I severely disliked Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy and its sequel is no better, and I’m surprised it got a sequel at all — it’s no Demon Gaze and that’s without a sequel! Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy is a mind-numbingly dull adventure which takes itself too seriously, with finicky controls and an uninspired story.
Operation Babel is a direct sequel that briefly mentions events from the game, but if you haven’t played it then you’ll be thoroughly lost — not that it matters, as the story doesn’t attempt to grab your attention anyway, and acts as a vehicle for more dungeon-crawling. A threat known as the ‘Embryo’ has appeared and with it monsters and as part of the Xth Squad, it’s up to you to defeat these threats. You create your own team and characters from Operation Abyss pop up every now and then, so if you’re a fan of those then you’ll likely be happy with their appearances. It likes to do a good info-dump on instructions, terminology and when conversations strike, but it’s a lot to take in and becomes dull quickly.
It’s a first-person dungeon-crawler and it’s cool being able to create your own character with options on how they look, their stats and class (and a sub-class), and their voice and personality. Custom characters don’t look quite as good as the portraits provided though, and arranging your party’s order is a pain. Navigating is easy but expect to bump into several walls as you explore the dungeons, and to be accosted by monsters regularly. Everything feels a little more complex than it needs to be and its controls don’t make things any easier.
You pick from a list of commands for your party of six and away you go! You have a front line and a back line, and ranged and magic characters should go in the back whilst defensive and offensive characters should go in the front. This adds a nice layer of strategy in the game that I enjoy, but it’s frustrating when it can be a little vague as some characters who go in the back should rightly go in the front — I’ve never been more frustrated setting up a team and their formation. It’s so backwards! It can be pretty difficult regardless of difficulty, which is made worse by you having to return to base to level up, enhance equipment and heal and revive fallen party members which means you’ll constantly be in and out of dungeons.
2D static portraits are used for characters and monsters and whilst some of their designs are pretty cool, I grew tired of them soon after starting — many games use more dynamic images now, and this looks a little dated in comparison, especially on Vita. The 3D dungeons are pretty bland and repetitive, although each one is different. All voice-acting is in Japanese and I have nothing to complain about, and the music is fine but unmemorable.
Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy isn’t a good game and whilst its mechanics are solid, it’s just not fun. I’m hoping that there won’t be a third one and that developer Experience Inc.’s talents will be used elsewhere, because the world of the New Tokyo Legacy series simply isn’t interesting. It might look pretty and will run you for a lot of hours if you do enjoy it, but in general you’re best off spending your money on one of the various other, and far better, dungeon-crawlers available on Vita.