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Tales of the Abyss

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Tales of the Abyss
TotA Logo
Information
Game Systems PlayStation 2
Nintendo 3DS
Developers Namco Tales Studio
Publishers JP Namco
NA Namco Bandai Games America
Character Designers Kousuke Fujishima
Composers Motoi Sakuraba
Shinji Tamura
Motoo Fujiwara
Japanese Releases PS2 December 15, 2005
3DS June 30, 2011
North American Releases PS2 October 10, 2006
3DS February 14, 2012
European Releases 3DS November 25, 2011
Opening Theme "Karma" by Bump of Chicken
Ending Theme "Fonic Hymn Fuka" by Yukana
Ratings JP (original) CERO: FREE (all ages)
("the Best") CERO: A (all ages)
NA     ESRB: T (Teen, 13+)

Tales of the Abyss (テイルズ オブ ジ アビス Teiruzu obu ji Abisu?) is a console role-playing game for the Sony PlayStation 2 and later Nintendo 3DS, developed by Namco Tales Studio, published by Namco in Japan and by Namco Bandai Games in North America. It is the eighth Mothership Title in the Tales series. The game's characteristic genre translates to "Discovering the Meaning of Life RPG" (生まれた意味を知るRPG Umareta imi wo shiru RPG?).

Story

Setting

Tales of the Abyss takes place on Auldrant, a planet composed of elementary particles called Fonons. For much of Auldrant's history, only six fonons were known to exist, representing the elements of Shadow, Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Light; but eventually a seventh fonon, Sound, is discovered. Its discovery brings great chaos: using this newest Seventh Fonon allows one to read the future. One such Seventh Fonist, Yulia Jue, puts in place a future for the world for thousands of years to come, with the promise of unlimited prosperity at its end. This prophecy of the future's set path becomes known as the Score and is documented on Fonstones scattered throughout the world. The nations of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear and Malkuth have fought over the fragments of these tablets for generations, each uncovering them and hoping to discover the future before the other. Meanwhile, a holy order emerges dedicated to the reading of the Score and the keeping of the peace. This Order of Lorelei is headed by a Fon Master and maintains both religious, political, and military branches. Finally, the Score and its promise of prosperity lead to a dangerous complacency within the general population of Auldrant; the slaughter of an entire people living on the island of Hod and the destruction of that landmass are countenanced because it was predicted in the Score.

Plot

Luke fon Fabre is the young scion of House Fabre, a noble house in the Kingdom of Kimlasca. Seven years previously, he was kidnapped by persons unknown and developed complete retrograde amnesia, even having to relearn basic skills like how to walk. Since then, he has been forbidden to leave the walls of his manor until he comes of age. He spends his days learning swordsmanship from his mentor Van Grants, the Commandant of the Oracle Knights, the military branch of the Order of Lorelei, hanging out with his manservant and best friend Guy Cecil, and being harassed by his childhood friend Natalia Luzu Kimlasca-Lanvaldear, the princess of Kimlasca with whom he has made a forgotten marriage proposal. Luke's life is torn asunder when a mysterious fonist called Tear Grants infiltrates his manor and attempts to assassinate Van. While defending his master, a strange power resonates between Luke and Tear, teleporting them halfway across the world. Tear explains that she had not realized that Luke was a seventh fonist like herself. While initially ecstatic at his newfound freedom, Luke quickly decides that he wants to return home. As the person responsible for their predicament, Tear agrees to accompany him.

The two discover that they have landed in Malkuth, which currently has high political tensions with Kimlasca-Lanvaldear. On their journey back, Luke unwittingly gains the year-long servitude of a Cheagle named Mieu, who immediately starts to annoy him. They are arrested by Jade Curtiss, a genius fonist known as the "Necromancer" and colonel in Malkuth's army- and his second-in-command, Fon Master Guardian Anise Tatlin. They have been ordered to accompany Ion, the Fon Master of the Order of Lorelei, to Kimlasca with a letter of peace; as Luke is a Kimlascan noble and they are headed in the same direction, Jade and Anise agree to accompany him. Unfortunately, their transport warship is attacked by the Six God-Generals of the Oracle Knights, intent on "retrieving" Fon Master Ion in the name of Grand Maestro Mohs. The party discover that the God-Generals are forcing Ion to unlock Fonic Seals all across the world, and learn more about a fonic technique called "replication", which can create a perfect copy of anything. Despite much hardship the party makes it back to Kimlasca, reuniting with Van along the way. While traveling, Luke experiences several crippling headaches. Van takes Luke aside and reveals that they are a sign that he can control hyperresonance, a power that can allow him to become a legendary hero. He also tells Luke that Kimlasca plans to use his hyperresonance as a weapon, and offers to rescue him from a life of confinement. Luke eagerly accepts.

