Tales of Symphonia Chronicles Review - Work Together for Peace

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles Review - Work Together for Peace

Colorful yet dark, two classics are given new clothes.

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Great review!

Tales of Symphonia was one of my favorite games for the GameCube. I cannot disagree though that it does show it's age, especially compared to many of the more recent Tales games.

Still though, I was happy to see that they were making this, it's enjoyable to be playing it again after all these years. It'll also be interesting to try out Dawn of the New World, I didn't get to play it when it first came out, even if people say it wasn't as good as the original I still think it will be nice to at least try it out.

While this may turn off people who want a more proactive hero, Emil's place as a quiet pushover at the start sets him apart from the many older, gruff protagonists so common to video games today.

Hah, the reverse is true. I can't play almost all JRPGs because the PC is a wimpy pushover like this Emil, an utter moron or way over on the feminine side of androgynous. Normally at least two of them.

Edit: And the breast teasing, I assume they're insulting because they're "too big"? That is such a Japanese only insult that, frankly, most people I know would find it completely absurd. The West is very much on the "bigger is better" bandwagon when it comes to jubblies. The male corollary would be insulting a man by saying he has a big penis. Nonsense.

Eh, I honestly doubt anyone was buying this to play Symphonia 2 anyways. The first game is where it's at, and the second game is just a freebie tossed out for people to try and play if they want to. I remember playing a little of it on the Wii, and it was honestly sort of a forgettable affair.

I loves me some Tales games. I've been playing them since Tales of Phantasia on the SNES. But I have found that it is usually best to leave the older ones in the gentle arms of nostalgia. Now, when do we get a new one?

Maybe when I have some spare cash again...

I don't really have any superfond memories of Tales of Symphonia but people have always led me to believe it was good... though I worry that's just nostalgia goggles...

KorLeonis:
I loves me some Tales games. I've been playing them since Tales of Phantasia on the SNES. But I have found that it is usually best to leave the older ones in the gentle arms of nostalgia. Now, when do we get a new one?

http://au.ign.com/games/tales-of-xillia-2/ps3-135531
http://au.ign.com/articles/2013/12/12/tales-of-zestiria-announced-for-playstation-3

But a little more on topic:

There's 2 things that consistently come up on the internet when talking about Tales of Symphonia:
1. It's age
2. It's apparent cookie cutter story

I'm going to comment on number 2 first because I think it is just plain untrue - what that statement suggests to me is that the person saying has only played 5-10 hours into the game, this is the beauty of Tales games... the entire game you are 100% sure what you are doing is the main objective of the game e.g:

And then... it just isn't, Symphonia has a ridiculous amount of twists and turns, I've never seen another story like it:


I just don't see how that could ever be considered a stock standard story - Yes, there are a few common tropes in there but in what games isn't there?

Now for the age thing, I just don't get that part, I find Symphonia shows a lot less age (even playing it on my Gamecube) than most early PS3 and xbox 360 games - The graphics certainly don't look bad and that's purely down to the cel-shaded art style and the gameplay (especially battles) is far better than most current games in the genre;
I guess people are referring to the fact that most people could tell it's a remake by the world/terrain resolution and clarity but I always thought when a game is showing it's age, it either has gameplay elements that haven't been common in the current console generation (like snes rpgs showing their age because an excessive amount of grinding is what classifies as gameplay) and/or the graphics make your eyes bleed (à la Final Fantasy 7).

I don't think it's appropriate to say that's my 2 cents because I've written so much it's at least a couple of dollars, sorry about that, I get passionate about Tales of Symphonia.

cursedseishi:
Eh, I honestly doubt anyone was buying this to play Symphonia 2 anyways. The first game is where it's at, and the second game is just a freebie tossed out for people to try and play if they want to. I remember playing a little of it on the Wii, and it was honestly sort of a forgettable affair.

Um...I did. :-) I never got a chance to play it on the Wii, even though I bought a copy of it. The Wii was in my brother's room and just sort of collected dust (stupid motion controls) for a long time, so when I heard they were releasing these two games together, I was very excited that I'd finally get to play the sequel.

I now own two copies of both games. Sadly, I'm not sure when I'll get around to playing them, as I'm finishing up Lightning Returns and then it's time to start Dark Souls II.

