These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Luke in the first part: Wangsty loser or child betrayed by both sets of parental figures and treated as a scapegoat by his friends?
By that same token, Luke's friends. Are they scapegoating someone who really couldn't have known better in order to hide from what they could have done while not trusting in him more, or are they correct in that Luke's lack of thought renders him easily manipulable?
Luke in the late game: Sympathetic individual who is trying to atone for what he's done and come to terms with being a replica even if he doesn't know how, or wangsty, guilt-driven and suicidal?
Tear: Decent person or a self-righteous hypocrite?
Mohs: A good man who put too much faith in a benevolent but powerless god or is he only out for his own power?
This Tumblr post goes to great length to analyze Luke's character and defend him.
Best Boss Ever: The second Luke vs Asch duel. It's a one-on-one between two identical characters who fight using their own strategies. The setting is nice while the music is an instrumental version of "Karma." But what really elevates this duel to be arguably one of the best boss fights in JRPG history is how it serves as a glorious climax for both of their character arcs. Do yourself a favor a keep a save file of before this fight.
Broken Base: Very much so; this is possibly the most polarizing game in the franchise. Depending on how you feel about the story, it's either wildly melodramatic and overblown, or it's the high point of the entire Tales franchise and one of the highest in the entire Eastern RPG genre. Not many people take a middle ground. It's worth noting that in Japan, it was voted the most popular game in the Tales series in a Famitsu poll.
Complaning About Games You Don't Finish: A odd example. A good portion of newcomers to the series claimed they couldn't finish the game becuase they couldn't stand Luke and thus base their entire disliking of the game solely on that. Never mind the fact that Luke is meant to be seen as a jerk at first, being his Character Development one of the main points of the story. People who do finish the game, on the other hand, tend to be way more positive towards both Luke and the game as a whole.
Counterpart Comparison: Luke from Haseo from .hackGU. Both start as Base Breaker incredibly unsocial teenagers who happened to be voiced by Yuri Lowenthal and mature across the story. While their motivations are very different, the fact that both of their mentors happen to become the games' antagonists really makes one wonder whether GU was inspired by Abyss considering it was released next year.
Dude, Not Funny!: When you learn how Guy became scared of women the jokes about it might become a little harder to laugh at. The female members of the party realize that it was wrong to make fun of him for it and apologize.
Luke actually gets one too, though it's a 'Blink-And-You-Miss-It' moment. It's also the point at which the party stops criticizing him for his lack of knowledge about the outside world.
Tear: "How do you not know about the Order of Lorelei?"
8.8: Nintendo Power's review of the 3DS port gave the game a 7.0.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Asch in the anime, which leaves out his Kick the Dog moments in the game, including his participation in the Tartarus slaughternote He arrived afterwards. and his attacking Tear, making him much more sympathetic.
The Glory AD Skill. A character equipped with this bad boy is completely immune to stagger, meaning you can continue spamming melee attacks and channeling spells, save being hit by Overlimit or an enemy Mystic Arte.
Long story short, it's entirely possible for Guy to solo Nebilim without ever needing to heal himself because of abusing the temporary invulnerability during a Field of Fonon Arte. See this video for a demonstration.
Anise can also get a accessory that restores her HP and TP periodicly. Nearing the end of the game, your HP and TP will be so high that you'll never need to use a gel on Anise...assuming you play on Easy Mode. On Unkown Mode on the other hand....
Likewise, Jade. Impressive, especially, since he has no healing abilities. He's strong, and his fonic assaults are powerful. He really reaches gamebreaker status when you re-play the game and have Tutti on him for his Capacity Core the whole time, since it's +4 for everything, and is thus the best in the game, and his stats shoot through the roof.
Anise. Her family was the victim of a con and wound up in debt. Mohs paid off the debt, but had her parents become indentured servants, leading Anise to want to earn the money to free them. Unfortunately, she does some morally dubious things to reach this goal, including wanting to marry into wealth, performing occasional scams and serving as a spy for Mohs, leading to Ion's death. How much you sympathize with her depends on how willing you are to forgive her for the latter, spoilered act.
Asch is the original Luke fon Fabre who was kidnapped by Van as a child and made his way home and discovered the replica Luke and is Secretly Dying because of how Luke was born. However, his many Kick the Dog moments throughout the game, aka attempting to murder Luke, controlling Luke to try and make him kill Tear For the Evulz and hurls endless emotional and verbal abuse at Luke throughout the entire game until they finally settle their differences in the final dungeon make it hard to like or pity him.
Sync is not only allied with the villains but does some exceptionally cruel things for no good reason, such as making fun of Akzeriuth's destruction and mimicking Ion's voice to guilt-trip Anise. However, it's difficult not to feel a drop of pity for him when you realize that he was cast away along with the other unused Ion replicas and only kept around as a tool by Van.
The replicas of Frings, Iemon and Mary, among others, openly say that they don't care whether the originals live or die, a sentiment Tear says will come back to haunt them someday. Of course, they also are thrust into the world without any ability to care for themselves or people willing to care for them, and end up being persecuted, exploited and used to destroy the miasma. Learning that the villains are not coming for them drives them over the Despair Event Horizon, and prompts them to sacrifice themselves to neutralize the miasma in the hopes of finding a place where.
Magnificent Bastard: Heroic subversion: His name starts with a 'J' and ends with an 'ade Curtiss'.
Moral Event Horizon: Mohs kidnapping Anise's parents, forcing her to act as The Mole, and then personally murdering Ion and making Anise watch.
He crossed it earlier when he gets in the way of your attempts to prevent the war between Kimlasca and Malkuth Because Destiny Says So, even going so far as to try to have Luke and Natalia forced to commit suicide.
Van loses any right to call himself a Well-Intentioned Extremist when he causes half of the world to fall into poison mist, killing millions.
