If you haven’t played the original Tales Of Abyss on Playstation 2, you now have a chance to get your hands on the Nintendo 3DS version. Despite the game originally coming from a console, Tales of the Abyss on a handheld does not limit the game by any means.
The protagonist is Luke Fon Fabre (the young son of Duke Fabre of the Kimlasca Kingdom) and is the Light of the Sacred Flame and the scion of Lorelei’s power, destined to bring prosperity to Kimlasca. Since being kidnapped seven years ago by the Malkuth Empire, he has been kept confined to the Fabre family mansion. The shock of the kidnapping has left Luke with amnesia. One fateful day, a mysterious woman called Tear, breaks into the mansion and sets off a chain of events that drag Luke into the centre of a massive conflict between those who would do anything to see the Score carried out, and those who would see it broken forever. I know what you’re thinking; what a ridiculous name for the main character – Luke?! As is usual in the Tales series, the names short and snappy – apart from the titles!
Skits are abundant in the game – short conversations that may be viewed when prompted by pressing ‘start’. During a skit, anime-style faces of the characters taking part in the skit appear and interact with each other. These can range from dramatic to comedic, and address a wide range of subjects. Some skits are related to the main plot, and some can only be obtained through optional side events. Unlike the Japanese version, sadly the skits in the English version are not voiced. This is a shame, as I think they are a great part of the games and the voice acting is well done.
The game’s ‘Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System’ (FR-LMBS) is real-time. The game controls are very similar to other Tales games, especially Tales of Symphonia, except with increased maneuverability. A new feature, “Free Run,” allows the player character to run in any direction, unlike previous Tales games.
Tales of the Abyss features many skills and spells to unleash upon enemies. Characters can learn ‘AD Skills’, which need to be equipped. The game features a large number of these skills, acquired through the use of “Capacity Cores” — items that give stat bonuses when a character levels up. A new addition to the system is the “Field of Fonons” (often abbreviated as FOF).
Whenever a character uses a spell or battle technique that features an elemental alignment, a circle will appear on the ground, corresponding to that element. If this sounds too complex don’t worry as they will take you through it: Luke is supposed to be ignorant so the other characters teach you the way of fighting, thus integrating a tutorial.
My personal gripes with the game are the usual, ‘We must meet Anise at the River!’. Sure, but where is the river? Apart from a few sign posts in the game and with rampant monsters on your tail you’re on your own finding locations. With the amount of talking in the game it would help to maybe have a spot flashing on the map to show where your next location is. At least you won’t find yourself grinding much in the game because of the random monsters you encounter regularly. Another problem I have is that cooking is a staple of the Tales of series and yet in this game I have no idea how to do it: I can program it but when they cook or if they do is a mystery.
Mieu, a cheagle, considered sacred by the Order of Lorelei, is forced to join you due to certain events and, well, he’s annoying. I can’t understand how some people find this irritating rat adorable.
Despite that, this game holds the magic of the original and has perhaps offers more joy for the avid handeld gamer. It’s a pleasure to whip out wherever you are as it is a great way to get oneself immersed in the rich story and beautiful animation. Best enjoyed by RPG fans, Otakus and anyone who loves sarcastic banter and the battle of the sexes.
- A 26-episode animated TV adaptation of Tales of the Abyss, produced by Bandai Visual, Namco, and Sunrise Animation Studios, in 2008.
- The game was directed by Yoshito Higuchi who also acted as director of Tales of Symphonia and previously served on the development team of Namco’s fighting game franchises Tekken and Soul Calibur.
- Three manga adaptations of the Tales of the Abyss game have been created and released in Japan. The first, which is simply named Tales of the Abyss and is written and illustrated by Rei was serialized in Dengeki Maoh. The second, Tales of the Abyss: Asch The Bloody, written by Rin Nijō and illustrated Hana Saitō ran in the official Tales of Magazine.
- The music for Tales of the Abyss was mostly composed by series veterans Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura. The Japanese version features the theme song “Karma” by J-Rock group Bump of Chicken, with group’s lead vocalist, Motoo Fujiwarayss: Jade in My Memories (Tales of the Abyss -Tsuioku no Jade-) is being written by newer artist Ayumi Kano and will be a side story piece focusing on character Jade Curtiss’ background.