Developer: Namco Tales Studio > Publisher: Namco Bandai > System: Nintendo 3DS > Rating: T
Nearly five and a half years ago, Tales of the Abyss was first released for the Playstation 2. I was a freshman in college when I first gave it a go, and to this day it remains my favorite RPG of all time. For those who missed it the first time around, this is your chance to catch up and see what this epic adventure is all about!
Tales of the Abyss follows 17-year-old Luke Fon Fabre, next in line to be king of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear. Having lived in luxury all his life, he's more than just a little spoiled—he's rude, selfish, and full of himself to boot! It doesn't help that he's as sheltered as could be, either. Everything changes when Tear Grants, a cold and mysterious female soldier, whisks him away in the middle of an ambush. Before he knows it, he's found himself in the midst of a universal struggle he never dreamed existed. Everything he's ever known about himself is about to be changed forever, whether he's ready for it or not!
The battle system is flashy and fast-paced, while leaving plenty of room for players to put their imagination to use. Simple attacks can be combined with Artes, special attacks that develop as your experience grows. To add to the fun, when any elemental attack is released, a "Fonon Field" is created that the player can use to strengthen their Artes. An attack's force can be greatly enhanced with their help, making way for endless possibilities to power up your fight!
Improvements from its original version include faster loading times and smoother graphics, even during the busiest of battles. The soundtrack is clear and crisp, and the voice actors' top-tier performances bring each of the characters to life. The graphics are vibrant and well-adjusted to the 3DS's screen as well. Since things have been scaled down so considerably, however, there's still a bit of pixellation here and there. This is only enhanced by the system's three-dimensional function, so it'd probably be best to leave it off and enjoy this game in its original format.
The greatest aspect of this game lies in its colorful cast and the circumstances that tie them together. With numerous cutscenes and over 500 optional skits, you'll get the chance to thoroughly understand the characters and their various relationships. While the story may be a bit slow at first, players who stick with it are sure to be rewarded further down the line. Paths will cross in unexpected ways, and loose ends will tie together in emotional and surprising conclusions. This is one tale that will pluck at your heartstrings and stay with you for years to come!
Hint: Seek out the glowing Search Points located across the world map for hidden items!
By Julie Lutz
Ed Note: First a PS2 game gets ported to the 3DS, and the next Tales game, Tales of Graces f, is a Wii game that's being ported to the PS3. What's going on in this wacky world of Tales! - UB