This being the first `Tales of` to get dual audio, it's also the first that I've played. I liked everything about it (Zelos and all his skits included), and I hope that Xillia gets a remastered release on the PS4 in a few years' time.

Guess I'll start my second playthroughs and count the days 'till The Witch and the Hundred Knight arrives.

Decent review.

Am interested since I have been lacking in old-school jrpgs lately and it's nice to see one actually in dual audio(which sadly enough is rare) but there is one thing that I couldn't help but noticing

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comicsandcosplay/comics/critical-miss/11115-The-Bad-Ideas-Guy

2nd panel, seriously it's 2014, why are there still games don't let you skip cutscenes?

Whatislove:
Snip

Yes! Agreed! The story is just plain bonkers and is actually extremely nihilistic I mean

I am a big fan of consistent crazy twists in my JRPGs. It's also why I was a big fan of Baiten Katos: the Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (did I get that name right?) even with its many many issues. And it's also a Gamecube game! Man, that was an under-appreciated system.

Whatislove:

KorLeonis:
I loves me some Tales games. I've been playing them since Tales of Phantasia on the SNES. But I have found that it is usually best to leave the older ones in the gentle arms of nostalgia. Now, when do we get a new one?

http://au.ign.com/games/tales-of-xillia-2/ps3-135531
http://au.ign.com/articles/2013/12/12/tales-of-zestiria-announced-for-playstation-3

But a little more on topic:

There's 2 things that consistently come up on the internet when talking about Tales of Symphonia:
1. It's age
2. It's apparent cookie cutter story

I'm going to comment on number 2 first because I think it is just plain untrue - what that statement suggests to me is that the person saying has only played 5-10 hours into the game, this is the beauty of Tales games... the entire game you are 100% sure what you are doing is the main objective of the game e.g:

And then... it just isn't, Symphonia has a ridiculous amount of twists and turns, I've never seen another story like it:


I just don't see how that could ever be considered a stock standard story - Yes, there are a few common tropes in there but in what games isn't there?

Now for the age thing, I just don't get that part, I find Symphonia shows a lot less age (even playing it on my Gamecube) than most early PS3 and xbox 360 games - The graphics certainly don't look bad and that's purely down to the cel-shaded art style and the gameplay (especially battles) is far better than most current games in the genre;
I guess people are referring to the fact that most people could tell it's a remake by the world/terrain resolution and clarity but I always thought when a game is showing it's age, it either has gameplay elements that haven't been common in the current console generation (like snes rpgs showing their age because an excessive amount of grinding is what classifies as gameplay) and/or the graphics make your eyes bleed (à la Final Fantasy 7).

I don't think it's appropriate to say that's my 2 cents because I've written so much it's at least a couple of dollars, sorry about that, I get passionate about Tales of Symphonia.

ARRRGH! Would PLEASE... fucking PLEASE tell people what game you are spoiling in your spoiler blocks?!? When I see an unlabeled spoiler block in a thread about a specific game, I tend to assume that it is a spoiler about that game. Not a related game that I haven't gotten around to playing yet. It's simple, let me show you how to do it:

<spoiler="Tales of Xillia spoiler be here"]</spoiler]

Don't assume that people that have played one game in the series have played every game in the series, especially when you are commenting on people you believe haven't played all the way through one.

Didn't knew about this game, added to my wishllist since I do want it.

kurupt87:
Edit: And the breast teasing, I assume they're insulting because they're "too big"? That is such a Japanese only insult that, frankly, most people I know would find it completely absurd. The West is very much on the "bigger is better" bandwagon when it comes to jubblies. The male corollary would be insulting a man by saying he has a big penis. Nonsense.

It's not that absurd. Women getting teased and harassed for having large breasts isn't an exclusively Japanese thing, it can be a problem in western countries as well. Women are harassed for all sorts of reasons many of which (like breast size) are subject to all sorts of double standards. In the game at least it comes off as more teasing via sexual harassment rather than outright mockery; not that that makes it any less demeaning.

And while insulting a man by saying he has a big penis would seem a little strange to us, it wasn't always that way. In ancient Greek times a small penis was considered ideal, large penises were considered "barbaric" and worthy of mockery.

