Review by fallen angel1
"Namco strikes again!"
Whats this? A good RPG..for Gamecube!? There is a God!
Tales of Symphonia, the latest addition in the "Tales" series by Namco, has arrived, and one word can be used to describe it: Amazing!
Never heard of any "Tales" games? I wouldn't be surprised. Only two games have been released stateside, Tales of Destiny, and Tales of Eternia (known as Tales of Destiny 2 upon North American release) and both of those had limited success to say the least. The series has had major success in Japan though, so Namco decided to give it another shot with Tales of Symphonia, which makes me want to tell them something to the effect of..I LOVE YOU! Anyway..ONWARD!
Cel-shading in all it's glory here folks. Take down the rating a point or two if you're not a fan of cel-shading. Everything here looks wonderful to me. Upon seeing the environments and characters, I fell in love with the graphical style that was used here. It actually feels a little like you're watching an interactive form of Anime..or..something like that..
The 'Cube's power is showcased rather nicely here. Everything that isn't shaded is very smooth. Nothing jagged at all. The Anime style that is used is extremely fluid as well. If you complain about these graphics...I WILL GET YOU!..er..I mean..umm..yea..
The one thing that really stands out about Tales of Symphonia's sound effects is the fact that the voice acting is actually pretty good, unlike most games *coughtheentireResidentEvilseriescough*. Its very rare that you find a game where the actors don't sound overly enthusiastic at the wrong times, or WAY too cheesy. Tales of Symphonia has its moments of this, but overall the voice acting is good, which is great, because you're going to hear a lot of talking between and during battles.
The music is good too. No annoying tunes to listen to. In all honesty though, I don't really notice the music too much while I'm playing..for some strange reason.
The GCN controller is used with maximum efficiency under the control scheme in Tales of Symphonia. The 'Cube, in my opinion, has the best controller of all time, and it just fits this game extremely well.
The game's control scheme will be very recognizable to you if you've ever played any previous "Tales" games, but even if you've never played a game in the series, it shouldn't take you too long to get accustomed to how things work.
On the overworld and in towns and junk like that, the controls are fairly straightforward. You move with the control stick (Duh!) and most of your actions are performed by pressing the A button.
Battles are mind-numbingly action packed, and are aided by an easy to use control scheme. You set the skills you learned to a certain direction on the control stick before battle. Once you're IN a battle, you press the control stick in the direction of the skill you want to use, and press B. Voila! PWNAGE! When you aren't using skills, you move around the battlefield with the control stick and attack normally with the A button. You can also determine what type of attack you do by pressing either up, down, or not at all on the control stick. Up gives you a jumping slash that is effective for flying enemies, down is a thrust that is more effective with some weapons than others, and if you don't press anything you just do a basic slash.
Another interesting aspect of the battle system is the "Unison Attack". After a certain event, you are allowed to use unison attacks. These attacks use two characters (obviously..) and take off great amounts of damage. The presence of this makes the battles even more exicting than they already are.
Hmm..Gamefaqs says not to use fractions..oops?
Anyway..the story here is great. The ONLY thing that keeps me from giving it a perfect score is because it feels like I've seen this before. I'm not gonna spoil it..don't worry. I guess I'll just give you a basic rundown of what the deal is.
You are Lloyd, a normal teenage guy..for the most part, and the village idiot. A close personal friend of yours has become "The Chosen", and must go on a journey to awaken the goddess Martel and save the world.
Overused cliche's abound here, but hey, what HASN'T been used at least a million and a half times in the RPG genre?
Character interaction flies at you from every direction here, which is a good thing. It develops the characters personalities very well. Another thing that seems to be everywhere is humor. I personally LOVE the fact that this game has actually made me laugh (A certain scene in the Palmarosa Academy), because it shows that the game isn't afraid to not take itself seriously. Almost every RPG that I've ever played has been WAY too serious, or has just had horrible jokes..or at least that what they want them to be called..
What is there not to love about Tales of Symphonia? Nothing..at least thats what I feel. Easily the best RPG available on the Gamecube. Hell, its better than a lot of the stuff available on the PS2 and XBox as well. If you're a fan of the series, or just a fan of the genre in general, you owe it to yourself to buy this game. You'll regret it if you don't. Plus you'll look like a moron!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/15/04
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