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From the Abyss emphasizes customized game-play over everything else. The player starts with the option of choosing one of four separate hero characters (each of which sporting their own palette swaps for visual variety). Next, as a slight customization method, you're asked a handful of questions to determine the chosen hero's starting statistics. At each level up, you can tailor your stats to meet your characters needs at each level up; each successive gained level offers even more stat points to distribute as you see fit. Any hero character can use any of the following weapons to meet the player's play-style: the sword, the axe, the spear, the staff, and the bow & arrow. Because of this degree of customization, the player won't be left wishing the brooding pretty-boy sprite is an archer instead of an axeman.
The progression of the game is simple and rather uninspired: wipe out the monsters threatening town. How? The hero is tasked to eliminate the threat to the town by diving into an abyss from which monsters spawn, take out the root of the monster infestations (the abyss boss), and collect his reward from the queen. Rinse and repeat. However, may it be noted that each abyss is also randomly generated per play-through to grant some replay value.
Each abyss is home to standard monsters that happily await their death by the hero's weapon of choice (usually through a swift attack combo), but others require a more tactical approach. This is where skills come into play, and, more specifically, how these abilities are acquired. The hero essentially takes a cue from the popular Final Fantasy Blue Mage; he/she learns his abilities from his foe. The difference is that the character captures the enemy in question to absorb a skill (which is accessible from then-on out). He/she first damages the enemy as much as possibile (the lower the remaining energy, the higher the success rate). Then a Soul Capture is then performed to harness the skills of your opponent (this applies to the first time capturing a particular critter; HP is gained any other time).