It's a little rough around the edges, but it's very addictive and enjoyable.
The story starts out with a spoiled teenage boy named Luke who hasn't been allowed to leave his manor after he was kidnapped a few years prior. One day, everything becomes chaotic when a mysterious girl named Tear comes to his manor and accidentally teleports herself and Luke to a valley. The story starts out with Luke and Tear trying to find their way back to Luke's manor. They pick up some friends along the way and eventually get back to the manor, but after that, the story takes off in an interesting direction. The story also deals with interesting themes, and Tales of the Abyss is easily the most emotional game I've played in the Tales series.
The story may be interesting, but I had some issues with the pacing. The story starts off slowly like most Tales games do, but the story hits a boring spot in the middle. It picks up again near the end, but the middle of the game drags on and is somewhat uninteresting. The characters are ultimately what help pick up the slack when the story hits its bland spots, and they each have interesting backgrounds. This game easily has some of my favorite characters in the Tales series.
The graphics were downgraded for the 3DS, but they still look okay. The biggest issue I had with the downgrading, though, is that the anime cutscenes are a bit blurry and pixilated. This isn't too much of a problem, but it's still worth nothing. The character models looked good, and the scenery wasn't bad either. Also, I don't recommend playing the game in 3D. The 3D effects look awful, so it's better just to leave the 3D effects off.
The voice acting is incredible. None of the characters sound awkward or forced, and the voice actors really bring these characters to life. My main gripe about the voice acting, however, is that there isn't any in the character skits. This is especially disappointing when considering that this could've been fixed when the game was ported over to the 3DS.
The soundtrack is fairly decent, too. It's not as memorable as the other Tales games' soundtracks, but there are some great tunes that help create an interesting atmosphere for certain places and points in the story. The opening song, "Karma," is really catchy. It's an instrumental version, and although I prefer the Japanese version, it's still great.
The battle system is a lot of fun. At first, it just calls for button mashing, but once the characters develop more skills, they can string together a bunch of different combos, and this makes the battles interesting. The bosses in this game aren't particularly difficult, but they're still fun to take down. It's also worth noting that Tales of the Abyss refined the combat in many ways that improved it over Tales of Symphonia's battle system.
The world in Tales of the Abyss is probably the biggest issue that I have with the game. There are plenty of towns, cities, and dungeons to explore, but most of them aren't all that interesting. I was very disappointed by this because exploring the towns and cities is one of my favorite things about the Tales series. The towns are usually very small, and that doesn't leave a lot of room for exploring. The dungeons are all right, but they become very boring after a while, especially when you have to search for fonons.
If you're looking for a game to keep you occupied for a long time, then look no further. Tales of the Abyss is very lengthy. If you don't take upon any sidequests and pursue only the main story, then it'll take about 35 hours to complete. If you do choose to take upon sidequests, then it can easily take you up to 50 hours to complete the game.
Overall, Tales of the Abyss is a lot of fun, and it'll keep you playing for hours. It's a must for all fans of the Tales series. The story suffers from some pacing issues, and the world isn't all that interesting to explore, but it's still a great game. I find it very disappointing, however, that this version didn't do anything differently from the PS2 version. If you're trying to decide between the 3DS version and the PS2 version, then I would suggest the PS2 version because the graphics and cutscenes aren't as blurry. However, the PS2 version is really difficult to find, and it's a bit expensive, so you might be better off getting the 3DS version-just be sure to pick it up before it becomes too expensive and obscure. In fact, if you want this game, then get it right now-literally.