Tales of the Abyss

Brilliant? Visually stunning? Detailed and complex storyline?

These are just a few of the hopes that spring to mind when you pick up any new game.

Tales of the Abyss is all of these and more.

The game was originally released for the PlayStation 2 back in 2005 for Japan and 2006 for North America. Unfortunately, Europe never received it. It’s an anime-style RPG that leaves you hungry for more.

Tales of the Abyss is set on a world called Auldrant, which has been created by elements called Fonons which are present in everything in the world. There are seven known Fonons: shadow, light, fire, wind, water, earth and sound. Anybody who can use Fonons to cast spells are called Fonists, however, a Fonist who uses the Fonon of sound (or Seventh Fonist) are rarely found, but are very powerful as they can use it to read the future. One such Seventh Fonist, Yulia Jue, foresaw the future of Auldrant, and this future is now recorded on Fonstones. The future Yulia Jue foresaw is called The Score.

The story begins with Yulia giving us an excerpt from The Score related to our protagonist, Luke, and how the world has been prophesied to have unlimited prosperity. Our protagonist was kidnapped seven years ago by the enemy empire and as such robbed him of his childhood memory. Due to his kidnapping, he has been confined to his manor until he reaches the age of 20. However, events are in motion which sees him travel the world before this age, and in doing so this allows him to makes new friends, enemies and inadvertently oppose The Score which Auldrant has come to rely on. Due to this, Luke could potentially rob the world of the promised unlimited prosperity…

You control the difficulty the of the game, much like all RPGs – if you see an enemy on the screen, you run into it, initiate a battle, win the battle, get experience, then beat the game. So in other words, you could potentially avoid every enemy to make the game really difficult – just fight the bosses in the storyline, avoid every other enemy and beat the game while you’re at level five. I wouldn’t recommend it, but you could do it.

The battle system itself starts off fairly easy but new gameplay elements are added periodically which increase the difficulty and enjoyment of the game:

1) Overdrive System: each character obtains the use of Overdrive when they reach level 15, which when activated makes them more resilient to staggering, increases their defence slightly and overall battle skills.

2) Mystic Artes: when your characters reach level 30, they obtain the ability to execute an Ultra-Cool-Super-Strong-Uber-Amazing Arte when they are in Overlimit.

3) Field of Fonons: my personal favourite, when you (or an enemy) uses an elemental spell, a ring will appear on the floor of the battle screen. When a second spell of the same element is cast in the same battle, the ring becomes imbued with that element. If your character stands in that ring, and uses an Arte which is compatible with that element – the special ability will change, and become imbued with that element which will then increase the damage, healing-capability or support characteristic of that Arte. For example, if Anise uses ‘Eagle Dive’ while she is inside a Water-imbued Field of Fonons – she will then unleash ‘Frigid Raptor’ instead of the original Arte.

Anise using an Arte altered by the "Field of Fonons"

Once you finish the game – as with all Tales games – it doesn’t stop there! As you battle throughout Auldrant, you obtain Grade. At the end of every battle you will receive an amount of Grade proportional to how well you battle. For instance, if you don’t get hit and complete the battle in under five seconds, you will receive more “Grade” than you would if you got the stuffing beat out of you, nearly died and took twelve minutes to finish.

Once you finish the game, you gain access to the Grade Shop, which allows you to alter a new game slightly. For instance, if you have enough Grade you can increase (or decrease) the amount of experience you receive from battles, carry over the contents of your wallet, etc.

The Tales series wouldn’t be the same series it is today if it wasn’t for the Titles you can get throughout the game. You can get them for accomplishing various feats, getting them during main story line or any of the side quests. Some can even change the outfits which your characters wear.

The only bad thing about this game isn’t really a problem with the game itself. The only issue that I have is that it lacks in the 3D department. I’ve noticed that only the speech bubbles become 3D, even if I push the setting up to the maximum… then I just get an eye ache, so I have to turn it back down.

Anyway! Tales of the Abyss is an amazing game, and if you want to try a new style of RPG, I encourage you to try any of the “Tales” series. (Except Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World for the Wii). They are all incredible in their own way,  and if gaming isn’t your thing… then I have two things to say to you:

1) Go watch the Anime!


2) Why are you on a gaming website?







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