Word of warning to Australians though, the game was released back in November last year and was a JB HiFi exclusive... ok first off, who buys games at JB HiFi that aren't cheaper then elsewhere and secondly, why JB HiFi when GAME or Gametraders or even EB Games would have made more sense? What's worse is it's discontinued so if you missed it because you never knew, you've missed it forever and can't import it to play on the Australian 3DS unless you can find a European retailer selling it! Anyway after so much delays, here's my review of Tales Of The Abyss for 3DS.
The story follows Luke's journey after being teleported out of his home through the power of a hyper-ressonance, triggered by being attacked by a young woman named Tear. Luke and Tear join forces to return Luke home, but get embroiled in a global struggle triggered by political and religious conflicts. Now along with his friends Guy, Jade, Natalia, Anise and Ion they must prevent a predetermined war and stop the world from literally collapsing. Holy Crap! That's just a small summary of the first 10 hours of the game!
Anyone who's played a Tales series game will be able to return to form but newcomers will be taught how to play with the in game tutorials the game provides during story progression. To those who played the original PS2 version you will be happy to know nothing has changed except the platform it's on. The combat is faster then Tales of Symphonia 1 and 2 and works well with the 3DS controls, especially since there's no need to use the touchscreen.
The battles are fought in an arena once you touch an enemy on the field. In the 3D battlefield the combat is action based and simple to engage in. You can use one of the 6 characters in the game in battle, each with their own unique skill sets and style of combat ranging from melee, magic and a mix of both. Along with basic attacks and special "Artes" attacks there is also a mystic arte each character has that can only used during Overlimit, think of it as a limit break system like in Final Fantasy VII. Unfortunately one thing that has always been a problem people bitch about in all Tales series games in that the bosses aren't epic.
As you play through the game you will obtain items called "capacity cores" that can be equip to characters to boost their stats on level up further and teaches you AD skills. AD skills are basically passive skills that assist in battle. Also you will find Fon Slot Chambers that you can equip to artes to add additional effect to them, depending on the colour of the FSC.
The game has a fair few sidequest and minigames to play along the way, but unfortunately the game also has this tendency to force you on a linear path at some points in the story. This can be frustrating if you like to explore. Some areas are locked off for the majority of the game and you may forget they exist sometimes.
I don't usually talk about this stuff but considering the 3DS is a 3D console, I have to talk about it. The visuals looks just as good as it's PS2 counterpart and the 3D makes the image sharper... BUT unfortunately the 3D itself was poorly done. I would suggest only notching the 3D slider up about a millimetre to activate the 3D at its most minimal depth that is almost 2D to sharpen the image if you want a sharper image. Also like all Tales series games it looks and sounds beautiful.
You know sometimes game reviews are hard to write and pad out. I try to give you what you need without all the boring padding the pros do. Anyway, is it a good game? Ah, yeah! Every Tales series game is good! Sure the boss battles are lackluster but it's the story and journey that matter, not overly complicated combat that looks pretty most mainstream games use to keep gaming's magpies occupied. If you don't like JRPGs don't bother wasting yours or my time, if you love the genre then this is a must buy. This game looks and sounds great and has a great story, the best I've played through in the series.