Review: Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition – Where Dreams Turn into Nightmares

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Written by Dustin Murphy

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Pros:
+Unique use of a rarely scene location in games; Santiago, Chile.
+Combat difficulty can be put on par with the famed Souls Series
+Recaptures the essence of Metroidvania side-scrollers
+Beautiful art style, music, and atmospherics that will keep gamers coming back for more

Cons:
Friendly-fire multiplayer is crippling and devastating to the overall experience
Singleplayer campaign is fun, but only for a short while due to the unprecedented increase in difficulty
Major framerate drops are crippling to the game experience


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If it wasn’t for games such as The Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy, the upcoming Rogue Wizards and even a few of the other rogue-like titles? I wouldn’t find myself constantly going into the genre as it’s one that has left me out in the cold and at times regretting my purchases when it comes to them. Having checked the team’s inbox there was a code for a game we’ve received a little bit of information on, but not enough to really capture my interest. This title? As you know it’s called Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition, which isn’t one that doesn’t introduce itself or even give us an idea of what the story is truly about. For those familiar with the title it’d be just enough to remind them of the original when it initially launched on the PlayStation 3, but this edition lands with some new content such as a multiplayer functionality, better looking visuals, a few new move sets, but never fixing the underlying issues such as frame rate, clunky controls, and slow animations.

When entering into the world of Santiago Chili, players are introduced to a stranger by the name of Katrien who enters a cavernous hole only known as the Abyss. Her goal? To make it to the bottom, find story documents in order to piece together the plot, and take on some of the games most challenging enemies since each section does not have just a singular difficulty, but a randomized difficulty that could leave some players crippled as they attempt to make their way through the abyss. The issue here? Players aren’t given a direct path to take, instead it is up for them to traverse the 2.5D sidescrolling world in order to figure out where they need to go, how to go about it, and how they will dispatch their enemies in an orderly fashion that will not leave them to die. This is where the gameplay itself takes the reigns and presses players through the game as Katrien makers he way through the abyss in order to meet the Warlock and stop him before his dreams can rip the world to shreds. Rather than giving players a set path to traverse, as mentioned before, players will guide Katrien through the choice of descending through the levels or going through each level laterally where they will fight enemies they have a higher chance of dispatching while attempting to level their chosen character they wish to play. If players choose to go down? The difficulty rises in the sense that enemies will grow more powerful, puzzles will grow harder, and the sheer amount of enemies rises, but the rewards are even better than if players went straight on instead of falling down the map into higher difficulties.

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While this is a blessing or a curse in disguise, players will quickly find that there are some underlying mechanical issues whether they are online or offline playing this title. This mostly adheres to the games clunky combat system where players will find themselves jabbing out a few powerful hits or using projectiles instead of following the modernized hack-and-slash formula of combo hits. Much like in most hack-and-slash titles, Abyss Odyssey follows the traditional of using the directional pad in order for players to use their three special attacks. For those unfamiliar with the d-pad this means you will be using up, down or right in conjunction with triangle in order to release a massive attack that will hopefully hit your target. Due to the fact combat animations are slow, erratic, and even clunky – there is a chance that your attacks will miss by moving too close, too far, or just not close enough in order to hit enemies. Unlike other hack-and-slash titles that follow the metroidvania like style, Abyss Odyssey finds itself struggling to allow players to take on more than one enemy at a time; unfortunately this does not happen, and players are left fighting two, three or sometimes four enemies at a time whether they are playing online or solo in an offline campaign.

The difference? In the online lobbies friendly fire becomes an issue and has lead to more than one death in unfortunate circumstances. Luckily players are given a second chance if Katrien is to die by the means of becoming a Chilean soldier suited for the 1890’s period. This means he uses a sword, rifle, pistol or explosive as his secondary ability. Luckily if players are careful they will find themselves once more returning as Katrien in order to level her up through annihilating enemies.

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Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition – PS4 [Reviewed]
Developer: ACE Team
Publisher: ATLUS U.S.A.
Price: 14.99 USD
Released: Now Available

Seeing as the game does instill some basic RPG elements, fans will find themselves gaining experience through vanquishing the Warlocks forces, this allows players to level up, gain a skill point every three levels in order to upgrade one of their special attacks, and return to combat just a bit more efficient than the time before. Leveling up also includes increased health, increased mana or simply making it so that your character is harder to kill for a length of time through upgrading their block capability. Unlike most PRGs mana works a bit differently than in others. Instead of having a full bar, players will find themselves feeding their mana bar by collecting it off enemies, mana potions, or even using their special attacks. Once the mana bar is full players will find themselves casting a special attack that will capture their enemies so that players can transform into them. Doing this will allow players to switch into this enemy in order to preserve Katiren so that she can remain fully healed in the mean time. The enemies captured? They come with their own set of moves, capabilities, and even their own health bar so that both sets of player characters remain unique and strategically used during certain situations.

One of the main gimmicks of Abyss Odyssey that makes the game enjoyable is the use of camp tokens where players can set up checkpoints at shrines allowing them to respawn or even return their if they are to die off. Unfortunately in my experience? These are rare and very few in between so use them sparingly if you find one. While playing through the campaign players are also given a chance to collect gold, which allows for players to unlock new weapons, accessories, by souls so that they can transform into other playable creatures (as mentioned before with the mana spell), and even by potions so that players can recharge their mana or even refill their health bar when they get into dire situations that will surely leave them for dead if they don’t have them.

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Much like in any hack-and-slash, Abyss Odyssey does allow for players to unlock new characters through progress, as well as new portals that open up new areas in lower stages, but also the ability to open up quicker paths to the Warlock in order to finally put his dream to an end and once more ensure that the world is safe from the Warlock’s destruction. Luckily even when switching characters, players will find each of them keep their own experience, earned gold, unique weapons, and even their own level ups that are gained with progression. Luckily? Players can backtrack, level up each character, and even find new pick-ups for each of these characters to ensure they are at their maximum performance when taking on the higher difficulty areas within the abyss.

Unlike other titles though there is something particular that stands out from the rest of the game: performance issues. Much like its predecessor on the PlayStation 3, Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream suffers much of the same issues with framerate drops that leaves the game almost unplayable when too much is going on. This includes too many enemies in combat, moving across the screen rapidly during cooperative play or simply just exploring period. Unfortunately this makes the game seem as if the bonus content is what it uses to soften the blow from many of the underlying issues that were never fixed between the two editions. Even with a few bonus moves, multiplayer, and even the idea that co-op could fix a few things, the game still hurts when trying out the games competitive mode which only focuses on weak combat, and easily passes up any chance at allowing players to feel as if they were truly better than the rest. Since the competitive was so underwhelming there’s not even been a want to give it a second chance in order to play that portion of the game even more thoroughly than before.

Even with the game playing as underwhelmingly as it dues to to its underlying frame rate issues and clunky combat, Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition does attempt to make this up by luring players into leveling each of the characters up, finding all hidden secrets, and even offers up an interesting story that doesn’t offer wanderings about fear, death, life, and or even as to why the Warlock is causing havoc upon the world. Though for 14.99 USD the game is definitely a pickup that should be given a chance if players can overlook the fundamental flaws the game has and enjoy it for what it is; a game that at times is mildly underwhelming, but will leave players coming back for more as they traverse repetitive stages, but with all new challenges awaiting around each corner.


Our review is based upon a pre-release of the version that was given to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 6 out of 10


About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

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 over onTwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

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