Just finished this, thought it was pretty hit or miss, honestly. And certainly the worst Tales that I've played after Vesperia, Graces F and Xillia.|
Perhaps it's just because it doesn't have the benefit of gameplay refinement that the later games have. In any case, around the 25 hours mark through to at least 32 hours it felt like the game turned into an endless parade of travelling from place to place doing errands, which only lessened slightly once I got fast travel. Very few dungeons, very little action, utterly boring. Once I cleared the absorption gate things finally picked up again. I know Vesperia has a slow middle act but it still kept me gripped. Even Graces wouldn't let go until I finished it, but fuck me Abyss was such a drag.
Also, it has the same obtuse sidequest system as Vesperia so I had to use a guide (Vesperia's only specific weakness for me).
It takes at least 10 hours or so for the game's story to be remotely comprehensible. Luckily after that it gets quite good. Good characters too.
Battle system was underwhelming. FOF was quite fun to use but hardly essential. None of the main bosses were a challenge at all, the game was very, very easy throughout including the final boss who was just a joke.
It just felt like all the worst aspects gameplay wise that the Tales series has to offer, wrapped up in a reasonable story that isn't enough to save it.
Also, the gargantuan garbagey-ass shit tier fight against Nebilim can die in a fire. Fucking stupid fight that showcases what's wrong with Tales' battle system perfectly: whenever you NEED the AI to behave a certain way, the WILL NOT EVER do what you want. Set them to keep their distance and only use Fonic Artes? Fuck that, they'll just run in and use strike artes anyway. Pain in the ass. I was a little underlevelled (67-68) for the fight but that doesn't stop it being pure bullshit.