As solid as the battles are, the stories in the Tales series tend to be kinda "blah." There are decent aspects to soak up, but overall, you're not going to be shedding any tears. So far, Abyss feels like it's pulling us from place to place just to make a story happen instead of just letting the tale unfold naturally (cough Star Wars prequels cough). But, like always, there are high points.
Luke's childhood amnesia and later seclusion have prevented him from learning anything about the outside world, so he's often yelling and complaining about everyday things in an entertaining way. Eventually, someone finally cracks and asks if he's bothered studying anything since his amnesia wore off years ago. Luke says he's had more important things to re-learn, such as his parents' faces.
So, even though we're more putting up with the story than reveling in it, there are moments that push the narrative forward in smart ways. But with an established battle system, even a so-so story can tie a game together, and that seems to be the case here. Tales of the Abyss sneaks out in just two weeks, with precious little time before the holiday deluge of software. Our advice - don't let this one be buried.