Well let me start first by saying that this game was too overly hyped. And here's the review...

Introduction Tales of Symphonia.... how do I even begin to tell anyone why I don't like this game... Oh, I have a reason. Brief history though. This is the 3rd part of the "Tales of" series. None of them were even remotely interesting to me, but I happened to see this one and say, "What the hell?" Big mistake.

Gameplay 6/10 Let me start this off by saying that this game has a real time battle system. No turn based stuff here. Everything is in real time, and the way that you can pause this game during a battle is by opening the menu, or pressing "Start". Just because this battle system is real time doesn't mean it's real hard does it? Of course not, why if you were to level up for a few hours then this game will be thrown away by how easy it is to win a fight. Each character can do a normal 3 hit combo plus a combination of "Techs" or "Skills" as I call them. They can be assigned to --> + B, <-- + B, ^C, etc. These skills will take up a certain amount of TP, now I don't have a damn clue what TP stands for, but whatever, I think that it means "Tech Points". TP can be regained by a "Spell" or a restorative item known as a "Gel" Sounds simple right? Well of course it is.

You will have a choice of making your characters learn 1 of 2 types of skills. Technical or Strike. Technical, having more hits and looks cooler, while Strike, has many less hits but does more damage and consumes more TP. Now this is all fine and great, but you can only have 1 set of these skills. In other words, no matter which direction that you go, you will be missing out on something.

Your skills will grow stronger as you meet certain requirements. Mostly as followed, "Use a certain skill 50 times and be at a certain level, or learn another skill and be at a certain level" That's how you level them up. Use that certain skill EXACTLY 50 times, and on 50, you will automatically learn you "New skill" You still keep your old one too, just in case you were wondering. Spells are the same way, actually, spells are really just a type of skill. They are assigned to certain buttons and when certain conditions are met, you get a new one. Very boring. Anyway, The battles are very easy to understand, you just move forward and back and hit the bad guy. That's it, nothing more than that except spit out a skill and use an item or two every now and then.

Oh, and one thing to note, whenever you use an item you will NOT be able to use another one for about 5 seconds or so. Battles are fought with up to 4 characters on your side, 1 is controlled by you, duh, and the other 3 can be controlled by the computer Artificial Intelligence, or a friend with another controller. Not a good idea to play with a friend since the camera angle is bad and only focuses in on Player 1. The A.I has but a few settings. Play the game and learn them I guess, not too hard.

Basically, you can easily mash the "A" (Which "A" is the regular attack button in which I forgot to mention) and a combination of "B" and kill enemies quickly. And like in few other RPG's, you have a choice of being a wuss and going around the enemy (just walk around them, touch battles) or just walking into them to start a battle. Back to what i was saying. There is nothing holding you back from attacking. For some "UNKNOWN" reason your characters never get tired until they are dead. You can attack forever and your character will keep on going. Non-stop. As soon as you learn a few skills and level up, this game has lost its foundation. Nothing to look forward to anymore but the....

Story 5/10 Hey everyone, sorry but I have seen this story a thousand times over before. I Know that people say, "There are only so many ideas to a story about saving the world" And yes, that's true. But this game did not have to be about saving the world, but it chose to be. This is a very cliched story. It's about a girl named Colette, who is the "Chosen One" (Very old saying there) who is supposed to go off on a journey and die. Wah. by the time that you get there, you want her to die. Anyway, like in many, maybe all, RPG's you meet with different people in your journey. But nuh-uh, you don't play as Colette, you play as a 16 year old boy in red named Lloyd Irving, who is really the main character. And for some reason, he has UNSURPASSED skills as a swordsman because of some MAGIC jewel. But, there is an..... evil.... organization of people called Desians who are out to get you! BOOH! No, they are after your jewel thingy because they made it to begin with and want it back. Not going to get into details and spoil it for you.

Anyway again, this game is mostly about discrimination against Half Elves who surprisingly aren't short like they were in fairy tales. Elves and "Angels" yes angels, are beings who can cast magic and other sorts of thing.... Lots of spoilers so I'm not getting into it. The entire quest of the game is to find some tower and resurrect some dead goddess so that the world can regain its "Mana" which is somehow more important to them than water, so that they all do not die a horrible death. But enough about the story, if you want to know more about it, then play a Final Fantasy game. Any one that you choose. To say something though, this game is more humor related than anything else.

Graphics 7/10 Ugh. The only reason I even gave the graphics a good grade is simply because this is on Gamecube. Everyone is pretty much a big cel-shaded sprite with big ol' heads and all. There are quite a few scenes where you read, and quite a few scenes where you listen to them talk. Everyone looks like a water painted anime character. But it suits everyone. The actual World Map to this game is ugly as hell. You can be really surprised when you see a giant frog like blob and a crawling jellyfish, both in oh-so-stylish black, running towards you. Even though there is not a single enemy in this game that looks like this, the enemy is what they represent. Towns are probably the best part of this game since the creators actually spent SOME time working on them...

Ahem... More to the point. Skills graphics and spell graphics are so-so descent. Nothing breath taking, just flashing lights and other things happening. But as for the blob things, they will only appear like that on the "World" map, not a dungeon. For on dungeons they will look like the monsters that actually appear in that area, but won't always be that monster. During some scenes of the game, the screen around the character will be so blurry and ugly that you will want to poke your eyes out and stomp on them for looking at the screen.

Even if it is on Gamecube, they could have fixed this awful blur problem.

Do not get too exited whenever you read that they have "Anime cut-scenes" Basically, they have 1 anime intro, and 1 anime exit. The rest just pops in and out for 20 seconds or so, if that. Maybe showing a laser firing or something, I don't know, not great or anything of the sort.

Sound 7/10 The sound is okay I guess. Hearing the same music over and over is annoying at times, but hey, it happens in all games. The battles have voices of your characters and the monsters.

Each character that you meet that becomes part of the story usually has a famous voice actor for his/her part. Such as... Lloyd has the voice of Robin from Teen Titans.

Play Time It took me 47 hours to beat this game with all of the side quests done and all of my characters were at level 100 (max is 255) by the time the final boss came out to end this game at last.

Replayability The only, and I mean ONLY reason that you will play this again is to make it easier than the last time. You see, after winning a fight you get items, money, and "Grade" Which at the end of the game, you get an option to spend that grade on something such as, 10X experience for your next game, 1/2 experience, things like that. I am not sure how to get grade, all I can say is beat the enemy as fast as you can without getting hit. No one REALLY knows the secret to grade.

Rent or Buy? I say without a doubt at all, rent for a week or 2. You can easily beat this game in a week, and never want to play it again. Rather spend $10 for 2 weeks and beat it twice, than spend $50 and never touch it again.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 09/13/04

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