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Vyse the Legend
14-10-2008, 02:21 PM
Tales of Symphonia (Released for GC)

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The Tales Of Series - Now if you are any kind of RPG fan you will have heard of the series, and chances are, seeing as how many of them are brilliant, you will have already played some. So amongst some of the finest RPG's out there, how did TOS do? Well let's just say - it's amazing, pure and simple!

Now I really can't go in depths about the story, because for anyone that hasn't played yet, the plot is so beautifully set, with so many twists, turns and bumps, that I would only end up ruining the experience for you by going into too much detail, but here are is the general theme. The story starts in the small town of Iselia, where Lloyd, the game's main hero is in school along with his best friends Collette and Genis, (oh and before I go on, that is G - enis, not something else, as much as you may want to call him the other version later :D ) Now Lloyd isn't your typical hero really, he's stupid, always makes mistakes, falls asleep a lot, and is constantly getting told of for... well everything. But he does have a heart of gold and cares greatly for his friends, so when he finds out that Collette has been chosen as the new Chosen for the World, and has to embark on an journey to help there world of Sylvarant from it's current decline, he and Genis decide to come along, under the supervision of Genis's older sister and teacher - Raine. Now together the four of them will come across the most varied, amusing and diverse cast you are ever likely to see. From the clumsy assassin Sheena, the self proclaimed lady's man Zelos, to the always grumpy and sturn Kratos, all of whom are wonderfully mixed into the cast, and each shine out as bright as the other. So you won't have some characters that take all the story, as each will have there own unique story that will unfold throughout the game - great stuff!

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(Above) The brilliant cast of TOS

Now of course you aren't going to be free to just save the world in an hour, nope there's a whole host of enemies wanting to kill you, so enter the battle system. If you are familiar with other Tales games, than you will be comfortable with what goes on. Each fight, set on a sort of 2D field is in real time, where you are able to play as one of your party's four characters. Now I found this great, because you can mix and match your play, and rather than being stuck with Lloyd and his swords, you can switch to say Sheena and her summons or Raine and her magical attacks, it's up to you. The other members will be controlled by AI, but you can set them strategies to follow, which they do pretty well.

Pressing A with be your main strike attack, and combos can be performed by pressing A several times. Techniques are done by pressing the B button, where you can select which skill to use - all pretty common stuff really. But what makes each battle great is how fast paced each fight is. Honestly, you can't blink, so much goes on each and every fight, which will be a real shock for people used to slow paced turn based combat - don't say I didn't warn you! But it helps to make training quick and fun, rather than just falling asleep, pressing attack over and over again, like some RPG's I can name.

The rest of the game really follows a typical pattern to RPG's -travel the world map, fight guys, go to the town, buy stuff, see a cut scene, carry on. That's not to say this game is boring, far from it. There's plenty (many of which I assure you, you will miss,) of side-quests ranging from the basic to the insane. You have receipes to learn, which will help to recover SP and HP, monster lists to complete, special weapons to find, and very importantly relationships to build with your fellow cast. Throughout the game, you are given choices to make, that will influence (in some cases by quite a bit,) how the story will unfold, not just the odd scene. You will see this in the hilarious Skits that take place randomly whilst you are walking around, where several characters will interact with each other about anything. I can't tell you enough, how funny these are, and again add to the character charm that this game already has to offer.

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(Above) A typical battle scene in the game played out at 100mph.

Graphically the game is cel-shaded in most parts with some anime sequences thrown in. So how does that combo work, well for me, brilliantly. Each area, character, battle animation is full of colour and the detail is excellent. Even during skits, you will have each character's facial expressions change, rather than just a very blank zombie like face. In addition to the graphics, the soundtrack is amazing. From the imporant boss battles to just your casual mess around in a town, are accompanied by just the right tune, something which you will probably end up whistling too whilst at out and about during the day. Another good addition is voice acting, something that lacks often in RPG's but is done extremely well here. The only downside being during battle, when everytime a move is carried out, the voice will yell it's name, often several times in one quick battle, and honestly at times, you just want to slap them, and tell them to be quiet and fight.


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(Above) Never were such truer words spoken, Lloyd we salute you! :D

Conclusion. I'll admit that from the moment when I first saw this game in the shops, I knew I was going to love it, so I snapped it up without hesistation and any knowledge, and started to play. Something told me this game was special, and I was proven right, the game is an absolute joy to play. So many RPG's out there, do some things right, but just can't put it all together - TOS can and does!! There are the odd minor downsides, one being something a little odd, that the game is actually too long. Spread onto two discs (yes 2, a rare sight indeed,) you sometimes feel that this next dungeon feels unncessary as you've just gone through one, or that the story makes you backtrack a little too much, just to increase the game's lifespan. However when you compare that to the epic story, characters, battle system, graphics, sound - hell everything, you can see that this game is worthy of the Epic RPG crown, and one I strongely urge all of you to go out and play NOW!!

+ Wonderful story that even to RPG veterans will throw surprises that you didn't see coming
+ Very unique battle system, combined with good enemy and partner AI helps to make each battle fun
+ Lovely cel-shaded visuals and excellent soundtrack

- The game does drag on a little bit in places, trying to make you play longer than you have to

Overall - 10/10

Doomed
14-10-2008, 02:26 PM
Nice review as usual Vyse.

Vyse the Legend
14-10-2008, 02:28 PM
Thanks Doomed, that was a quick response hahaha. :)

Doomed
14-10-2008, 02:31 PM
Thanks Doomed, that was a quick response hahaha. :)

I read fast lol

Vyse the Legend
14-10-2008, 02:32 PM
Anyway have you got the game, curious as to what people thought of the game?

Doomed
14-10-2008, 02:38 PM
I played the game 4 years ago at my friends place. It seemed pretty awesome.. especially the combat. The story was pretty amusing, too.