View Full Version : Tales of Symphonia (game rate)

07-18-2004, 03:01 AM
I know, with me actually just playing for about 8 hours, I shouldn't actually be reviewing it. Let's just call it the "first impression" review.

Tales of Symphonia is the newest installment of the Tales series by Namco. It is only for the Nintendo Gamecube and houses 2 discs within the package. The amount of memory required to save is 3 blocks. Really, that's all the general stuff you need to know.


Well this is an ambitious title in terms of graphics. This cel-shade has never been done before, as this cell shade is far too complicated compared to soemthing like Zelda: WW. Anyway, the actual 3D graphics have this cel-shading that makes it look like anime. I mean, you do feel like you're playing in an anime with these cel-shaded characters. The backgrounds are neutral as usual (without cel-shading) and usually are very nice. Also, the special effects don't lack at all. In fact, it's at least on par with Final Fantasy x-2, if not better.

Cinematics in this game are impressive, as all of it comes in the form of anime. The opening sequence was absolutely gorgeous (Kosuke Fujishima is a genius!!!). However, there is a lack of these cinematics in the first 8 hours of play (beaten 4 bosses total and can go fight at least 3 more in any order I want...and not a SINGLE cinematic) was rather disappointing. All in all, the graphics, although ambitious, worked out nicely. Kudos!


Battle System

The meat and potatoes of the game, as they always say. And I'll get right down to it. The main battle system is similar to that of Star Ocean series (and the Tales series for that matter. lol). Basically, you walk around in an area and monsters will be about (either as shadows or in the shape of something you can recognize as a monster). You can run away from them or run straight into them to fight. Also, the monsters may walk around, run away, or even run toward you to attack you (they say it's depending on your level, but I'm saying they just do this stuff randomly).

Once you hit the battle screen, you control one of your party members (you chose already outsdie of battle) and you can run up to your opponents to attack them via the A button (you can combine this with directional buttons too), attack them with techniques via the B button (also you can use directional pads with the button to do different moves that you've set during or before the battle), or use the X button to guard attacks (damage dealt to you reduces, also you do not flinch after being hit). You can also use forward and backward on the joystick to move toward or away from a certain enemy (Up to jump and down to duck). To select the enemy you wish to destroy, you hold R and then move the target left and right until you pick the correct one. If not, the computer picks the closest enemy. Anyway, techniques cost tech points (TP), which you gain via winning battles or hitting your opponent with you basic weapon, and they usually are stronger or has more range than your regular attack (think of them as magic).

At a later point in the game, unison attacks wil become available. This allows you to chain MASSIVE combos using techniques (Doesn't consume tech points! just comsumes the unison attack meter! You build that up also by attacking the enemy or enemies). The workings of this will be explained to you and is a pleasant addition to the game. Also, you may also find different combinations that allow you to add even more than just 4 techniques into the attack, causing even MORE devestating damage (my record is 2335 damage with unison alone...8 hours into a game...). I find myself intrigued by this system and I think I will continue to experiment with it until I find the best damage possible.


Character mods

Well mods for each character comes in many ways. The first is the standard equipment stuff, where you can equip items that you got or bought. Characters are usually limited to what they can use in the beginning of the game (i.e. a sword user can only use swords), so the customization isn't really there. However, if you can start taking innocent items, add some stuff that you get from defeating monsters, and customize them, that would be cool. Wait, weapon customization is in the game! YAY (it's limited tho...)!

the second form of customization comes from good ol' EX gems. Basically, you get these gems and you can equip them to characters. This allows them to gain either new skills or better stats or other things. There are 4 levels of gems and they get increasingly stronger as the level goes up. However, once you equip an EX gem on a character, it stays on the character (and it can only be replaced). All characters start with at least 1 EX gem (usually at level 1 too), and you can start customizing right away. EX gems also have another specialty. When you have the right combination of EX gems, your character then can learn a compound ability along with the usual stat upgrade/other upgrades that the EX gem would normally give. The compound abilities also vary from character to character, just like the EX gems themselves. The problem with the gems: they are very rare and if you want ot buy them, they cost ridiculous amounts of a different form of currency (the game has 2 types of currency. The second takes a LOT of time to gain, and you may even LOSE them during battle...darn grade). Usually a battle you gain 1 or 2 grade (and it doesn't change at the end of the game either, unlike the other currency)...a level 4 EX gem costs 200 grade! Anyway, EX gems also help determine whether a character is "strike" type or "technique" type, which allow the character to learn different moves as they level up (strike I think is more of the brute force type, dealing single hits of damage, whereas techniques tend to spread the same amount of damage in different combos instead). All in all, not a very good system here, but it's okay.

