- Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss Developer(s) Namco Tales Studio Publisher(s) Designer(s) Makoto Yoshizumi (game producer)
Yoshito Higuchi (game director)
Kōsuke Fujishima (character designer)
Composer(s) Motoi Sakuraba
Series Tales Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Nintendo 3DS Release date(s) PlayStation 2
- JP December 15, 2005
- NA October 10, 2006
- JP June 30, 2011
- NA February 14, 2012
- EU November 25, 2011
- AUS November 25, 2011
Genre(s) Console role-playing game Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
(2 - 4 players)
Rating(s) Media/distribution 1 DVD
1 3DS Game Card
Tales of the Abyss (テイルズ オブ ジ アビス Teiruzu obu ji Abisu ) is a console role-playing game developed by Namco Tales Studio and published by Namco in Japan and Namco Bandai Games in North America. It is the eighth mothership title in the Tales series, and was released for the PlayStation 2 on December 15, 2005 in Japan, celebrating the Tales series' 10th anniversary, and on October 10, 2006 in North America. It features the Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System, which most resembles Tales of Symphonia's. The character designs are by manga artist Kōsuke Fujishima. The game was scheduled to receive a port to the Nintendo 3DS on May 19, 2011, but Namco Bandai has announced that the port for that region has been delayed to June 30, 2011. Nintendo Power magazine has confirmed the 3DS port for a North American release. It is due to be released on February 14, 2012 in North America. It will also be released in Europe on November 25, 2011.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Plot
- 3 Nintendo 3DS port
- 4 Music
- 5 Adaptations
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The game's "Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System" (FR-LMBS) is real-time. The game controls are very similar to other Tales games, especially Tales of Symphonia, except with increased maneuverability. The player can attack, defend, perform a skill or call up a menu with multiple functions, such as using items or commanding an ally to perform an action. This system offers multiplayer co-op battles, and the camera for this mode is improved over the one found in Tales of Symphonia, zooming out as characters move away from each other so that other players are now always on screen. A new feature, "Free Run," allows the player character to run in any direction, unlike previous Tales games.
The game features many skills and spells to unleash upon enemies. Characters can learn "AD Skills," which can be equipped and unequipped at will, to help them in battles. The game features a large number of these skills, acquired through the use of "Capacity Cores" — items that give stat bonuses when a character levels up. Once a certain statistic has a large enough bonus, the AD skill is learned automatically. A new addition to the system is the "Field of Fonons" (often abbreviated as FOF). Whenever a character uses a spell or battle technique that features an elemental alignment, a circle will appear on the ground, corresponding to that element. After being reinforced with more techniques of the same element, the circle will light up in that element's color to signify that an FOF change is available. Finally, if a character stands in the circle and performs a specific skill that corresponds with the FOF circle, the skill will be upgraded into a more powerful version. Enemies can also use and create FOF fields. As with other Tales games, characters can engage in "Over Limit" mode when their green OVL bar is full. This can be filled by completing combos and making critical hits. During Over Limit, characters can use their Mystic Artes (Hi-Ougis), powerful skills that can only be performed when certain conditions are fulfilled. Every character has one standard Mystic Arte, along with an additional hidden one unlockable only on repeat plays. Enemy boss characters have Mystic Artes as well.
Many recurring features in the Tales series return, such as skits, grade, cooking, and titles.
Skits are short conversations that may be viewed when prompted. During a skit, anime-style faces of the characters taking part in the skit appear and interact with each other. The characters in skits are animated, sometimes shaking, growing larger, or moving across the screen to accentuate what is happening in the skit. Skits can range from dramatic to comedic, and address a wide range of subjects. Some skits are related to the main plot, and some can only be obtained through optional side events. Unlike the Japanese version, the skits in the English version are not voiced.
