The Japanese are obsessed with adolescence: most of the game heroes from the Sol Levante are between fourteen and nineteen, and the protagonist of Operation Babeland all his team are no exception.
We are talking about a handful of prodigious students whose genetic code is written to combat and have access to unusual skills: not everyone, however, is aware of being the bearer of these genes, just like the avatar of the player, and, just in the face of a crisis of global proportions like the one in the gaming universe, their powers awaken.
The school that the protagonist frequents behind a normal façade hides a headquarters of an elite body called Xth Squad, a United Nations affiliate, and is, in fact, a recruiting center for overcrowded young people, able to enlist and fighting threats on behalf of noble humanity.
One of these, apparently, appeared in Tokyo’s sky: it is an unprepared object of enormous proportions, from which, from time to time, descend terrible monsters, such as the three-headed one that devastates the Ginza district during the first minutes of adventure.
The rest of the story comes by itself: in a time of absolute emergency, where all Xth Squad holders, led by prominent Alice Mifune fighter, were sent to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Japanese branch needs a great deal of number of new levers, ready to explore the EMBRYO (the unidentified object above) at their own risk and danger.
The dry incipit leaves room, especially in the second half of the adventure, to a large number of dialogues, often redundant and unattractive, dubbed in Japanese and with English subtitles: font size is a problem for those who want to follow the happenings rather than giving yourself to the wildest skip of all the sequences.
In all honesty, dungeon crawlers have never been distinguished for more elaborate textures, but the recent “narrative” remakes by Etry Odyssey and Person Q have been trying to revive a little the narrative part, which Operation Babel just does not succeed to do.
As and other congeners, even birthed by the same development team, Operation Babel proves immediately intimidating in overwhelm the specific terms player and mechanical extremely complex game without bothering to explain how they work: see the inner rail and the digital manual helps but does not clear every aspect and, however, is tremendously boring over the long run.
And it’s a shame, because Experienced kids have not lost the touch: the most significant addition is the ability to select from right away two classes per character, one of which acts as a primary, determining the basic statistics, weaknesses and resistance, and the other from secondary, bringing in a handful of specific skills and passive bonuses for the selected subclass.
This system, which apparently could unbalance (and very much) the level of difficulty, is actually counterbalanced by the fact that by selecting two classes (called Blood Code in the game) instead of one, the character’s growth will be consistently slower, as if the experience acquired had to grow at more skill level at the same time.
The novices are advised to lean on the ready-to-select, ready-to-pick-up heroes, even to avoid mistakes in composing and diversifying their party, while veterans will appreciate this feature, which, while raising the first fifteen hours of gaming, generates clear benefits in the second half of the adventure.
Once you have selected your party, Operation Babel is all about its classics, but too often it rhymes with archaicism: menus, dungeons design, cosmetics and stiffness of certain systems put it underneath its congeners released in recent years, making the experience quite pedestrian if even compared to other dungeon crawlers in the developer’s catalog.
The Rise and Drop system, another distinctive feature of the product, is the perfect game metaphor, as we think it’s a good idea to implement it badly.
With this algorithm, each battle won by Operation Babel slightly increases the difficulty of the next one, with a chain effect that can only be interrupted by fleeing from a clash: if, on the one hand, this mechanic allows you to get much better loot, constantly challenging the player to get the most out of his party, on the other leaves too much room for anorexia, because the chances of suffering criminals or devastating attacks increase considerably in combat combat without the party being effectively fortified from previous victories.
To crank with this system, then, the inexplicable choice made by the development team to make it mandatory to return to the base to rise to level, even when the necessary experience is accumulated: this being the case, it is not so uncommon to find out quality loot and not being able to wear it for another time of play or down there, losing in a tedious goof in and out of the dungeons that has detrimental effects on the rhythm of the game.
It closes the circle with a massive reuse of assets, enemies, spells, and objects already seen in the previous episode, indicating poor attention to the details of a team that is usually more attentive to the finishes and the artistic side of its products.