Release Date:September 23th,2003(JPN)
If you ask me,first ST wasn't a good game.But i think From Software thought different from me and they made a sequel for it. But sadly this sequel never been released outside of Japan.But thanx to weissvulf again and again, he made a translation patch in English and i could play thru it thanx to his efforts. You can find the patch with clicking here. So anyway, let's get it stared!
First thing that i notice about this game is, Shadow Tower Abyss is just like a prototype for Demon's Souls. They share so many similarities in gameplay and mechanics wise and lots of systems that has been used in this game are used in Demon's Souls with small upgrades. I will talk about it later so let's start with the game's controls.
I must admit it, the game has a very stiff control system and it works really fine. But mainly, there are two different control layouts. First one is the one that you use in several console FPSs: You use both analogs for walking & looking around and shoulder buttons for attacking (This was the one that i prefered). The other one is, you can use your D-pad &shoulder buttons for walking and analog for attacking. As you can see, there isn't any specific button for attacking cause there are four different types of attack in this game and they all have different properties: Slash to the left, slash to the right, hammering / slashing down and piercing.
These attacks have different effects on the enemies and sometimes a part of their bodies can be cut with this strikes. For example you can cut down head of a monster with slashing his throat to left and blood sprays everywhere. As you can see, this sequel is more dark and brutal from other entries in KF universe. Because also monsters and enviroments are more nightmarish compared to the other ones
One of the most interesting things in the STA is that you can use guns. Yes I'm talking about real guns, even automatic rifles and rocket launchers. You can shot down flying or far enemies with this guns as long as you have enough ammuniton. Also you can hold two different weapons in your both hands just like in the Demon's Souls. I think they are both great additions to the series and creates great depth in the gameplay. For example you can slash the monsters in close range with the axe in your right hand and shot down the flying bastards with a pistol in your left hand. You can switch which hand you want to use with single touch of button and this two handed system works totally awesome. I liked it!
Just like in the KF4 and Demon's Souls, your equipments' durability wears off with the time and only thing that you can use for repairing them is your own HPs. Just like giving the souls that you gathered in DS. And there are two different ways replenish your HPs: Using potions that's been even sold in limited numbers or sacrificing an equipment that you don't wanna use anymore. Money can only be used to buy new equipments or weapons, so you have think carefully about which equipments that you wanna carry with you and which ones to sacrifice because if you carry more equipment that your character can handle, you got extremely slowly and your stats lower down.
Sadly the level-up system stays the same just like in the original ST. You can use the soul pods that you find around for leveling up the stats you find so killing the monsters that you have killed before give you no advantages except for item drops. Also same goes for the musics, i mean no music. There aren't anymusic except for the little jingles that playes when you enter a new area and it doesn't creates an horrific atmoshpere like suggested by From Software. It only make thing more boring. Because sometimes just the musics keep your tension on or keep you playing on. I don't want any KF games without musics anymore.
Magic system has similarities with Eternal Ring. You have to equip different rings for different magics and their durabilities are wearing of by time also.
Graphic quality is just great for PS2. Monsters and enviroments are detailed but they are designed terribly. Some areas and enemies are pure weird and stupid. You can see flying & fireball attacking crystal wandering around for example. And this game is EXTREMELY EASY. I mean it, really, really easy. Just after 20 minutes that i used for learning the game mechanics i never died in the entire game except from falling from weird platforms. I even beat the final boss in a minute without having a hard time. Ok, i had complaints about idiotic diffuculty of first ST but i didn't want this also.
In conclusion, STA is a really fun game to play, don't mind the bad things that i talked about earlier before and give it a try. All gamplay mechanics and especially controls working really fine, it gives you a little bit of freedom about which route to use next, there are no loading times and gameplay is faster than any older entries in the series. Only let down of the game is stupid diffuculty and terrible designs but that's all. With better desings, more NPCs, balanced diffculty and musics, STA could be a classic. I'm serious about it. Still one of best action-RPGs on the PS2. Don't miss it!