"Grade" is awarded after each battle, either raising or lowering the player's total number of points depending on how the battle was played. For example, defeating the enemies within a short period or time or getting a large combo will increase the grade awarded; characters being killed or having negative status effects on them will lower the grade acquired. At the end of the game, players can purchase bonuses for the next playthrough.
Abyss also features a cooking system. The player collects recipes and ingredients throughout the game, and can use them to cook either after battles or between battles. Unlike Tales of Symphonia, up to four different recipes can be set to the control pad for use after battle. Different recipes require different items and have different effects. The player can increase characters' cooking stats for each recipe by having them cook the recipe frequently.
Abyss features titles which each character gains through a series of tasks or events. Titles have various effects, some of which are stat-related. In the tradition of newer Tales games, some of these titles also change costumes. Each character has unique costumes; to acquire additional costumes, the player must accomplish certain tasks. Unlike some other Tales games, every title in Tales of the Abyss carries a special effect, varying from discounts in shops to recovering small amounts of HP periodically.
The sorcerer's ring in Tales of the Abyss is an item that Mieu wears around his waist, and can be upgraded by the power of concentrated Fonons in certain dungeons to perform different helpful actions. These include Mieu Fire, where Mieu blows a ball of fire straight forward, used to activate switches and solve various puzzles; Mieu Attack, where Mieu is propelled forward to break objects and hit switches; and Mieu Wings, where Mieu flaps his ears and lifts the player characters into the air, useful for reaching high platforms and ladders.
Various plot events alter the game's economy, changing prices and item availability in shops; for instance, a shortage in the farming town of Engeve causes food prices to skyrocket, while the outbreak of war leads to a high variety equipment being sold at premium rates—and, consequently, higher profits when selling old gear. Furthermore, the player's actions may alter the prices or even the availability of items available for sale.[clarification needed]
North American exclusives
The North American version of Tales of the Abyss received extra features that are not present in the Japanese version. Guy, Natalia, Van and others gained new Mystic Artes. In addition to receiving a new Mystic Arte herself, Nebilim also gained the use of some of the playable characters' Mystic Artes. Luke and Tear also received new Mystic Arte extensions. Although it is not an "extra feature", the Unknown difficulty for the North American release was modified to be a bit easier for players, with enemy stats multiplied by 3.5 rather than the original x4 in the Japanese version. These exclusives were included in the Japanese 3DS release.
Tales of the Abyss takes place on Auldrant, a planet composed of elementary particles called Fonons (フォニム Fonimu , Fonim in the Japanese version). For much of Auldrant's history, only six fonons were known to exist, representing the elements of Shadow, Earth, Wind, Water, Fire and Light; but eventually a seventh fonon, controlling Sound, is discovered. Its discovery brings great chaos: using this newest Seventh Fonon allows one to read the future. One such Seventh Fonist, Yulia Jue, an important religious figure in the game, puts in place a future for the world for thousands of years to come, with the promise of unlimited prosperity at its end. This prophecy of the future's set path becomes known as the "Score" and is documented on "Fonstones" scattered throughout the world. The nations of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear and Malkuth have fought over the fragments of these tablets for generations, each uncovering them and hoping to discover the future before the other. Meanwhile, a holy order emerges dedicated to the reading of the Score and the keeping of the peace. This "Order of Lorelei" is headed by a Fon Master and maintains both religious/political and military branches. Finally, the Score and its promise of prosperity lead to a dangerous complacency within the general population of Auldrant; the slaughter of an entire people living on the island of Hod and the destruction of that landmass are countenanced because it was predicted in the Score.
Luke Fon Fabre, the young son of Duke Fabre of the Kimlasca Kingdom is the Light of the Sacred Flame, the scion of Lorelei's power, destined to bring prosperity to Kimlasca. Since being kidnapped seven years ago by the Malkuth Empire, he has been kept confined to the Fabre family mansion. The shock of the kidnapping has erased all of Luke's memories prior to the event. One fateful day, a mysterious woman breaks into the mansion and sets off a chain of events that drag Luke into the center of a massive conflict between those who would do anything to see the Score carried out, and those who would see it broken forever.
