Review by DeuxHero
"Average jRPG is average."
Tales of Symphonia is a game in Namco's "Tales" series.It is a jRPG with a real time battle system.
The story at the start is a very simple one, once every now and then a "chosen" (who is surprisingly, NOT the main character, but his best friend.) must visit the various shrines around the world to save it from destruction. While the story takes some major twist quie early on, it goes straight into another stock plot. Because of the idealism of the story, many moments come off as silly, it is REALLY hard to take talks about things like racism seriously when everyone is also talking about the power of friendship in same scene.
Combat is, like most jRPGs, is the majority of the game. Players fight monsters in real time by using a combination of their basic 3 or 4 hit standard attack and various special "tech"s that are chained after hit or another lower level tech. Techs are learned as the player levels up, and are meant to be stringed together into combos, but "combo" generally means "use another tech right after the last one ends", never juggling or other actions one would expect in a combo from a fighting game, meaning minimal effort is required to pull them off. Unfortunately, combat quickly devolves into "use combo, block, use same combo, block" until the enemies are dead. This quickly become irritating, as one can only hear "*grunt*, *grunt*, *grunt*, *grunt*, tiger blade!, sword rain alpha!, demonic circle!" again and again so many times...
The game overly requires the player to make multiple playthroughs, while this would be fine if it was restricted to obtaining every item in the game, but it is not. The player is required to play the game though 8 times (at minimum, if they plan from the start) to get certain backstory exposition cut screens (here after referred to as "info dumps") for each party member (except the main character) about their backstory, meaning that to all but the most die hard (or ones willing to spare themselves the effort and look them up on youtube or a game script) will miss major details in the plot. A good example of this is one scene only takes place if a specific one of these info dumps is accessed, this scene can be very dramatic, but only if the player saw a different info dump on a separate play threw, but because it plays off a characters Freudian excuse, it makes little sense without having seen that route.
Sound is perhaps the best area of the game. All voice acting (except a single characters, arguably) is quite good, and the music fits the scene it is set too well. Even the above mentioned attack calling is due to the repetition of the clips, rather then the quality.
Final call:Llike I said in the tag line, Tales of Symphonia is an average jRPG that does little to set it's self apart from the rest of the genre. 6/10 - game is okay, but there are many better.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 11/18/08, Updated 03/30/10
Game Release: Tales of Symphonia (US, 07/13/04)
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