Since NIS America has brought yet another insanely niche JRPG to us here in the west, I thought it would be best to strap on my thickest pair of glasses and jump into it with a review. Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy!
What You Need To Know
Operation Abyss is a menu based dungeon crawling JRPG in the same vain of games like Etrian Odyssey. The majority Operation Abyss is spent in the first person view as you trek your way through labyrinths mapped out on a grid, fighting monsters with a turn-based battle system. Also, with this being a menu based game, it is important to note that all characters and interactions with the world are done so through static images and long strings of dialog. Let’s get into it, shall we!
Great World And Story
In Operation Abyss, the year is 20XX and genetically modified creatures known as Variants have been attacking the city of Tokyo from the bowels of it’s sewers to the heights of it’s most prestigious skyscrapers. The military and police force were determined useless as they were unable to fight the variants off causing the government to create the Code Physics Agency to investigate and put a stop to these monsters. The game follows a group of teens that have been genetically modified by the CPA known as the Xth Squad (pronounced ZITH) as they defend Tokyo and investigate the origin of these variants.
So Much Going On
Though Operation Abyss has an amazing story it wants to tell the player, I constantly foundmyself getting lost. There are so many characters being constantly introduced and the plot lines split among your party members in a way that makes the story hard to follow. There were times that I felt as if I should be stringing red yarn across a cork board to piece things together.
Strategy Is Too Important
The depth to gameplay in Operation Abyss is ridiculous! You’re able to take up to six party members into the dungeons, each of which you have the ability to customize with a fine-tooth comb down to their age, alignment and even rolling for their stat bonuses. Of these six party members, you have a front three and back three that need to be positioned based on up-close and ranged combat/magic abilities. Of these arrangements, you need to make sure you have abilities that will compliment each party member in the most effective way so that you always have someone to recover someone else if they need magic, hp, or whatever recovery element that they can’t natively do on their own. Now that you have your party set, you are stuck attacking the enemies at random, yes, I said random. All of this explained, I’ve barely even scratched the surface as there were times that I felt the systems were under-explained leaving me drowning in their complexity.
Goals Are Nice
One of the things I really enjoyed about this game is the variation in objectives you’re given before heading out into a dungeon. Other games I’ve played in this first-person dungeon-crawling genre have always had the plain objective of exploring the entirety of the dungeon you walk in to. However, Operation Abyss give you a genuine goal or purpose to be in the dungeon, most of which were based off of story-relevant things like investigating a new variant or finding an item your squad leader needed. This change gave my tireless ventures into the abyss a relevant meaning with each step.
Operation Abyss hits the ground running with amazing voice acting for a fair amount of the game. There is also a ton of care put into making the character designs and overall environment outside of the dungeons look bright and beautiful. The dungeons are given the darkest treatment making them look and feel like you really fell into an abysmal area with no possible escape. The soundtrack is also top notch with wonderful environmental background tracks that compliment each location you encounter.
I was pretty happy with the majority of time I spent playing this game. Apart from the complex systems that I still don’t feel I fully understand and getting lost in the story, it was an enjoyable experience. Make no mistake, Operation Abyss is a deep game that has a story to tell. If you have the time and desire for something like this, you can’t go wrong.