The twist in Abyss is that you can run freely by holding down the L2 button, allowing you to take on your enemies from any angle - an entirely new approach for the series. There are also "Fonon Rings" which appear on the battlefield wherever a spell is cast. If you use an attack of the same element as the ring (say, fire) while standing inside it, it will automatically be boosted to a higher power level - which may well add a new layer of strategy to the battles. The rest of the party is controlled by the computer, but you can tweak their skills and behaviors - what spells they can and can't use, the elemental attributes of their attacks, how they should react to enemies. Or you could just plug in a couple of extra controllers and hand them off to your friends - your call.
Whether you've been waiting since Symphonia or you've never even heard of the Tales series, Abyss seems set to strike the right balance to satisfy any RPG fan who's itching for action. Much like Star Ocean: The Second Story, it's set to blend action-packed battles with a whole pile of anime drama, and that's a simple (but deep) enough formula to be worth investigating.