Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While rough around the edges, Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition is a fun adventure game with a focus on multiplayer questing. Fans of Cadash will get a kick out of the side-scrolling action and there's enough incentive to keep playing long after they've unlocked all hero characters. Some of the execution is a little rough, but Abyss Odyssey is undeniably fun with friends. Rating: 64%
Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition
Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition
  • Review Score:

  • B-
A long time ago in this thing called an "arcade," there used to be a game called Cadash. It dared to bring the fun of high-fantasy role-playing games to an audience accustomed to quarter-sucking beat-em-ups. Developed by Taito, Cadash was a side-scrolling action/adventure built around four-player quests. And while primitive by today's standards, it successfully proved that you could turn any genre into fast-paced fun.

If you can't tell, I'm still hung up on this 24 year old arcade game. I miss the days when you could get a few friends together and go on a brief quest, complete with experience points to gain and an inventory to manage. Modern day brawlers are fun, but I'm looking for an arcade-style experience that's a little deeper.

As it turns out, the game I'm looking for is Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition, an updated version of an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC release I somehow missed. Positioned as a multi-player focused side-scrolling RPG, this PlayStation 4 oddity is the closest any game has come to recapturing the magic of Cadash. Too bad the rough execution almost sinks a truly great concept.

When an evil warlock plunges Santiago, Chile into a permanent nightmare, it's up to Katrien and her allies to jump into the massive abyss and defeat the sinister forces. The goal is to make it all the way to the bottom of this massive pit or die trying. But beware, the abyss shifts around and changes every time your hero dies.

Like a lot of traditional dungeon crawlers, a big chunk of this game involves exploring the constantly-changing surroundings, opening treasure chests and battling demons for experience points. The abyss is filled with valuable loot, as well as shop keepers more than happy to sell you rare weapons, potions and rings. You can also set up camp, creating the closest thing the game has to a checkpoint.

There are three paths leading to the warlock, each increasing in difficulty. But it's not as simple as an easy, normal and hard path, because the difficulties fluctuate from level to level. Sometimes it's advantageous to cut across to a different path, allowing our hero to dodge a mini-boss or find a treasure room. The map even marks the difficulty of each level, giving us a good idea of what's in store.

Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

As a multiplayer-focused adventure, Abyss Odyssey is intended to be played through dozens, if not hundreds of times. As such, the quest to the warlock isn't especially long. In fact, it probably won't take you more than an hour or two once your character is sufficiently leveled up. But this is more about exploring the random dungeons for loot and beefing up your hero with friends. It's basically a side-scrolling version of Diablo.

While Abyss Odyssey never swerves directly into rogue-like territory, it definitely flirts with some of the elements. Not only do the levels change after every death, but our hero loses their weapons and equipment. On the other hand, you will retain all the money and experience collected throughout the course of the adventure. There's certainly a sting to dying, but you'll start over with enough to get you back on track in a hurry.

Although challenging, the adventure isn't as hard as it may sound. In fact, Abyss Odyssey gives players a safety net. When our hero inevitably dies, the game won't end immediately. Instead, a weaker secondary character will show up. If he can make it back to the altar without dying, the no-name soldier will successfully resurrect our fallen hero, allows them to fulfill their destiny. Best of all, these secondary fighters will be able to pick up keys and dropped equipment, making it feel like you didn't even miss a step.

Much like Cadash, the game is a lot more fun with other players. Abyss Odyssey supports up to four people locally, as well as a two-player online mode. While best with friends, I had no trouble slaughtering my way to the warlock all by myself. It took a few tries and a little grinding, but I was able to hold my own against even the nastiest nightmare creatures.

Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Beyond the usual platforming action, Abyss Odyssey also allows players to capture the game's many enemies. These can later be used in the multiplayer versus mode. While the execution of this mode leaves a lot to be desired, I like the idea and wouldn't mind seeing this fleshed out in a deeper game.

Unfortunately, execution is a problem across the board. While this PlayStation 4 port looks noticeably better than last year's model, it's still a little rough. The animation isn't especially smooth and the graphics aren't real memorable. Even the simplistic gameplay is fraught with problems. I constantly found myself facing the wrong direction, which could have deadly ramifications when fighting a tough enemy.

I also wish there was more variety to the game. Even with the randomly-generated stages, the action still has a problem staying fresh. There are too many repeated enemies and the mini-bosses weren't interesting enough. It's also short and doesn't have a ton of equipment to pick up. That said, it's still fun with friends and the cheap price point makes some of the imperfections easier to swallow.

The emphasis on arcade action may disappoint gamers looking for something a little deeper. I ultimately had a good time fighting through the game's many levels, even if I was hoping for a more ambitious take on the genre. Gamers old enough to remember Cadash will probably get a kick out of Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition, but everybody else will have more fun playing Diablo III.
comments powered by Disqus