Review: Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition (PlayStation 4)

Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation 4 1,767 view 3 likes 0 comments
Reviewed by Derek Bortz, posted Jul 31, 2015, last updated Aug 15, 2015
Jul 31, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): July 28, 2014
  • Release Date (EU): July 16, 2014
  • Publisher: Atlus
  • Developer: ACE Team
  • Genres: Rogue-like Action Adventure
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Also For: Computer, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Do you like Castlevania-like exploration and Super Smash Brothers combat? You should check this out.
Derek Bortz

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Enter the Abyss

So the idea behind Abyss Odyssey is pretty simple. You are a woman in what looks to be mid 1800s England, where something has besieged your city. You rush through the streets, past soldiers and into the maw of a huge yawning crater in the ground. Welcome to the Abyss.
You learn (from the main character interacting with the soldiers) that the Abyss was created by a mad warlock who resides at the bottom of the abyss. Your objective is simpler said than done. Reach the bottom of the rift and end the warlock’s dream.     

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The abyss is no slouch. It is randomly generated each time you head down into the depths. There are 3 paths that you can take, as shown on the map below. The left is the easy path but requires you to move through more floors, middle is average distance, with average difficulty, and the right is hard with fewer floors. Sometimes you can find passages between the columns if you get lucky. They might make your journey easier, or worse.

Each floor is populated with any number of hazards. Enemies, pits, buzzsaws, and carnivorous plants are only a few of the dangers you will encounter. Enemies drop small refills of health or magic. Chests contain items and gold, which is very useful and we will discuss in a little bit. Urns and other breakables contain gold as well, and they differ in looks depending on the environment.

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Your health is persistent, meaning it does not get refilled between levels or fights. You can recover using one of 3 strategies. Enemies drop very small heal refills. These stay the same value, so at higher levels, you might not even notice you picked one up. The second way, is to either purchase or find health vials. Expendable items you find are set to your d-pad menu and used as soon as you tap a direction. You can also collect MP and antidotes this way.

The third way is a little bit different. When you run out of health, you are immediately replaced with a soldier and all of your expendables are lost, and collected weapons are dropped. As a soldier you have the very basic controls and a fixed weapon set of short sword and pistol. The main use of a soldier is to find an alter. Alters are places that you can revive your main character within the dungeon, without starting over. You do NOT recover any dropped or lost items/weapons.

Some alters have a shopkeeper standing nearby. Shopkeepers are randomized as well. Their stock is finite and random each time you visit. They can be stocked with weapons, recovery items, or sometimes even an enemy soul which we will cover later. But the most important is probably the alter token. Normally, if you die as both the MC and then the soldier, you will be send back to the surface, unless you spend a token at an alter. This will allow you to revive at your last save point. Be warned, the number of times you can be revived from that altar is the same as the level of the token.

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Gameplay

The gameplay feels a bit like super smash brothers. You have your normal double jump, and directional Square button attacks (like A button attacks) with your equipped weapon. Triangle + direction does a special attack that requires a small amount of magic. However, if your MP bar is full, you can do something new. Once you beat an enemy monster within an inch of his life, you can press Square + Triangle together and send out a powerful blue light that acts like a pokeball, effectively turning the enemy into a collectible soul. Souls can also be pickedk up. Tapping down on the D pad will transform your main character into that monster with a separate heath bar and new attacks. Note: Soldiers cannot use souls, nor collect them. Souls can also be won by finishing a “?” floor by defeating all the monsters as a monster yourself.

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Every once and a while you will encounter boss rooms with a high powered enemy. These can be tough at first, but leveling up and repeating the dungeon a few times will give you the edge to beat them. Part of the game’s replay value comes from finding the hidden bosses. They are much tougher than the regular red skeleton bosses and can appear anywhere a skull is found on the map.

The game is truly beautiful and has a lot of style. The score is somewhat forgettable. There does seem to be maybe a millisecond of delay before your input and the screen’s reaction. But the worst part is the terrible screen chug you get when you pan to the left or the right (which you do quite a bit, being this is a side scroller. It's bad and pretty much unforgivable.  If you can overlook that, or get used to it, the game is definitely worth the asking price.

***I DID NOT HAVE ANYONE TO TEST MULTIPLAYER WITH***

Verdict
Pros
+ 2.5D Dungeon crawling done right
+ Rogue-like Metroid-Vania that is randomized very well, making interesting environments to explore
+ Visuals are stunning
+ Character designs are well imagined
Cons
- Unforgiving difficulty at first
- PS4 version has a chug and frame drop while the screen is moving horizontally, which really breaks the otherwise almost dreamlike immersion
8 Presentation
The game's ascetics are jaw dropping. The level of detail rivals those of the most detailed 2D pixel art games of old. Character and enemy designs are fantastic, just on the close edge of being over designed, but never too much. The biggest problem is the scope of the game. You can beat the game and be done with it in a few hours or a weekend. The developer really banks on you wanting to play more and go after those extra bosses and unlockables.
7 Gameplay
Think Rogue-like Metroidvania with combat very reminiscent of the Super Smash bros. style. You start at the top of the map and you work your way downward through a set of randomized mazes. Along the way you find money, weapons, and plenty of monsters to fight. The controls are just a hair on the clunky side, but well within being manageable.
7 Lasting Appeal
This one is questionable. As you progress, you gain levels and it makes it easier to get closer to the bottom. Once you actually get to the warlock, fighting and beating him only interrupts his dream, sending you back to the surface to start over again. Beating the Warlock is technically beating the game, even if it is only a few hours. But It only really seems like you beat part of it, with all the extra bosses milling around. You get the sense that you only beat part of the game, but there isn't much other than trophies for killing the extra bosses.
7.2
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
The game is lots of fun, after you get through the frustrating difficult first few hours. And then after you cruise your way to the boss and slap his shiz around, you might end up like me, with an empty sense of accomplishment. Sure there's always more to do, but do you really want to? Up to you.
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