The game opens with Yulia Jue giving her reading of the Score, more specifically the significance of the birth of "the light of the sacred flame" (Luke). As Yulia ends her reading, the game is sent to the year ND2018, with Luke fon Fabre standing in his room, gazing up at the fonstones in the sky. As he turns to leave his room, he suddenly gets a headache, and with it, hears a mysterious voice. He had been getting these headaches since he was kidnapped seven years ago. His childhood memories were completely erased (at the time it was assumed to be amnesia) and he has had headaches ever since.
The towns in the game also have a parallel to the Sefirot in the Jewish Kabbalah, such as the Keter in the Kabbalah meaning "Crown", Malkuth meaning "Kingship" and Hod being "Splendor".
- Luke fon Fabre
- Luke is the main character. He is 17 and is the only son of a noble family in the kingdom of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear. After a kidnapping incident, all of his childhood memories are erased, causing him to be very selfish and ignorant of the real world. His only hobby is swordsmanship. Luke also possesses the ability to create a "hyperresonance" on his own, an extremely powerful ability when two fonists of the same type use their abilities in tandem. Later in the game he develops feelings for Tear and once tried to tell her his feelings, but failed. As the game progresses, Luke learns that he is actually the "replica" of Asch, the real Luke fon Fabre. This event, along with the abandonment of his friends, prompts Luke to change himself for the better. When he changes, he also changes his looks by cutting his hair to prove that he has and wants to change. He also asks Tear to look after him and to watch over him. According to Lorelei, Luke's name means "Light of the Sacred Flame" in Ancient Ispanian. His seiyu is Chihiro Suzuki while his English voice actor is Yuri Lowenthal.
- Tear Grants
- Tear, full name Mystearica Aura Fende, is 16 and is a Locrian Sergeant of the Order of Lorelei in the Intelligence Division. She is extremely disciplined and feels compelled to be a soldier at all times, though she is sometimes unable to repress her feminine side. She is also a descendant of Yulia and can sing Yulia's Fonic Hymns. She also has a secret fondness for cute things. Her seiyū is Yukana, while her voice actor is unknown.
- Jade Curtiss
- Jade, formerly known as Dr. Jade Balfour, is a colonel of the Malkuth Empire. Jade is sarcastic, pessimistic, honest and logical. He is known as the "Necromancer" for having animated the corpses of dead men. He is the creator of fomicry, a field of science as a means of creating replicas, which has alienated him from people. When the subject of fomicry comes up, he often hates talking about it. He is also very knowledgeable about fonic artes. His seiyū is Takehito Koyasu and his English voice actor is Kirk Thornton.
- Anise Tatlin
- Anise, 13, is the guardian of the Order of Lorelei's highest official. She is a bright and cheerful little girl, but can sometimes show a darker side when provoked, and often hides her emotions when she is suffering. Because of her family's bad financial situation, she seeks to marry into money, and conspires to become Luke's wife, and as a running gag displays an interest in any possible way to make money, even after her family is rescued. As a puppeteer, she can make her stuffed toy, Tokunaga, grow to gigantic proportions and attack enemies. It is later revealed that she is spying on Ion for Mohs because he had helped her family through a difficult time. Her seiyū is Haruko Momoi and her English voice actress is Jolie Jackson. Initially there was confusion over her English actress, but according to Melissa Fahn herself, Jackson is often mistaken for Fahn due to the similarity of their voices.
- Guy Cecil
- Guy is a swordsman in service to House Fabre. He is 21 and he is very loyal and affectionate towards Luke, and considers himself somewhat responsible for Luke's spoiled and selfish personality. It is revealed that due to a bad experience during his childhood, he is morbidly afraid of any physical contact with women. It is also later revealed that he was originally from Hod, and that his real name is Gailardia Galan Gardios. His seiyū is Yasunori Matsumoto and his English voice actor is Johnny Yong Bosch.
