Tales of the Abyss

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Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: PlayStation 2 (Sony)
Produced by: Bandai Namco Games
Price Range: $31-40
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

     Reviewed By: Zach Walton

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: RPG
Rating: 3 of 5 (average)
Gameplay: 4 of 5 (good)
Violence: 4 of 5 (barely present)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)

Tales of the Abyss.  Illustration copyrighted.

Tales of the Abyss is the second new entry in the long standing RPG series on the PS2. It was developed by Namco’s Tales team. Thus, it feels very similar to their GameCube RPG, Tales of Symphonia. Does Tales of the Abyss spin a new tale worth telling or should it have remained in the annals of history?

The story begins with Luke, a noble who had lost his memory 7 years prior to the events of the game when he was kidnapped. He is confined inside of his home due to the fear that something may happen to him again. He is to report to his teacher, Master Van, for some training before Van leaves off on a mission when a mysterious stranger attacks and ends up teleporting herself along with Luke far outside of his home and city.

The story seems to take the same routes and cliches that Tales of Symphonia worked with but halfway through the game, they throw a monkey wrench into the gears of the story and it goes completely off track from what I was expecting. Nevertheless, this was a very good thing as the story told is one of the best from all the RPGs that I have played. It won’t disappoint.

Tales of the Abyss


The violence in the game is the same as previous games. The battles are real time and you can use a variety of weapons including swords, maces, spears, etc. The battles themselves are not bloody whatsoever and just give the flash of lights to confirm a hit on an enemy. There is only a few times that blood is ever seen and those are during a few of the wonderful animated cutscenes.


Usual T rated RPG fair. All minor curses are present but used more frequently than past Tales game. Nonetheless, they aren’t a major gripe and never affected my enjoyment of the game.


The female characters are rarely ever prone to show off but there are a few conversations when the characters compare breast sizes. These happen during the skits only and can be skipped. There is also a side quest that you can accomplish that nets you tickets to a spa where the characters can be seen in bathing suits and the same bathing suits can be used as costumes on the field and in battle.

Tales of the Abyss


The people of this world don’t practice a religion per-say. They live their lives based on “The Score”. A telling of the future that was made by an ancient warrior, by the name of Yulia, using the power of stones called fonstones. The people don’t worship these predictions but rather let their lives be controlled by it. You encounter one man who won’t even eat without “The Score” telling him what to eat first.

The magic in the game is performed by using particles in the air called fonons but the way the game explains the usage of these powers is never supernatural but rather scientific. The characters use particles of fonons in the air and condense them into offensive or defensive maneuvers. This is the least religious game in the Tales series and rather takes a look at how people can be controlled by such a force instead of thinking for themselves.

Most players will hate Luke from the onset of the adventure. He’s rude, loud, arrogant and a bit of a whiner. He is not the archetype RPG hero. He’s the farthest from it but an event in game leads him to want to change. This change is one of the best parts about the game as you see him turn into a caring person who puts others before himself.

Tales of the Abyss

The graphics are fantastic as this game was the first where the team went towards using life like character models. The in game cutscenes are more dramatic as you see camera pans, close ups and other things that other RPGs have been doing for the past few years. It’s a drastic change in the Tales series and one for the better.

The gameplay is largely unchanged from previous Tales games. You can attack, block, use specials and press triangle during battles to access your inventory to use items or direct orders to your various team members.

The battles use a new system though whereas previous games’ battles took place on a linear plane. The battles in TotA take place on a full 3D plane but you target one enemy and move in a 2D plane with said enemy. You can however hold L2 and move freely about on the field to attack as you please.

The game has plenty of playtime worth your dollars. In my playtime, I did half of the side quests present with the main story and it took me about 65 hours to complete. If one did all of the side quests including the sword dancer and secret weapon side quests, that time could easily jump into the 70 to 80 hour range.

Tales of the Abyss

Tales of the Abyss is a fantastic game worthy of any RPG fans time. Its story is novel and one of the best from what I’ve played. The battle system is fast and fun. The difficulty, while the hardest of the modern Tales games, isn’t enough to detract even newcomers to the franchise. The changes made to the battle system make it far more enjoyable this time around as well.

All in all, Tales of the Abyss is one of the best RPGs you can get on the PS2. It’s a nice companion piece to Tales of Legendia but if you must own just one Tales game on the PS2, make it Tales of the Abyss. You won’t be disappointed.

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Year of Release — 2006

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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