Yay, I’m in a good mood today! A little sleepy from staying up till 1am playing Operation Abyss, but in a good mood nonetheless. I adjusted my expectations down a bit and the game improved in other ways and now we’re good friends!
I will say, though, that this has strengthened my resolve to play serial games in release order as much as possible. Going from newer to older is just too painful. But! There shall be no whining today, only nice words and compliments!
So! What’s fun about Operation Abyss? Well, the story is actually kind of fun (no spoilers today either). There’s more of it than I’d expected at first, and the bad guys are thoroughly repulsive so taking them down is sooo satisfying. I try to avoid games with zombies and mutants and other gross-looking monsters but after fighting the thousandth variant it’s like yeah yeah, whatever. They aren’t really that gross once you get used to them. And the dungeons aren’t really that gloomy or depressing. It’s no Harvest Moon, but it’s still quite colorful.
My party has grown on me too, despite being a bunch of generics. No, maybe it’s because they’re generics that I’m liking them so much. This way I can dream up personalities for them based on their looks and voices. Warrior-boy Crow here seems like the reckless type who charges in without a backup plan. In a shonen manga he’d be the hero, of course. Knight Lode would be the cautious leader who is reliable but a bit of a worrywart (in a shonen manga he’d be the guy who gets beat up so the hero can take revenge :-p). And so on and so forth.
I haven’t gotten quite so far as dreaming up interactions for them (the real crazy always comes later) but I do like to pretend they’re enjoying the battles and exploration as much as I am. In fact I think I quite like having a generic party full of indistinguishable blobs. When you have a clearly defined main character with a strong personality it’s a bit lonely when the rest of the party is generic. But when they’re all generic then the sky is your limit. I could get used to this.
When I started this game, I was hoping for large meaty dungeons with lots of bosses to fight and treasure to discover. At first I was disappointed. All the game had were these small, anemic… not even dungeons, more like dorm rooms, with a few weak enemies and barely anything to find. Now after roughly 26 hours I’ve unlocked muuuch bigger dungeons and get to fight loooooots of enemies who drop loooooots of loot. Most of it is useless, of course, but you get the occasional nice find once in a while. And anyway it’s the thought that counts.
There’s a downside to the larger dungeon sizes, though. TBH most of them are just large spaces filled with a whole lot of nothing. And freedom to explore at will turned out to be a bad thing in the Restricted Kagura District when I ended up mapping almost the whole place and getting stuck because nobody told me I was actually supposed to go back to headquarters for a couple of cutscenes first. Grr… uhh, I mean, yay… *polite smile*
I’ve also gotten used to all the fancy terminology they like to throw around. I think the newer games took the right approach, using standard terms like Races, Levels, and Classes instead of fancy lingo like Blood and Code and Rise and whatever. You don’t want to be poring through the in-game glossary after every sentence when you’re playing a dungeon crawler, seriously. But I muddled my way through more or less and realized most of the stuff they talk about is just flavor text anyway. A job class by any other name…
I also complained early on about the battles being too easy. To an extent that’s still true, but now it’s largely by choice because there’s an encounter gauge you can use to adjust the difficulty on the fly. It’s that red circle saying “Danger” on the upper left in this screenshot:
The more you fight, the stronger the variants get. The more you run away, the weaker they get. No more cries of “too easy!” or “just mash X to win!” from me! Heck, despite all my earlier whining, I almost never let the gauge get higher than 4. And I run from enemies I don’t like. And I cast Escape when things look bad. Yes, I’m secretly a coward who just likes to run her mouth and Operation Abyss has called my bluff ^.^;; More games should have adjustable difficulty, IMO. It’s one feature I think Experience Inc. should have carried forward to later games.
TL;DR – Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is a bit, no, very boring with titchy little dungeons and weak enemies at first, but if you stick it out for about 7 hours, you get bigger dungeons, better battles, an interesting story and lots and lots of loot. It really does get better and I’m glad I didn’t drop it. Now I just have to find a way through a certain pesky door in Babyl Sphere and all will be right with the world…