Symphonia and Abyss are really different. They come from the same old school Tales design school with the chibi characters, fixed camera angles, and old school world map...but other than that they have a lot of differences (story, cast, dungeon design, world map design). What is really similar is the amount of sidequests, costumes, and minigames available.
"The character basically spams a string of attacks and all you do is sidestep or weave an arte in there."
That's basically every action game. Attack, move away/block, attack again. Rinse and repeat. No you don't lose any control. The battles are controlled the same way they've always been, just with different subsystems.
"Not only that, but all these artes didnt feel rewarding because in that game you needed to attack at the same time as your party member to see a damage reward."
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here. What do you mean you have to attack at the same time as a party member? You realize you can solo fights with the damage value appearing just fine?
"The other thing that disappeared was the world map. This is an effort to follow FFX and that series as a whole."
Old school world maps haven't been a thing for console JRPGs for YEARS. The only one I can think of lately is in Ninokuni. I like them but it's silly to knock Tales for this when pretty much no RPG is using them anymore. What you should be knocking is the lazy copy/paste structure of the fields in Xillia. They improved the fields in Zestiria though.
"But, a nasty suprise awaited us. The field in between zones are now vast and filled with nothing but collectables. The story still progresses slowly because of this"
Xillia has one of the best paced Tales stories in the series. Probably helps it's shorter (but still feels complete and it's a good length with sidequests) than Symphonia, Abyss, Vesperia, etc. You can just run past the fields, and collect/fight what you want along the way. They even give you a speed boost early in the game.
"The battles became easier than ever and end with you doing just a combo or two unless you are fighting a boss."
Xillia isn't that hard (but apparently I had an easier time than a lot of other people going by what I've read) but every Tales game is game is easy if you don't bump the difficulty. Hell Graces which you knock for having limited control is one of the harder entries. You can pull off simple combos on most encounters in every Tales games.
"The realistic models had difficulty portraying the anime style the series is know for and looked like a step down."
Not true at all, the Xillia games--especially when the first game came out--had some rather nice models and locales even if the colors were a bit subdued. But some places still had really nice colors and were downright beautiful (just needed some better IQ but it is a PS3 game). The models are certainly much better than the old chibi models. What was the last anime you've seen with chibi models as the standard (ie. not comedy scenes)?
"And not only that but fans saying the Graces combat is good also gave them the wrong feedback."
If lots of people like Graces' combat, how is the feedback wrong exactly?
"Comes Xillia 2 and the same problems remain, plus they add a mute character and a frustrating game progression system in the debt system besides re-use of the same areas. Sales suffered."
The same problems don't remain for the combat. They improved it and upped the difficulty across the board. Xillia 2 has the best combat system in the series. Btw the debt system is really overblown when you can just go out, fight a giganto monster (or two? they're fun fights anyway) and you have enough money to pay your debt. You don't need to grind or anything.
Also Ludger is mute but you have 8 other playable party members, as well as Elle. The dialogue isn't exactly hurt by this decision.
And the sales were still fine. It wasn't going to outsell Xillia 1 with the hype behind it.
"From that the tales team concludes: It must be the combat! Come Zesteria, lets go back to the graces system but with all the same problems still intact.
Uhh no. That's now how it went. They already made two XIllia games with 2D combat. They tried something different with Zestiria while taking into consideration the positive feedback they received from Graces. It doesn't matter if you personally did not like Graces. Many other people did. The new battle system in Zestiria uses Graces at its base but it still has a lot of differences. Zestiria has no CC, you can transform, the weakness system is different, there is a flexible free run option now, status effects are handled differently, you can swap out members at any time, there are a lot of complicated relationships between artes, and so on.
"Big boring fields of Nothing. Spammy uncontrolable combat"
Zestiria's fields have chests, Normins, Crucibles (arenas), Mutant Hellions, and dungeons scattered around. There's enough there and you can get around them pretty fast. People always seem to complain about empty fields (not just in Tales) but what are you expecting? As for the combat, again bump the difficulty. Let's see where spamming gets you.
