This game has one of the most unlikable protagonists at the beginning. When I first started playing this game, I actually quit after a short time of playing because I could not stand Luke. Not a great way to start your game.
However, I eventually picked it back up and i'm glad that I did. Tales of the Abyss made great improvements to the battle system and has a great story. There are some huge twists and Luke turns out to be -- dare I say it -- likable!
Fans of Tales of Symphonia would certainly like this one, and some even think it is a better game.