Review by arngrim_samurai
"TalesOf Symphonia one of the better GC RPGs"
"Once upon a time, there existed a giant tree that was the source of all mana. A war, however, caused this tree to wither away, and a hero's life was sacrificed in order to take its place. Grieving over the loss, the goddess disappeared unto the heavens. The goddess left the angels with this edict: 'You must wake me, for if I should sleep, the world will be destroyed.' the angels bore the chosen one, who headed towards the tower that reached up unto the heavens. And that marked the beginning of the regeneration of the world." This is the intro, and when I first saw it I said "Wow this is going to be a lame epic this story has been done over and over again". But as I got into Tales of Symphonia I was astonished on how deep the story actually goes. It broke the classic 'save the world' story for me and unleashed a beautiful 60+ hour game for us to enjoy.
Jump! Attack! Fireball!
This is where Tales of Symphonia shines. The battles in this game are simply superb. Unlike traditional RPG's, Tales of Symphonia is a real-time game so there are no turn based game play here. Play control consists of normal attacks, special techs/magic, defend, jumping, and moving all of which can be customized. Battles are very fun no matter which character you control, from mage to warrior you can still be very active in the fight. What's even better in Tales of Symphonia is that you can have up to 3 friends join you in your fight against evil. But there's a problem when it comes to multiplayer battling. The camera doesn't expand when you move far away from your partners so you could be off screen and die without knowing it, which gets really annoying. Nonetheless the battles are always action packed and when it comes down to the boss just let him have it and watch the special effects fly!
The storyline is very deep in Tales of Symphonia. As I stated earlier that the story seemed really clich� in the beginning but the more you get into it the deeper it gets. I was really surprised at some of the dramatic twists that were thrown in here. Overall the story is great and very touching at the end.
Wow these graphics look good.
Tales of Symphonia has been given an anime feel and so Namco decided to cel shade the characters, but not the environments. This is great because it allows the characters to stand out and yet it seems the environments weren't too detailed. This bothered me because I was expecting a huge contrast in the detail in the two to make both environments and characters stand out. Battles come out nicely too with nice effects when it comes to spells and the special techniques but nothing too extraordinary. Overall I loved the graphics of Tales of Symphonia. I just wish that they used the GameCube's power to the full extent when it came to creating the environments.
Tales of Symphonia took a different direction than most in the cinematic department. Instead of CGI graphics, Tales of Symphonia uses beautifully drawn and animated anime cut scenes in key parts of the game, but unfortunately there are very few cut scenes. I would of personally like to see more and I think many other players would too. Nonetheless these graphics are astonishing and will make any RPG or anime fan happy. When battles commence the graphics pretty much retains the look of the world map. So much is happening in some battles I was surprised that there wasn't any slow down in the game when you're fighting 5+ monsters in the game. Also the special attacks everyone creates look extremely cool from the main character shooting a beam of energy from his sword to the spell caster ripping open the earth to engulf his opponents. All of these skills were developed very nicely and they look great. Once again I'm going to bring up the environments. In the battles they all seem a little bland but they are appropriate for the areas I suppose. I guess my expectations for environments were shot down again but I guess I can't have everything.
Oh wow voice overs, sword clashs, and music what else could you want?
The sounds are done very well in Tales of Symphonia. The music is what really nice in this game from the opening scene's music to the battles, its all good in this department. Tales of Symphonia houses some good voice over work but it can get a bit annoying. Overall, though, I never found myself going to the options menu and shutting off voice overs (I guess Namco thought ahead since most gamers don't like corny lines). Sound effects are great in battles. They all sound at the right times are appropriate to the attack and surprisingly even some monsters had voice over work too. To bad I can't say that all the sound effects were great. When it came to in game cut scenes, it seemed like there was none at all at some parts (like when jumping 20 feet the character lands quietly. yeah right) but overall they were never too annoying.
So, we cleared the basics of the game, and all but you still have to ask that question, is it fun? Indeed Tales of Symphonia is one of the most enjoyable games to play EVER for the RPG genre. From watching goofy extra scenes from taking on the most ferocious of monsters this game is virtually unparalleled to most games out there. The most enjoyment I found was the characters themselves. From the klutzy heroine that is meant to save the world from dumb but strong lead character all of them were very interesting and all had a strong personality. The dynamic story is also a thing that keeps you interested all the time while playing. Actually I only found a couple of things dull in this game, and that doesn't include leveling up, which to this point I found boring in every other RPG I've played. To some gamers there might be slow dull parts but I never found a dull part that ever turned me off to stop playing the game. I think even casual gamers can find this game enjoyable thanks to the action packed battle system, which is very simple to learn and is very fun. Alone or with Friends you do not want to miss out on this game because of the many things it is, boring is not one of
Oh look the final boss! Oh look ultimate weapons! Oh look... another puzzle darnit!
So here we are all the extra little goodies in this game. There are a LOT. In most RPGS they usually just include a bonus boss character and ultimate weapons for your character, which Tales of Symphonia includes but it contains a lot more goodies to search for then just that. From finding cooking recipes to finding bonus conversations this game contains a lot of little extras that are nice to find. Tales of Symphonia includes a Title system where your characters grow in certain attributes differently with different titles this can really help your characters out in the game if you set them the right way. Also, Namco thought ahead on us and included 2 hard difficulties in the game and trust me, they are hard (like dying on the first boss hard). Namco also decided to throw in a new game mode, which is very nice because you can make your next play through ridiculously easy to hard as heck. Overall there is much to find when it comes to extras might even add a whole 5 hours to your game time if you find everything.
Time to bring this to a close.
Now it all boils down to how this game is as a whole. Personally I feel like this game blows most RPGs out of the water with how great every aspect in the game is. From the multiplayer to the story this RPG holds so much for the hardcore gamer and its so fun it might lure in the casual gamer crowd there is so much to be had from the voiceover work, battles, and even anime. This game offers a lot and is appropriate for mature gamers and for the people who still like there games pure. Overall this game is a major force to reckoned with.
Most of the game features beautiful 3D graphics and animated character portraits. In battle, each character model, ally and enemy alike, has a wide range of impressive animation. There are only a few pallette-swaps, and most of them are at least a dozen hours apart. Sadly, the enemy models that represent groups of monsters on the overworld and dungeon maps are somewhat blocky and lack variety. To help make up for this, there are a few FMVs and anime cutscenes, which are mostly excellent. While slightly flawed, the visuals are generally beautiful.
I think this game must be buyed of course is only 20 dollars come on what are you waiting for Tales of Symphonia is a masterpiece that cannot be missed in your collection.
Tales of Symphonia has action-packed battles and a developed cast of characters. While it isn't very original, it manages to take some of the best elements of other games and combine them effectively to create a great game. The music and graphics are good, the replay potential is substantial, and the game even has the added bonus of a multiplayer option. While it could have been better, Tales of Symphonia is still a great game.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/16/06
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