Sniper Team 4:
Um...I did. :-) I never got a chance to play it on the Wii, even though I bought a copy of it. The Wii was in my brother's room and just sort of collected dust (stupid motion controls) for a long time, so when I heard they were releasing these two games together, I was very excited that I'd finally get to play the sequel.

Sooo... motion controls were the only barrier of entry keeping you from enjoying a game with no motion controls? Yeah. That makes sense.

I've always found the "the Wii is terrible because of motion controls" argument to be extremely petty, especially so in cases where the game in question doesn't actively utilize the motion controls.

Candidus:
This being the first `Tales of` to get dual audio, it's also the first that I've played. I liked everything about it (Zelos and all his skits included), and I hope that Xillia gets a remastered release on the PS4 in a few years' time.

Guess I'll start my second playthroughs and count the days 'till The Witch and the Hundred Knight arrives.

Decent review.

you never got a game because it doesn't feature dual audio? let me tell you this, all the games have had great voice acting, barring 2 of them. not buying them only makes it mor eliekly not to get dual audio (as that is incredibly expensive, and usually (and i do mean usually, not all the time) ruins the english voice overs as they now have to hire second rate voice actors over the good ones).

maxben:

Whatislove:
Snip

Yes! Agreed! The story is just plain bonkers and is actually extremely nihilistic I mean

I am a big fan of consistent crazy twists in my JRPGs. It's also why I was a big fan of Baiten Katos: the Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (did I get that name right?) even with its many many issues. And it's also a Gamecube game! Man, that was an under-appreciated system.

Yeap, you got the name right.

I agree, the gamecube had some really, really good JRPGs on it.

Symphonia
Baten Kaitos (both of them)
Paper mario and the thousand year door (the best in the series)
Wind Waker
Fire emblem
Skies of Arcadia: legends (strictly speaking a port from dreamcast but with added stuff)
Lost kingdoms (no where near as much recognition, but I liked it a lot)

Scars Unseen:

ARRRGH! Would PLEASE... fucking PLEASE tell people what game you are spoiling in your spoiler blocks?!? When I see an unlabeled spoiler block in a thread about a specific game, I tend to assume that it is a spoiler about that game. Not a related game that I haven't gotten around to playing yet. It's simple, let me show you how to do it:

<spoiler="Tales of Xillia spoiler be here"]</spoiler]

Don't assume that people that have played one game in the series have played every game in the series, especially when you are commenting on people you believe haven't played all the way through one.

Apologies

Even though the first word is the word "Xillia" followed by some generic words where you could have just stopped reading, I have added more information to the spoiler tags.

P.S I haven't even begun to wreck anything the story of xillia has to offer with that 1 line sentence, trust me.

Keiichi Morisato:

you never got a game because it doesn't feature dual audio? let me tell you this, all the games have had great voice acting, barring 2 of them.

I just don't feel like this is true. And before I started writing this reply, I went to youtube and caught IGNs review of Xilia, wherein the reviewer occasionally stops talking and lets the characters' voices come through, and a similar review of Tales of Abyss.

Both are literally unbearable. Xilia is about on a par with FFXIII, which was also unplayable on account of being a fundamentally terrible game and the garbage voice acting.

I've always been left cold by US voice actors. Every single English audio JRPG I've ever tried to play, it's felt to me like they're treating the product with utter boredom and contempt. I have a hard time telling who the so-called "greats" are supposed to be; none of them approach their profession with any proper craft, and none whatsoever manage to sell their role to me so hard that it overrides what the American accent *means* to most Europeans: the modern day, shopping mega-complexes, big cars, starbucks etc (not exactly conducive to immersion).

I haven't prefaced every comment above with "I think" or "I believe", but I'll just note here before I go on; I know that's just my opinion. I don't think my feelings are absolute.

not buying them only makes it more likely not to get dual audio (as that is incredibly expensive, and usually (and i do mean usually, not all the time) ruins the english voice overs as they now have to hire second rate voice actors over the good ones).

Well if I were faced with this comment and found myself in a decision making position, I'd forgo English voice acting altogether and release with only the original audio plus subtitles, but let's put that aside for a moment...

From my perspective, the least intelligent decision that I could make- regardless of what it does to the likelihood of a dual audio release down the line, although I'd argue that it turned out pretty well for me in Symphonia's case- the *worst* thing I could do, is to willingly expose myself to a feature that detracts so much from the game (for me) that it ruins my enjoyment of it.

