Free Run (フリーラン Furiiran?) is a game mechanic in the Tales series that began with Tales of the Abyss and has since progressed with subsequent titles. The concept originated with Tales of Symphonia but was ultimately not incorporated fully into the game due to fear of collapse.
Tales of the Abyss introduced Free Run with the Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System (FR-LMBS) battle system. Free Run enables to the player to run in any direction on the battlefield during a fight, redirecting the character's linear path for far greater maneuverability. This mechanic is activated by holding a button and moving the control stick to roam freely and better position the character for combat. While Free Run is active, the character is unable to attack, and the button used to trigger Free Run must be released before the character can engage an enemy.
Free Run serves as a temporary halt to the linear system, allowing a character to readjust his or her location and proximity to an enemy before assuming the linear structure again, such as in Tales of Symphonia, in which characters are bound to a single line with their targeted enemy. Characters are capable of moving forward and backward on this line, maintaining the "linear" aspect of the battle system.
The mechanic was replicated for Tales of Innocence, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, and the Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology series of games, but it was enhanced with Tales of Vesperia, which grants a character a single normal attack while Free Run is active, thereby canceling the mechanic and allowing for the character to proceed with a traditional chain of attacks. These games, unlike Tales of the Abyss, slightly nerfed the functionality of Free Run by making it more sluggish than that of the linear movement, as the version of the mechanic in Abyss made it far easier to quickly avoid most incoming attacks or spells. Tales of Graces introduced penalties to Free Run, causing it to drain Chain Capacity while active and requiring a delay prior to activation, specifically to encourage the use of the Around Step functionality.