Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy Review (PS Vita)

Operation Abyss is a successor to last year’s exceptional Vita dungeon crawler, Demon Gaze. This game is actually a remake of the first two games of the Xth trilogy from 2008-2009. Does it improve upon Demon Gaze or is it an endless abyss?




After being rescued from a monster attack you are quickly recruited into Xth, a secret organization hidden inside a prestigious school. You are one of the few people who have blood code powers, a special ability which allows you to fight against evil creatures called variants.


Operation Abyss - Story

The story takes itself way too seriously, lacking the lighthearted atmosphere which made Demon Gaze so enjoyable. Since you don’t actually have a main character but instead a group of interchangeable party members you never actually feel like part of the story. Even the characters who are important to the plot aren’t really memorable, which would have gone a long way to keep you invested in the whole world.


At a glance Operation Abyss plays like your typical first person dungeon-crawler. You go around a grid-based dungeon, mapping the floors and battling enemies in random encounters. But scratch the surface and you will find an extremely complex and often overwhelming game.


Operation Abyss - Battle 1

Whereas Demon Gaze eased you in , Operation Abyss dumps everything on you and expects you to figure it out on your own. Because of this the level design has also taken a step back from the previous game.


There are quite a few elements where battles differ from standard turn based RPGs. During a battle you cannot pick a specific enemy, instead your party members will attack them at random. You will encounter tens of enemies at a time. Sometimes after completing a battle you will immediately be thrown into another one.


Operation Abyss - Exploration

Thankfully encounters aren’t too frequent, but for some unknown reason encounter rates seem to sky-rocket anytime you walk through a door.


There is a complex crafting system here. You can strip down items to get components. You can then use these to craft or boost new items. However like everything else, it can be quite confusing at times. Even the options for buying and selling have awkward names such as Issue and Deliver.


Operation Abyss - Items

Growth Points (GP) are the currency in the game, which can be pretty hard to accumulate. Both healing and identifying items in your base has a fee, so you will be using spells to do that in order to save on GP.


Mana functions differently than it does in other games. Instead of having a mana pool, each character can cast from a set of three skills a limited amount of time. But each character can have multiple sets of these skills. This means that even if you run out of mana for the weakest spells, you will still have MP for the more powerful ones.


Operation Abyss - Battle 2

Even leveling up works in a distinct way. Once a character gains enough experience, they must return to the base in order to level up. Until they do they won’t receive any new experience, which forces the player to return to base even if a single players has leveled up. Fortunately you can convert GP to experience, allowing you to level up characters which just need a bit more exp.


The game does a good job of making navigation the dungeons a breeze. You can use either of the analog sticks for movement, which allows for one handed play if you are on the move. The dungeons can get unwieldy at times, but thankfully you can pick a destination from the map and your party will auto move to that point.


Operation Abyss - Character classic

The game offers two modes – Basic and Classic. The only difference between them being that in basic you can pick your favorite portrait, while in classic you customize every element of a character. With that said, the portrait customization is a novel idea which ultimately ends up looking plain when compared to the available portraits in basic mode.


Operation Abyss - Character basic

Dark Souls-like message system is still here. Players can place notes for others to find. This is rather helpful, as they usually tell of a hidden passage or an upcoming difficult enemy encounter.


Graphically the game is a mixed bag. The artwork and interface is amazing and generally looks good. However when it comes to animations their are almost none. During battles the portraits just shake a little and sparks fly around, that’s it.


Operation Abyss - Story 2

Operation Abyss is far from a bad game, but it is very unwelcoming. If you are a die-hard fan of dungeon crawlers you will probably be able to appreciate all the little details which keep it unique in the crowd of similar games. But, if you are new to the genre, you’d be far better off with last year’s Demon Gaze.

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