designs are somehow boring so far, and even the FOEs just don’t have the same presence as in previous games. In general the game looks more or less like the usual formula but somehow the magic just hasn’t really been there for me. Has anyone else felt this way about EO5? I really, really want to like it...