Tales of Symphonia
Review by dionysis1200
"A competent and charismatic JRPG! Not to be missed!"
It's no secret that the Gamecube has been somewhat starved for your more traditional Japanese-Role-Playing-Games. Therefore the release of Tales of Symphonia is something that has been anticipated for quite some time. Gamecube owners should not be disappointed - they now have a RPG to compete with the best in the business.
Tales has what may be referred to as a "cookie-cutter" plotline. There's a chosen one who will lead a band of fighters/defenders across the planet to find the required ingredients to complete her task "saving the world (or in this case worlds)." Of course the joy of the storytelling is in the details, and I found this game to tell it's version of this timeless tale with quite a bit of wit and charm.
The characters in specific are all lovable and intriguing. Well-written (and spoken) dialogue only helps push the story along in an exciting and compelling way.
ToS is a pretty game. It may not have the top-o-the-line production values and CG cinemas of other popular RPG's, but the resources they DO have are used as best as possible. The cel-shaded look helps define the anime vibe of the characters. Battle animations and effects are impressive. The animation in cut-scenes could have possibly had more variation, but this is something of a personal quibble and may not be noticed by most individuals.
Honestly, I haven't payed much attention to the music. Which for me is good. That means it's certainly not bad or it would be annoying and distracting me. Everything seems to be of a standard RPG fare in this department - so far nothing has really stood out nor detracted from the experience. I will say however that the voices are top-notch - the only drawback being that not all the text is spoken - only the main plot sequences are voiced. Tiny drawback, but worth mentioning.
I have found nothing in Tales gameplay that doesn't overly please. First and foremost being the battle system. Not quite like any other modern RPG, it has elements of many other systems. First, it's real-time. Second, you can have up to 4 characters slaughtering the competition. Single-player you control 1 main character and can dole out specific actions for others. The "A" button gives you your main attack, while pressing in different directions with the B button or C-stick will provide access to special techniques. After learning the ins and outs it all is very action-packed and fast-paced for an RPG of this sort.
The rest of the gameplay is your tried and true exploring, leveling up, finding new items and party members, and basically turning your troupe into the planet saving evil-bashing comrades they are.
If you like RPG's there really is no conceivable reason why a romp through ToS wouldn't be a completely enjoyable experience that ranks up with the other heavyweights of it's genre.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/19/04
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