Fabulous game is fabulous. Beat the game at 50 hours, didn’t do many sidequests since I’m pretty terrible at finding them and didn’t want to look at a guide for the first playthrough. I eventually got used to the battle system, and it ended up being really fun even if it wasn’t as smooth as Graces. The FoF rings are a cool concept and I still have complaints about bad ally AI, but the game became more balanced past the midway point so hard mode bosses weren’t as frustrating. A retry option or a cutscene skip would be a godsend, but this is a straight port of a 2006 game so there’s no point in nitpicking.
In terms of story, Abyss is better than Graces. The plot is more exciting, villains have clearer motives that actually make sense, and characters have more interesting backstories. The world in Abyss is also much more interesting than Graces. Characters interactions are awesome, but Graces has the funnier skits by far. Abyss has the better music.
My favorite character to control is Guy, since he gets a self-healing skill, a better variety of fonic artes, and is also faster than Luke. Final party was Guy, Tear, Natalia, and either Jade or Anise for last slot. The ally AI is especially bad when it comes to close-combat characters (reminds me of how I used to play action games: mindlessly mash attack and never dodge/guard). The final boss I managed to beat on Hard, but barely. I used up all my life bottles, Tear and Natalia died, and the boss does more damage in one hit than Guy could heal with center. I had to use the all-divide, and even then Jade still died.
Story-wise, I like Jade (dat trolling and dat sarcasm), Guy (fabulous friendship I like) and Tear (hnnnnnnng). Actually, I like everyone except for Luke. He goes from blunt brat who knows jack shit about the world to insecure dude with an inferiority complex almost overnight. I hate overly-extended moments of insecurity in a main character. Yeah, he can feel like that during a major turning point, but for fuck’s sake, don’t wait until the very end to finally take a level in badass. I liked Luke at the end, but got annoyed at him for the majority of the game. A certain other redhead also pissed me off to no end.
I’m gonna do a replay, for the sidequests that I’ve missed and the extra dungeon. Replaying is always more fun on a handheld, due to portability. I’ll probably attempt it on Very Hard, with 2x exp.