Luke and the party are sent by Duke Fabre to aid the mining town of Akzeriuth, which has become overrun by poisonous miasma. Natalia accompanies them after eavesdropping on Luke's conversation with Van and blackmailing him. Drunk on his heroic aspirations, Luke unwittingly alienates the rest of the party with his selfish and single-minded behavior. Meeting Van at Akzeriuth, the Commandant leads Luke deep below the city to a mighty structure known as a Sephiroth. Van then uses a post-hypnotic suggestion to force Luke to use his hyperresonance and destroy the Sephiroth, causing Akzeriuth to sink into the ground and be destroyed. Luke is only saved by the intervention of Tear, who uses her fonic hymns to form a barrier that takes them safely underground. Though Luke argues that he is not at fault for the destruction of Akzeriuth, the rest of the party turn their backs on him.

The party discover an entire underworld beneath the planet's surface known as the Qliphoth, a deadly sea of miasma. The world they know is actually being held aloft above the poisonous miasma by the Sephiroth. Tear also reveals that she was born in the Qliphoth, in a place called Yulia City. Luke is comatose from the use of his hyperresonance and the revelation that he is a replica of God-General Asch, created as a decoy to cover up Van's kidnapping of the real Luke Fon Fabre. Asch was too strong-willed to be brainwashed by Van and instead became a double-agent; however, he despises Luke for usurping his life and for being too narrow-minded and weak against Van's plot. Though the rest of the party abandons Luke to join Asch in chasing after Van, Tear stays behind. When Luke regains consciousness, he vows to change himself for the better, cutting off his long hair to signify his commitment.

The party discovers that Van, knowing that the Score actually predicts destruction instead of prosperity and disgusted by the world's submission to it, plans to use illegal replication techniques to create a replica of the entire world and everyone in it. He theorizes that replicas fall outside of the control of the Score, and by replicating everything mankind will finally be free. Unfortunately, his plan requires the original world to be destroyed to make space for the replica. Van uses the Planet Storm to amass enough Seventh Fonons to power his replication machines; this also has the effect of creating powerful earthquakes that will destroy the outer world, killing two birds with one stone.Luke and Tear reunite with the others and save the world by finding a way to lower the floating continents of the world gently. They defeat the six God-Generals, who are all sympathetic to Van's plan for various reasons, and confront the Commandant in the Absorption Gate. Though Van dismisses Luke as a weak replica, he is defeated in combat and throws himself off a ledge into the very heart of the planet itself.

Several months later, Luke is still struggling with his nature as a replica, believing that he has no right to usurp what it rightfully Asch's place in the world. He is spurred into action by the reappearance of the God-Generals, revealing that Van is actually still alive and continuing his plan to destroy the world. Worse still, Van has assimilated Lorelei, a powerful being said to be the personification of the Seventh Fonon, into himself, granting him incredible power and causing the poisonous miasma to leak through into the world. Ion is killed by Grand Maestro Mohs by making him read the Planet Score after Anise betrays the party, having been blackmailed by Mohs into acting as his spy. Mohs' blind faith in the prosperity promised by the Score leads him to aligning himself with Van. Dist places a fonic glyph on Mohs at his request, in order to control the Seventh Fonon and become the new Fon Master. However, his body is also transformed into that of a grotesque purple monster. As time passes, his body rejects the Seventh Fonon because Mohs is not a true seventh fonist, which causes his mind to deteriorate.

