Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy (PS Vita) Review

By Drew Hurley 01.07.2017

Review for Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy on PS Vita

Fans of Japanese dungeon crawlers rejoice! A new contender appears to drain away hundreds upon hundreds of hours! This sequel to 2014's Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy continues to adapt the older Windows "Xth" series of games into these modern remasters. Operation Abyss adapted the first two games of the series, and this latest instalment adapts the final game in the trilogy, Generation Xth: Code Realize. These types of games rarely get new releases anymore, and so the question has to be asked: is the audience still there for this type of game? Cubed3 finds out!

Operation Babel continues the story of Operation Abyss, set in the near future on an Earth with the odd slight difference to our own. Probably the biggest of these differences is the gargantuan planet-sized embryo floating in the atmosphere above. In the opening scenes, a squad of warriors are inside this Embryo, battling strange monsters called Variants. As the incursion reaches its climax, the group of warriors is cut down to the last woman standing: the leader of the squad, Alice. She squares off against the final enemy, a cute Japanese girl in traditional Japanese clothing, with a cute black bunny rabbit.

As the two fighters clash, the story jumps back to Earth and introduces the nameless and faceless protagonist of the player. It's modern day Tokyo, and a huge dragon is tearing through a metropolis, slaughtering citizens along the way. The dragon is a Variant, too, and after encountering it, the protagonist is soon recruited by Alice into a war against these things. The protagonist finds that the school they're to attend is a front for the fightback against the Variants, and forms a squad to take on the various monsters haunting the conveniently-placed mazes or "abyss" around the city.

The whole setup of the story structure and the characters is rather odd. The protagonist is very much the hero of the story, going from undertaking simple investigations and quests, moving on to hunting Variants, and eventually into grand undertakings. However, the hero never takes part in the battles, even though everyone acts as if he does. He's not even part of the squad or party in the abyss. The squad is just as strange, too. The members are fully customisable, and while they do all the work out in the abyss of the world, they seem completely removed from the story. There are no references to individuals on the team, just occasionally referenced via synecdoche as the Babel team. They don't take part in conversations or appear during moments of dialogue. There are no personalities in the hero or his squad… It makes it hard to get particularly invested in the story.

Screenshot for Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy on PS Vita

The party gets to look good, at least, depending on a choice made at the start of the game. This choice is to either go with "Basic Mode" or "Classic Mode." The former gives 43 different template characters, each of which have various colours, stats and alignment. Classic mode grants the character creator from the original version of the game with some slight improvements. Regardless of these improvements, the differences between the characters are night and day. The Basic Mode templates deliver a varied group of anime-styled warriors that include some original and awesome looking designs. From Chinese dress-wearing beauties wielding fans, to school uniform-wearing catgirl dark mages, to kimono-wearing archers, to flaming-fisted monks, and so many more, they look fantastic. Meanwhile, the Classic Mode ends up delivering dodgy looking characters straight from the sketchbooks of a 12-year-old with a "How to Draw Manga!" book.

After the character creation is done and the story starts proper, and if the insipid story wasn't enough to put off the audience, the insanely overly complex stats and mechanics of the game ensures few will persevere with this. There are plenty of tutorials to explain everything, but they're all horribly insufficient to impart the relevant information - and even worse, even when the gameplay is understandable, the controls and menus make everything painful. This is for every aspect of the game, from the picking up of missions, to speaking with NPCs, and especially the character levelling… And then there is the actual dungeon crawling.

Much of the problems could be forgivable if the crawling redeemed it. Sadly, that's not the case. The gameplay is drowned in repetition. Pick up a mission, go to some zone and speak with an NPC, dig around a repetitive and uninspired maze, return to base, and repeat, ad nauseam. There is a horrendous amount of repeating the same thing over and over here. The combat is equally as uninviting. The controls are unintuitive and clunky, the abilities buried away and frustratingly do not run on MP or magic, but instead have a set amount of uses until the party returns to base and pays to rest. It's all so terribly designed. Even worse is the system to level up the characters and craft equipment, with more and more slow and awkward menus and systems.

Screenshot for Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy is pretty much a complete shambles. It opens with a mass amount of confusion and builds on that until the poor player is completely overwhelmed, to the point that the only ones who will find any enjoyment here are those willing to invest a ton of time and effort to bust through the unapproachable nature of the game. The problem is, even those that persevere will find little worth their effort thanks to a poor story, lots of repetitive gameplay, exasperating mechanics, and mediocre dungeons.

Developer

Experience

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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