Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy Review (PS Vita)on May 14, 2017 by Kitsumeda
Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy is a direct sequel to 2015’s Vita‘s exclusive Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy. Aside from a few improvements the game generally sticks to the same formula.
The game continues where the first one left off. Future Tokyo is under threat by a mysterious hovering embryo. It is up to the all-new Babyl squad to stop the monsters and dungeons that keep popping up around Tokyo.
As expected for a dungeon crawler the story is not one of its strong points. For a game that takes itself as seriously as this one it’s hard to be invested when your team exists for little more than a way for the more charismatic characters to make their appearance.
If you have ever played a dungeon crawler, you should feel right at home with Operation Babel. You will meticulously explore trap-laden dungeons, while dueling it out against wave after wave of enemies in random encounters. Battles are naturally turn based and don’t require too much strategy outside of the more powerful Wanted Variant monsters.
Dungeons are typical affair with buttons, levers and impassible terrain. As you progress you will gain handy skills such as Enfloat opening up even more avenues to explore. The game never goes overboard like the hellish labyrinths found in MeiQ, but at the same time they have a lot of secrets for those dedicated spelunkers out there.
One of the few additions to this sequel is the addition of the sub-Blood. Previously characters could equip only one Blood. These are the powers of ancient historical heroes, something right out of the Fate series. In Operation Babel you can now opt to equip an additional one which will give you sub traits, at the cost of splitting up experience gained in battle, effectively slowing down leveling. Still equipping two Blood if a far better choice, just because of how the leveling system works. The game only lets you level up at the Academy once you have enough experience. So either plan to return to the base whenever a single character earns enough experience to level, or plan on squandering a lot of experience as you wait for all of your characters to gain enough.
Unlike in typical RPGs, magic here works differently. Characters have a large spell grid and each point in that grid can be cast up a limited number of times. Since each of these points have three available spells, casting something like Defense Up for example will reduce the number of times you can use Heal. However, since spells are grouped up, this also means you can still cast your more powerful spells even once you run out of basic abilities. While it may be a bit confusing at first, it’s nice to have your caster able to use up tens of different spells without having to worry about mana.
Thought out the dungeon you will stumble upon treasure chests called Code chips. These are rigged with various traps and you have to choose between a number of possible traps depending on your team’s votes and hope for the best.
Operation Babel does well to automate the small things that would otherwise grow repetitive in such games. By pressing the triangle button twice, you can easily repeat your previous turn and immediately skip all animations, effectively blasting through all straightforward battles. Navigating through the complex labyrinths is also a breeze thanks to the auto-pilot. At any moment you can bring up the map screen and select an already explored destination and watch as the game automatically takes care of getting there.
There is the obligatory memo system which was found in all Experience Inc’s other titles. As you explore dungeons you can place handy memos which other players can read. You cannot actually write whatever you want, instead you are given from a large number of words to create your short but helpful notes, indicating where hidden items or passages may be or even serving as a warning for dangerous enemies. Of course nothing is stopping you from purposefully messing around with other players and placing deceiving memos all around.
You have the choice between the so called “Basic” and “Classic” art style. The Classic mode lets you create everything from your characters’ tan to their eyebrows. It’s a shame the characters you make end up looking amateurish when compared to the beautifully hand crafted non-playable characters. The unfittingly named “Basic” mode on the other hand offers super stylish designs, but you are limited to a total of only 45 available artworks. Still they look miles better than their custom created counterparts. Surprisingly Operation Babel doesn’t let you mix nor switch between these two modes after you start the game, so you will have to play through the intro twice if you’d like to see the differences.
As typical for the genre almost everything is static. Characters and enemies stand dead still, both in battles and during dialog. Attacks are little more than sparkly effects overlaid upon the unmoving enemy sprites. All this means that battles lack much needed flair.
In the audio department the game is also nothing much to write home about. The music is rather forgettable and voice acting is absent except for the periodic grunts during combat and dungeon crawling.
Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy does very little to improve upon its predecessor. Still the game is overall an enjoyable experience if not a bit bland at times. If you are a fan of dungeon crawlers you might want to have a look, otherwise you won’t be missing out on much if you skip this title.