From the Abyss - hands-on

That's right! We've actually played From the Abyss. You don't know what that is? Well, you must not be up to date on your recently announced Nintendo DS action RPGs published by Aksys. Luckily for you, we can tell you all about it. From the Abyss takes one of five customizable heroes through a 2D fantasy world. You'll arm yourself with whatever spells, skills and weapons suit your playing style and set out to unleash the hurt on areas full of monsters of all shapes and sizes.

The emphasis of the game seems to be the customizability. You'll be free to remap your buttons on-the-fly by dragging any abilities you have into one of three boxes that correspond to three buttons on the DS. That leaves you free to play however you want. We started with a dash, a standard shot with our bow and the ability to summon a big greed whirlwind. Then we decided that the dash was stupid and dropped in a much stronger multi-shot attack with the bow. Like we said, it took seconds to do and would be just as easy to switch back. Not that we would do that - dash sucks.

Those were just a couple of the skills you can possess, and to get more you'll often employ a special ability called a soul capture. It's a spell you can cast after weakening a creature that takes a few seconds to get ready and then poofs the bad guy into a puff of nothing (or presumably captured soul). After that, you'll have gained the skill, spell or whatever that enemy can teach you. We imagine there will be very few heroes using the same set of abilities, so teaming up over Wi-Fi can be educational for everyone.

After you clear an area you'll be able to return to it with a friend to… well, do whatever you want. We don't know much about the story of the game, but we're assuming there will be reasons to replay areas. Or maybe it's just fun to team-up and smash a boss that gave you a hard time the first time through because you insisted on trying to use your dash maneuver to beat him.

Apr 24, 2008