- Natalia Luzu Kimlasca-Lanvaldear
- Natalia is the princess of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear who fully believes that the function of nobility is to tend to the needs of their subjects. She is 18 and is loved by her people for her various public works projects. As Luke's fiancée, she scolds him for his spoiled attitude and his dismissal of his duties as a noble. As the game progresses, it is revealed that Natalia is not the birth princess of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear — the true princess was a stillborn, so a midwife replaced the dead baby with the newborn baby of her daughter. Natalia is initially branded a traitor to the kingdom through the machinations of Grand Maestro Mohs and is sentenced to death, but her people rally behind her. Eventually, her father realizes that even though they are not related by blood, Natalia is still his daughter. Natalia is dismayed to later learn that her biological father is Largo the Black Lion of the God-Generals. Her seiyū is Michiko Neya and her English voice actress is Stephanie Sheh.
- Fon Master Ion
- The party of playable characters is accompanied by Fon Master Ion, the leader of the Order of Lorelei, a neutral theocracy trying to calm the power struggle between Malkuth and Kimlasca-Lanvaldear. Though he is not a playable character, he accompanies Luke's party for most of the game. He is calm in most situations, and can utilize Daathic fonic artes, break Daathic seals, and read the Score from fonstones, all of which can easily tire him out. However, Ion is somewhat of a playable character, as he is one of Luke's Mystic Artes during the first half of the game (up to the point of his death). Later in the story, it is revealed that he is the 7th replica of the original Ion, who is, according to the story, dying of an incurable disease. He dies when Mohs drives him to read the Seventh Fonstone. His seiyū was Ikue Ōtani (Yumiko Kobayashi in the anime) and his English voice actor is Erin Fitzgerald.
- Mieu is a small blue mammalian called a cheagle. He joins Luke's group when the elder cheagle exiles him for setting fire to the forest where ligers live, which causes the ligers to hunt the cheagles for food. Since Luke saved Mieu's life, the elder orders him to serve Luke for the time of one year (Luke isn't too happy about that). Cheagles are considered sacred by the Order of Lorelei due to a pact formed with Yulia Jue, symbolized by the Sorcerer's Ring. The ring enables cheagles to communicate with others, as well as use the power of various fonons to gain new skills. His seiyū is Miki Maruyama and his English voice actress is Sandy Fox.
- Grand Maestro Mohs
- The leader of the Maestros of the Order of Lorelei who is obsessed with fulfilling the Score. He attempts to start war between Kimlasca-Lanvaldear and Malkuth multiple times to fulfill the Score, and forces Ion to read the Seventh Fonstone at cost of Ion's life. He later uses Dist's power to make him Fon Master, at the cost of turning him into a hideous monster, and starts the "New Order of Lorelei", obsessed with keeping the Score. He eventually goes insane after finding that the score foretold Auldrant's destruction, and Luke's group is forced to kill him once and for all. His English voice actor is Terrence Stone.
- God Generals
- Van Grants
- Van Grants, full name Vandesdelca Musto Fende, is the main antagonist of the game, Luke's teacher and Tear's older brother. He leads both the Six God-Generals and the Order of Lorelei's main army. He was originally the servant of House Gardios until the island of Hod was destroyed. When Van learns that Hod's destruction was in the Score, and that the prediction had been kept secret, he begins to hate the Score and decides that a world with the Score must be destroyed, especially since he learns that score ultimately predicts Auldrant's destruction. Van soon discovers that replicas are born outside the Score's control and decides to make a world created entirely from replicated people and landscape, at the sacrifice of the original world and population. Van's most powerful subordinates are the Six God-Generals. According to Lorelei, Van's real name, Vandesdelca, means "One Who Would Seize Glory" in Ancient Ispanian. His seiyū is George Nakata while his English voice actor was Michael McConnohie.
