Part 57: Bonus Update: Map Glitch & Asch GlitchBonus Update: Map Glitch & Asch Glitch
Apologies for the black borders around these images: this is a quick update and doing a whole new video encode for a handful of image crops is too much for me at the moment.
With that out of the way, let's talk about two interesting glitches in Tales of the Abyss. I should point out that as far as I'm aware, these glitches exist only in the PS2 version of the game, specifically because of the technical nature required to pull them off.
First, we'll talk about the map glitch. This is probably one of the more famous. It's very easy to pull off too.
First, you need to be on the world map. Now, if you take the disk out of the PS2 and close the tray with no disk in it, something odd happens. When you open the disk tray, the game freezes. When you close it again, the game checks your position on the map so it knows what map area to load from the disk. However it checks and sees the cell you're in is already loaded, so it doesn't even call for a disk load operation and resumes the game.
The result of this is that once you move far enough away from where you were standing, the game loses the ability to load the map from the disk. I'm not sure what's happening here; whether the PS2 is calling disk load checks and returning nothing because there is no disk there, or if the checks aren't even happening at all because the disk isn't there. Either way, the result is that eventually you will be off the map, and can run anywhere. Note however that the minimap is still present, so you can judge where you are in the world. Why is this important?
Because if at any time you put the disk back in, the game will immediately load the map back up for the area you're in, and the game will continue. As long as you're not on water or stuck in a mountain or cliff, the game chugs on like nothing's wrong.
Now I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes: you can abuse this glitch to sequence break the hell out of this game. Scripting means you can't exactly skip ahead in the plot, but you can get access to later game towns/shops before you're supposed to, and you can go get some hilariously overpowered weapons right at the start of the game.
Now you may have noticed that I'm running around with Asch. The reason for that is the map glitch lends itself to our second glitch, which is usually just called the Asch glitch. When you get Asch at mushroom road, you can do what I just did and head to the back map area where you get the greater flight stone, map glitch, and suddenly be cruising around the world with Asch instead of Luke. Mushroom Road is just a sidequest so, it's not like you've broken the game. You can even go back to Mushroom Road any time you want to get Luke and continue as normal, and you can pick up the Albiore by going to any city and choosing to depart from the port (incidentally, this was an intended design feature so players couldn't 'lose' the Albiore and screw themselves over.)
This doesn't even break any scripted cutscenes or events: Luke just shows up in them inexplicably and then vanishes again. It's pretty convenient. Now you can slap C. Cores and FSC's on Asch, but unfortunately you still can't unlock his equipment. Legitimately, at least. There are AR codes you can load up that will either clear his equipment (It's not that Asch himself has his inventory locked, it's that the items he's got equipped can't be unequipped, so hacking them off opens his inventory like any other character) and if you do so Asch is perfectly capable of using all of Luke's swords and armor, with the exception of the catalyst weapon. Gee, it's almost like this feature was dummied out or something.