Share & Connect
The ‘Tales of’ series is considered one of the three RPG giants in Japan, along with Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Here in the States and Europe, though, it is a different story. Some may remember ‘Tales of Symphonia’ for the Gamecube, the most hyped ‘Tales of’ game this side of the earth, but other than that, there has been little else.
Few of the games have been translated, and many of those that have suffer either from bad localization or bad voice acting. ‘Tales of the Abyss 3DS’ does not have these problems. Instead, its main problem is the fact that it is six years old, having been released for the PS2 both in Japan and America, and this version is less of an update, than a simple port.
While parts of it may seem stale, on the whole, it is a fulfilling journey. Luckily, nothing that was present in the older version has been cut for this one, not even voice acting. The gameplay is that of a typical Japanese RPG, with a world map to explore. There are no random battles here; enemies are visible on the screen, and the player can avoid battles if they wish (or are fast enough to avoid contact).
Battles, though, are where the game really shines. The player and three other AI-controlled players move around in real time on a 3D battlefield. Although the player can issue them commands if they want, the AI is good enough that players need not focus their attention on what others are doing all the time.
Those that were frustrated in ‘Tales of Symphonia’, because they had to stay in a straight line and were not free to roam the battlefield, will find comfort here. At the press of a button, players can run around any which way they want in the area. Attacks and blocks are controlled by the face buttons.
The graphics have suffered a bit in the transition from PS2 to 3DS. The world map, which looked bad enough on the television, is even worse now, and characters and environments are jagged. The game also was clearly not meant for the 3DS, as the 3D feature seems more distracting than anything else while playing.
The story is what one would expect from a ‘Tales of’ game. It is formulaic, and at times silly, with some plot twists being obvious way before they are revealed, but it is enough to keep the player interested. Spoiled brat Luke Fon Fabre, a young man who suffers from the ultimate cliché, amnesia, finds himself outside the comforts of his aristocratic household with a mysterious woman. Along the way, others join the party as they begin to realize they are the only ones who can save the world.
Overall, the game is fun, but with over 45 hours of main story gameplay, it drags a lot. If you have played the original PS2 version, you may want to stay away, as there is nothing new to entice a buy. If you have not, give it a try, but be warned it is dated in some areas.