Tales of the Abyss was first released back in 2005 on the Playstation 2, and now graces a system begging for JRPGs of its own instead of relying on backwards compatibility. The 3DS version offers some welcome enhancements over the PS2 version, most notably a locked framerate at a solid 30 FPS and faster load times. The original PS2 version could achieve 60 FPS but frequently dipped in the lower teens during intense combat, so despite running at half the originals maximum framerate the change is very welcome.
Visually this game looks like a PS2 game scaled down onto the 3DS, there aren’t any fancy uses of shaders to improve the graphics here. It was scaled to fit the 3DS widescreen and was given 3D visuals. That is the extent of the visual changes of this port. While it is very disappointing the game is hardly unattractive. It has a distinct anime appearance and as such makes great use of colors, something we rarely see in larger game releases these days. It is just slightly disappointing to see Tales look like a PS2 game when upcoming portable releases on the Vita are approaching PS3 level visuals.
Sound is of decent quality. The soundtrack is decent but not striking, and the voice acting is adequate. There is nothing here that will cause an eargasm but it won’t infuriate you, which is something to be sad for a JRPG with full on voice acting.
Tales brings with it a solid JRPG pedigree. Stats, equipment, and skills will all make sense for veterans of the genre. Because of the dated source for the port Tales won’t confuse players with any stretches of the genre’s definition. The only thing to watch out for is the action orientated combat. Tales isn’t turn based and allows players to freely run around in a 3D battlefield during combat, with special moves being executed in the manner of an action game. Attacks are based on the direction you hold and the buttons you press. You can pause the action to manage your allies as well as item usage, but for the most part you will want to be right in the thick of the action swinging away.
While this port can feel dated in many ways, and it is, at the end of the day it is a very solid JRPG experience with plenty of content buried within. As a bonus the game is in limited print, meaning it will probably be slightly difficult to obtain in the future. Fans of the Tales series or JRPGs in general will not be disappointed and collectors will enjoy the limited print novelty.
Official Website of the game: http://www.namco.com/console/tales-of-the-abyss