This is going to be my first Retro Game review: Specially requested by one of my followers sort of. Since I don’t get review copies of games for free from their makers to review, I don’t have the HD collection pictured above. Hence everything I say is going to be from memory and probably will be wrong, or highly tinted by rosy nostalgia of the original games.
First up is the first game Tales of Symphonia!
Gameplay: While lacking in the niceties of the more recent tales games it isn’t nearly as bad as the first Tales game Tales of Phantasia, which I have played on the Gameboy Advance. I 100% cleared that game, I don’t know why since the gameplay royally sucked. This game however is much better and is quite innovative in the linked artes (Artes are the series term for special named attacks that cost Mana or in this game series TP) that you can get from combining certain arte combos. I personally loved playing as Sheena and using a summon, Sylph is my favorite, during any overlimits (Think limit break from FF7 and your fine).
Storyline: Amazing, and it can end in multiple ways, and has the main character have different love interests, which was pretty cool since the default is the most annoying character in these games sadly.
Graphics: Back than they were pretty freaking amazing, and the Anime-style cutscenes and intro was pretty freaking cool. I didn’t know at the time though that Japan had a real song and not just some instrumental music play through the intro though. Now I feel gipped about that, which leads to the next thing!
Music: I’ve always thought RPGs had the best music in gaming, and this game didn’t disappoint me at all. Coming back to the games later I immensely enjoy the Intro theme for this game that was in the Japanese Version. Starry Heaven is one of my favorite songs just to put on and enjoy listening to while I’m doing something mindless.
Overall: Amazing game and well worth playing.
For those who like: JRPGS, something other than turn based combat, amazing characters and a compelling storyline.
Not for those who don’t like: JRPG’s that don’t use a turn based combat, Tales isn’t Final Fantasy and it has never used turn based combat in its Mothership titles that I know of. Lots of Cutscenes or text.
Next onto the sequel, a game that got much less acclaim because it was on such a shitty gaming system, the Wii.
Tales of Symphonia: Knight of Ratatsok, or as it’s known in the west Dawn of the New World.
Gameplay: One of the few things they improved in opinion was the combat system in this game, which used another Tales games combat system as a base Tales of Vesperia. Other than that I didn’t like the monster system as I always preferred having a dedicated healer in my group and a dedicated spell caster and the monsters were always so weak. The main character however is pretty cool and it was nice to see that everyone got a Mystic Arte (Think finishing move, usually can only be used once per battle and sometimes under certain circumstances only)
Storyline: It wasn’t nearly as good as the other one, but as I spent only a week playing this game and I sped through most of the story I didn’t get the chance to do all the sidequests to fill out the story. However like the first game it does have multiple endings, and this story is slightly darker in tone than the previous game if that was at all possible. The best ending though ends on a good note which makes me satisfied.
Graphics: Like the combat it used the modeling system from Tales of Vesperia and everything looked a heck of a lot better at the time, although I wasn’t using an HDTV so it looked just as crappy as everything else.
Music: Good, although it used lots of stuff from the first game, and the intro theme wasn’t nearly as good as the first games.
Overall: Good game, would I pay for it by itself no I wouldn’t unless I really wanted to see what the characters from the first game were up to after the ending. Thankfully I have a solution for it below.
For those who liked: The first Tales of Symphonia game, JRPGs, Non turn based combat.
Not for those who don’t like: Non turn based combat system JRPGs, a less than stellar storyline.
Good news everyone, coming out next week in the United States is the HD remaster of both Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Knight of Ratatosk all in one disc.
It includes: The original Japanese dubbing, which is much better I imagine Collete sounds less mentally challenged in it, subtitles for English and a complete HD remaster of everything. You will finally be able to play these games in glorious HD. Also includes remastered versions of the Japanese intros for both versions of Tales of Symphonia, the Gamecube and PS2 releases, and one for Knight of Ratatosk.
Worth buying: Yes! If you are looking for a quality JRPG, look no further than this HD remaster, and you’ll even get a medicore game as a bonus! By purchasing this game you will help bring future Tales of games to the United States and I will thank you endlessly.