Review by Boromir14

"Tales of Symphonia: An RPG Heavy Weight"

Yes, yes indeed. Just what I've always wanted, an RPG for the Gamecube! And to top it all off, a great RPG at that! From the great series produced by Namco comes Tales of Symphonia, a game that will make Gamecube owners rejoice and X-box/PS2 owners cry themselves to sleep. This game may have the title of “Role Playing Game,” but it certainly feels like action to me. This game is riddled with great little details and options (if you want someone to hate your guts, then don't be nice to them. If you find someone annoying, be rude to him or her and love another.) And how could you possibly forget the amount of sidequests put into this game, it is amazing. Always something to do in this game, whether it be filling out a Collector's Guide, or making Figurines of your friends, Tales of Symphonia has it all, and wants to share it with you.

Story: 10/10.

*Sigh* Right off the bat, people complain and compare it to other games such as Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy 7. Well, sure it isn't very original, but it certainly improved other's “ideas.” Tales follows the path of a young girl by the name of Colette Brunel, who has been Chosen to restore Peace and Order to the land of Sylvarant, by becoming an Angel. Friends help her along the way, Lloyd Irving (The one whom you control), Genis Sage (Lloyd's best bud), Raine Sage (Lloyd, Colette, and Genis' teacher also Genis' sister,) and a Sell-sword named Kratos Aurion.

“The Chosen” (Colette) must go on a pilgrimage to different lands and offer her prayers at the temple there. She encounters many dangers as she travels to deserts, forests, mountains, and great cities. And it sure isn't boring along the way. You can choose to watch “skits” by hitting the Z button while traveling. If you are sick of the skit, press the start button to continue your journey. Skits really add a depth to characters and should be watched, they have no sound but are pretty funny. Your game begins in the small village of Iselia, a beautiful community where the chosen lives.

Of course, there must be evil in Role Playing Games. Half-elves called Desians run human ranches, which are labor camps for humans. Scary, eh? Iselia has a non-aggression treaty with the Desians, to keep the Chosen safe until the Oracle, where an angel confronts her and her task begins. This game is long, so buckle your seatbelts… it's going to be a long ride filled with a lot of detail, perfect for RPG fans everywhere.

Gameplay: 10/10.

One word: Fun. This game is great! I can't remember the last time I played something so wonderful and…well yeah I can (The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) but still, this is great. I have been wowed so many times by the great gameplay, it runs so smoothly and is easy to learn. I am now on my fifth play through this game, and I am not tired of it at all yet. In this game, if you go to a city and just…look around, you will be amazed at how good it looks. The detail is great.

Traveling is a big thing in this game, a BIG thing. When you exit a city, town, dungeon, ect. You are in an Overworld, which is simply put, you are very large, and the towns are smaller, but when you enter the towns you are normal size again. Overworld, write it down. It's a good thing. There are four ways to travel in the Overworld, and they all are fun. One is to well, walk. Two is to ride you “pet” named Noishe, who is well, a dog-like thing with green spots (don't ask you will see). Three is to go by boat, surfing across the sea like a dolphin. And finally is to fly on crafts known as Riehards, bird like vessels that you ride around. The downside to the vehicles is that you cannot see treasure chest or “Relationship Skit Points,” which you talk with one member of your party and either be nice to them or pretty much tell them to suck eggs. But sometimes you gotta use the vehicles, well they are nice to have.

And whoa, whoa, whoa! You can totally equip your characters with whatever you want! They all have specific armors, hats/helms, gauntlets/shields/bracelets, weapons, and accessories. For instants, Kratos and Lloyd can use chain mail, but Genis or Colette can't. Kratos uses shields and Lloyd uses gauntlets. Certain accessories change the stats of your party members as well. For instance, a Blue Talisman increases someone's defense by 15%! Which is pretty damn good. Other accessories such as a Black Onyx increase a member's health by 30%, which is pretty good to slap two of those on a character. Each character has two slots for accessories, one for a weapon, one for armor, one for helm/hat, and one for arm guard.

Weapons are great, the detail put into the weapons is fantastic, showing an aura around them as sparks fly through the air as you strike a spider down. Oh and about battles, they are amazing. I am a true fan to traditional RPGs, but I mean this blows them out of the water. Seriously, Real Time owns. Everything is fresh and awesome. You can even switch between being Lloyd or others (I play as Kratos), which is awesome!

Graphics: 10/10.

ExCELlent! Tales of Symphonia has Cel-shaded graphics, like The Wind Waker or Mark of Kri, which I really like. The sheer detail of some dungeons and towns are truly breathtaking. I mean, even the Non-Playable Characters are great looking! For me, it's great to look at some clothes swaying in the breeze while being hung out to dry, or a bridge rocking back and forth as you cross it. That is just great to see in a videogame. People walk about the towns, looking exceptionally well, and have great characteristics on them.

The screen looks like a canvas splashed with watercolors, as you move from side to side. When you enter a building it actually looks like people live there, with food on the table, a book maybe on the floor, and a bed upstairs with a bookshelf and a person cleaning. Each party member has different costumes, which all look like they could be their real clothes, so detailed and amazing. Truly, breath-taking goodness.

Sound: 10/10.

Truly amazing the sound is in this game, I mean wow. The music…the music is a wonder; the scores are spectacular and really bring out the land the Party is traveling. And even each character has their own song, all of which match their personality. Special boss battles earn their own score as well, which really makes it fun to listen to.

The voice acting is amazing, with many great people lending their voices. Such as He-man, Bubbles, and Robin. Most of the cut scenes feature voice acting, which really makes the game better I think. There are few sound effects, but it is really hard to notice with the voice acting being so good. Each character may lend a fun saying after battles, or maybe they will dislike what they did during the battle and say something like “Man, I didn't get to do anything!”

Battle System: 10/10.

Fresh, fun, fantastic. The three Fs of Battle Systems. This game has a great one. One of the Best. Real Time is very suitable for this game, I cannot picture it with Turn based, that would be awful, very bad. Switching between characters is a breeze with the easy menu set up, and the weapons are fun and detailed. Characters are very well in depth with high AI and can really help you out. You can customize how you want your characters to act in battle, and they will do it. If you want them to just fight like mad men, no techs or magic, go ahead. If you want them to heal constantly, set them to healer.

Titles can be found throughout the game, which really help your characters with stat boosts. You do certain tasks to gain titles, or you simply do things in battle like a ten point combo. Titles also include costumes, which change the appearance of your characters as you walk about and battle. Even in cut scences they wear whatever they have equipped.

Overall: 10/10.

Tales of Symphonia is a Masterpiece. You will never get bored if you purchase this game, it is a great investment and will really give you some good memories with your Ol' Gamecube. The story has many twists and turns that keep you on your toes, making it a great experience where you can really connect with the characters. This game has made my top 5 greatest game of all time, which isn't easy to do. Tales of Symphonia, it's a must for RPG lovers, and even people who are new to the genre. If you are starting RPGs, make Tales of Symphonia the first one you play, you will not regret it.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/02/04


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