Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Experience Inc./Mages
Medium: Digital/Vita Card
A few years ago, I wrote (or at least implied) that your enjoyment of Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy would depend largely on how much you enjoyed dungeon-crawling RPGs: if you liked them, you would probably like that game. Now, a few years later, that game has a sequel, and I’ll say the same thing, but with an addendum: your enjoyment of Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy is contingent on a) how much you like DRPGs, and b) how much you enjoyed Operation Abyss. If the answer to both of those questions is anything other than “lots!”, then this may not be the game for you.
In fact, you could probably narrow that down even further to only include the second question. Babel isn’t just a sequel to Abyss, it’s a continuation. If you don’t recall details from the first game, then you’ll be lost here; if you didn’t love Operation Abyss, then you’re not going to enjoy Operation Babel, either.
Theoretically, this should mean I like Operation Babel. After all, I liked Operation Abyss, at least according to the linked review! But here’s the thing: I don’t remember anything about it. As such, analyzing how well or how poorly Operation Babel continues in the footsteps of its predecessor is a bit of a challenge. Obviously, I have to take the blame for that, but at the same time, it also means I can unequivocally state that the game doesn’t have the kind of story you can just jump into. The plot is convoluted, the dialogue is seemingly nonsensical and full of non-sequiturs, and it’s not the kind of game that allows you to rely on context for clues.
From a gameplay perspective, at least, Operation Babel is a little more hospitable towards newcomers. The basics here are pretty much the same as what you’d get in any other DRPG: you move around a grid as the map gradually reveals itself, you encounter monsters and traps, and you discover goodies. There are some idiosyncracies, like “blood mixing”, but to the game’s credit credit it tells you what you need to know. Admittedly, it does so through giant walls of text, but that’s still better than simply dropping players into the action and making them figure it out on their own.
Of course, seeing as that’s the game’s approach to its story, there’s only so far you can go in commending Operation Babel. As should be abundantly clear by now, if you loved Operation Abyss, then this game offers more of what that did, but otherwise, you won’t need to bother with it.