The last time I played Abyss Odyssey I felt that the game had too many issues that prevented it from being fun to play through. You can check out my review of the original release here on The Koalition.
ATLUS wasn’t finished with Abyss Odyssey and decided to release a new version of the game called the Extend Dream Edition, which comes with all of the previous downloadable content and updates. Despite my reservations due to my bad experience being remixed once again, I decided to give the game a chance and see if there were any improvements. I should have instead listened to my gut-feeling because what I found was no better than my first go-around with this game.
In case you never played the original, Abyss Odyssey is a 2D action platformer that has some elements of classic 2D fighting games mixed into the experience. This is a very generous description however, as the game is more focused on exploration similar to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The new Extended Dream Edition is an updated version that gives the game 1080p visuals and includes 4-player versus and 2-player Co-Op online.
Much like other “Metroid-vania” style games, you explore areas of a large map and make your way deep into an abyss of monsters controlled by an evil warlock. There is a story here to tie everything together, but it is very meager and a bit incomprehensible at first glance. The stages you explore are randomly generated each time you enter the warlock’s abyss. You can take multiple pathways down towards your goal and face the warlock in a final battle, but the paths are constantly changing each time you enter the abyss.
Rooms vary in difficulty with a changing number of monsters and enemy strength. No two rooms are ever exactly the same in what you find. This helps the game feels fresh each time you boot it up on your console, but it also takes away from the familiarity that the level design can have in this genre.
The ebb and flow of combat as you explore can end up being very repetitive and turn into a broken button masher. Your character’s moves try to mimic a style established in a Street Fighter-like game, but don’t work or feel exactly like it. Certain sections of the map will block your path and force you to fight groups of enemies that will attack and damage you in many unfair ways. There were plenty of times I would end up on my back after taking massive damage from enemy attacks that combo in the most awkward and glitchy fashion.
The biggest issue is that none of the problems from the original game were addressed. There were countless bugs and glitches throughout my playthroughs of the game, including some game breaking ones that prevented me from gathering some of the hidden extra content. The poorly programed enemies will either be incredible dumb or unfairly strong in some areas that simply don’t make sense.
Issues with collision detection on attacks, frame rate drops, and even some graphical hiccups when the screen is populated were all problems from the original game’s release that are simply not addressed here.
Online multiplayer is almost non-existent for the game, as there are hardly any online co-op or versus sessions that aren’t plagued with connection issues. This was a huge problem with the original release and still continues on with the Extended Dream Edition. The 4-player versus mode doesn’t offer much fun to the experience despite being both local and online.
The easiest way to describe multiplayer is that its similar to a diluted version of Super Smash Bros. Versus matches end up becoming a chaotic mess between four players and are highly dependent on your progress in the main game. This goes for both the roster of characters you can use in multiplayer and their move sets.
While the concept of Abyss Odyssey is interesting to say the least, there are way too many obvious problems that still prevent the game from being fun. The game does lend itself to multiple playthroughs for a true ending to the story, but after the first or second time, you won’t feel like playing through it again.
There feels like a wasted opportunity here for ATLUS to rid the game of the obvious issues rather than pack the original release together with its DLC. If you played the first release of Abyss Odyssey, then you aren’t missing anything substantial by skipping this one.
This review was based on a digital copy of Abyss Odyssey Extended Dream Edition provided by ATLUS.