Tales of the Abyss - hands on

Sink into this bottomless pit of RPG action

With four party members fighting at once, the flurry of special moves can be quite impressive. During a couple of boss battles, necromancer Jade would heave a chunk of earth into the air, juggling the monster as Luke and fellow swordsman Guy slice it into bits. Once it lands, the mysterious Tear blasts a wave of energy into the thing - by this point, Luke's ready to start cutting again, so the combo continues. The boss barely got a chance to strike due to our impeccable teamwork.

After certain attacks are performed, small areas of the battlefield gain an elemental attribute. If you stand inside this area and unleash a move that shares the same attribute, the attacks is amplified and really tears things up. These elementally charged spots add another layer of strategy to the battles, but in all honesty, we've been majorly successful just pounding away with special moves.

Outside of the battles, Abyss is startlingly like the GameCube hit, Tales of Symphonia. From the way the puzzles are laid out to the chatty character banter, Abyss feels like an extension of that supremely delicious RPG. Special moves can still be mapped to the right analog stick, so flicking it up, for example, would let loose a rising slash or whatever acquired technique you slapped in that slot. You can even put other characters' moves in your own slots - it's always good idea to keep a healing spell at the ready.