The party, understanding the difficult position Anise was in, forgive her and pursue Van to his stronghold: a replica of his destroyed hometown Hod, now renamed Eldrant. To free Lorelei from Van's grasp, they search for and retrieve two items gifted to them by Lorelei: the Key of Lorelei, a sword granted to Asch, and the Jewel of Lorelei, which is granted to Luke. With the willing sacrifice of the replicas that Van hoped to populate his new world, Luke and Asch use hyperresonance to completely neutralize the miasma. However, the strain of this causes Luke to develop a terminal condition, which he hides from everyone but Tear and Jade.

On Eldrant, the party fights the remainder of the God-Generals after defeating the crazed Mohs at the Radiation Gate. Deep within Eldrant, Luke and Asch are separated from the rest of the group and, realizing that the room is built in such a way that only one of them can proceed, fight each other. The fight is not only to determine who should proceed and fight Van, but also to settle their own internal struggles to establish themselves as individuals. Luke is victorious and Asch gives him the Key of Lorelei. While Luke is on his way to confront Van, Asch truly accepts himself as "Luke Fon Fabre" and dies while holding off a wave of replica soldiers. The party finally confronts Van at the heart of Eldrant. Through battle they force him to draw on more of Lorelei's power, causing him to lose control of the being in the process. With the aid of a fonic hymn passed down by Yulia, Luke defeats Van and uses the completed Key of Lorelei to free Lorelei. The impact of the release causes the destruction of Eldrant, and Luke is cast down into the earth alongside the body of Asch. Two years later, Tear and the other party members are commemorating Luke and Asch's sacrifice at the site of Eldrant's fall. As they are about to leave, a mysterious figure walks through the flowers toward them: the supposed amalgamation of Luke and Asch, reunited with the party.

Characters

Protagonists

TotA Characters

Official artwork of the protagonists in the game.

