Tales of the Abyss.
This game was indeed hyped by Tales of Fans and liked by many who enjoyed Tales of Symphonia. But it was released in 2006, specifically October 2006 within weeks of Final Fantasy XII. And not to mention Kingdom Hearts 2 came out the same year, so tales of the Abyss was pretty much lost in the hype of the pending Final Fantasy XII.
now this game is by no means perfect - There are some annoying loading times you may not expect from graphics that seem so...last-gen. Sure, it's an artstyle, but we KNOW The PS2 is capable of better. I don't know if it fits the artstyle that well but there's some detail and sometimes a little gritty and straight-edges. Heck, Dark Cloud 1 didn't have loading screens as much as Tales of the AByss does and Dark Cloud had fewer straight edges. (Despite that everything seemed shiny and stiff, probably as a result.) Heck, Dark Cloud 2, probably a more viable comparison had better graphics in some areas (those that weren't repeated a million times) and perhaps better cel-shading. Oh and Wild ARMS 3...and those were like 2004 and I think 2003 respectively. We know the graphics designers are capable of better.
It also wasn't reviewed in America too well. Many of the reviewers, especially Morgan Manjaw of X-Play showed signs they didn't play that much, and I think they may have even played more of Legendia which is considered inferior by even Tales of Fanboys.
Now while Tales of the Abyss wasn't bad, it's not as innovative as Phantasia originally was, it really should haev been played more or been more favorably received in my opinion - the story doesn't pull as many "WHAT A TWIIST!" moments as Tales of Symphonia, and Namco seems to be showing some restraint in milking their twist that everyone remembered Phantasia for dry. Remember how Dhaos was a terrorist, basically? Not a villain exactly, but in almost every other Tales of Game the blonde-haired villains have said, "This is what they desire, I'm doing the right thing!"? WEll this time the brownish-gray-haired villain essentially has goals that overlap with the heroes' goals.
Plus...Anise's voice is vastly superior to her ear-rapey-high-pitched japanese voice. Tear's voice was also done VERY well.
Shadow Hearts series
Pretty much the first game - The first game was released I think on the same day as Final Fantasy X so obviously no one would have noticed, and it seemed to quickly drop out of stores. It actually doesn't use that many cliches that J-RPGs are known for, the only one I see is the "omg god is the final boss I summon the last boss with the last of my strength!!!". And in Covenant (Which was very well received and I think was the "PS2 game of 2004".) moves onto using the "The villain of the first game wasn't exactly evil...but there was a greater villain who ISN'T his master!"-twist and actually gives a feasible explanation for Yuri not being able to use his fusions (You see him using Amon in the intro) at the end of the game, and instead of "lol whoops!" it is a plot device and is important one of the game's two endings.
Both Shadow Hearts and its sequel Covenant are very good games - I highly reccomend them, they're a little less cartoony than Anime based RPGs.
There's also From the New World, which doesn't really have that much to do with Covenant and Shadow Hearts other than recurring plot elements like Roger Bacon. It's more humourous, you can see that, but they actually add some darker tones later on underneath Ricardo firing missiles out of his guitar. There are scenes where Johnny sees a guy get eaten by a monster followed by one where an arrow draws itself pointing to Shania's chest. Although the fusions need some work...They aren't as memorable as they were in one and two.
The first game seems more like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in setting, and that's a good thing - the early 1900's, sort of advancing from steampunk to dieselpunk isn't seen much, and it's not ALL about World War 1, which is merely in the background. (Although there is some historical accuracy - Shadow HEarts 2 features Anastasia saying stuff about the Russian Government and some things that lead to the Romanovs being lynched, and Margarete was apparently a real person) But of course you go to Japan in Covenant and then you see the Japanese Army throwing robots at you.