After seeing about the third topic this week, I made this.
What's better: Tales of the Abyss or Tales of Legendia? ToA is generally more favored than ToL.
ToL has more widely liked characters, better character development, and a story that is superior to ToA; however, it has possibly the worst Tales battle system ever, with end-game random encounters capable of wiping out all but the most powerful of parties. ToA has a far superior battle system and balances the game much more between battles and story.
If you're expecting the incredible battles that Tales fans have come to know and love, go with ToA. If you're completely about story, buy ToL.
State Alchemists do what they're told. Like kick butt. Fascism: You have two cows. Your government takes both and shoots you.