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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Tales of the Abyss in a Nutshell / by Spoony Spoonicus
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 12:51pm 02/24/12 (12:08pm 12/17/10) in 1h55m18s  §  17192 eyeballs
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 Bustin' down plots like the T pities fools.
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I don't know why I thought this game might be decent; this series has been completely and irredeemably terrible since it began. But nevertheless, I played Abyss at a friend's house, and boy do I wish I hadn't.

The game can't even start off by doing something right, as the opening cinematic is left completely untranslated - no dubbing or even subtitling is employed. So unless you speak Japanese, enjoy being dropped right into the game with absolutely no clue of what's supposed to be going on!

Cut to our hero, who, even though he hasn't spoken a single line yet, already manages to piss me off eight ways from Sunday:

Yes, that's right. He's sporting a bright red mullet, patched baggy pants, a white trenchcoat that exposes his midriff, a gigantic metal belt buckle and a tube top. It's the anime version of trailer trash. That would be bad enough on its own, but they also have to turn him into the whiniest, most unlikable fucking cunt in all of video games. Yes, even worse than Tidus.

On top of all of this, the game also starts off in the absolute worst of all RPG cliches - rather than simply taking you to a cutscene where we can establish a plot and some characters, you get to fucking wander around the same building, talking to everyone over and over, for fifteen minutes before the game finally relents and lets you move on.

Spoony: Wow, I'm not even a half hour into the game and already I want to take the disc out of the drive and smash it with a tack hammer. You have to suck pretty fucking hard for that to happen.

Between his constant whining over stupid bullshit ("He thinks he can say anything because he's the king. It makes me mad!"), the horrendous voice acting and being forced to spend twenty hours clicking on countless throwaway NPCs over and over again in what can only be described as "pointless, tedious busywork", I lapse into a blind rage long enough to completely forget what happens next. When I come down from it, we're now out in the wilderness and being treated to the game's horrible combat system - all the action takes place on three planes, and you and your enemies can swap between them freely to evade incoming attacks. But like every Tales game, you don't really have to bother with any of that - just get in close to your enemy and mash the attack button until they die. You'll continuously juggle them into a 500-hit combo and give them absolutely no chance to fight back.

Spoony: It's like Guardian Heroes, only with no multiplayer option, challenge, or fun whatsoever!

Now we come to our first town where... our hero doesn't know what a fucking shop is. No, I'm not kidding. He knows that killing monsters drops gold (sorry, "Gald") and evidently knows it has enough value to warrant picking it up and taking it with him, but he doesn't know what it's actually used for.

Spoony: It's not enough that they're sticking me with this whiny redneck asshole in a game with a bad combat system and they're probably going to trap me in a "walk around and talk to everyone" scenario in every single town we come to, now they have to insult my intelligence by telling me, step by step, how a fucking shop works. That's it. I'm done. I can't take anymore. System power off, get me out of here.

Embarassed for the both of us, I contemplate simply destroying the CD right then and there, but reconsider; it may be the worst game I've ever played, but it's technically not my property, and lord knows I don't want to pay to replace the disc and reward Namco with my money in any way, shape or form. So I take a more tactful route and simply hide it in a place he'll never think to look for it - the PSP shelf. As far as I know, it's still there, hiding behind dusty copies of Lumines, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Patapon that got played for a half an hour each and never touched again. Actually, I don't think he's even bothered to look for it, since he's never brought it up. I think I did us both a favor.

Spoony: I usually try to give games a fair chance - I make a point to play for an hour or two (if not more) before I give my verdict - but Tales of the Abyss is just so fucking unbearable that I could barely last 45 minutes. But from what I've seen, I can already tell I'm not missing much. Just to be sure, I looked online too; A quick check on Wikipedia's plot entry only confirms that the rest of the game's plot is a carnival of endless painful stupidity, and a quick scan on Youtube just reveals that the characters heap on a metric fuckton of that cutesy anime kawaii desu bullshit that I absolutely loathe. How does anyone over the age of eight put up with this shit? Seriously.

To paraphrase the great Old Man Murray:

"By the way, I believe Namco makes a case for why it is okay, and even cool, to pirate games. So remember kids, why buy a Tales game when you can just pirate it? Save that hard earned money for someone who deserves it (any other company in the gaming world)."
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