Review by chrsp
Not bad, but terribly flawed
Nowadays the number of RPGs I have yet to play is getting smaller for the PS2 repertoire, so I decided to give this a try. I have not played any other Tales game, and I dont think I will.
The story isn't that bad but just stupid. It keeps inventing stupid words and gives you no opportunity to understand them. A general Mohs is mentioned but no idea about him will you have... There's fonons, seventh fonists, fonic artes, and a million other fon-atic words in this game which will be hard to understand and make sense of. This Luke as you may have heard is thrust fonically onto a place far away from home, where he spent all of his life. He never left, and is very stupid and has amnesia...The story gets a bit better but its biggest flaw is that understanding it will be a chore. It seems like you're at the same time fighting against and allied with the "oracle knights" you wont make sense of it. The characters are not that great either but they're good enough.
Graphics: 6/10. I always believed that graphics do not make the game unless they are extremely groundbreaking... In here many graphics are low-resolution. The faces are lame, and the world map s quite repetitive. But I won't complain that much. It's ok. It could have been better though.
Seriously, the designers are very stupid. Firstly, despite the not-great graphics, the loading times are annoyingly long. Its just dreadful. ESPECIALLY when you get in a fight on the world map, when you win it takes ages until the world map loads... I'm sure they could have done better, especially since battles can sometimes be short (less than 10 seconds) and makes the loading times longer than the whole battle. Frame rates can get annoying in some areas too.
Another terrible flaw are skits. Sometimes conversations occur in skits. In those skits you are shown portraits of each character talking, and text below. When a character is talking the portrait shows the mouth moving and text changes. What's annoying is that text (other than being written very dull) cannot be skipped. And -guess what- You'll often be stuck having read all the text but forced to wait until the text changes. And unless you're a slow reader you'll find yourself waiting for a long time. I wonder why the text wasn't made in a call-out conversation and could have been skipped with the X!?!
Sound: 8/10. This nice score isn't for the battle and town themes. They are FAR from memorable. But the voice acting at least is good and matches the character! Praises for the voice actors!
Gameplay:7/10. I decided to give this a 7... The battle system is somewhat enjoyable even though AI is not very bright. The battles carry out nicely. Some easy ones may last 4.22 seconds while the tougher ones can be much longer. There's this FOF change. it doesn't really work well with me. Its that when a character uses a spell (FONIC artes) a lot, a circle below him appears and is colored according to the element of the spell. If then you perform a compatible special move (fonic artes) in the circle It will become more flashy and strong. However you have to learn and find out by trial and experiment how each arte is affinated with each (of 6) elements. And the circles fade out quite quickly
All In all not that bad, But its flaws are numerous. If you can get past them, you'll find yourself with a good game, but if not, youll hate this game. It all depends how patient you are.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Tales of the Abyss (US, 10/10/06)
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