Review – Tales of Symphonia [PS3]

Posted: March 14, 2014 in Playstation 3, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

ToSRB

This is a game which I hope many of you have already played. However those who weren’t around for the GameCube era, didn’t have a GameCube or simply didn’t care back then, this may be for you. Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is a game which has been rereleased along with the sequel Dawn of the New World, which I’ll probably get round to reviewing at some point in the future…

ToSScreen8

The first thing which I noticed on starting the game up was that it detected my previous Tales’ series save files (Tales of Graces f and Tales of Xillia) and as such rewarded me with costumes from Tales of Vesperia, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Graces f, Tales of Xillia and even the unreleased (over here) Tales of Xillia 2. There isn’t many to go around (sadly one for each character) but having wimpy Genis in the six-pack revealing garb of Luke Von Fabre from Abyss has been amazing.

ToSScreen3

ToSScreen1

For those already familiar with the consistent story element which seems prevalent in all Tales games, there are still two nations at arms with each other, however it is more one sided than later entries. On one side you have the Desians, a race of half elves which consider themselves superior to normal humans, whom they capture and hold at their human ranches. On the other side – normal humans… some live in fear of the Desians, some rebel against them but it’s hardly the two rival kingdoms concept which we’ve come to recognise from the more recent Tales games. However Tales of Symphonia does go one further than that. I’m afraid I cannot go into more detail for I fear I shall spoil the plot and rob you of your enjoyment.

ToSScreen2

ToSScreen5

What I can tell you comfortably is this. On a quest to save the world from inevitable destruction, the Chosen Colette must travel on a “journey of regeneration”, accompanied by Lloyd Irving (who made a slight mistake in the early game, leading to the nearby village being burned and many of the inhabitants killed and is now wanted by the Desians), his best friend Genis, Genis’ older sister Raine and the token mysterious male Kratos. As you progress more characters join you on your quest and give you the chance to create your own line up. Each character has their own motive and flaws and although you could charge through the main quest, doing the little side missions gives an insight into your group’s personality.

Story aside, the rest of the game shows that Tales of Symphonia really shows its age. Or rather that little extra has been done to keep it in line with current Tales standards. The (although optional to play) skits cannot be sped up so you have to either sit and bear it or just skip the character development entirely. Plus they’re not voice acted, in general the voice acting pops up every now and then and is rather inconsistent. For those serious fans of voices from the East, you can now turn on the Japanese vocals if you so wish. Combat has regressed, with the much gratefully received free-running absent from this game, maintaining a linear approach to your targeted enemy. I had grown accustomed to the running round the back strategy with Luke in Abyss or strafing around them like Asbel in Graces that I had to retrain myself in the old ways of combat. As such I found the game to be more difficult than I remember, with my team running dangerously low on TP, and not having much money to buy supplies with, but who doesn’t love a challenge?

ToSScreen6

ToSScreen4

With all these things combined you still get a great RPG to immerse yourself into. The overworld zooms in on you a fair bit so you’re encouraged to explore and find extra skits and hidden places. Each location oozes charm and has more character in one town than many RPGs have in an entire game. Since world regeneration obviously needs lots of variety across the land, you can expect many elemental-themed areas, dungeons and boss battles. When you add this with the increasing risk of the Desians on your tail it gives a feeling of not just saving the world on the whole, but making sure you bring an evil society crashing down, which I found rather satisfying. To start with little things will be said that don’t make sense so you push them to the back of your mind, forgotten forever, then a twist is revealed and everything suddenly makes sense, some plot twists are easy to see, some even stereotypical but then there are some revelations that blow you away. The main quest will probably take around 40 hours but can go to 100 hours if you put in the extra time to explore this game fully, which you will find yourself drawn to do.

ToSScreen7Tales of Symphonia has been given a bit of polish and a few little extra things thrown in, but sadly it is not the mass update many (well, me) expected. That isn’t to say that it is a bad game, but after all these years I held hope that more would’ve been done. However this game was the benchmark for which all later Tales games have been set and it would do the game an injustice if you neglected to play it based on a few minor faults.

Pr0’s
A] Amazing story
B] A defining RPG classic
C] Quality soundtrack
D] Great cast

Cons
A] Lack of consistent voice acting
B] Minor graphical errors
C] Older battle style isn’t always better

Graphics 3/5
Sound 5/5
Gameplay 3/5
Playability 4/5
Lifespan 5/5

Final score

8/10

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s