E3 2014: Hands-on: Abyss Odyssey

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

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E3 2014 - Abyss Odyssey | oprainfall

ATLUS had plenty to show at their booth during E3 2014. There was some stuff you definitely knew–Persona everywhere; let me tell you. But hidden away between all the Persona and the NISAmerica section was a game called Abyss Odyssey. I watched people play it and was ready to write it off as yet another Castlevania-esque action game, but…boy, when I got my hands on it and heard more about what the game could do, I had to make a point to tell you all about it. Without further ado:

Abyss Odyssey takes place in a completely randomized world. This is to say…the point of the game is to descend deeper and deeper into unknown territory that’s generated on a level-to-level basis. You’ll never explore the same place twice. Enemies provide a decent challenge; there are plenty of playable characters that all have various strengths and weaknesses. As I mentioned before, at first glance–this seems like just another action-game. Looking at it, you’d think I’d be done with my impressions after a simple cut-and-dry explanation…

But there’s more.

See–almost every enemy in the game can be…possessed and controlled after the use of a turbo attack, if you time things right. Which means every enemy in the game has as comprehensive of a moveset as the main playable characters. Even the final boss, apparently, can be seized and controlled. Abyss Odyssey features a training mode in which you can use any and all enemies you’ve managed to control in-game to learn their movesets. Intriguing, right?

It controls like Super Smash Bros. No, I’m not just drawing that comparison out of thin air–the ATLUS rep himself used Smash Bros as an example when instructing me on how to play the game. Sure enough, I played as the female lead, who controlled similarly to a swordsman in Smash. One button featured regular attacks, one featured specials. It’s so like that game in terms of controls that I pressed B and up expecting to do a triple jump. Wish I were kidding!

E3 2014 - Abyss Odyssey | oprainfall E3 2014 - Abyss Odyssey | oprainfall
E3 2014 - Abyss Odyssey | oprainfall E3 2014 - Abyss Odyssey | oprainfall

So…it’s an action game with randomized levels and the potential to control a vast assortment of enemies with as comprehensive-of-movesets as any given Smash character. It has (upgradable) weapons, it has seamless co-op…it even has a story that ties the characters to the Abyss directly. I wasn’t able to hear a lot of it, mind you, but…man, that narrative seems downright metaphysical, right from the start.

If those concepts (the kinds that give this game almost infinite replay value) don’t sell you and prove that Abyss Odyssey is more than your typical action game, I honestly don’t know what will. The environments are distinct, impressive and well-designed. The soundtrack accommodates the mood of each level. There’s all kinds of challenges, a reasonable difficulty curve–it’s all put together and tied in a bow for the reasonable price of $14.99.

Abyss Odyssey is coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC later this summer. For more, check out the game’s official website.