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Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy: Crawl Your Way Through...
Company: NIS America


The Story:

Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is a new dungeon crawler created for the PSVita. This is the first true dungeon crawler that I have played in a number of years now and it's a very interesting game that has a lot of potential!

Operation Abyss opens with you awakening to find a human body lying next to you, two dead bodies actually. You were on your way home from school when "something happened." You have apparently been kidnapped, by monsters. A strange man shows up to rescue you, but sadly he has to be rescued himself, by Alice Mifune. Sheís an Xth Captain. The Xth are a highly classified secret group who do the actual work to dispel the variants for the XPD. The XPD are the official police force for "hazard cases." A hazard case happens when random parts of the city mysteriously turn into mazes that they refer to as Abysses. In them are Variants, monsters who attack normal people.

Itís not easy to keep an organization like the Xth a secret, but they are hidden deep under Hinowa Academy. Kenichi Kanzaki is the director of the Xth and heís also the dean of Hinowa, which explains how they can hide the secret easier. The Xth members are recruited because like you, they all have Code-Rise. Code-Rise allows a normal human to activate powers that make them super-human. You donít know you have Code-Rise abilities though, so youíre going to have to learn how to use them. Thereís no better way than being thrown into the deep end to see if you can swim. Not long after you create a squad (you are given a "balanced" one to use, but you can vary it if you want), you are given a mission. Your squad is called Abyss Company.



Into the Abyss:

Your Abyss Company gets thrown right into the thick of things and you have to go investigate a variant disturbance. Itís really not too difficult to begin with, unless you are like me and have a problem with your sense of direction. Each step is a square on a map. The map will reveal itself as you take each step, which is helpful, but I really would like a way to see the whole map at once, so that I can figure out where I am and where I need to go. You can mark spots on the map with Memos, which does help a lot. You can even connect your PSVita online and share memos with other players. You have a finite number of memos though, so donít go too crazy and use them all up!

For the most part, you will see the doors and areas you can go to, but when it says someone "senses something nearby," you need to press (X) facing the different directions to look for hidden passages. These can be very helpful in finding missing items and even completing your missions. There are many different zones in the abysses, plus traps. Some zones are 100% dark, but you will still be able to see the map on the top of the screen. Other zones nullify spells. There are still other dangers to look out for. Youíll have to be careful if you want to survive. The lighting, the music, and the noises of the variants really creep me out when I am inside the abyss. I canít stay inside it for too long when I am home alone playing. You can save in the classroom. You can also save in the abysses, but only if you have a Power Recorder. Kaito, the Vice-Captain, will give you some and you can buy others.

Encounters can be random, but you will also see them marked with giant teeth above a square. Some squares have (?) above them. These contain random things. Sometimes youíll run across enemies that will keep coming right after you kill the previous ones. These are a pain, but just keep an eye on your health and youíll be fine. Attacking is turn-based with each character taking turns in order. You can also attack as a squad with a Unity attack. Only the front line (and ranged weapons) can do physical attacks. Your back row characters are spell casters or ranged weapons characters. As you are searching the abyss and killing monsters, you will find code chips, which you will need. Once you find them, you have to disarm the trap just to get the item out. They really donít make things easy on you! Just a note, as if zombies and other monsters werenít enough, if you stumble upon the right places, youíll find ghosts as well.



Outside the Abyss:

When youíre not wandering through the scary places, you are a normal student in school. You have to interact with the teachers and other students as if you are a normal student. This can be quite difficult when you have to sneak out of class quickly to get to a mission as soon as possible. These interactions with teachers and other students are quite hilarious and provide a humor that contrasts nicely with the horror of the abysses. You can also leave the classrooms and go to the secret areas.

The Development Lab is one of the places only for the Xth. You use it to create items. Basically it lets you use the code chips that you have collected to build yourself better equipment. You can also take apart equipment. Only certain people can use certain items. You have to make sure they are a match for type, blood code, and level. This is a bit of a pain in the beginning when you really want some new items, but you donít have things that everyone can use. Also, I could not figure out how to actually equip an item inside the lab. It looks like you should be able to, but I couldnít make it work. Instead, you need to go to Status and choose a character. Pick Item and then equipment to change out your stuff. You can change out equipment inside the abysses as well.

The Medical Lab is another secret area that you will become very familiar with. Here you heal your HP and MP. Funny enough, this seems to be how you level up as well. Of course, you canít go crazy and continually level here as you have to spend your GP to heal.



Thoughts:

So far, I am enjoying Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy. Itís quite different from most of the RPGs that I have played lately. It took a bit of getting used to, but I actually like the grid-style map and movement better than free-roaming in a way. Once I got used to the areas, I could find my way around better as there are only four directions to worry about. There are a few oddities, like the voices. Some of the voices really donít match the characters, like Johnny Sakuraba. Iíd definitely not believe it if I heard that voice on a person with his appearance in real life. The majority of the voicework is good though.

One other thing that disturbs me is that the variants donít seem bad. Yes, they look like hideous monsters and something is obviously killing students from the school, but the majority of the variants I am fighting are begging me not to kill them. They donít attack me first. I am the one running into them. I hope that this is explained soon as I really donít like killing things that are asking me to stop attacking them. Hopefully, I am just around the corner from an answer!

If youíre looking for an intriguing dungeon crawler with a mysterious storyline, keep your eyes peeled for Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy as it will be released soon.



-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl
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