- Asch the Bloody
- One of the Six God-Generals, Asch is the original Luke fon Fabre. After being kidnapped by Van, he is replaced by a replica, while he joins the knights under the alias "Asch". He originally goes along with Van until he begins to hate replicas, especially Luke, who has his identity. Asch assaults Luke several times during the early hours of the game. After a certain point in the game, the player can control him from time to time. Asch also occasionally helps the group on later occasions, though he mostly prefers working alone, while keeping his deep hatred for "the replica", Luke. According to Asch, his name is a play on the ashes of the "Holy Flame" that Luke's name represents. He's extremely short tempered and is even more impulsive than Luke. He also has romantic feelings for Natalia, though he never admits it. He later dies fighting a large number of Van's Oracle soldiers. His seiyū in Japanese is Chihiro Suzuki and his English voice actor is Yuri Lowenthal.
- Legretta the Quick
- One of the Six God-Generals, Legretta was once Tear's instructor and formed a sisterly bond with her. She wields a pair of guns and is a brilliant strategist. She remains loyal to Van, under all and most dire of circumstances, and it later revealed to be in love with him (despite that he killed her brother, which this was written in the Score), following his ideals of a world without the Score. In Legretta's final letter to Tear stating her motivations, she signs the letter with her true name, Giselle Oslo, and asks that Tear follow her own ideals and be happy rather than trying to live up to Legretta's example. Her seiyū in Japanese is Miki Itou and her English voice actress is Cindy Robinson.
- Arietta the Wild
- One of the Six God-Generals, Arietta is a timid girl who was raised by ligers after losing her parents to the Hod war. She controls monsters and animals which aid her in battle and wishes to kill Luke's party for killing the liger queen that raised her. She resents Anise for supposedly taking away Ion (whom she was in love with), since Arietta had been the original Ion's Fon Master Guardian. Her seiyū in Japanese is Satsuki Yukino and her English voice actress is Kate Higgins.
- Dist the Reaper
- One of the Six God-Generals, Dist, formerly known as Dr. Saphir Ortion Gneiss (Dr. Saphir Wyon Gneiss in the Japanese version), is a fonon scholar who designs and controls fon machines. He is often found seated in a flying chair, and throws a fit when he feels ignored (mostly by Sync) or is teased (mostly by Jade). Dist shared his childhood with Jade, and considers him his rival. He prefers being called "Dist the Rose" and will often get mad if he is called otherwise. In a contrast to the other God-Generals, he's very comical, though he's still a twisted individual that performs various experiments that disgust even Jade. His seiyū in Japanese is Kazuki Yao while his English voice is provided by Liam O'Brien.
- Sync the Tempest
- One of the Six God-Generals, Sync is a martial artist, as well as the strategist for the Six God-Generals' missions. Because he is the fifth replica of the original Ion, he initially wears a mask to conceal his identity. Sync feels he has no purpose for living because he was considered a failure as a replica of Ion (saying he was "born a piece of meat") and is only an empty vessel for Van's will, and blames the score for causing him to be "stuck with this pathetic life". His seiyū is Ikue Otani and his English voice is provided by Erin Fitzgerald.
- Largo the Black Lion
- Largo is the oldest member of the six God-Generals and leader of the Oracle Knights' shock troops. Formerly known as Badaq, he is Natalia's biological father; in truth, she is not of the royal bloodline. Because of the Score, his wife was forced to give birth and when her daughter was taken to become Princess Natalia, she committed suicide. Losing both wife and child, Largo wandered until he met Van. Agreeing with Van's plan to destroy the Score, he cast aside his old life as mercenary and even abandoned his daughter. His seiyū is Tesshō Genda while his English voice is provided by Jamieson Price.
