Review by Default64
Reviewed: 11/10/06 | Updated: 11/13/06
Tales of The Abyss: Another tales game that is simply Amazing.
Tales of the Abyss is basically the third installment that was released in the U.S of the "tales" games for the PS2. Not counting Destiny 2, or any others that were just released in japan. Tales of the Abyss actually gets off with being an amazing game due to it's gameplay and it's replay value. You'll be spending at-least 50-60 hours just getting through the story alone (not including sidequests and optional bosses)
When it comes to gameplay, this game without a doubt is considered one of the best games. Like other tales games such as Symphonia and Legendia, the gameplay here is pretty similar. While you're walking around, you see a monster and if you "touch" it, you get in a battle with it. The battle style is similar to other tales games which contained the "single-line" battles but in this game you can freely move around (with an item you get early in the game). This makes battles a lot more fun and enjoyable and gives you a variety of new ideas and strategies to work out.
You're also given new skills while you're progress through the game and as you level up. These skills refer to as Fonic artes and fonic strikes. Even though it makes battles easier and enjoyable just using Fonic artes and strikes, there is also another use for them. Circular fields known as "Fields of Fonon" or "FOF" are placed on the fields either randomly or by the enemy or party member. While performing a fonic arte or strike on a FOF, you can perform even more powerful deadly attacks against your foe. Of course, it also depends on what the element of the FOF is since there fire, wind, water, etc. You'll also given "mystic artes" which are attacks that are even "more" powerful than all the others.
Another new feature that Abyss has is something called "AD skills". AD skills are basically secondary skills giving you new abilities as you level up your characters. Abilities such as making you faster, having a new type of guard, getting items more often, etc. Although compared to symphonia you had to use "Ex spheres" to get 1-4 "ex skills" . In this game you can activate and de-activate (turn on and off) all of the AD skills you want and there are A LOT of AD skills. This alone just makes you want to play the game to its fullest trying to get all the AD skills.
I'm truly impressed with sound and music in this game. Most of the game including some side quests are fully voiced. The voice actors did an amazing job with the characters although some of the voices are a bit... "bleh". For example a young woman actually speaks like a middle-aged one. However, other than that, the rest of the voice acting is amazing, including the in-battle speeches.
Now comes the music... I can't really describe it much but to say, it's perfect. The intro scene's music will just make you want to listen to it over and over and over. Of course the intro scene isn't the "only" scene with amazing music. There are other scenes and battles that contain music which just makes you want to pause the game while you'll listening to it. There is not a lot to say, except the music is just "OH MY GOD" perfect.
Ok, I have to admit, this is where the game has it's bad side. Unfortunately, tales of the abyss doesn't really have a strong story compared to Symphonia or Legendia of that matter. As you start out the game, you're introduced to the main character of the game, Luke Fon Fabre. He is a young bored man, who has been sealed away in his father's manor because of another nation that kidnapped him for "unknown" reasons. Of course, we're also introduced to many other characters such as "Guy" who is Luke's best friend and servant and Van who is Luke's sword instructor/teacher. During one of Van's lessons to Luke, the manor is attacked by a woman named Tear and the end result is Luke and her getting "teleported" away from the manor, which starts the story.
The story is not hard to get grasped of, it's just not as interested as I would've expected it to be. It goes from "Luke trying to get back home" to "Preventing a war from two nations" to "preventing the world from being destroyed". If Namco went in more detail with the story and spread it out a bit, the story would've been perfect. However, it just puts too much together in such a short period of time (not that the game is short)
Replay Value: 9/10
As I stated before, the game will make you come back for more. When you beat the game once, it's pretty obvious that you don't have everything (unless you're the type of person who wants 100% on the first try). When you finish the game, you're then granted access to the infamous "grade shop" which has been in the other tales games. Basically you get grade from battles, that grade accumulates and is saved up until this point. By using grade points at the "grade shop" you can purchase features such as getting 10 times more exp, transfering your gald, starting out with 500 hp, etc. The grade shop makes you want to keep playing the game over and over just to get the features you want to get. Also, when you beat the game a second time, the grade you spent on features from the first game will be refunded and thus giving you a wider variety of features to choose from (depending how much grade you actually saved).
Of course, the battles alone is enough to keep you coming back for more. The battles are very fun to get use to. You're also given the option whether to do side quests and optional bosses. The music is simply amazing and will keep you listening to the same track for quite a period of time. Other than that, you'll probably end up playing this game again right after you beat it.
The graphics in the game is actually decent for a PS2 game. The game contains more anime scenes that are longer than it's predecessors Symphonia and Legendia. The scenes actually look a lot better than the other two games which gives this a positive towards graphics.
You're also given the ability to move around a world map like you did with the last two games. The world map alone is very detailed containing mountain areas, snowy landscapes, desert areas, etc. Although the world map is very detailed it has a tendency to lag your characters movement. By simply moving the camera angle and moving your character you can tell that it's pretty slow. Also the loading times tend to be a bit horrendous at times. Namco could've done a better job with this issue.
As I also stated before, the battles look simply "amazing". By looking at your characters using fonic artes, strikes, and mystic artes, you can tell that it simply looks beautiful.
Overall Review: 9/10
This game is amazing, I could describe a better term for it but I don't want it to get too "complex". The fighting/battles are fun almost every single time. The story seems a bit too bland and squeezed together. The music you'll love and it will just make you come back listening to it more. The voice actors did an amazing job voicing their characters and the replay value is very high. The graphics are decent and the lag and loading times will sometimes bug you.
This game will last you 50-60 hours at-least and thats not including side quests or optional bosses. If you're going to have to choose with renting or buying this game, definitely buy it.
I rate this game 9 out of 10
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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