Review by VirtuousYoda

Reviewed: 04/20/07

Compares to Tales of Symphonia?

So most of us know that Tales of Symphonia was a great game. Then, Tales of Legendia made the market, and that game seemed to be hard not to like. So heres a game called Tales of the Abyss. Does it live up to Symphonia's legend?

Tales of the Abyss stars a character named Luke Fon Fabre. He is a rich kid who apparently has amnesia and cannot remember his childhood. As the present stands for him, he is fed free food, trained by his master, Van, and is kept within his mansion's walls. Until one day, when a woman named Tear interrupts Luke's training. So that's how this game starts off.

The main focus of this game seems to be its story as a matter of fact. The story is quite compelling and full of surprises from beginning to end. The only problem is that the story in the beginning of the game is extremely hard to follow. So much vocabulary, if you wish to call it that, can drive you insane. However, by the end you actually understand every concept.
The end of the game drags out. There's a point where they make you think you've beaten it, however you still have almost ten hours to go. The problem is, they keep adding and adding unfolding events when the game feels like it needs to end. You go back to many of the towns about 5-10 times throughout the game. This game could have been much better if they did not drag out the end so much.

In this Tales game you have six party members. Each with very distinct personalities and nicely done backgrounds. As well as the original six there is another who feels like a party member, yet you cannot use him in battle. His name is Ion. He travels with you throughout the game, and he is an important character. But I don't understand why you cannot use him in battle. It must be because they wanted your party to have an even number of characters or something. But, it would not have bothered me if there were seven.

With the help of the game's cut scenes, they have additional ones, just like Symphonia and Legendia. The select skits. If you don't know about them already I'll tell you. Throughout the game there will be a message at the bottom of the screen, that tells you to press select to play "So and so skit". Once you press select, it plays a little skit with your party members. In the past, these have been known to be a good thing. However, in this game, they can easily annoy any player, and at some point you might just say, "I"m not pressing select any more!" Yet it's still tempting because that message at the bottom of the screen still stays there as you walk from place to place. So, why is it bad in this game? Well, take symphonia's number of skits, and multiply it by 3, and that's what you have in Tales of the Abyss. Many of these select skits are pointless. They often times come up after the games actual scenes. And most of the time, they just restate what the original scene said. Or, its about the fact that someone is hungry and all the characters are shocked because Luke likes rice....So you don't need to read them all, all they do is just give the game an extra flavor.

So after all this talk of the game's story, how does it play? Well, the battle system is exactly what you expect from a Tales game. In battle you fight in real time. Except, you get a side view, so you basically just move left or right. With some exceptions. Though I don't jump for joy with it in this game, it does have some customization features. You can make your artes more powerful, by finding certain items that you can equip your artes with. Another feature, is something that I personally never bothered with. Just certain items you may find are called C. Cores. Basically they just add stats to your character in the following ways it tells you each level. In other words it will add 1 to 3 str, hp, etc. each level.

A new feature is what's called a fonon field. When a caster casts a spell often times it will create a circle. when doing an arte in this circle, it will say F.O.F change, and make your arte more powerful. Another cool feature are your mystic artes. By attacking and taking damage you build up and over-limit gauge, which once it's filled you are free to use it. Once you're in over-limit you can use your mystic arte. Each character has their own, and basically it stops everything else and just does the mystic arte, which in simple terms causes loads of damage to your opponent, or opponents.

Is there a lot of puzzle solving in this game? Someone might ask. Well, not really. You do have a sorcerer's ring like in the previous two Tales titles, but you really only use it to obtain chests, and not so much need it to progress through the dungeon. Although at times, you will need it for progressing, but not often.

Tales of the Abyss is a great game, but there are some minor flaws within it. Such as too frequent select skits, the end gets very draggy, the loading times in this game are extremely bad. In this game there is a lot of dialogue, yet they don't make their cut scenes great. It basically just comes up with a text box, and it waits for you to press X. Most of these issues could be solved with the help of a second disc. I think that it was a bad decision for them to try to fit everything on one disc. Nevertheless, Tales of the Abyss is a great game.

Does it live up to Symphonia? I would say that it's a matter of opinion, but certainly, it could be as good as Symphonia.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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