The massacre at Sheridan for Van and his minions. Especially for Major Legretta.
Most Annoying Sound: Mieu's sounds for the Sorcerer's Ring, especially when you make multiple attempts to hit something.
Mieu: Fire! Mieuuuu! Fire!
Narm: The scene just before the final showdown between Luke and Asch. It's fine for the most part, and then it gets to the very end...
Tear finding out she's dying (she doesn't, thanks to one of Ion's final acts).
Luke finding out he's dying (whether he does is debatable)... take your pick.
Seeing that little boy drown in miasma.
Later on, meeting a woman whose husband and son were in Akzeriuth, the latter having come to visit the former.
Asch's death. Not only an antagonist, but one we just had a final duel with five minutes ago... But it still hurts.
The death of General Frings...especially if you did his adorable romance sidequest...for nothing...
Definately nightmare fuel for this troper. Nebilim replica. Just watch the cutscenes she's in before you fight her. And then fight her. "You just might die!" as she flashes across the screen. She means either your party will die or your ps2 will considering if you're lucky enough to have the version that FREEZES YOUR PS2 COME INDIGNATION TIME.
Rewatch Bonus: Luke's rude and dickish behavior as well as his somewhat childlike dialog for much of the game becomes more understandable and more obvious once the player knows that Luke is actually only 7.
In-universe, Mieu. He's a Ridiculously Cute Critter with a high-pitched voice who helps the party solve puzzles and not much else. Even after Luke's Character Development, he still calls Mieu "annoying" to Mieu's face. That and you kill a bunch of Ligers because he burnt down some of the forest making the wolves desperate to survive As well as a little girl's (Arietta's) 'mommy.'
Ships That Pass In The Night: Arietta x Sync is pretty popular shipping, despite the fact that the two characters never interact in the game nor in the anime and Arietta is clearly in love with Ion. The fact that Sync is Ion's replica helps though.
On Unknown, the Liger Queen is this, since Luke and Tear, even using their Mystic Artes, only do Scratch Damage at best. If you forgot to properly level and are unreasonably determined to fight her anyway rather than go back and level grind, it takes an hour and a half or so before you can get her to the point where the game takes mercy on you and has Jade coming in and destroying her. She's tends to be the ONLY boss this bad on Unknown, because there's not as many things to fight.
Also, Anise herself. She betrays the party, almost gets then killed, flat-out DOES get Ion killed, and kills Arietta rather than talking things out with her when she has the chance. And yet she is a complete Karma Houdini after all of this.
Unwinnable by Insanity: if you start the Mushroom Road sidequest before entering The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, Luke leaves the party to give place to Asch. You can then go all the way to the other end of Mushroom Road to get out to the world map (in a cliff where the Greater Flightstone is) and then use the world map glitch to get out of there without getting Luke back. This lets you play as Asch for as long as you wantnote You can go back to Mushroom Road to get Luke back whenever you want, though, and Asch replaces Luke in every scene (except for one needed to get Tear's Infinity+1 Sword, which will not trigger). If you finish the game while using Asch, you will start the next cycle without Luke. Once you get to the tutorial battle, the game freezes because you don't have any character in your party. If you saved your clear data over your only file, you are now stuck inside Duke Fabre's Manor forever.
The world map glitch by itself can be this. To use this glitch, you need to take the disc off the PS2 while being on the world map, which will make the scenario disappear, and allows you to walk over the water, mountains, etc. You can then put the disc back and wait for a while for the scenario to come back. However, if you are over a unwalkable path (over the water, for example) when you do this, you get stuck and cannot even use the world map glitch to leave, as you will be unable to move. It is possible to save the game whenever you want while being in the world map. If you save in this condition, you are stuck forever.
Values Dissonance: Luke (Well, Asch... It Makes Sense in Context) and Natalia's betrothal, as first cousins. Due to their status as nobles, no one even so much as bats an eye. This is because Auldrant seems to use a world-wide medieval-like setting. In Medieval times as well as other periods, nobles were anything but unknown for marrying within the close family. It later turns out that Natalia is not biologically related to Luke, though.
Ion. He looks incredibly effeminate and has female voice actors.
Jade deserves an honorable mention: Gender-Blender Name, feminine pose, long hair. . . and if you can believe it, some of his concept art made him feel even more like a woman, even with short hair!
Then there's Din, who runs the trade shop in Chesedonia. Din has short blonde hair and wears thick, unisex clothing. Din also doesn't get any voiced dialogue, so you have to see a specific scene where Jade inspects Din's shop to actually know Din is, in fact, a girl. Generally it's assumed she's a he.
Wangst: Luke goes through quite a bit of this during a big part of the third act. Also, if you defeat Asch in Yulia City, the resulting cutscene shows Asch doing a bit of wangsting of his own after being defeated by a mere replica.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: If you're familiar with Friedrich Nietzsche, then you may think that the title has something to do with Nietzsche's famous quote about The Abyss, but it never really has any bearing on the game itself. Except with Van, who started to oppose the Score after being used to destroy Hod as an innocent child, and then does the exact same thing to Luke in order to advance his plans.
Once you revisit Baticul after Akzeriuth and travel through the Inista Marsh, you might end up wishing you could give Natalia a hug.
If Luke's character development in the third chapter doesn't repulse you, then you'll feel terrible for Luke when the God-Generals begin mass replication; it creates a whole myriad of social and ethical issues. Replicas are treated like monsters and subject to violence. Replicas have no place to call home because the originals despise them. The crowning moment of woobie for Luke comes when the world leaders ask Luke to die at the Tower of Rem to save everyone from the miasma. It doesn't get better after, because Luke is dying.
Arietta. Just...Arietta. She loses her mom, then her love, and then her life.