Friday, November 18, 2011

Tale of 2 Worlds, Tales of Symphonia

Name: Tales of Symphonia
Devoloper: Namco Tales Studio
Year: 2003-2004
Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
Genre: RPG

As a new Blogger, I rely a lot on the feedback of my friends. So last week I showed him my posts and asked his opinion. He usually isn't into blogs and stuff, but he kinda liked this. "But," he said: "I only respect it if you write a good Tales of Symphonia Review." Now I know that he is a great fan of this game (so much in fact, that he played this probably over 10 times now). So how can I resist this. Here you go Daan ;) Enjoy.

The story is about a group of people that travel the world to regenerate it. The world, called Sylvarant, needs mana for almost everything, but once in a while it starts to diminish. People then turn to the chosen one. A person chosen by a goddes called Martel. She will travel the land to unleash seals in every corner of the world. By unleashing a seal, she starts to become an angel. Once every seal is unleashed, the chosen one becomes a true angel and regenerates the world. The chosen one in this story is called Collete Brunel. A cheerfull little girl who can be a bit of a klutz sometimes. She is accompanied by her friends Lloyd Irving and Genis Sage. With them travels her teacher, Raine Sage, the older sister of Genis. Kratos, a mercenary paid to help the regeneration make possible is also with them. Together the travel the world to unleash the seals. Yet they discover that becoming an angel makes you less human. And the story about the regeneration is a bit darker then they thought it would be.

Now, I can tell you more about it but this isn't Zeronic's spoilers lounge. Although I can tell you that Sylvarant isn't the only world you visit (or save). The world that you see before you is displayed in 3 types of screens. At first you have the world map, from here you travel from town to town (or dungeon). On the world map you can encounter enemies. They are displayed as a random purple monster.
Next up is the dungeon view. You see more detail here, and every area looks different. You can talk to people, find treasure or enter a building to buy weapons and take a rest. In hostile area's you also encounter monsters. They look different from the ones on the world map, more resembling the monster you have to fight in the...
Fight screen. And here is were things are most interesting. Like every "Tales of" game till now, the battles are real time. This means that enemies can attack at all times, so if you have to think, pause the game or face imminent DEATH. You can only control 1 party member at a time, the other 3 characters act as they see fit. You can instruct them to use certain abilities in the pause screen though. With your main character you walk around the battlefield, spamming the A button to attack. You can pull of 3 or more hits with most characters. After those attacks you can use a special skill. Most "Tales of" refer to these as artes. They are called skills in this game, and you can chain a level 1 skill into a lvl 2, a lvl 2 into a lvl 3. Skills cost mp (magic point) though, so don't use them too much or you run out before a boss battle.
Next to this you also need to guard (with X) and you can unleash a unison attack in which all character unleash a free special attack for some neat combos (Z button).
To improve your battle skills (or other skills such as faster walking in towns and dungeons), you also have EX Skills, you can equip those to a character to improve certains aspects, making them better in combat.
On a final note. If you think the AI is real stupid, (or if you just have a crappy tactic), you can also connect more controllers and let your friend take care of one of your other party members.

Now, although this is a great game, with a nice plot, I am not that fond of the graphics. It is not what makes this game stand out. It doesn't look bad but most area's you see aren't exactly surprising. There isn't a place you would remember because it just looks so damn awesome. The one thing that I am fond of is the skits and movies you see when certain important happens in the story. The normal graphics are replaced but some good Japanese animation which just want to jump out of your screen. Very detailed and you see them quite often. Skits are short converstation between characters that you can activate any time at will once you see a message pop up. It usually contains some funny information about the story or some nice background info (such as the fact that you WILL know that Rain cannot cook... Spicy Short Cake! What the hell were you thinking!).

Although the game is called Tales of Symphonia, storywise it has nothing to do with music. The background music you hear though is quite memorable and it always fits the moment. It is not only catchy, but just nice song sometimes too. I rather listen to this that most Top 40 music. All in all. The music for this game is just fine.

If you like RPG's, you really have to play this one. If you are looking to waste time as a gamer... play this one. It is quite long for a gamecube game and it can entertain you for weeks. Definitely if you try to get every side quest, item and skit. Like I mostly do ;)

Some fun facts about this game:
- Although it takes place before Tales of Phantasia (the first Tales of Game). You see more technical stuff and    machines then in Phantasia
- Star Wars is not the only story with a "I am your Father" WTF moment
- You can have 8 party members in total, yet you can recruit 9
- Pacman makes an appearance here
- Other Tales of Characters make an appearance here
- This game has catgirls!

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