NIS America was kind enough to recently send us a preview build of the upcoming dungeon-delving RPG, Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy. Having investigated quite a few of the areas currently available, we’ve decided to come back, rest up, and deliver a debriefing on what gamers can expect from the title.
Before you begin, the game gives you two options in the form of Basic or Classic game modes. Basic is the mode that the game suggests for new players, and it allows gamers to choose their portrait and build their characters. Classic is a bit more advanced, allowing you to choose different parts to customize your party’s avatars.
Once you are in the game, things pick up rather quickly. You awaken in a dank, dark sewer, and are quickly attacked by zombie-like creatures. Fortunately for you, somebody soon shows up and grabs you, pulling you out of the room as gunfire erupts within.
Following the guy, you soon come across something he can’t handle: A deadly behemoth that can devour everybody present with ease. Everything seems lost… until a young woman by the name of Alice Mifune appears and puts the creature in its place with ease. Alice is a fearless captain of the Xth Squad of the Code Physics Agency. The Code Physics Agency, or CPA for short, is a special agency created to combat the threat of these dangerous beasts, known as variants.
After defeating the super powerful lizard, Alice and the rest retreat to Hinowa Academy, which houses a secret base of operations for the CPA. Here you and she hop on a hidden elevator that takes you deep beneath the school’s seemingly normal campus and into the facility that houses the CPA. Kenichi Kanzaki, the Headmaster of Hinowa Academy, meets up with you and informs you that you have been selected as candidates to join the ranks of the Xth Squad.
The Xth Squad is a special unit of the CPA that has been enhanced with Code Technology, thus giving the members incredible powers. This unit works alongside the XPD in order to identify and investigate the Abyss phenomena, which are mysterious labyrinths that tear the very fabric of the dimension itself. Luckily, these phenomena tend to appear in abandoned and derelict locales. Unluckily, they play host to the powerful Variant threat.
You prepare to undergo some training and customize your own, unique squad, when suddenly a distress beacon blares. Alice, now your commanding officer, decides to send you in for some first-hand experience on how to handle these powerful creatures. Following her orders, you are free to explore the shadowy streets of Tokyo as you gather information from the citizens, jumping from district to district as you work your way to Morimoto High-Rise.
Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is created by the same group that brought us Demon Gaze, so players can expect certain similarities. The gameplay is very similar to Demon Gaze, as you navigate the labyrinthine corridors in a first-person perspective. You need to be careful, however, as numerous traps will inhibit your progression through dungeons. These include warp panels, shock traps, and even sections in which your map won’t be of any use at all, being completely blanked out.
If you have any hope of surviving the dangerous labyrinths, you’ll need a well-rounded party. The game features perma-death, so it’s wise to keep a healer on hand; While it’s true that this healer won’t be able to save everybody, it can help you keep your characters alive when they’d otherwise be taken out. Academics are also essential so that you will be able to crack open treasure boxes safely. Lacking one of these can easily result in your squad being wiped out by a powerful trap. A third member you’ll definitely want on hand is somebody with a high intellect, as dungeons typically contain numerous hidden doors, and these characters have the best chance at spotting them.
Of course the major threat of the game are none other than the Variants. These powerful creatures will attack your party at random, though you will occasionally see groups on the screen that won’t move from their position unless defeated. Once you have initiated battle, the system goes to a typical turn-based fare, with you choosing the actions you want your characters to take, then watching the results of your and your opponents’ assaults.
You’ll need to pay close attention to your squad’s formation before you enter battle, however. Every weapon has a certain range, so placing a knife on a back row mage isn’t the wisest idea if you intend to have the mage melee at all, as he (or she) won’t be able to reach the opposing monster. On the note of mages, every spell slot has a set number of uses, and once they run out, you will be unable to cast spells of that level until you rest. You should keep this in mind, as you never know when a super powerful Wanted Variant may appear and try to wipe you out.
Overall, we must admit that Operation Abyss has made a rather strong case for itself in the time we’ve spent with it. The gameplay and solid (thus far) story may make the game another cult classic. You can expect a full review in the near future as the game’s release date draws near.