Review by Katana X12

Reviewed: 07/29/04

A good game, but far from great.....

An anticipated game for a RPG lacking starved system, Tales of Symphonia offers much to satisfy the needs of any RPG lover. With a long story, a unique battle system, multiple side quests, and an all-star cast of characters and voice actors, anyone who manages to complete this game can easily recognize TOS as one of the best RPG games ever. However, this game cannot be labeled “the best game ever” or “The best RPG game ever.” Compared to other games, this game is just above average, but it is a top game in its genre. TOS if a good game, but far from great.

Story – 7.5/10
”We have to save the world!” Honestly, saving the world is getting old. Maybe if they presented the objective of “saving the world” differently rather than just telling u straight on, the story wouldn’t sound as cheesy. On the upside, the story is rather complicated and expansive. If a plot in the story isn’t surprising, then it’s a total shocker. Overall the story lags and the explanations for plots can be hard to understand, but it is very creative.

Graphics – 9/10
Not exactly the best graphics in the world. Sometimes the characters’ facial expressions ruin the moment. Sometimes, they have no facial expression. What raises the score in this category is (just like in all RPG’s) is the battle effects. This game has surprisingly good battle effects that are pleasant to see. But like in all games, graphics never matter, game play does.

Game play – 9
Let me start off my saying this important message: TALES OF SYMPHONIA IS A POOR MULTIPLAYER. If you are players 2-4, all u will get to do is battle. You don’t actually get to move around during over world scenes. You could get so bored in between fights that all you can do is press buttons, therefore annoying player one. In battle, you can do everything the first player can do EXCEPT executing unison attacks. Unison attacks aren’t that big of a deal anyway, but there is a chance u might not get to be a cool-to-be character due to strategy purposes. If you are not player one, drop this score to 6 because fighting is still fun. If you are player one, then keep 9 as your score for the game play category. Player one will be the person who does the traveling, town/dungeon exploring, puzzle solving, and unison attack executing.
The battle system, with multiplayer or single player, is excellent. You can even issue commands to computer-controlled characters. Computer controlled characters can also have there AI set to do certain things, such as “don’t pursue” meaning a character will stay away from enemies. Fighting itself it pretty straight forward: Go hit the enemy with basic attacks (A) or special attacks (B). However, you will only have as much fun as the character you choose to be because some characters are more fun to play than others. Example: Pressing A,A,A, B can be more fun to do with a melee fighter as opposed to pressing the same buttons with a spell caster, thus early in the game can be a bit boring. At first there is only one primary melee fighter. More melee fighters come later in the game, but they take forever to come. TOS isn’t very challenging, as the battles can be easy and the puzzles are pretty much straight forward. Overall, the game is a nice experience, but better played with one or two people

Sound – 8/10
The worst thing about the sound in this game is the voice acting. This game features an all-star cast (ex: Cam Clarke, Jennifer Hale, 3 people from Teen Titans) so u would think the voice acting would be better. It’s not terrible or anything, but they do sound cheesy sometimes. What can really get you are the conversations. They don’t sound natural; they sound like they’re talking to themselves. What notches the score up are the sounds during the battle. The music is appropriate and hearing the characters say their moves is quite pleasant to the ears. If you like it enough, you might start saying them.

Playtime/Replay – 8/10
The back of the game says “80+ hours.” The game can easily be finished under 50, but it’s still a long game, and even longer if you choose to do the side quests. If you really enjoyed TOS after you beat it, you can start a “New Game Plus.” Where you will have certain things carried over from your old file. I thought TOS was “good as it lasted,” meaning I didn’t feel like playing it again.

Overall – 9/10
If you enjoy RPG’s, this game is worth having no questions asked. If you aren’t into RPG’s, you may want to consider renting it. AT THE VERY LEAST this game should be rented. It’s definitely one of the best RPG’s ever. Like I said earlier, this game is good, but not great.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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