Review by Flare_Dragon123

"Tales of Symphonia is one of the best RPGs to date."

Review for Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia is one of the few installments of Namco's Tales series to see wide release in the states. The Tales series is an installment of JRPGs that follow the typical formula. Tales of Symphonia though, manages to be something very special.

Story 9/10

Tales of Symphonia revolves around Lloyd Irving and his friends, Colette and Genis, and a few other typical JRPG characters. Colette is the Chosen One, a member of a special religious bloodline that must go on a pilgrimage to restore mana to the land every couple hundred of years. Tales of Symphonia starts on the day that Colette is called on to go on her journey, and things evolve from there.

There is a lot of stuff going on in Tales of Symphonia, and for most of the first act you are simply given the pilgrimage of the Chosen. It plays like a friendly little traveling across the world, but things float between serious and fun quite nicely for most of the game. The said pilgrimage is actually a very small part of the game, and things get bigger and badder from there.

Tales of Symphonia really shines in its characters and their relationships. Lloyd serves as the typical kind of stupid but good hearted main character. Colette is the typical savior of the world type, and takes her burden seriously, and is kind hearted and quick to apologize. Genis is the brain as well as childish on a few aspects of life, but typically serves to make fun of Lloyd's shenanigans. Genis' sister Raine is the professor of Lloyd and Genis' class and is always keeping them out of trouble, while offering a logical mind to the party. Beyond that you get the silent mentor type, a rough and tumble tomboy, a ladies man, a silent young girl, and a grief stricken criminal. All the characters are unique and add a lot to the game.

As I said, the story in Tales of Symphonia starts off fun and bubbly but always throws in tough and serious scenes before it gets too childish. In all reality, there isn't anything in Symphonia you haven't seen before, in fact you've seen most of the elements a lot. Symphonia though manages to bring together all these familiar elements and make it into a very good game that deals with sacrifice and racial equality and spread a great moral message.

Overall, this is one of the best stories you could ask for in a game, it just delivers on all fronts.

Gameplay 8/10

The Gameplay in Tales of Symphonia is based on the Tales series' active battle systems. In battle you play as one of the four active party members and move in a 2D plane with the enemy you are targeting. The battlefield itself is 3D and the enemies will move around free reign, but the pace is very quick. Battles won't take very long, and even if they do, they won't feel like they were very long because the battle system keeps you sucked in.

Character learn abilities as they level up and as they use other abilities. For instance if Lloyd uses his signature move Demon Fang two hundred times (the game keeps track of every abilities usage throughout the game) and he is level sixteen or higher, then he will eventually learn the upgraded form. What upgraded form you receive is based on a character's tendency towards Strike EX Gems or Technical EX Gems. EX Gems are separate equipment that the character uses to expand on different aspects of battle. It can be as simple as a small boost to their Attack stat or their HP stat, or to how long stat effects last in battle, or even how much Experience points and Gold are received at the end of battle.

The dungeons are all well designed and each of them have a unique puzzle. The item you use to solve all dungeons is called the Sorcerer's Ring, and it gains a different ability in each dungeon you go to. This really helps liquidate Gameplay and make it different and likable for each new dungeon you go to. The abilities range from shooting fire, electricity, ice, wind, to strange ones like shrinking the size of the characters or acting as a radar to reveal hidden items and enemies.

Each character has a unique battle style and each character has several different skills and abilities to learn, magical and otherwise.

Tales of Symphonia also has three difficulty levels, one that's only unlocked after you beat the game once.

There's tons of equipment and accessories to find and equip in Tales of Symphonia so you'll no doubt spend hours upon hours doing everything Symphonia has to offer.

Almost forgot to mention, Tales of Symphonia actually supports multiplayer. You can team up with four other people and play through the whole game that way. Obviously, you'll have to share whoever plays on the world map and the dungeons so as to keep everyone involved.

Replayability & Side Quests 10/10

Tales of Symphonia is really astounding in this department. This may be one of the most replayable games to ever come out. See throughout the game, each battle your in gives you a secondary type of currency called GRADE. In game this can be used to buy synthesis stuff and EX Gems, but after you beat the game is where it really shines. When you load up a completed save you get to start a new game plus, the plus in this case is access to the GRADE Shop.

The GRADE Shop offers bonuses for your characters to have as you replay the game. There are things like keeping all of your characters learned battle abilities to keeping their EX Gems, either equipped or in the inventory. There's also things like 2x EXP and even an expensive 10x EXP.

There are numerous amounts of side quests in Tales of Symphonia. Your characters will collect different titles throughout the game that help them accrue different stats as they level up and sometimes change their outfits. Each characters has a bar minimum ten titles, and Lloyd has something like twenty plus. There's also a bestiary and several rare random encounters to… encounter. There's also the collector's book that records each item in the game that you collect, and the only way to finish it is to play the game at least three times.

Something else I've noticed in seven plus playthroughs is that you will always miss something. The amount of scenes in Tales of Symphonia is ridiculous, and the amount that you don't have to see or the flavor scenes is ridiculous and even after my amount of playthroughs I ALWAYS find something that I haven't seen.

Voice Acting 9/10

Tales of Symphonia is a game that balances its voice acting and static text. A hell of a lot of this game is done with voice acting, and even the English voice actors all do a great job. This game is one of the best English dubs out there, no Baiten Kaitos here. The voice acting does a lot to portray the emotion of the plot.

Overall 9/10

Tales of Symphonia is easily one of the best games out today. It has a fun and fluid battle system, it has a ridiculous level of Replayability, and its story is wonderful and touching even after seeing it multiple times. The voice acting is great, and there's simply something here for everyone. You can play it with four people and you can simply do a lot of stuff. Tales of Symphonia is a great game and comes highly recommended. A definite buy that you won't regret.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/05/10

Game Release: Tales of Symphonia (US, 07/13/04)

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