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“Abyss Odyssey” Review

Abyss Odyssey

Chilean developer ACE Team has made a name for themselves with their first person fighter Zeno Clash. Though it didn’t sell millions of units, it built up a following and did well enough to warrant a sequel. Abyss Odyssey is ACE Team‘s fourth game, mashing together elements from an action platformer, a fighter, and a roguelike into one package.

What’s It About?

Abyss Odyssey has you playing as several different characters throughout the course of the game. These characters are figments of the imagination of a powerful Warlock, who’s apparently having a really bad night’s sleep and his nightmares now roaming Chile. Your goal is to delve into this nightmare abyss and defeat those nightmares before they overrun the world.

Why Should I Care?

Katrien_Surface_Dialogue_001When you try to blend genres together, sometimes the resulting product works very well, and sometimes it goes horribly wrong. Abyss Odyssey falls somewhere in the middle. The combination of action platform, RPG, and fighting elements doesn’t quite come together as smoothly as I would have liked. The individual elements are fine and they work. However, when you’ve just died several times in a row and have to re-gear your character over and over again while your stats continue to build you have to wonder if the game wouldn’t have just been better going full roguelike and been one life for one game. I feel like I’m having to retrace my steps all the time, and though I get further each time because of the continually building stats, it ends up feeling like busywork.

Another issue I have is with the way enemy characters move. They seem to have a distinctly floaty sense to them that your own character does not. Your movements are sharp and responsive, which feels incongruous when you see a giant monster leap across the screen as if they were in lunar gravity. It’s a small quibble, but it gives the game a loose feeling that didn’t click with me.

What did feel very good though, was the way you can string together moves into some pretty devastating combos. There is something incredibly satisfying about sliding into an enemy, tripping them, popping them into the air, then juggling them for several hits. That said, there is definitely some lock-in when it comes to performing moves, and changing directions is harder than it ought to be. It isn’t anything you can’t get used to, but you shouldn’t really have to center the stick to be able to turn around. A quick flick should do this just fine, but it doesn’t.

What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?

screen4_plantworld03This is not a particularly long game as far as content goes. You’ll open up the map rather quickly once you get a handle on the game’s mechanics. As you play through you’ll unlock more characters to play as, and since the Abysses are all procedurally generated, each playthrough is going to be different. It’s a game that has been designed with replayability in mind, and if nothing else, it succeeds at this.

You can play the game on your own, or you can play local or online cooperative mode. There is also a Vs mode that bears an ever-so-slight resemblance to Super Smash Bros in terms of gameplay style. Abyss Odyssey gives you a good set of gameplay modes to play with. If I have to make one complaint, it’s that the cooperative mode lets players hit each other. There is no way to turn this off either, so in some cases when you’re in a hectic battle, having a second player along can actually be a handicap  because none of the enemies can damage each other. A toggle for this option would have been nice.

Abyss Odyssey is a game made for a specific type of person. They’ve got to like Action Platformers with a heavy emphasis on combat. They have to like having to retry sections over and over until they get a handle on the mechanics. They also have to like the possibility of losing all of their gear should things go south for them. If you are that type of player, you’ll get a lot out of Abyss Odyssey. If not, it may just be more frustrating than fun.

 
 
 
 
 
Title: Abyss Odyssey
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: ACE Team
Genre: Action/Adventure
Release Date: July 15, 2014
ESRB Rating: T
Editor's Note: A review code for Abyss Odyssey was provided by the publisher. Approximately 8 hours were spent playing the single and multiplayer modes.

Chilean developer ACE Team has made a name for themselves with their first person fighter Zeno Clash. Though it didn’t sell millions of units, it built up a following and did well enough to warrant a sequel. Abyss Odyssey is ACE Team‘s fourth game, mashing together elements from an action platformer, a fighter, and a roguelike into one package. What’s It About? Abyss Odyssey has you playing as several different characters throughout the course of the game. These characters are […]

Abyss Odyssey

Chilean developer ACE Team has made a name for themselves with their first person fighter Zeno Clash. Though it didn’t sell millions of units, it built up a following and did well enough to warrant a sequel. Abyss Odyssey is ACE Team‘s fourth game, mashing together elements from an action platformer, a fighter, and a roguelike into one package.

What’s It About?

Abyss Odyssey has you playing as several different characters throughout the course of the game. These characters are figments of the imagination of a powerful Warlock, who’s apparently having a really bad night’s sleep and his nightmares now roaming Chile. Your goal is to delve into this nightmare abyss and defeat those nightmares before they overrun the world.

Why Should I Care?

Katrien_Surface_Dialogue_001When you try to blend genres together, sometimes the resulting product works very well, and sometimes it goes horribly wrong. Abyss Odyssey falls somewhere in the middle. The combination of action platform, RPG, and fighting elements doesn’t quite come together as smoothly as I would have liked. The individual elements are fine and they work. However, when you’ve just died several times in a row and have to re-gear your character over and over again while your stats continue to build you have to wonder if the game wouldn’t have just been better going full roguelike and been one life for one game. I feel like I’m having to retrace my steps all the time, and though I get further each time because of the continually building stats, it ends up feeling like busywork.

Another issue I have is with the way enemy characters move. They seem to have a distinctly floaty sense to them that your own character does not. Your movements are sharp and responsive, which feels incongruous when you see a giant monster leap across the screen as if they were in lunar gravity. It’s a small quibble, but it gives the game a loose feeling that didn’t click with me.

What did feel very good though, was the way you can string together moves into some pretty devastating combos. There is something incredibly satisfying about sliding into an enemy, tripping them, popping them into the air, then juggling them for several hits. That said, there is definitely some lock-in when it comes to performing moves, and changing directions is harder than it ought to be. It isn’t anything you can’t get used to, but you shouldn’t really have to center the stick to be able to turn around. A quick flick should do this just fine, but it doesn’t.

What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?

screen4_plantworld03This is not a particularly long game as far as content goes. You’ll open up the map rather quickly once you get a handle on the game’s mechanics. As you play through you’ll unlock more characters to play as, and since the Abysses are all procedurally generated, each playthrough is going to be different. It’s a game that has been designed with replayability in mind, and if nothing else, it succeeds at this.

You can play the game on your own, or you can play local or online cooperative mode. There is also a Vs mode that bears an ever-so-slight resemblance to Super Smash Bros in terms of gameplay style. Abyss Odyssey gives you a good set of gameplay modes to play with. If I have to make one complaint, it’s that the cooperative mode lets players hit each other. There is no way to turn this off either, so in some cases when you’re in a hectic battle, having a second player along can actually be a handicap  because none of the enemies can damage each other. A toggle for this option would have been nice.

Abyss Odyssey is a game made for a specific type of person. They’ve got to like Action Platformers with a heavy emphasis on combat. They have to like having to retry sections over and over until they get a handle on the mechanics. They also have to like the possibility of losing all of their gear should things go south for them. If you are that type of player, you’ll get a lot out of Abyss Odyssey. If not, it may just be more frustrating than fun.

Date published: 07/28/2014
3.5 / 5 stars

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