Review by NeoDhaos
"A legendary masterpiece now for your Nintendo GameCube!"
Namco's Tales of Symphonia is the 5th installment in the Tales series. Tales of Symphonia is yet quite different from its predecessors. The first change is that this is the first Tales game thats is in full-3d graphics featuring a fantastic battle system. The second major change is that it as a full 3d battle system unlike its older brothers. So are these changes good or bad? Lets see the review!
Tales of Symphonia has beautiful 3d cellshaded anime style graphics. The character models look simply beautiful like works of art! Towns and cities are well crafted with marvolius desings. The only fault in the graphics are the world map sprites which look sort of ugly, the world is plain and simple and lacks much details, other than that ToS some of the best graphics seen in on the Gamecube
ToS features a new battle system compared to its older brothers. The battle field is in full 3d unlike its older brothers which had 2d graphics. The battle system is quite fast and is simple to pick up for anyone who is new to the Tales series or even new to RPGs. When in a battle you press the R button to target a enemy, this forms sort of an imaginary line which sets up your characters attack path(like the other Tales games) now pressing A will make the character run up and attack the enemy, pressing A multiple times can let you unleash large combos while pressing B lets you use the characters special attacks. You can mix these two attack types to unleash large amounts of combos. Sounds complicated? Well its not, its actually quite simple and is probably the best battle system seen in any RPG. If you don't like the whole pressing A makes your character run up and attack you can switch over to the Manual mode which gives you full control of your characters. Up to four players can play in ToS, this adds even more fun to the battle system. If you don't have a friend to play this with you can mess around with your Characters AI strategy. The game lets you customize how you want your character to act in almost any situation in the midst of the battle. Unlike most games which have useless characters who you won't even touch ToS has very different type of characters so you will find your self using almost all of them in your playthrough. To beef up the battle system even more the Tales Studio(people who made the Tales games) added Unison Attacks. At a certian part of the game Unison Attacks will be unlocked. Unison Attacks are the most devastating attacks in the whole game. When in battle the Unison Attack bar is fully charged up you can press Z to unleash your Unison Attack. Unison attacks are techs that are combined to unleash one giant attack that can hit hundreds of times. Some attacks will combine well unleash Compound Attacks which are the strongest attacks in the game. All this stuff mixes to make the best battle system in any RPG game.
This is probably the weakest point in ToS compared to its other features but it is still quite strong on its own. The story is about a girl named Collet who is the chosen of Mana and she has to go on the journey of World Regeneration to save the world from the evil Desians. Her two best friends Genis Sage and Lloyd Irving(the main characters) decide they want to help her out. You meet many different characters and goto far away places. The story gets quite cliche at times but it still manages to suprise you with some very good plot twists. The game is average length about 40-60 hours of gameplay but do not expect 80 hours of gameplay without doing any sidequests like the official case told you. The story may seem like Final Fantasy X at the beginning but don't be fooled as the story will get quite far away from that.
Play Time and Others
ToS is a giant RPG if you count all the things that it has. The game has more than 100 items that you need in order to finish the Collector's Book and it is impossible to finish it in your first playthrough, same with the monster book! In ToS there are two ways that a character can go, the S-Type and the T-Type. What type of skills you learn etc all depend on what type you are going to pick! So you can't learn all the skills in your first playthrough as there are over 100 spells and techs for you to learn! The game has a secret dungeon that is completely random so you can't use any guide for it, which makes it quite challenging. There are enough optional bosses in the game to keep you busy for quite a while. The game also has 3 different difficulty levels, normal which is the easiest, Hard, and a mode called Mania which can be unlocked after beating the game. Mania is HARD it makes Star Ocean 3's Fourth Dimension difficulty look easy, enemies have three times their normal stats and have a much higher AI! The game also has many sidequests that can be unlocked after you beat the game. ToS also has a newgame+ mode, but don't expect it to be Chrono Trigger style. You can buy certian things like EXP x10 when you start a NewGame+ with your Grade, grade can be earned in battle. All in all ToS is the RPG of the summer that should not be missed. ToS was enough to fill the stomach of the RPG starved GCN.
ToS is a must have game. If you love RPGs then buy ToS immediately, if you don't like RPGs still buy ToS as it for RPG lovers and people who don't like RPGs alike.
Don't miss this masterpiece, buy it NOW!
FINAL GRADE: 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/07/04
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