Tales of the Abyss – 3DS version
GAME TIME: 50 hours
OVERALL EXPERIENCE: 7.5/10
AVERAGE SUB-SCORE: 8.2/10
Just FYI: there are spoilers below! But this is such an old game so…like……..if you don’t know that Asch dies and Luke gets a Life-Changing Haircut, where have you been haha. Overall, I enjoyed it, I’m glad I spent the time I did on it! However, maybe I went in with my expectations too high…I almost universally heard Tales of the Abyss was the most beloved Tales of game, and while I had a good time, there were also quite a few particular pain points that kept me from really fully enjoying the game.
+ Jade is my favorite character of all time????? Bless Kirk Thornton, he’s the literal best??
+ Guy is so beautiful……….I love him…..
+ MY GIRL NATALIA
+ Anise <3 <3
+ Overall I just really liked the design aesthetics and also how “silly character quirks” all had important backstories to them!
- Umm did I say I really liked the design aesthetics. I did, I just. Wasn’t fond of Luke’s belly and Tear’s thighs lmao those design choices could’ve been revisted
- Luke and Tear as characters were aight. Luke’s excellent VA saved him and Tear’s very mediocre VA hurt her
- Ion. Though. FFFFRRIGHINGGG ION THO every second where his VA spoke was. Awful. It was terrible. And then tHERE WERE THREE AND I. WHWHHRHGGHHGH IT WAS SO PAINFUL also I was just so impatient with his character in general???? Why was this incompetent weakling put in charge of a seemingly Big 3 World Power?? What is a Grand Maestro anyway?? How does the Daath government system work????? Why was original Ion so important they had to shave replicas off of him??? Honestly the only thing Ion was competent at was incompetency
- Asch was so contradictory and mad and loud all the time?? Didn’t like him, never liked him, and honestly couldn’t see why Natalia liked him. He, like Luke, had a great VA though so. There’s that?
- Mieu please don’t speak. Please do not. Speak shhh
+ It was an interesting theme of “pre-determined fate of a planet’s memory” v. “free will”, and I also liked the commentary on replicas & life worth!
+ The worldbuilding theme of “music stuff” was really nice and cohesive!! They really dedicated to it and as a former band kid of almost a decade, I relished all the music-related references!
- The most complicated story???? It was really hard to follow, I felt lost most of the time, there were just too many factions…Luke, Asch, Kimlasca, Malkuth, Daath, Van and the Six God Generals, Lorelei…did I miss any major ones??
- Ssssoooo muuuchhhh technomagibabble world building stuffed into every conversationnn. I got so impatient every time we spiraled into the explanations. I mean, it was great that they put so much thought into this world, the execution just. Really left a lot to be desired. Did they even describe what the other 6(?) Fonist types were?? All we talked about where 7th Fonists and neural contaminations, which like, were maybe the most relevant things, but…..like, do non-replica people generally have multiple types of Fonons in their bodies, and does that dictate which artes they can use? Sure there was a little texture with a tiny sidequest about Jade’s modified sight, but…it was just two unvoiced optional scenes.
- For whatever reason, it was really difficult to gauge where I was in the story and how much was left. Like, I knew I would probably end around level 60, like I did when playing Tales of Symphonia, but just in terms of the story…idk, it was just hard to understand “how much” was left
+ Glorious, beautiful battle system! I was expecting as such from playing Tales of Symphonia 2, which I heard modeled theirs after TotA’s revolutionary multilinear w/ free-running system
- Documentation on how the HECK to play was so so weak in this game, and this was especially a problem because it was pretty complicated…could’ve been avoided with a little book in the menu on gameplay battle. AD Skills, C. Cores, FSCs, overlimits, mystic artes, arcane artes, how to switch characters mid-battle….I took a few long breaks (like, the longest break duration was a couple months LOL) while playing the game and I could not for the life of me remember how the heck to use overlimits for the longest time when I started playing again. Also, I only figured out mystic artes and after battle cooking shortcuts like halfway through the game hhh. I understand it might be a 3DS limitation, but maybe like, when something’s ready, maybe the show the button to let you execute the thing??
- Special shoutouts to the poorly executed synopsis portion of the gameplay?? Like, listen, the main reason a person would be checking the synopsis is if they hadn’t played the game in a hot minute and needed a reminder on what the heck they were supposed to be doing. And when you give synopsis hints like “go to the absorption gate” without A) marking it on the map, or B) at least telling me which town it’s around????? Like. I’m going to be googling. All the time. And that’s what the synopsis is supposed to help you with, you know? Like, help a girl out o|-<
- Also, near the end of the game, it was just a longgggg series of extraordinarily elaborate “go here” story points. Thank goodness they gave you the functionality to just autopilot to map places because I honestly would’ve gotten so angry ahahaa the tediousness was already almost too much with the new autopilot feature…
- This was just a specific one-time thing, but I remember being insanely frustrated with the rappig quest lmao. I’d found 3 very easily, as it should be, but for some reason the last 2 just refused to spawn. I think it may have had to do with my timing—the people in Peony’s Audience Chamber was unusual, so I think the rappig there just would not appear until I moved forward in the story.
+ They’re nice! No complaints here~ They were far far better than in Tales of Symphonia lol
+ I was also pleasantly surprised by how many anime cutscenes there were, and how nice the quality was! O:
Mm standard “Tales of” fare, I would say. Nothing strikingly memorable in the OST, but fine. Battle music got a bit repetitive, felt like I only heard one track through the whole game, except for maybe some boss battles?