Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Operation Babel is a sequel to Operation Abyss, and I’m not sure whether I’m pleased or disappointed, considering everything I loved about Operation Abyss is back. But so is everything I hated, too.
If you’ve checked out my review for the PC version of Operation Abyss, then apart from the main plot everything is almost the exact same. Operation Babel takes place after the events of Abyss, with a giant embryo hovering over the city, and spatial anomalies are causing labyrinths and mutant creatures to crop up all over the city. As one/some of the few people who are able to awaken to a special ability called Code:Rise, you are tasked with getting rid of the mutants (called variants), investigating the labyrinths, and doing something about the giant fetus thing in the sky.
If you have read the Operation Abyss review, gameplay is only changed by a new blood code aspect and speeding up combat. If not, basic gameplay consists of conscripting a team of up to six, choosing classes and gear for them, and exploring the labyrinths for experience, items, and hints to the main storyline. Your party can have three front row and three back row units. If units in your front get stunned or knocked out, your back row members get drawn to the front, so assuming they won’t be hit just because they’re back row is a great way to party wipe. Combat is down in a turn based system, where you select a command and your enemies select theirs and fastest characters go first.
Commands available are: attack, defense, magic, special, item, equipment, and the first character can choose run or union skills. Magic takes mp, whereas special moves are mostly based on your class (or blood code, as it’s called). Union skills use all your characters turns, but have an effect such as “hit all enemies” or “fast attack to the front row” etc. Two new aspects to Babel that weren’t in Abyss: the command menu doesn’t scroll, your cursor now does, and you can speed up battles with the ∆ button. Hitting ∆ once repeats the last set of moves, and hitting it again, or selecting the fast battle option, will simply give you the results of the round, with no effects or text in-between.
The classes (blood codes) from Abyss are back, but this time not only are they all available right off the bat, but you can also choose a sub class. This sub class won’t give you any status points on level (at least from what I’ve seen), but it will increase your health pool and give you the skills from that blood code. The trade-off? Your experience is split between the blood codes, so if you’re only using a code for the specific skills, it might be faster to focus on one class, then adopt the sub class later. As an example, I have an academic with a sub-class of mage. This makes the academic actually useful in battle, which is nice. The experience is split though, so when my single class units were about level 7, both his classes were level 5.
So, does everyone remember that development quest given in Abyss? That really dumb one that might have taken you half an hour to figure out? Well, it’s back and worse. Helpful hint, if you’re supposed to make a buckler, you have to choose craft, then material, then the buckler. That took me much longer than it should have. The encounter gauge is also once again back, meaning the more you fight, the harder and more frequent battles will become. And yes, the wanted variants are still random, and no, I’m not pleased with it either.
Overall, Operation Babel is a good addition to the series. The music is still solid and the gameplay is still fluid, maybe even more so now that there have been new additions. The sub class is really nice, and having all the classes immediately available is great. While some of the more annoying parts have stuck with Babel from its predecessor, that doesn’t stop Operation Babel from being a decent sequel or stand alone game, although expect some mighty spoilers if you haven’t finished or played Operation Abyss.Score: 8 / 10