There's just no getting around that.

And before anybody says it, of course you can tell good JP from bad. Just spend a few moments listening to the JP voice-over for Enchanted Arms, or the wobbly 50% of the Dynasty Warriors' JP VA's.

To get back on topic, with Tales of Symphonia, I'm going to give the English a chance up to...


But based on what I just heard from the opening classroom scene, this acting is pretty potato as well.

Symphonia will always be my favorite Tales games, mostly because of how it was the first JRPG I've played where I did not see where the story was going to go after what I thought was the first end of the game itself...

Whatislove:
-snip-

Give or take a few other ("smaller") twist that only happen during certain sidequest/moments, that's basically why I still love Symphonia to this day...

Even before picking up the Collector's Edition of Symphonia Chronicles, on my GC memory card, I have beaten the game over 10 times... It's the only RPG that has had that many playthorughs coming from me personally...

Candidus:

Keiichi Morisato:

you never got a game because it doesn't feature dual audio? let me tell you this, all the games have had great voice acting, barring 2 of them.

I just don't feel like this is true. And before I started writing this reply, I went to youtube and caught IGNs review of Xilia, wherein the reviewer occasionally stops talking and lets the characters' voices come through, and a similar review of Tales of Abyss.

Both are literally unbearable. Xilia is about on a par with FFXIII, which was also unplayable on account of being a fundamentally terrible game and the garbage voice acting.

I've always been left cold by US voice actors. Every single English audio JRPG I've ever tried to play, it's felt to me like they're treating the product with utter boredom and contempt. I have a hard time telling who the so-called "greats" are supposed to be; none of them approach their profession with any proper craft, and none whatsoever manage to sell their role to me so hard that it overrides what the American accent *means* to most Europeans: the modern day, shopping mega-complexes, big cars, starbucks etc (not exactly conducive to immersion).

I haven't prefaced every comment above with "I think" or "I believe", but I'll just note here before I go on; I know that's just my opinion. I don't think my feelings are absolute.

not buying them only makes it more likely not to get dual audio (as that is incredibly expensive, and usually (and i do mean usually, not all the time) ruins the english voice overs as they now have to hire second rate voice actors over the good ones).

Well if I were faced with this comment and found myself in a decision making position, I'd forgo English voice acting altogether and release with only the original audio plus subtitles, but let's put that aside for a moment...

From my perspective, the least intelligent decision that I could make- regardless of what it does to the likelihood of a dual audio release down the line, although I'd argue that it turned out pretty well for me in Symphonia's case- the *worst* thing I could do, is to willingly expose myself to a feature that detracts so much from the game (for me) that it ruins my enjoyment of it.

There's just no getting around that.

And before anybody says it, of course you can tell good JP from bad. Just spend a few moments listening to the JP voice-over for Enchanted Arms, or the wobbly 50% of the Dynasty Warriors' JP VA's.

To get back on topic, with Tales of Symphonia, I'm going to give the English a chance up to...


But based on what I just heard from the opening classroom scene, this acting is pretty potato as well.

for me, i'd rather have terrible voice acting, than play a game in a language i don't understand, because if i do play in Japanese, i no longer pay any attention to the audio at that point, so it might as well not have any voice acting in it at all. also, NOT having english audio in the game really reduces the market share in america, as no american who isn't already a fan of Japanese voice acting and or Japanese video games will be even more reluctant to pick up the game, and perhaps become a fan of a different genre that the were never exposed to before. hell if it wasn't for the Cowboy Bebop dub, a huge fan base would never have been created. speaking of Cowboy Bebop, the creator of the show admitted that the english voice acting is much better than the Japanese voice acting. Black Lagoon, Trigun, Ghost in the Shell, Michiko and Hatchin all have great english voice casts, and arguably better dubbing than their Japanese counter parts. i think you mostly have a bias against a language that you CAN understand verses a language you can't so it sounds more appealing. though i will admit this, i will never watch a live action foreign film dubbed.

Keiichi Morisato:
I think you mostly have a bias against a language that you CAN understand verses a language you can't so it sounds more appealing.

I tried to cut this off in my post, but you went there anyway, and you're wrong in my opinion.

