NIS America has been a supporter of Sony’s fledgling Vita system by shipping many dungeon crawlers for it. Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is another one of the JRPG dungeon crawlers and it doesn’t disappoint. The game starts off with the typical RPG tropes: You awaken in a dark and dingy area with no recollection of how you arrived. After you come a bit to your senses, a young man appears before you and tells you that he’s here to help. He lets you know that you’ve been kidnapped because you were born with Code-Rise, a special power only gifted to a few people.
Once you escape, your saviors take you back to the school you were abducted from, and you learn about the secret CPA headquarters. This is where you meet your squad members; The game randomly gives you certain characters on your team, but it allows you to change them, should you be a more seasoned RPG player. I’m still a noob to JRPGs and how they work, so I stuck with the team they gave me.
You also get to meet the quirky cast that will be helping you out on your dungeon crawling journey. Kemichi Kanzaki’s the headmaster of the school and the director of the Xth Squad. This is the squad that you join due to your Code-Rise potential. Kaito Saeki, a 15 year old genius who’s the vice captain of the Xth Squad, and he’s the one that handles you the most throughout the beginning of the game, letting you know where everything is and how to use it. Mao Gota’s part of the communication division and let’s you know where the action is happening.Finally, Alice Mifune’s the captain of the Xth Squad who uses actions instead of words, and that sometimes gets her into trouble. There are many more quirky folks that you get to meet and battle with as you progress through the game, but these are the ones that stuck out as most important to me.
The art style’s your typical anime style. Huge eyes, weird hair, and somewhat oddly shaped proportions are only part of the characters’ design. They also sport some pretty interesting fashion choices, ones I’m sure I’d never be able to pull off. The enemy design is also quite amazing: Sometimes you get some of the same riff raff, but when you get a major boss your eyes are in for a treat. Unfortunately, the dungeons you spend a majority of the game in are quite boring. The walls are bland, the ground is bland, and for what are suppose to be extremely scary and monster ridden dungeons, they could use a Home & Garden Network makeover.
The controls are very easy to master. To navigate a dungeon, you can use the left thumbstick to move forwards and backwards, and it also turns you left and right. The right thumbstick lets you sidle left and right. It’s tricky with the left thumbsitck, so I used the D-pad to make my mundane travels easier.
The battle system, once you encounter an enemy in dungeon is fairly straightforward as well. Before each turn, the game allows you to pick what each of the six parties will do in that turn. You can chose to Attack, Defend, cas a Spell, or use an Item, which makes the battles very simple. You can have your melee attackers attack, while you have your healer to heal, or you can use Item to drink a potion. Once your characters get through their moves, the enemies do theirs, and you rinse and repeat until you’ve defeated them or you’re defeated yourself.
Operation Abyss: Tokyo Legacy’s a fairly fun jaunt through some unimaginative dungeons. While not the best JRPG I’ve ever played, it is definitely not the worst. The story keeps you hooked, the characters keep you laughing, and the content keeps you busy. This isn’t a Vita seller, but should you already own a Vita and have conquered Persona 4: Golden, this may be the game for you. Hopefully E3 will bring us some Vita titles to look forward to, but until then, Operation Abyss is definitely worth your time.
A press copy of Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy was provided by NIS for the purpose of this review