  • Luke fon Fabre - An amnesic aristocrat who was confined to his family's manor following a kidnapping seven years ago. One day, he was suddenly spirited away from his home and to a far valley on the other side of the world due to an accidental hyperresonance when Tear Grants attempted to assassinate his swordmaster Van Grants. With little experience with regards to life outside the manor and normal human relationships, Luke is suddenly forced to find his way back home. After he finds himself involved in a far larger struggle, he transforms from a spoiled child into a selfless hero.
  • Tear Grants - A Seventh Fonist who promised to bring Luke back to his manor after accidentally transporting him into Malkuth territory following her failed attempt at assassinating Van. Her parents were killed when she was very young, and ever since she has been raised as a soldier by the Order of Lorelei. She is later revealed to be the younger sister of Van, her true name being Mystearica Aura Fende. Wielding a small staff and fonic hymns, Tear is the primary healer, but has a small selection of melee moves, along with a few light-based fonic artes.
  • Guy Cecil - Luke fon Fabre's childhood friend and a servant of the Fabre household. Guy departed in search of Luke following his disappearance, eventually finding Luke cooperating with the Malkuth military after rescuing him from the Oracle Knights. It is later revealed that Guy is really the last remaining member of the House of Gardios, and is, therefore, both a Malkuth aristocrat and the rightful governor of the Isle of Hod. His original purpose in joining the Fabre household was his desire for revenge against Duke Fabre, who slaughtered his family. Guy fights with a sword in the Sigmund style swordsmanship, a style that is unique to Hod and developed as a branch of the Albert style that Luke uses.
  • Jade Curtiss - A colonel in the Malkuth Empire's military who travels the land in a dreadnought called the Tartarus. Jade first encounters Luke in the Grocer's Hamlet, Engeve, while escorting Fon Master Ion, whom he rescues, alongside Tear and Luke, from the Liger Queen. His mastery of fonic artes is renowned throughout Auldrant, and many soldiers fear his reputation as "Jade the Necromancer," a somewhat erroneous title stemming from the belief that he collected corpses after each battle to reanimate for use as his own troops. Jade is also known as the "Father of Fomicry" and, in his childhood, in addition to developing the basis of the technology, studied under Professor Gelda Nebilim Nebilim before he attempted to use the Seventh Fonon. As he is not normally capable of wielding its power, it quickly escaped his control and starting a fire, badly injuring Professor Nebilim and destroying her home. As she lay on the brink of death, Jade attempted to create a replica, though it became unstable for a lack of first and sixth fonons, leading it to kill several nearby fonists before being sealed away by the Malkuth military. It is later revealed that, in addition to his sister Nephry Osborne, Jade counted both Saphir Gneiss and the future Emperor Peony among his childhood friends.
  • Anise Tatlin - A Fon Master Guardian whose family was once stricken by massive debt due to the wanton actions of her gullible father Oliver and trusting mother Pamela. Anise, and her parents, are effectively the indentured servants of Grand Maestro Mohs, to whom Anise is shown to be grudgingly loyal so long as he holds her parents under his power. She feels that it is her duty to marry into wealth in order to relieve the burden of her parents' debt, at first targeting Luke as her future wife, though she is too young, by the laws of the Order, to marry. Anise is originally portrayed as being quite greedy, although this image is somewhat-altered when the dire financial status of her parents is discovered. With the removal and later death of the Grand Maestro, her focus shifts from marrying Luke to reforming the Order of Lorelei and becoming its first female Fon Master.
  • Natalia Luzu Kimlasca-Lanvaldear - The bow-wielding princess of the kingdom of Kimlasca, Natalia is engaged to Luke and the two are to be wed once he reaches the age of 20, though Luke himself does not appear to be delighted by the thought, and is often shown to be rude to his cousin, after whom he is third in the line of succession. It is later revealed that Natalia is not the true princess Natalia, who was stillborn, but is rather the daughter of Badaq and Sylvia Oakland, and was given the name Meryl by her true parents. Although his advisers originally push for Natalia to be executed for the crime of impersonating royalty, King Ingobert VI, after a great deal of uncertainty on the subject, decides that regardless of her lineage, he will accept Natalia as his daughter and heiress. Although she is shown to possess a genuine concern for her biological father, Natalia kills him with an arrow after he is fought in the Absorption Gate.
  • Fon Master Ion - The young leader of the Order of Lorelei, Ion appears to be a rather sickly boy who is capable of unleashing immense power in short bursts, after which he is often shown to be entirely drained. He is one of few people alive capable of using Daathic fonic artes, though his weak constitution is later revealed to have been caused by the fact that he is not the true Ion, but rather a replica of the original Fon Master who died of an unnamed illness years ago. Although seven replicas were made in total, only three—Ion, Sync and Florian are known to have survived—with "Ion" himself possessing the powers nearest to the original Fon master, Sync being able to use Daathic fonic arts but lacking the power to read the score and Florian able to read the score, but not apparently able to do anything else.
  • Mieu - A young Cheagle who was exiled from his tribe after almost bringing destruction to the forest in which they live by accidentally setting the part of the forest inhabited by ligers ablaze. After the fire the Cheagles were forced to gather food for the displaced monsters, turning toward Engeve as the nearest source of food. As his punishment, he is to go travel with Luke and to act as his servant. He is often abused by Luke, by whom he is addressed as "Thing" even after Luke's great shift in disposition, even going so far as to say "you are a thing" after apologizing for calling him so. Around his stomach, he wears the Sorcerer's Ring, an item given to the Cheagles by Yulia Jue, which both allows him to speak human language and to shoot fire from his mouth without tiring, and later to break various items such as rocks, and even fly for a brief span of time.

