Luke is a rich noble that was kidnapped when he was a kid, he came back from his kidnapping with amnesia and still can’t remember his life before that point. Since then he had been isolated in the Fabre Mansion. However, he is also the center of a fateful prophecy, so of course that confinement doesn’t last long once the game starts. A woman named Tear breaks in and he is whisked away to be thrown into all the political dilemmas of the world.

 Luke in ToA

The world was bright and beautiful and the perfect cartoon feel for me. Running around this world made me happy. I found the soundtrack pleasing too, I was particularly fond of how they did the opening animation sequence. I actually liked it better in the North American release then the Japanese, the animation matched the beat of the instrumental music well.

I also enjoyed the battle system, some have complained of it being a bit of a button masher…but I enjoyed battles all through the game. I can’t tell you HOW excited I was when I (accidentally) triggered the use of my first Mystic Arte, I felt POWERFUL! I REALLY loved those attacks. I liked a lot of the side quests too, I was particularly determined to gain as many titles in the first playthrough as I could. There are some titles only available on a 2nd play through…but I’d rather play another game then put in another 80 hours replaying this one. These days no matter how good an RPG is though I rarely have an inclination to replay it if I have a pile of unplayed games.

ToA Run

The plot…I LOVED the plot for the first half of the game…not a REVOLUTIONARY plot mind you but I was still anxious to have certain questions answered. The questions that I wanted answered the most were almost all taken care of by the halfway point, but as a result the 2nd half didn’t seem to have as much going for it plot-wise for me. The 2nd half seemed like it was mostly running around with the goal of saving the world and not much more. Keep in mind that is a generalization, and there were plot points revealed in the 2nd half, but they didn’t compare to the first half for me.  I remember putting down the game and thinking it would have been one of my favorite PS2 RPGs had it been shorter, my love of the characters was enough to push me through to the end though. At the very least the 2nd half of the game reveals Jade’s past, and I found that part interesting. He was already my favorite character by that point but learning about his past just justified it even more :) I admittedly didn’t like the look of his character design when I saw him on the cover, but he had my love at his first sarcastic comment. Jade’s side comments really give this game some smile worthy humor. I had a strong connection with the characters because I sympathized with a few of them and their pasts. A game pretty much wins automatically if they can get me to take an interest in my characters like that.

ToA Screenshot

This game came at the perfect time for me, I was looking to immerse myself in an RPG just like this one at the time. I wanted lovely scenery, animated scenes, a unique battle system (this was my first Tales game), and compelling characters. And I do feel like I did get all that, although in all honesty I think I’m fairly easy to please when it comes to RPGs, so keep that in mind. So if you’re looking for just one RPG to play on PS2 then pick something else besides Tales of the Abyss, but otherwise I still recommend this game if the fact that it’s 80 hours doesn’t scare you. I should note though…I wasn’t THAT fond of the ending shown after the credits.