The 3DS has been having the same problem since release that pretty much every new handheld has had since the DS: a lack of good games and a lack of variety of titles. RPGs are usually a type of game that starts showing up in high numbers relatively late in the lifespan of a handheld, especially in NA region where only simple translations are needed. The first RPG to hit the 3DS in North America is Tales of The Abyss, an entry in the famous Namco Bandai RPG series, which has previously already been released as a PS2 game and an animated series.
The 3DS version of Tales of the Abyss is literally the same game as the PS2 version with some minor graphical and interface tweaks. For instance, load times are a lot faster and almost instant which feels good. The game is still around 60+ hours long and contains the same characters found in the original version from NA. The story centers around a young noble named Luke who is trapped in his parents’ estate after being kidnapped several years ago by an enemy nation. He is now not allowed to leave until he turns 18 (at which point he will be forced to live in the castle of the king after marrying the princess.) Early in the game, as you can probably guess, by strange circumstances he is freed from his home and teleported across the map to the enemy territory and this is where his adventure to go home and hopefully save the world from the brink of war begins.
Characters are endearing, and the game features a ton of optional mini dialogue skits between major events in the game. Gameplay is in the form of semi-random battles where there are avatars of enemies on the world or dungeon maps that you run into and have to battle in 3rd person semi-action style combat. Combat options start out limited, but as you learn new artes and AD skills through capacity cores you find during the game (cores that when equipped boost stats when you level and give new skill sets) battles become much more strategy based. You can rearrange your party any way you like. If you do not want to, you do not even have to include the main character in your party. As well as combat, there is crafting and tons of side quests to have fun with.
Graphics look good, but there is one major caveat for this 3DS version. The 3D looks atrocious. As in every time I put it on it feels as if I am trying to peer through a fish tank covered in algae to see the game. Believe me; I have freak eyes that never get tired from the 3D effect. This is the first game I have encountered where the 3D is just plain lame compared to regular plain old non-3D. Voice acting and music are pretty good. The English voice actors do not sound too far off from the original Japanese.
In the end, if you have a 3DS and you feel like many other gamers – myself included – that there is a severe drought of games that have long and rewarding experiences, this 60 hour RPG is a pretty great addition to your 3DS collection. If you are just a fan of RPGs in general you will enjoy this. If you have played the game before, there is nothing new being offered by this version however.
- Long and tons of content
- Fast loading times and almost fully voice acted
- Fun combat and memorable characters
- No new content
- 3D effect is really bad
- Some slowdown on world map