Antagonists

  • Van Grants - The commandant of the Oracle Knights and Luke's mentor who plans to destroy Auldrant along with its inhabitants and create a replica of the planet. Van is a powerful swordsman who also uses fonic artes and later fonic hymns, in battle. His real name is Vandesdelca Musto Fende and he is the older brother to Tear Grants.
  • Asch - A mysterious God-General who looks exactly like Luke. It is later revealed that Asch was the original Luke and that the person who has come to be known as Luke is his replica, thereby accounting for his supposed amnesia and possessing an entirely different personality. This invokes mixed feelings among Luke's companions, who feel that they should be loyal to the original Luke. Asch refuses to take the name "Luke," however, saying that he is no longer that person, and all of Luke's friends return to him. After Luke reunites with the party, Asch works in the shadows, refusing to join the party.
  • Legretta - One of the six God-Generals that serve the Order of Lorelei, Legretta is a sharpshooter who wields two small handguns. When Tear was still in training, she was taught directly by Legretta, whom she admired. Legretta believes that too many people's lives are ruled by the Score, and that each person should have free will.
  • Sync - One of the six God-Generals that serve the Order of Lorelei. Sync is fast-footed martial artist who wears a distinctive mask to cover his face so that people will not recognize him as a replica of Ion. He hates the score because he was cast aside to a pointless existence for being unable to replace Ion and aid in the continued fulfillment the score.
  • Arietta - One of the six God-Generals that serve the Order of Lorelei. Arietta is a young girl who was orphaned at a young age and adopted by a family of ligers. The party's first boss battle, Liger Queen, is the Liger that adopted her. After the Queen's defeat, Arietta swears vengeance on the party. She also has a grudge against Anise who replaced her as fon master guardian. Arietta was fired, not because of Anise, but because she had guarded the real Ion and, following his replacement, she would recognize the imposter. She fights with magic and monsters such as ligers and can understand animal languages.
  • Largo - One of the six God-Generals that serve the Order of Lorelei. Largo is a massive man with incredible strength who wears heavy armor and wields a scythe. Later in the game it is realized that he is Natalia's father Badaq.
  • Dist - One of the six God-Generals that serves the Order of Lorelei. An effeminate fon tech expert, Dist uses machines to fight in his stead. He is the one who made Anise's Tokunaga in return for being nice to him once. He also studied with Jade under Professor Neblim. Even though Jade's replica failed, Dist still strives to bring back Professor Neblim.
  • Grand Maestro Mohs - A high ranked member of the Order, all Mohs strives for is the fulfillment of the Score. He is willing to cause war to this end, and later is transformed to a revolting purple monster in order to become the Fon Master of the New Order of Lorelei.

Features

Theme Song

The game's Japanese theme song is "Karma", performed by BUMP OF CHICKEN and played during the game's opening sequence. Its lyrics and vocals were removed for the American release however, and the voice was replaced by electric guitars. A few background musics such as "Mirrors" and "Meaning of Birth" are based on this melody. In the anime, this song was also used for the title theme.

Battle System

The game's Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System (FR-LMBS) is real-time. The game controls are very similar to other Tales games, especially Tales of Symphonia, except with increased maneuverability. The player can attack, defend, perform a skill or call up a menu with multiple functions, such as using items or commanding an ally to perform an action. This system offers multiplayer co-op battles, and the camera for this mode is improved over the one found in Tales of Symphonia, zooming out as characters move away from each other so that other players are now always on screen. A new feature, "Free Run," allows the player character to run in any direction, unlike previous Tales games.

The game features many skills and spells to unleash upon enemies. Characters can learn "AD Skills," which can be equipped and unequipped at will, to help them in battles. The game features a large number of these skills, acquired through the use of "Capacity Cores" — items that give stat bonuses when a character levels up. Once a certain statistic has a large enough bonus, the AD skill is learned automatically. A new addition to the system is the "Field of Fonons", often abbreviated as FOF. Whenever a character uses a spell or battle technique that features an elemental alignment, a circle will appear on the ground, corresponding to that element. After being reinforced with more techniques of the same element, the circle will light up in that element's color to signify that an FOF change is available. Finally, if a character stands in the circle and performs a specific skill that corresponds with the FOF circle, the skill will be upgraded into a more powerful version. Enemies can also use and create FOF fields. As with other Tales games, characters can engage in "Over Limit" mode when their green OVL bar is full. This can be filled by completing combos and making critical hits. During Over Limit, characters can use their mystic artes, powerful skills that can only be performed when certain conditions are fulfilled. Every character has one standard mystic arte, along with an additional hidden one unlockable only on repeat plays. Enemy boss characters have mystic artes as well.

