Game Review - Tales of the Abyss on Playstation 2

Written by Zvezda_Kuerten on December 10, 2018 @ 7:09 pm

Tales of the Abyss (PS2)
~Review by Zvezda Kuerten


1) Intro:

a) Game Synopsis:
Luke Fon Fabre is a young wannabe man who has been confined to his manor for seven years, ever since a terrible incident erased all his previous memories, for the fear of something like that ever happening again.
He dreams of freedom and new horizons, but his dreams are about to twist his reality way too faster than his arrogant demeanour can hope to keep up with.

b) Game Concept / Game Idea:
Tales of the Abyss is part of the ?Tales of? franchise. It is a Role-playing Game (RPG) set in a distant world with it?s own problems. It boards into things such as religion, loyalty, friendship, family, love and purpose.

c) Misc:
An anime based on the game was aired in 2008. It?s has 26 episodes and shows the events depicted in it?s source material very well. It is an awesome Anime in itself, and is granted to please those who loved the game, those who never played it and also the hardcore otaku.


d) How Have I Discovered The Game?
I absolutely loved the first title in the ?Tales of? franchise, ?Tales of Phantasia?. It was that love that drove to search for a possible sequel. One of the happiest moments of my life was the exact one in which I discovered that there wasn?t just a sequel, but a whole franchise!
Tales of The Abyss is the second one in the franchise I had beat, the first being Tales of Phantasia. But I have played others, like Tales of Eternia. Sadly, though, my games were forfeited at the time due to the famous ?Crash? - I know you know what I mean. The dreaded moment in which your console/PC crashes to the floor, and it?s gone.
My mum (love that creature so much) had an old copy of the game, and she lent it to me. Best mum ever - just saying.


2) Brief Review:

a) A Brief Opinion:
The game is awesome. Simple as that. The visuals are incredible, the sounds and musics are beautiful and alluring and perfectly fitting to the narrative, the plot is deep and engaging, the engine is awesome in it?s own and what?s best: the main shipp is just too damn cute!!!!

b) Ratings:

78% Metacritic
78% GameFaqs - GameSpot
7/10 IGN.com

{the higher the percentage (%) the better rated the game was.}

c) How Long to Beat:
I personally beat the game in almost 50 hours. But there were many sidequests I didn?t delve into or left unfinished, and I?m sure to go back and complete every single one of them in a future playtrough.
Below are some reported user times second to the website ?How Long To Beat?:

Main Story - 136 people:
Average = 50h 22m
Median = 48h 28m
Rushed = 40h 12m
Leisure = 71h 12m

Main + Extras - 122 people:
Average = 64h 01m
Median = 62h
Rushed = 48h 12m
Leisure = 120h 35m

Completionists - 20 people:
Average = 110h 46m
Median = 110h 14m
Rushed = 85h 15m
Leisure = 150h 37m

All PlayStyles - 278 people:
Average = 60h 42m
Median = 55h 06m
Rushed = 44h 27m
Leisure = 124h 19m

3) Detailed Review:

a) The Plot:
One of the things that I care about the most, be it in games or any other kind of media, is the plot. The ?Tales of? franchise has been able to captivate me as a whole in this aspect, from the times I was but a kid who understood nothing that was going on (nor English itself since I couldn?t speak it until I was thirteen or something) to my now mature eyes who are absolutely delighted by such a grand masterpiece!
A recurrent element in the titles I played so far in the ?Tales of? franchise is the dark tone through which the story is narrated, the incredibly immersive and deep plot and the fascinating engagement experience that is playing through the story.
Tales of the Abyss did not disappoint. It has an awesomely written plot, filled to the brim with mysteries, secrets and twists (some easier to catch on than others). Many things tend to happen at once in the story, yet you won?t once feel left behind or lost between events, major or not, nor will you ever feel the need to rush things over just to get rid of a situation...well, except for a single part in the game that I absolutely loathed due to some character preferences of mine.
Just please, don?t play Tales of the Abyss (or any game of the franchise) if you expect a light-hearted story just because the visuals engage in anime/manga territory. The plot is very mature (not porno, you perv), and the events can go from heart-warming, absolutely cute, romantic, funny to despairing, sad, numb and hollow.
Now, a spoiler for the diehard romance fans (skip the rest of this line if you wish to avoid it): The main shipp, AKA the couple you gonna root for, is cannon. This means that they end up together, and it?s not really an ?open ending? where you try and figure out if they love each other or something like that. So, if you start to catch up on it sooner than the game itself expect, don?t worry, your heart won?t break.

b) Engine:
For the very reason that I never played any other title of the franchise on the PS2 other than this one, I can?t say if they use the same engine. But the engine itself is incredible and fits really well the art-style, atmosphere and purpose behind the game.
The only bad thing about the plot are the loading times. They can go up to 15 minutes if your disk is in a bad condition. Even if it?s in a good one, they can still get you 2 or 3 minutes waiting for what?s to come, more so when there is a big event ahead. The loading times shouldn?t take that long normally, though.
See the Recommendations section of this same review if you wish to counter the loading time problem.