The final customization coems from character titles. These can be accessed through the status screen. Everyone starts with a certain title and they gain different titles when certain conditions are met (e.g. Llyod gains a title for doing combos). These also allow you to choose how a character will grow in the long run (although you can only see gray/red/green to see whether a title is better than another or something). Either way, it's a nice addition to the game and can really help you customize. Besides, minigames tends to go along with titles *hint*. lol



funny how cooking's part of the game. But it is. it's just like what it says, you cook by putting in the right ingredients. Then you either succeed or fail at it. You can get recipes from the cooking guy hidden throughout the game to help you out. Also, characters have a tendency to cook better as they cook more, and this game reflects that with a star-rating system. The more you cook, the more likely you will succeed and the more likely the cooking will do much better. I like how you can also add extra ingredients in addition to the original ingredients to make whatever cooking more powerful/rewarding.



Nothing to say but to whoever made the soundtrack should be given a raise. WAIT! THE GUY DID ALL THE TALES AND STAR OCEAN MUSIC! NO WONDER! lol


Sound (includes voice acting)

It's pretty good. Throw in the random stereotypical sounds of monsters and stuff, you know...generic.

Voice acting on the other hand (at this point) is excellent. Aside from the voice of Colette (I can't imagine a voice like that on a girl like that for some reason. But they have reason to believe that Colette has that type of voice), I think the voice acting suits the characters well. Yay!


Plot (tentative. also, this contains spoilers if you think the first HOUR counts as spoilers.)

Baiscally, the world is on the brink of destruction and the Chosen (Colette) must set out on a journey to revive the mana goddess and therefore save the world from destruction. However, everyone doubts this as the LAST Chosen died before completing this mission.

So then Colette has to set out to open these seals to the Tower of Salvation, where she can climb to the heavens to revive the Mana Goddess Martel.

Now throw in our other main character, Lloyd. He is a long-time friend of Colette and is also determined to aid her in every way possible. After he was exiled from his hometown, he also sets out with his bestfriend Genis to aid Colette in her quest. We also throw in Genis' sister (Raine) and a Mercenary (Kratos) for good measure.

Now the plot itself is easily predictable, but it is still more character driven compared to most of the other series, where it is events driven. In that way, even if it's going to be a love story like all the other RPG games in the world, it is good.



How stereotypical of characters are these! Not much. I liked the fact that Lloyd and Raine both have their own strengths AND weaknesses shown. Their personality also shines through very well. All I have to say is that those two are well done. the others....not so good, but fair at least.


07-18-2004, 03:02 AM

Really, they say it's over 80 hours of gameplay. but when Nintendo Power says this and that you get unison attacks 10 hours into the game (and I got unison attacks 4 hours into the game...), well it's not going to be that long unless I go train like a maniac (which I am actually. HA! And I'm still ahead of their schedule!). I find the training much more entertaining and it's worth a shot!



If you didn't pre-order the game (I didn't either), you don't get the artbook (I want!!!!) and the poster (I WANT!!!!). Also, I don't recall any extras that come with the game itself (like the other games). Oh well.

In terms of the in-game extras. There are many things to go the second time through. You can go take a different path to end up in the same place or take the same path to different places. It's the non-linear style of this game that's intriguing to me and I think I'll at least play it through twice (along with the cool secret shop the you can get only after beating the game once). So not much goodies here either...sigh.



What do you think? I mean, I think i've said enough to convince or disconvince you. Basically it coems down to this: you like RPGs? If no, then don't go get it. If yes, ask yourself if you can live with the battle system. if you can, get it. If you can't, don't get it. All in all, go to like EB games or something and try out the battle system!

Overall scoring: 8/10