I've picked up enough over a decade of consumption and a bit of dabbling with Rosetta Stone: Japanese to get the gist of a conversation without subtitles at all, actually. Because I follow the words, can tell dialects apart and usually pick up on characterful nuances and inflections without having them pointed out, I *do* notice and get turned off by bad JP voice acting.

I preferred Ghost in the Shell in English, I preferred Enchanted Arms in English (although it was by no means good, the JP voice-work in that game was abysmal).

But in general, English voice acting is atrocious. Yuri Lowenthal was pointed out to me as a "veteran of anime voice-overs who does a fine job [in ToA and Suiko V]". I think his work is a disaster. That's just one example, but name anybody and I'd likely tell you the same thing.

It's not some unthinking bias. It's my considered opinion that these actors and actresses are (in general) legitimately horrible and untalented. I think that JP voice actors (in general) bring a level of dedication, craft and sincerity to their roles that often, sadly, doesn't get matched by their western counterparts.

Candidus:

Keiichi Morisato:
I think you mostly have a bias against a language that you CAN understand verses a language you can't so it sounds more appealing.

I tried to cut this off in my post, but you went there anyway, and you're wrong in my opinion.

I've picked up enough over a decade of consumption and a bit of dabbling with Rosetta Stone: Japanese to get the gist of a conversation without subtitles at all, actually. Because I follow the words, can tell dialects apart and usually pick up on characterful nuances and inflections without having them pointed out, I *do* notice and get turned off by bad JP voice acting.

I preferred Ghost in the Shell in English, I preferred Enchanted Arms in English (although it was by no means good, the JP voice-work in that game was abysmal).

But in general, English voice acting is atrocious. Yuri Lowenthal was pointed out to me as a "veteran of anime voice-overs who does a fine job [in ToA and Suiko V]". I think his work is a disaster. That's just one example, but name anybody and I'd likely tell you the same thing.

It's not some unthinking bias. It's my considered opinion that these actors and actresses are (in general) legitimately horrible and untalented. I think that JP voice actors (in general) bring a level of dedication, craft and sincerity to their roles that often, sadly, doesn't get matched by their western counterparts.

then almost all american voice acting is bad, because they are some of best when it comes to video games and voice acting in general. hell most of these voice actors do more than just japanese games and anime, but american games and cartoons. (i am speaking specifically the Tales games) one of my favorite voice actors is in Tales of Symphonia, who before Symphonia, played phenomenally as Robin in the Teen Titans anime/cartoon thing... (the show was made in Japan by a Japanese company, WITH a Japanese opening with alternated between english and Japanese every other episode, but is technically a cartoon simply because of the subject matter, as american super hero stuff are automatically cartoons even if Hayao and studio Ghibli made the show). also since i don't know a lick of Japanese, playing a game or watching an anime in Japanese and trying to say that it is better than english dubs is rather pointless as i don't know enough japanese to really say, but i do think that english voice acting has come a very long way, and some are really good, and have always been really good. (in the case of Emile, he sounds terrible because the voice actor was directed that way, not that the voice actor is terrible, you should give Trigun in english a watch, as it is fantastic.

the only real problem i have with the game, is that i can tell where the replaced the old textures in the over world. around each town you can see a dark seam where the new texture is. there is also a stark difference in quality, but the seam is much more distracting.

Tales of Symphonia probably is my favorite game of all time. The combat system is still miles ahead of non-Tales-JRPGs, and while the story is chock-full of clichés, it also has some pretty good characters(if you ignore the two boring leads of Lloyd and Collette, that is), a story that is actually about something, and one of the most complex main villains I've ever seen. The soundtrack is also amazing.

However, the game has aged. And it has done so poorly. The english voice acting is subpar at best, and as good as the combat system is, other games in the series has surpassed it. The same goes for the characters and the story. Still, ToS will always have a very special place in my heart.

I enjoyed the review, but the sentence below needs a second 'be' before 'vigilant'.

"The battle system requires the player not only to be active but also to vigilant."

By the way Tales of Xillia has much worse characters than either of the Symphonia games. They're all either poorly done tropes, too cheesy to care about drama queens, or blank slates.

Didn't know this game was getting rereleased, it's very convenient for me since I've wanted to play this game for a while but I don't want to buy a GameCube

 

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