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Review by Dustin Murphy
+Intuitive combat that will require players to plan out their actions
+Spells are not unlimited and do require a cool down
+Creatable characters are somewhat awkward when joining the party
–Combat is extremely linear and at times boring
–Earning in-game credits is almost as boring as picking weeds from a garden
–Clicking forward every time on the map unless using the go-to part of a map gets annoying
–Mission objectives at times are hard to figure out and or locate
Welcome to the Xth Squad a unique group of students within New Tokyo that have been brought aboard Operation Abyss in order to hunt down, take out, and eliminate a new form of enemy known as “Variants”. Here students that have been recruited and can access a special set abilities only known as Code’s have been brought onto the team, trained, and shown how they will work together in order to take out the enemies and find out why so many Variants will escape into Tokyo and require both the police, but also the Xth squad in order to find out why the Variants are flooding in.
As the game starts out, players are greeted by a gruesome sight, a Variant is about to kill your character, and let alone is this sight bad, players are also given a warm welcome by a member of Xth Squad who manages to appear just in time to save your character’s life. With it you are rescued by a mysterious and hooded figure that has just managed to save the character’s life. Here players are recruited by the CPA or rather, the Code Physics Agency that players have been all, but forced into without much choice or option, which means, guess what? This is what sets up your game and places you into a game where your most enjoyable part is seeing changing scenery outside of the games static portraits, bland dungeon designs, but also an art style that is both colourful, interesting, and anime-like that keeps the game fresh. The issue here? That’s all that does keep it unique and mildly entertaining since there’s barely any dialogue between missions that offers a break from the Xth Squads mission based ranting. However, one of the things that makes you wish there was a break from it? The darkest parts of the game, which aren’t necessarily the parts of finding dead bodies, a robotic like girl with her shadow friend who just happens to slowly be making her human-like or possibly a variant, but instead? The creepy ass blood links that will allow players to link their characters to those of Florence Nightingale, Leonardo Davinci, Hanzo Hattori, Jeanne d’Arc, and many more. Each of these will play an important role when it comes down if they will be in the back row of your team or not since melee will be the only one attacking in the front row while range and casters will take to the back row in order to keep enemies at bay from a distance.
To select these “Bloods” players have to either change the Blood of a currently existing character, which in my experience, reset my level, but also required me to level up my character once more due to the loss in level and stats, but allowed for a more unique twist on my Xth Squad so that they could more easily dispatch the Variants as they attacked while exploring each of Tokyo’s zones, but also the Abyss they emerge from. While players go through each mission they will have several things occur, this includes gaining XP to level up, GP that is the games currency, but also a chance to unlock Code Locks, which will allow for players to pick up unique items and have a chance to get rare loot with each drop. Do note that stats are based upon your character’s class, but also your personality traits amongst other things, which means points distribution while leveling up will play based upon how well your character works out in combat and does mean that your character may not rise nor shine when you need them the most when fighting Wanted Variants (bosses and mission goals), but also means they may just set you up for a Game Over to wherever you last saved when exploring the grid-like map layouts.
Unfortunately, even having explored a good chunk of this game players will find themselves (out of my 32 hours in) it took about four to eight hours to really feel that the game would get good, enjoyable, and allow for players to TRULY see how the game begins to become one giant that will bring together the darkest parts of the game, but also a unique story, locations, and twists that will allow the game to become fun to play, but also allow for fans to enjoy a game that will go into a huge living world that will make players wish that they can keep it safe from Variants, but after 10 hours? That is where some fans may just walk away and wander back onto Demon Gaze in order to allow fans to truly enjoy the game the way they should. But lets remember here, this game is an old school like Dungeon Crawler such as titles like Wizardry where fans will spend time tabbing on the D-Pad of their Vita or Vita TV in order to move through the world, but also brings forth the fact; narrative isn’t what this game is about, which means the story is bland, dull, and only half enjoyable. However, for some fans that like easy to follow stories and ones that don’t have just a ton of narrative? This will be right up your alley since the story itself is more about the overall effect of Variants in the world and the underlying evils that cause them. The whole plot? Take out Variants, secure the Abyss, and find out why Variants are attacking the world the way they are.
When setting down the PlayStation Vita in order to reflect on Demon Gaze for this review, it’s hard not to glance back at the previously released Demon Gaze, which as its predecessor, was unforgiving, difficulty, and loved to punish players the way it did. Unlike Demon Gaze, Operation Abyss is a title that will allow players to rest when needed at the Medical Facility in order to regenerate MP, Health, and even level up as needed, but don’t forget; every encounter in this game? Will raise the difficulty if you don’t sometimes just flee from combat in order to lower down the difficulty of encounters in each of the games zones. In other thoughts, Operation Abyss New Tokyo is a game that follows the tradition of old dungeon crawlers where players aren’t necessarily going in for a story much like games such as Wizardry, Orcs and Elves, and Demon Gaze to name a few. Instead players are going in for a challenge, one that will push them to hunt down secrets, better equipment, and an ultimate end to the maze like dungeons that they will explore. This is one we suggest for those of you who wish to take on challenges that may or may not break your interest in a game and this is certainly one NIS America, inc, can say pulls in a challenge and wants players to stick around for a while. For JRPG fans, this is definitely one that will need to be in your collection. For those that want to test the waters with a new dungeon crawler? This is one that you should at least give a try when you can.
Our review of the game is based upon a pre-release retail version of the game. Our copy was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here. Operation Abyss New Tokyo Legacy is now available for the PlayStation Vita and can be obtained in both retail and digital formats (PlayStation Store) for 39.99 USD.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him on Twitter @GamingAnomaly,Google+ or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.