A Dark Tale Begins
The game begins in a modern day Tokyo, setting up a serious narrative about young people mysteriously disappearing due to dark circumstances. The story sets you up at a place known as the “Code Physics Agency” where you’re told about genetic creations known as Variants and a dimensional portal dubbed the Abyss. As part of a special team known as the Xth Squad, it’s up to you to venture into these portals, fight monsters and find out exactly what the Abyss entails.
As a dungeon crawler, Operation Abyss presents itself largely in a first-person view, with movement placed on a series of grids. Cutscenes and the like are displayed in a typical visual novel style with 2D portraits accompanying text.
Jobs and Skills Everywhere
Gameplay is fairly traditional, with the bulk of its mechanics issued through a sparse set of tutorials. Much of the game’s know-how is stuck firmly in its in-game manuals — a datalog of sorts that also explains many of the game’s specific terms and wordings. While it’s great that these extra pieces have made it into the game, it would have been more appropriate to see them integrated more so into the game proper. Operation Abyss starts off a bit heavy-handed with its intricacies so it can be somewhat daunting for novice players unfamiliar with dungeon-style games.
Delving deeper into the game’s mechanics leaves us a range of abilities available to a part of six party characters. Similar to the classic Final Fantasy job systems, Operation Abyss employs different classes that net different weapons and abilities based on equipment. You’ll receive a default party at the start but those adventurous enough can customize to their hearts desire with a wide range of choices.
A Great Place for Newcomers
As a dungeon crawler, Operation Abyss offers a great deal of control while not coming off as something extremely difficult. The game has a lot of standard systems in place to anyone familiar to the genre, designed in an accessible way that befits its levels and even item systems. Much of the game sets you out on missions — befitting to its portable nature — consisting of bigger missions and side missions including battles that are necessary to advance the plot.
The story of Operation Abyss is actually quite interesting. Even though it’s steeped in anime aesthetic, much of the characters and story take a more serious tone — forgoing a lot of the fan service crutches a lot of Vita games have been drawn to as of late.
For those looking for something different, Operation Abyss definitely fills the void — pun intended. Its clean art style and safe, but feature-filled mechanics make it a fun dungeon RPG outing on the PS Vita despite its contemporaries.