Review by DarkZeT
While with its flaws, it still remains an enjoyable addition to new and old fans.
Tales of the Abyss Review
The History of the Tales series.
In our time that the Final Fantasy series attained glory with every game. There's a series that suffered a worse fate. The Tales series has spanned over 10 years. Tales of the Abyss is the game that signifies their decade in the history of role playing games. This series, while gaining a significant amount of fans through Tales of Symphonia, was not considered the wonderful status of this genre that Final Fantasy has attained. This series never was wonderfully polished, in terms of graphics and story, but those who look past these flaws can understand the true beauty of the gameplay that is in every Tales game. The previous installment of Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Legendia, was not only not very appealing to new fans (which was fairly common), but also to the previous fans. Doubts were cast onto the 10th year anniversary game. But Tales of the Abyss prevailed in various ways, although having similar lacks in depth that its successful predecessor, Tales of Symphonia, received.
Playing the game is the best part.
In a game, the most enjoyable part of it is playing it. Tales of the Abyss is a game that does not lack gameplay value at all. Bringing a lot more to the table compared to Tales of Legendia and Tales of Symphonia, this entry to the series showed the evolution that the Tales series has gone through. Tales of the Abyss offers real-time battles, thus, it is considered to be an Action RPG. Compared to the Dark Cloud series, or the Champions of Norrath, or similar Action RPGs, fans of the traditional RPG genre will not be disappointed, since the series always retained a lot of aspects of traditional battles, such as transition from field to battle screens. Perhaps, the game can be actually considered a hack-and-slash. But, the depth of the system in Tales of the Abyss is truly significant. Firstly, the basics are that X is for basic attacks, while O is for Artes (which are basically skills). As you gain levels, you gain new artes, and you become stronger. Capacity Cores are bonuses that are given to characters through level up when equipped. You receive Additional Skills (AD Skills) from the Capacity Core's bonuses. Fon Slot Chambers is also an aspect that allows bonuses given to the artes. The concept of these terms are actually explained quite well through the game. Although it may become hack and slash-like after a while, after being at a higher difficulty (which the game offers), strategy is a must.
Caution to all though, load times are a pain between battles. And travelling and item creation systems aren't the easiest (or even worth it).
The tale of a young boy saving the world prevails.
One of the most simple and cliché aspect of Tales of the Abyss is the story. But though it is unoriginal, it was actually written very well. The characters were developed very well, and the jokes were actually funny. The writers took a simple story and developed it into a sweet tale. Nothing groundbreaking, mind you, but still an enjoyable story that keeps you interested. Though the end's pace is a little awkward. The beginning was one of the driving thing that kept me playing.
However, a quick summary of the main story: The story revolves around our hero, Luke fon Fabre. From the start of the game, there's something unique about him, but you're not sure what exactly. Trapped in the manor for many years, but one day Tear Grants intruded into his life, and everything turns into the saving the world tale.
With various twists, the story keeps you focused and interested.
The graphics of the game is standard and adequate. It doesn't venture where no games had ventured before. In fact, there are actually jaggies in various places. The game is decent to look at, and enough for you to detract from its strong gameplay. Character models are as normal as every other anime-inspired game. The graphics are okay, but a beautiful world to explore would be more captivating for its audience.
What's that sound? Oh it's just Arietta!
Overall, actually I think the sound is great. Voice acting and music greatly excels in this game. It truly exceeded my expectation. From the beginning, the anime opening, I knew my ears were in for a treat.
Firstly, the voice acting. Voice acting was done well. Guy was the most suitable. But where you have the annoying brat, like Arietta and Anise, you definitely get your annoying brat sounds. The voices matched with the characters very well. A minor flaw in voice acting is the monotonous, and unenthusiastic voices that actors have. If these were to be better, it would definitely be a lot better.
Karma, the opening song, was deemed best opening song for the Tales series by many gamers. And it was rightfully so. Electric instruments, and orchestral instruments worked together in various pieces in the game. The songs may not be too memorable, but at least they were suitable.
The game you can play over and over, if you're actually not satisfied.
The game does offer many thing that enhances replayability. The most dominant one is grade shop, which gives the player bonuses from using grade earned in previous playthroughs.
Also upon completing the first playthrough, two different difficulties are unlocked (Very Hard and Unknown). It's said that in Unknown, boss battles may actually take up to four hours because of the high defense of the bosses. This is great news for diehard fans.
Additionally, new dungeons and sidequests are unlocked only if you have a clear file (obtained through beating the game).
But with 80+ hours of gameplay (including sidequests), I wonder if you can have the time to play the game for a full second time.
The game that deserves a playthrough atleast.
Even though, the game may have its flaws, the game can still be fun for at least a playthrough. With its long length, a purchase should be the reasonable choice.
Gameplay: 8/10 - Battle system is great. However with other aspects of gameplay being as weak as they are, it dragged the score lower.
Story: 8/10 - Written well, but lacked originality. Few enjoyable twists.
Graphics: 7/10 - Decent, but not groundbreaking.
Sound: 8.5/10 - Strong voice actors (in reference to suitability), but lack some enthusiasm, but the music in the game is a saving grace.
Value/Replayability: 9/10 - Many options available in the New Game Plus. But the length does put off casual gamers for a replay/
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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