c) Features:
.Battle System --> it?s fast-paced and tactical. You can move your characters freely around the battle screen and use different sorts of manoeuvrers to attack, defend and/or dodge.
.AD Skills --> They are techniques your characters will learn when a determined set of conditions is met by them (such as having +25 strength or being at level 6). They vary from allowing your character to do longer combos to allowing them to use items on other party members.
.ARTES --> Fonic Artes are the special techniques your characters can perform in battle. They include hymns, magics, weapon techniques and doll moves.
Artes can be upgraded via Fonic Chambers you can find during your gameplay. Some AD Skills also upgrade them. One Ad Skill in particular allows your characters to use Mystique Artes, which are powerful Artes that are truly astonishing.
Also, if you use some of your Artes enough to master them, your characters might just start to learn how to mix them with other mastered Artes, too.
.Capacity Cores --> They are small objects you?ll find in determined places along your gameplay. They?ll give a permanent status upgrade to your characters when they level up as long as they are equipped with said Capacity Core. Events vary, but include +3 Physical Defence and +2 Agility.
.Titles ---> Titles can give your characters some hidden skills (such as immunity to poison) and/or change their costume. They are obtained by triggering a key set of actions during the game. Sadly, there are no explanations as to what each title does (in game), but you can find detailed informations online.
.Mieu ---> Mieu is a cheagle (a sacred beast) that?ll help you during the whole game. He makes your interactions with the scenarios around you much more entertaining.
He has 3 skills that you can use to overcome obstacles in your way: Fire Breathing, Flying and Head Bashing. Only Fire Breathing can be automatically learned, and also it?s the only skill that has a hidden upgrade available later in the game.

d) Sound:

.The musics in the game are beautiful and fit the game?s atmosphere better than a glove.
.The English dubs should be congratulated for their incredible job in bringing the characters to life. A special shoutout to Nicole Balick, Tear?s English voice actor, for her amazing job. I mean, come on, her voice is just perfect! And also to Yukana Nogami, her original Japanese Voice Actor.

e) Replayability:
It varies from high to extremely high, depending on which kind of playstyle you have.
Bonus are offered to those who wish to play the game a new time when they load their completed game save. They include things like 10x EXP rates and the ability to keep all the items you had in your inventory. But you need to buy those bonuses with grade points (owned or lost depending on your performance in battle) or you can just leave something out if you wish to.
Some parts of the game are exclusive for your second (or higher) playthrough, such as dungeons, bosses, mysteries left unexplained the first time around, items, weapons, armours and more.

4) Verdict

a) My Personal Experience With The Game:
I had no major problems when playing the game and enjoyed every single second I spent in it, from the dialogues to the battles. I played the game using PCSX2 emulator (version 1.5+) and an onboard GPU (Intel GMA 3100) with no problems.

b) My Verdict: 9.5/10
The game is undeniably amazing in every sense and aspect. It is really worth it and I promise you this game will leave a mark on your soul from start to finish. So, if you don?t mind a little more mature stories, then this is the perfect game for you - or should I say, the perfect franchise for you?
The only down part of the game are the loading times in your PS2 console. Thus 9.5 instead of 10.
PS: The main shipp is just too damn cute for it?s own gooooooooooooooooooooooooood!!!!!!!!

5) Recommendations:
a) Emulators:
.If you?re experiencing long loading times, use a PS2 emulator to run your game on a PC. It doesn?t needs a powerful GPU or a powerful CPU (you can check my specks below). The loading times in an emulator such as PCSX2 vary from 1 to 10 seconds.
.Use PCSX2 version 1.5 or above if you wish to emulate the game with the highest compatibility possible. Don?t use speed hacks or the game will break. Also, using Asynch audio can help make your audio stop lagging or being in slow-motion (if it ever happens to you).
.When emulating the game via PCSX2, always make in-game saves (go to that ball-like thing and save your game to your virtual memory card), not just slot saves (pressing F2). Do this ?cause some areas might not load in the future - the game will crash. If it happens, all you need to do is reload an in-game save, and everything will be solves. (I only experienced this problem 2 times)

6) My Specs:

Operating System:
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 @ 2.80GHz 47 ?C
Wolfdale 45nm Technology
RAM
3,00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 333MHz (5-5-5-15)
Motherboard
Positivo Informatica SA POS-AG31AP (Socket 775)
Graphics
Acer P166HQL ([email protected])
Intel 9xx Soldiers sans frontiers Alpha 2 (ASUStek Computer Inc) ---> driver for Intel GMA 3100
Storage
232GB Western Digital WDC WD2500AAJS-22VTA0 ATA Device (SATA ) 52 ?C
7GB SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB Device (USB )
Optical Drives
TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-222AB ATA Device
Audio
VB-Audio VoiceMeeter VAIO

Gameplay Rating: 9
Story Rating: 10
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 9
Sound Rating: 10
Overall Rating: 9

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Game Information

Platform
Playstation 2
Developer(s)
Namco Tales Studio
Publisher(s)
Namco Bandai Games
Genre(s)
RPG
NA Release Date
October 10, 2006
JP Release Date
December 15, 2005
ESRB Rating
T
CERO Rating
A
MVGL User Score
8.6
Composer
Motoi Sakuraba, Shinji Tamura, Motoo Fujiwara, Yuriko Keino
Official Website
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