Namco has detailed a number of new additions to the battle system for its upcoming PlayStation 2 RPG, Tales of the Abyss. The game is the fifth Tales title to grace the console, following Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Legendia, Tales of Rebirth, and Tales of Destiny 2, and it will bring back the series' trademark Linear Motion Battle System (LMBS).
The system allows the characters to move around a 3D battlefield along set lines. As previously reported, however, the LMBS will be receiving an upgrade in Tales of the Abyss, and will be known as a Flex-Range Linear Motion Battle System. This means that, by pressing the L2 button, the player will be able to move characters around the field freely outside of the linear paths. In addition, spells can be targeted freely, adding something of a tactical element to battles. Players will be able to target a spot on the field itself, besides being able to target enemies, which will enable the creation of a blast radius into which enemies can be herded.
Tales of the Abyss also introduces "fonims." In addition to playing a big role in the game's story, fonims also make an appearance in the battle system. Whenever any element-specific spell is cast, fonims of that same type will gather in the area, and they will continue to do so as more spells of that element are cast. Once a certain number of fonims has appeared, a "field of fonims" is created in that spot. If the player or enemy characters stand inside the field of fonims and use an elemental attack of the field's type, the attack will transform into a much more powerful special move.
Along with the field of fonims special attacks, characters will also have access to Over Limit attacks. Each character has an Over Limit gauge which fills up as the character attacks. Once the gauge reaches its maximum capacity, the characters can utilize a devastating Over Limit attack. The player will have control over when these attacks are used, so they can be saved for an opportune moment rather than having characters use the Over Limit automatically when the gauge becomes full.
Tales of the Abyss is scheduled to be released in Japan on December 15. No plans to localize the title for the North American market have been announced.