Nintendo 3DS port
In September 2010, it was revealed at a Nintendo press conference that a port of the game would be coming to the Nintendo 3DS, with a planned release in 2011. The port will make use of the 3D and dual screen capabilities of the system, has new artwork designed by Kousuke Fujishima, and has a recolored logo, similar to the recoloring of Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia's logos for their respective PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 ports. On April 5, 2011, Namco Bandai announced that the 3DS port for Japan had been delayed, but that more release information would be released when available. On April 27, 2011, magazine Nintendo Power has confirmed that the 3DS port will be making its way to North America. Namco Bandai has also confirmed that the game will be heading to Europe for the first time as well.
Tales of the Abyss's soundtrack was mostly composed by Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura, though a few songs were also composed by Motoo Fujiwara, the lead vocalist of the Japanese band Bump of Chicken. The songs composed by him are on the album "Song for Tales of the Abyss". Bump of Chicken also performed the game's opening song, Karma. Different versions of the song are used throughout the game. Tear's Grand Fonic Hymns that she frequently sings, Fuka, are sung by Yukana.
Like past localizations of Tales games, the opening song was replaced by another track. Instead of a completely different song, however, the game uses a new instrumental version of Karma.
An animated TV adaptation of Tales of the Abyss, produced by Bandai Visual, Namco, and Sunrise Animation Studios, began airing on October 4, 2008, and ended its run on March 28, 2009. The show ran for twenty-six episodes. The game's theme song, "Karma" by Bump of Chicken, was reused as the opening theme; as well, most of the voice actors from the game returned to voice the same roles.
On July 22, 2010, Anime News Network announced that the North American anime distributor Bandai Entertainment acquired the licence to the Tales of the Abyss anime. Originally set to release on July 7, 2011, it was later delayed to October 11, 2011 
Three manga adaptations of the Tales of the Abyss game have been created and released in Japan. The first, which is simply named Tales of the Abyss and is written and illustrated by Rei was serialized in Dengeki Maoh. The second, Tales of the Abyss: Asch The Bloody, written by Rin Nijō and illustrated Hana Saitō ran in the official Tales of Magazine.
A third manga adaptation, Tales of the Abyss: Jade in My Memories (Tales of the Abyss -Tsuioku no Jade-) is being written by newer artist Ayumi Kano and will be a side story piece focusing on character Jade Curtiss' background The first chapter premiered in Asuka magazine's April 24, 2009 issue.
The game has been praised for its diverse cast with IGN particularly placing attention on the game's protagonist and his ensuing character development. Others likewise praised the game's dialogue and cut-scene direction, although some questioned both the overabundance of "skits" which popped up from time to time as well as the localization team's decision to omit the voice-acting that accompanied the skits in the Japanese version.
Most reviewers praised the battle system, stating that it was an improvement from earlier Tales installments while at the same time noting that it often devolved into "mindless button mashing". The graphics have received mixed attention. In particular, 1UP.com felt that they were "rough around the edges" and GameSpot pointed out a drop in frame-rate on the world map, along with a generic mix of RPG locales.
In its first year in Japan, Tales of the Abyss sold 440,225 copies.
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- Official PlayStation 2 version site (Japanese)
- Official US PlayStation 2 version site
- Official Nintendo 3DS version site (Japanese)
- Official Bandai channel Tales of the Abyss website (Japanese)
- Official Tokyo MX TV Tales of the Abyss anime website (Japanese)
- Official MBS Tales of the Abyss anime website (Japanese)
- Tales of the Abyss at PlayStation.com
- Tales of the Abyss (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
Tales seriesMothership Titles First release RemakesEscort Titles Tales of the WorldNarikiri Dungeon 2 · Summoner's Lineage · Narikiri Dungeon 3 · Radiant Mythology · Radiant Mythology 2 · Radiant Mythology 3 Others and remakesAnimation Original Video AnimationPhantasia · Symphonia Television seriesEternia · Abyss Theatrical filmVesperia: The First StrikeRelated Developers Animation Companies PublishersList of Tales media
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