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Tales of the Abyss - Tokyo Game Show Impression

Tales of the Abyss
Platform:
Developer: Tales Studio
Developer: Namco
ESRB: Pending
Release Date: 12.15.2005 (Japan)
Coming out swinging

Do you like my dress?

The RPG Staple: Purple lightning

Obligatory cute mascot

Ack! A fangirl!

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Ever since playing Tales of Phantasia for the first time over six years ago, I've become a huge fan of the series, and as such will admit a slight bias towards any game from this massive series from Namco. Not to say that there haven't been some misses in the series though, and there are more than a few people who are turned off by its trademark real-time battles. Nevertheless, the latest incarnation in the series, Tales of the Abyss, should please those who wish the series to continue, and out of all of the titles I previewed at this year's Tokyo Game Show, it's my personal favorite.

"...out of all of the titles I previewed at this year's Tokyo Game Show, it's my personal favorite."

As battles are central to Tales games, fans will be happy to know that they are very quick, and for all intents and purposes, they are 3D as well. Not true 3D in the sense of the Star Ocean series, but each character is able to fight on an individual line to take on an enemy. The neat thing to this though is that characters can change directions and switch lines with little to no effort at all, not to mention firing off an number of skills or attacks as they see fit. It makes for quick battles, and these battles are also timed and average as they have been in previous titles.

The 10-minute demo allowed by Namco showed off a sequence near the beginning of the game in a forest/jungle like environment which showed that the game has an impressive look to it as well. It's not necessarily the most polished of all the PS2 RPGs at the show (that honor would have to go to Suikoden V or Kingdom Hearts II), but it is certainly a great step up from the sprite-based days of the PlayStation Tales titles.

Given the relative strength of the series and its completion (it looks pretty much ready to go), this title should move a few units and then some. While the only confirmed release date is December 15th for Japan, if the success of Tales of Symphonia was any indication, chances are likely that this title will make its way to North America in the near future. At the very least, it will give Tales fans on the other side of the Pacific a reason to celebrate owning a non-modded PS2.



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