“Looking Into The Abyss…Dying As It Stares Back”
- System: PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
- Developer: Chime Corporation
- Release Date: September 2, 2022
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: RPG, Adventure, Survival
- Players: 1
Anime can be quite deceptive. Many series will feature cute anime characters who seem innocent and happy—School Live—only to discover horrible death and bloodshed are just looming around the corner. Case in point, 2017’s anime series, Made in Abyss which at first glance seems like a gorgeous and hyper-colorful adventure story…until you see a young character being horribly killed by a savage beast. Made in Abyss has become quite loved despite the dark content and has now spawned two seasons and even a movie…also a game that is the focus of today’s review.
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness focuses on the anime story of Riko and Reg, two explorers entering the unknown lands of the Abyss, and follows the anime plot but there’s also something more for those who do complete the tale of our two main characters. But more on that in a bit, our focus now is simple. Should you dive into the depths of the abyss found in Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness or maybe just keep watching the anime—which is currently airing season 2 as we speak—in the safety of your home? Find out in our review of Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness for the PS4!
Let’s assume for a moment you are completely new to the world of Made in Abyss. In this strange world, an endless land exists called The Abyss, which is known for containing many treasures and mysteries within dangerous lands that attack your senses and mentality. Riko is a young girl who wishes to follow in the footsteps of her mother—a so-called White Whistle—by entering The Abyss and finding relics. During her first mission, she discovers a robotic human she names Reg and the two decide together to discover where her mother went and what lies within The Abyss.
The setting for Made in Abyss is an absolutely perfect game if you think about it! Having a dangerous setting filled with unknown beasts and deadly landscapes screams an adventure game and Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness does a great job of capturing that. The only major issue is that Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness has one fatal flaw and despite the amazing idea, falls victim to gameplay issues that aren’t just from the way Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness controls or plays, but something far worse…
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness is split into two gameplay modes. The first is Hello Abyss which is basically the anime retold with a lot of tutorial elements that equally don’t teach you quite enough. As Riko, you must explore The Abyss all while maintaining your health, stamina, and hunger which are constantly depleted. Add to that, various enemies, dangerous terrain, and Abyss status effects—which change based on your depth in The Abyss— Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness by becoming quite challenging. Unfortunately, Hello Abyss is like a several-hour tutorial as you are constantly taught how to scavenge, craft items, and stave off hunger. The real challenge comes in when you beat Hello Abyss and unlock the second mode Deep in Abyss. The latter is where you make your own character and go about trying to reach the depths of The Abyss and quickly learn that Hello Abyss didn’t prepare you at all for the tough battles, that is. We really wish that Hello Abyss and Deep in Abyss were both unlocked and had their own tutorials to really help you realize Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness isn’t an easy game.
Seriously, avoiding death in Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness is like avoiding a baseball already at your face. Monsters will tend to try to overwhelm you if you think you’re going to swing your weapon like Guts from Berserk. The landscape has many dead ends and pitfalls that can be easily hit if you decide to run around too much. Then, there are the micromanagement aspects like your weapons breaking or dying from hunger—all critical in Deep in Abyss—that again, make you wonder…why Hello Abyss didn’t contain the same dangers. For Deep in Abyss, there is no Reg to help you climb long pathways and fight off enemies. Really, Deep in Abyss is the better game mode but don’t assume you’ll win easily if you breezed through Hello Abyss.
Now, we might be harsh on Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness but let’s be honest, this is a solid game and a really great anime game, which is rare to say. Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness captures the look of Made in Abyss almost perfectly, contains both English and Japanese voice acting, has a decent amount of gameplay, and really plays quite well aside from minor gripes like the occasional glitch or the annoying side dialog while exploring. Deep in Abyss though, is where Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness shines, and to get there…you need to beat Hello Abyss which is a bit of a mediocre experience. Still, both game modes are fun, and Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness is definitely going to challenge those who love survival titles.