Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Experience Inc.
The fact that Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is made by the same people who created Demon Gaze may just be the least surprising thing ever. They are, broadly speaking, basically the same game: both are first-person dungeon crawlers in which you take on enemies in turn-based battles. Yes, in Operation Abyss you do so with a team of Japanese students instead of with a single student. And yes, Operation Abyss finds you battling monsters instead of demons. But at their core, they’re more or less the same game.
Good thing, then, that there’s more to Operation Abyss than just its core.
See, where Demon Gaze was the very definition of mediocre and uninspiring, Operation Abyss is actually pretty decent. Part of this, I’ll admit, comes down to personal tolerance for fanservice: where Demon Gaze had its fair share of the stuff, there’s not a whole lot of it here. While there are certainly your usual trope characters, Operation Abyss generally refrains from all the worst stereotypes, and in doing so doesn’t leave you with the same kind of dirty feeling you had (okay, I had) after playing Demon Gaze.
I think, though, that Operation Abyss is better for reasons other than simply personal preference, however. I think it’s better because…well, because every aspect is better in every way. The controls are easier, the fights go more smoothly, the story is easier to follow. In every respect, it’s clear that developers Experience Inc. took the lessons learned from Demon Gaze, and put them to good use here.
The end result is far from perfect, of course. Operation Abyss still isn’t going to appeal to people who have zero interest in ever playing a DRPG. But it’s enough of an improvement over its predecessor that I’d you have even a slight interest in the genre, you’ll find yourself enjoying it.