Review by Saiki
If you're a fan of RPG's, this game is a must get
Tales of Symphonia is the most recent ''Tales of.....'' game that Namco released and this time, on the Nintendo Gamecube. And if you're a fan of the Tales of series, this is a must get RPG. Even if you're not, this is still a very good RPG game.
The world map is very large and there are many towns and dungeons to explore. And there are a number of mini-games found in towns as well. Each one done nicely IMO. The dungeons are usually filled with block moving puzzles and other puzzles that are found in old-school RPG's. It's obvious Namco is trying to keep the old-school console RPG feel in this game. My only complaint is that the bonus dungeon was boring and wasn't as good as Tales of Phantasia's.
The battle system is just amazing. It takes the Linear Motion Battle system from the previous tales of games and puts it into 3D. The new system, called Multi-Line Linear Motion Battle system, is not like the battle system in Star Ocean though. When you target an enemy, an imaginary line is formed and you move on that line in real time. You only control one character out of your party and the rest of the party members are AI controlled. You can also set the AI to behave in certain ways like how often they use kills, who they attack, etc. The battle system is heavily based on combos(like in fighting games). It also has a system called Unison attacks which works like the chain attacks from Valkryie Profile. Duel techs are also present in the game as well. Slowdown almost never occurs during battles. The only time I got slowdown was when Zeros was casting Thunder Blade, Collet was casting Judgement, Refill was casting Ray ,Genious was casting Meteor Sworm and the enemy was casting Thunder Blade. Slowdowns only occur when everyone is casting a big spell around the same time. Which is pretty rare.
The story of the game is simply put, very good. The character development is done very nicely and smoothly. Although some people might not like it since the story developement feels more old-school like.
Just like the battle system, the game has been taken from 2D to 3D. All the previous Tales of games have always sticked with 2D hand drawn sprites. TOS takes a jump into full 3D with cell shaded graphics. The cell shading is very nicely done in the game to give it a hand drawn look to it. Certain parts of the environment seriously look like it was hand drawn. The characters are also nicely shaded and given a sprite-ish look as well. The only problem I noticed was clipping issues. Though these issues were very very rare. But overall, the game has very nice graphics and nice 2D-ish look to it.
Music and Sounds: 9/10
The music, sound effects and voice acting in this game is essential for a good RPG and this game does a very good job with this. Each piece of music fits the scenes nicely and sets the mood well. For people who have played Tales of Phantasia, this game has many songs taken from Phantasia and either remixed it, or just uses it. The Fighting of Spirit comes to mind. The sound effects sound exactly like they always have in the Tales of series, which to me, is a good thing.
The voice is acting is excellent. They hired many well known voice actors to do the voices for the characters.
Replay Value: 8/10
Tales of Symphonia is a very fun RPG to play. It has tons of secrets and other sub-quests to play through. And the story has different branches so playing it again to see these different story branches is very worth it.
Overall, this game gets a 9 out of 10. Anyone who loves RPG's should pick this game up. Especially those who like the old-school RPG's better.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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