Tales of the Abyss

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a game by Namco Ltd.
Platforms: 3DS, Playstation 2 (2005)
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.8/10 - 8 votes
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See also: Anime Games, Manga Games, JRPG Games
Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss

When watching a sports match, a fight, a race or any competition for that matter, it’s natural to side with the underdog. It’s a heart-warming sight to see the minnow rise to the occasion, take on the champ and stroll out of the arena the victor. Well, the Tales series has had this underdog status seemingly forever despite a number of incredible titles and growing a devoted fan base in the process. So it begs the question, when does this title shed this reputation and sit upon the same shelf as the Final Fantasies and the Dragon Quests of this world? Perhaps this would all be answered with the next instalment in the series, Tales of the Abyss.

This Japanese style role-playing game plays much like the aforementioned titles Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest alongside other notable JRPGs such as Ni no Kuni, Persona, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and Trials Of Mana to name a few. It has garnered a reputation as a series that offers budget versions of these ground-breaking titles but on its day, this series stands on its own merit as a great JRPG franchise.

Sinks It’s Hooks early

This game promises to be a fantastic tale right from the start with a captivating premise. You take control of Luke Von Fabre, a captive that has lost all memory of his previous life. He returns to his luxurious life and grows into an unlikeable brat who wants nothing more than to inhabit his mansion and waste his days away. However, his life will change dramatically when a woman named Tear attacks his home and tries to assassinate Luke’s Master. She fails and in a confusing turn of events, they both get transported to another area of the realm with only each other for companionship. It’s a strong foundation for what turns out to be an intriguing storyline.

Along the way, you meet a series of characters that will travel with you, share their skills and unique abilities with you and help you on your quest. Each of these characters has a great deal of depth, well-written dialogue and really help to keep the game fresh as you move from location to location.

Keeps Things Simple

The Tales series is known for a very simple and accessible JRPG gameplay approach and this iteration doesn’t rock the boat in that respect. You will dungeon crawl, build relationships in new towns, do odd jobs for NPC’s, upgrade your loot and gear as you go, fight a series of monsters in a turn-based combat style and use tactical planning to control your AI-controlled team to victory, especially in the boss encounters.

The combat style is incredibly rudimentary which may not please JRPG fans that enjoy a more nuanced fighting style but it does have a 3D environment to work in which offers a very reactive and evasive set of strategies much like the Nino Kuni series. Combos are technically able to be strung together along with elemental special abilities called ‘artes’ but in truth, it all boils down to random button mashing in the hope that you by chance do something that’s effective.

The battles are also very fast-paced and if you blink you might miss some of them. Even the boss battles that can often take upwards of an hour in games within this genre seem to wrap up in minutes. It can leave seasoned players with a rather hollow feeling at the end of each encounter but for more casual players this might be a more suitable format that gives validation for good tactical preparation. and execution fast.

Jagged and Grainy

What must be said is that the visuals are well below the standard of similar JRPG titles upon release. The textures are grainy, the character models while interesting lack the detail and flair to make them really special, the environments while structurally sound are rather bland in areas and as a whole, the presentation seems a generation behind, as if it belongs on the original Nintendo DS.

A Gulf In Class

While this underdog often comes out swinging, it usually walks away without a win to its name and in this case, it’s no different. Tales of the Abyss offers a competent story, a decent combat system, a batch of deep and well-written characters, and a wealth of quests. Yet it still pales in comparison to one of the big hitters in the general.


Perhaps this is down to the fact that nothing in this series feels like it is uniquely their own doing but rather a by-product of another franchises past glories. In short, this is a JRPG that is well made and worth your time but far from a blockbuster within it’s field.


  • A riveting storyline from start to end
  • A cast of interesting characters with unique abilities
  • A competent if not truly complex combat system


  • The visuals in this title are well below the industry standard
  • The game offers nothing you haven’t seen from another JRPG

Download Tales of the Abyss


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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3DS Screenshots

Playstation 2 Screenshots

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