Archive for tales of the abyss

Tales of the Abyss

Posted in Game Reviews with tags , , on January 8, 2013 by Bradley Hall

tales_of_the_abyss_boxart

I don’t think I’ve done many video game reviews, but after spending nearly 60 hours playing this one over the past few weeks, I really want to, and also it’d help to get this site out of the dearth of material that’s been plaguing me over the past year. I only posted a handful of stuff last year? This year will be different.

Anyway, when I started playing Tales of the Abyss, I thought it felt very familiar. Turns out I had watched the first few episodes of the anime and had possibly played some of the original PS2 game.

They say that no one ever reads the same book, that when you read a book you compare the story to previous stories. So too with games. Once I was past the “this is familiar because of the anime” problem, it morphed into the “this is familiar because this is almost every game I have ever played” problem.

The story starts with Luke, a young noble who is forbidden from leaving his manor because he had been kidnapped when he was ten, seven years ago and lost his memory. A woman appears and attempts to kill his mentor, yet Luke interferes and somehow he and the interloper vanish only to be transplanted somewhere hundreds or thousands of miles away.

The two work together to get back home and along the way learn more about each other and their plights. Eventually they make it back and all’s good, or is it?

While a few things from nearly every RPG ever made pops up, there’s enough variety in the story and characters to make this a great way to spend nearly 60 hours.

The characters are all excellently written and acted. My favorite character was Jade Curtiss, a Malkuth soldier who always has something sarcastic to say or otherwise delivers the best comebacks.

Fighting in this game is reminiscent of Star Ocean and the other Tales games in that the player controls a character and the computer controls the other three in a massive free-for-all, though you can control the tactics of the other characters and direct them to use certain attacks.

The battles seem to be pretty easy. My entire party only died in battle once through the entire game. Battles play out by spamming the Attack button while having your other characters bust out with attacks, spells, and healing as needed.

One of the plots of the game concerns a clones and the original person, this was the story I was really concerned about. If everyone was born to fulfill some purpose, what about those that were created just because science said they could be and then discarded without a thought? As such, several of the clone characters have a drive and a will to survive, to be better than the original. A superiority complex. While others see themselves as inferior to the original.

In all, this was a fun game and I’d play it again. Once the game is finished, the player can use “Grade” – a numerical form of experience gained after battles (but different from normal experience) to use on different variables in a subsequent play through, such as keeping the old levels, the ability to gain more experience, keeping items, etc. I’ve not tried to play the game again with any of these yet, I mean, the game itself was 60 hours, do I really want to play it for another 60? One day.

Another thing I liked (and would love to see in future RPGs) is a journal feature. The main character suffered memory loss as a kid so he keeps a fastidious journal that’s updated extremely often. If you have no idea where to go, check out the journal, it’ll point you in the right direction.

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