Recurring features

Many recurring features in the Tales series return, such as skits, Grade, cooking, and titles:

  • Skits are short conversations that may be viewed when prompted. During a skit, anime-style faces of the characters taking part in the skit appear and interact with each other. The characters in skits are animated, sometimes shaking, growing larger, or moving across the screen to accentuate what is happening in the skit. Skits can range from dramatic to comedic, and address a wide range of subjects. Some skits are related to the main plot, and some can only be obtained through optional side events. Unlike the Japanese version, the skits in the English version are not voiced.
  • Grade is awarded after each battle, either raising or lowering the player's total number of points depending on how the battle was played. For example, defeating the enemies within a short period or time or getting a large combo will increase the grade awarded; characters being killed or having negative status effects on them will lower the grade acquired. At the end of the game, players can purchase bonuses for the next playthrough.
  • Abyss also features a cooking system. The player collects recipes and ingredients throughout the game, and can use them to cook. Different recipes require different items and have different effects. The player can increase characters' cooking stats for each recipe by having them cook the recipe frequently.
  • Abyss features titles which each character gains through a series of tasks or events. Titles have various effects, some of which are stat-related. In the tradition of newer Tales games, some of these titles also change costumes. Each character has unique costumes; to acquire additional costumes, the player must accomplish certain tasks. Unlike other Tales games, every title in Tales of the Abyss carries a special effect, varying from discounts in shops to recovering small amounts of HP periodically.

Sorcerer's Ring

The Sorcerer's Ring is a magical item that Mieu wears around his waist, and can be upgraded by the power of concentrated Fonons in certain dungeons to perform different helpful actions. These include Mieu Fire, where Mieu blows a ball of fire straight forward, used to activate switches and solve various puzzles; Mieu Attack, where Mieu is propelled forward to break objects and hit switches; and Mieu Wings, where Mieu flaps his ears and lifts the player characters into the air, useful for reaching high platforms and ladders.

Game economy

Various plot events alter the game's economy, changing prices, and item availability in shops. For instance, a shortage in the farming town of Engeve causes food prices to skyrocket, while the outbreak of war leads to a high variety of equipment being sold at premium rates, though at higher profits when selling old gear. Furthermore, the player's actions may alter the prices or even availability of items for sale.

North America Exclusives

Most Tales games have been mere localizations, but the North American PlayStation 2 version of Tales of the Abyss received extra features that are not present in the Japanese version. Guy, Natalia, Van and others gained new mystic artes; in addition to receiving a new mystic arte herself, Nebilim also gained the use of some of the playable characters' mystic artes. Luke and Tear also received new mystic arte extensions. There are many minor monster statistic changes as well. All versions of the Nintendo 3DS port are based on the North American PlayStation 2 version, although the monster statistics have been reverted to their original Japanese stats.

Animation

The Tales of the Abyss anime is a 26 episode-long series inspired by the game. The opening theme is "Karma" by BUMP OF CHICKEN, and its ending theme is "Bouken Suisei" by Kurumi Enomoto.

Version History

Game Title System Catalog Number Release Date Region
Tales of the Abyss
テイルズ オブ ジ アビス
PlayStation 2 - September 16, 2005 Japan (TGS 2005 Demo)
Tales of the Abyss
テイルズ オブ ジ アビス
PlayStation 2 SCAJ-20163
SLPS-25586
SLUS-21386
SLPS-73252
December 13, 2005
December 15, 2005
October 10, 2006
June 28, 2007
Asia
Japan
North America
Japan ("PlayStation 2 the Best")
Tales of the Abyss
テイルズ オブ ジ アビス
Nintendo 3DS CTR-P-AABJ
?
CTR-P-AABE
June 30, 2011
November 10, 2011
February 14, 2012
Japan
Europe
North America

Gallery

TotA PS2 The Best (NTSC-J) game cover.jpg
The cover for the Japanese PlayStation 2 version of the game. 
TotA PS2 (NTSC-U) game cover.jpg
The cover for the North American PlayStation 2 version of the game. 
Tota us.jpg
The cover for the North American Nintendo 3DS version of the game. 
Tota eu.gif
The cover for the European 3DS version of the game. 

Trivia

  • Tales of Abyss has music as a major theme, through which several elements of the game have been named and styled after.
    • The Score is a collection of sheet music for all parts in a given musical piece, typically used by the conductor to lead the performance of his or her orchestra.
    • The Seventh Fonon represents the element of sound.
    • Many of the ranks within in the Order of Lorelei, such as Locrian Colonel, Dorian General, and Grand Maestro, are named for music terms.
    • Several enemies in the game, along with architectural details in a few settlements, are based on tuning forks.
  • Another major naming motif derives from the Sefirot of Jewish tradition, lending many terms from the Kabbalah to several settlements throughout the world.

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