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I finished the game in 135 hours. Stop laughing! I did manage to complete the Nebilim sidequest. She kicked my ass and almost killed my entire party a few times but I beat her on the first try! ....At level 83. I collected all Jade's extra spells but in the long run I didn't think they were that great. They took too long to cast and hardly ever hit the enemy, especially useless during boss fights! Once you get Thunder Blade all you need to do is spam it until the end of the game. =_=

Nice to know that Dist wanted to resurrect Nebilim just so he could bitch to her about his problems! When she shot him in the face and the lenses in his glasses shattered, that was very funny. ^o^ You don't get a good look at child Jade and Dist during the event but if you check the Character Disk in Yuria City you can see them close up! Child Dist was really not cute at all. I wonder when he decided to enhance his plain features with cosmetics, dress weird and insist that he's beautiful? I stand by my claim that Dist is the most true-to-life character in the game. Oh ho ho ho...

Anyway, here's my rundown:

Gameplay: The best in the series in my opinion. I loved Free Run and jogging laps around the battlefield to avoid enemies rather than being frozen on one (or three) lines. Unlike in the other Tales games no character completely sucked and you could pretty much use whomever you wanted. And I used Jade, ha ha! I can't believe they made a mage who can fight back. TOA had a lot of fun extras and even though some of them were easy to miss I could always find something to keep myself occupied if I didn't feel like advancing the plot. And there were real, honest-to-goodness dungeons with fun puzzles to solve. That hasn't been done in a Tales games since....well, TOP! I'll give TOA a 10 for gameplay because it really was that enjoyable. The battles were fast-paced with no sticky parts. Finally!

Characters: Hm..well....I started the game hoping to like Jade the most and I did. I'm glad of that. The characters were all well-developed but not necessarily the most likeable bunch. My favorite by far was Jade and even though I anticipated the opposite I liked Ion too. At the same time, I didn't like Guy nearly as much as I thought I would. o_o Anise was an annoying but not irredeemable character and I didn't dislike Natalia. For the most part. ^o^ I liked Luke all right once he cut his hair. The only characters I totally hated were Tear(!), Asch(!!) and Van. I won't go into it because I probably would ramble and offend their fans! I'm glad they decided to put some work into the villains in this game! Has this ever been done in this series? Arietta bugged me and I thought Regret was kind of boring but Largo was tolerable, Dist was hilarious and Sink was interesting enough(weird voice, though!). All in all I'd give TOA a 9 for characters because even though there were some I didn't like it was due to taste and not lack of development.

Music:...All right....there was some tracks I liked very much and the others just served as BGM. Not too bad. I'll give it an 8 for music because even though it wasn't brilliant I really liked that second battle theme and a couple of the dungeon themes.

Graphics: Bad, unfortunately. The character models looked like they belonged in a PSX game. The dungeon and town designs were nice but grainy. What excuse could Namco give for this? Who could tell this was a good game from the screen shots? I'll give it a 7 for graphics. They were about as good as the graphics in Chrono Cross but that was for the PSX!

Story: Wow! There was actually a story! And it was pretty good! It might be one of the best stories in the series but that really isn't saying much. I'll give it a 10 for story because there was tension and irreversible things happened. Even though it was sad I liked that bad things didn't only happen to bad people and no one could wave a magic wand at the end to set things right. I hate cheese, after all.

Fun Factor: A 10, because the battle system was addictive and there were lots of fun mini-games to play (like poker!) I can't say if TOA is my favorite of the series. I've played too many of them by now! I'll say that TOP, TOE and now TOA are dear to my heart, TOD2 is a fun but occasionally painful experience, TOR is ehhh and I would like to to bury TOD and TOS in my backyard. From watching Kristen play TOL it seems like one of the better ones but because there was no multiplayer I can't really comment.

My overall score: 9.0

I think Tales of the Abyss was a great game and I want to play it again! Thank god, considering how hyped I was for it! I don't know if Namco is planning on localizing it but for those of you who are complaining about getting TOL in English instead, stop whining! TOA is good but TOL is good in its own right. I only watched my sister play through the entire game but I could see that it had nice graphics, music and characters and a decent story.