"It was the worst of both worlds Xillia and Graces put together."
Complete nonsense. It has better fields and music, as well as content compared to Xillia 1 to list a few positives.
"The series has been declining in sales and is aproaching dangerous levels once more."
lol. Zestiria didn't sell as well as Xillia but it's also like the fifth Tales game on the PS3. It didn't even sell badly, and it did pretty well in the West (110k sales on Steam alone for example). Let's wait and see how Berseria and a nextgen exclusive Tales does. It's nowhere near dangerous levels, dont exaggerate.
Btw I don't see any reason for SO5 to be bomb. It seems to be well talked about online, and SO3 and SO4 sold pretty well. Those are older games but I wouldn't expect a bomb for SO5.
If you haven't played a Tales and don't know what to expect then there's no harm in picking it up.
Alternatively the older games haven't gone anywhere. You don't always have to start with the latest entry.
Sigh... you can just say you disagree instead of making an overbloated post where that is what you say in other words.
Also, of course Symphonia and Abyss have different characters, towns, story and subtle differences in the combat, but the basis is the same. I don't even get what the hell you are getting at.
So, i do think that fans like you are the reason the series has arrived to this point. I also wonder if you even played the older titles because your love for the new ones is disproportional.
I will try to reply to some points, though this will just result in a i disagree with you, wich was what you said.
Combat. Thanks for proving me right that they are making it generic. As for control. Not even close. I mean everyone can say what they will, but there is a reason 2D fighters are more popular than 3D fighters, for example, or why 2D platformers are better than 3D platformers. Its easier to control, theres more precision.
In Graces, the damage you deal increases exponentially when you combo with your party members. I'm sure you know this. I just don't know why you are pretending you don't.
World maps haven't been a thing because someone randomly decided they shouldnt be, much like the random people that thought survival horror wasn't a thing anymore. It is a bad decision. They are quality systems that benefit's RPG's in gameflow and exploration. It cuts on the fat of traveling from A to B has to be an exercise on boredom. Their loss was literally a step back for JRPG's. The only acceptable alternative is a fully blown open world like Xenoblade's. But even that fails to convey the sense of scale a world map does.
Xillia does not have good pacing AT ALL. Why don't you go replay symphonia and compare how fast things move along. Also time how long it takes you to get to places before teleports. Also, count how many times the same envyronment is used. It's this kind of comment that makes me think you are totally not honest about any of this.
I will also repeat. The Graces combat is not good and SOME say it is because its very flashy and looks cool in motion. It's bad feedback because its not a good combat system and make no mistake, it WILL kill the series. Without the 2D combat, Tales is just another generic JRPG.
Xillia 2 combat is good besides the old problem of stuff dieing in one combo. But the fact that it needed replacing was the Tales team conclusion, not mine. And, its obviously a bad one. We can also see how your stance in playing these games is different from a normal player. "going out and killing some big monsters is not a big deal". Yes! It is! Because you are forced to do it. You are forced to do side quests to advance the story. Guess what, content you do so you can acess the content you want to do is BORING! Notbto mention how Nova constantly pesters you about it. For anyone wanting an idea, its very much like the FFX-2 structure.
Its the same exact problem the Yakuza series has. It needs to force you to play all those terrible mini-games so you can advance the story. Stuff you are beeing forced to do to acess what is really fun, ISNT good game design. Imagine that in a fighter, before every match you needed to play a rythm mini-game. That stuff is dumb and does not make for good games. Good games focus on giving you a smooth enjoyable experience without chore. In Uncharted, in the middle of the game you are not forced to go grocery shopping between every mission. That would totally ruin the pace of the game.
You know, i'm going to stop here cause i'm ranting. I'm sorry, but i don't think you understand game design and it is obvious you are different in wich you don't mind having to do some chores to get to a little morcel. That may be alright for you, but it isnt for many of us.
Tales was and deserves to be better than that. If what you have now is enough for you then don't worry. It can only get better if they listen to reason.