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Tales of Symphonia

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Tales of Symphonia was an addition to the Namco Tales series of action RPGs. It is the first of the Tales games to go fully 3D. The game is vaguely (and extremely distantly) connected to the SNES Tales game, Tales of Phantasia.

It should be noted that the game was also released on the PS2, but only in Japan, and a few months later. The PS2 version had more costumes, more special moves and a improved multiplayer camera view (The Gamecube release featured the camera targeting only the first player and the lock on target, making it much harder for melee characters in the multiplayer mode.). However, since the game was optimized for the Gamecube, the PS2 version featured slightly blurrier texture and much longer load times.

This port was not delivered outside of Japan, most likely due to the fact that Nintendo paid Namco a lot of money and helped with the localization. The game tends to be predictable, yet also takes several opportunities to make fun of itself & RPG cliches.

Gameplay

Battles use the brand new debuting Multi-Line Linear Motion Battle System, which conveys the feel of the Linear Motion Battle System from the previous 2D games in the series in glorious three dimensions. Basically, the fights play like the 2D side scrolling battles, but look 3D.

When in these battles, the game controls very similarly to the Nintendo game, Super Smash Bros. Melee. The human player uses the control stick in a certain direction and the B button to execute different moves. Unlike SSB:M, the game focuses much less on jumping and much more on combinations. While the beginning player may need to block with the X button often, eventually they will be able to chain together relentless attacks.

Since each character has many different attacks, they can "equip" certain attacks to certain button combinations. New attacks are learned by using previous attacks a certain amount of time. For example, Sword Rain: Alpha is learned by using Sword Rain a lot. It should also be noted that there are two skill paths, Strike or Technical, that determine which skill you learn.

There are no random battles in the game, much like Chrono Trigger. The enemies are represented by shadowy figures on screen that waddle around, sometimes chasing you. You can either try and avoid them or face them head on.

As in other Tales games, the player controls a single character (by default, the main character, Lloyd - see below. However, the player can take control of any character) in a party of four, the other party members being controlled by the computer. While the player-controlled character has button-press access to a few spells, the other party members can be configured to use only certain spells, in what situations to use them, and what strategies to follow in offense, defense, and even movement. While these guys pretty much dawdle along on their own, never playing as fast as the player can (which is how the player is always the hero of the party), they can also be ordered to cast certain spells or use items at the player's behest.

Characters

  • Lloyd Irving is a young boy, living with his foster father, a dwarf. His mother died when he was young. He uses two swords in battle. Lloyd tends to be stupid and easily bored. He is also a good fighter, partially thanks to his Exsphere.
  • Genis Sage is Lloyds good friend. He is younger, but much smarter. He receives a lot of strict parenting from his sister. They too do not know their real parents. Genis is capable of using a lot of elemental magic very well, because of his half-elf blood. He uses what appears to be a rubber ball attached to a toy hammer, but is apparently called a "Kendama". He swings it at the baddies.
  • Colette Brunel is a ditsy young girl around Lloyd's age. She is pressured as "The Chosen One" that will bring the world back to the level of prosperity it once was. She uses a Chakram in battle. Those are the little throwing rings Xena used to use.
  • Kratos Aurion is a mercenary. Not much is known about him at first, except that he uses a single sword and is quiet and mysterious.
  • Raine Sage is Genis' older sister. She is capable of powerful light magic, including healing spells, thanks to her half-elf blood. She is also a teacher with a fetish for artifacts and ancient ruins. She gets giddy over them.
  • Sheena Fujibayashi is a mysterious assassin/ninja girl. She uses....wait, what? Cards? Is this Yu-Gi-Oh? Oh, wait, they're magic cards. Okay. She can also summon spirits when in Over Limit mode.
  • Zelos Wilder is a lady's man who just happens to be another "Chosen One." He uses a magical sword.
  • Regal Bryant is a mysterious man with blue hair that was once a prisoner. He keeps his hands cuffed, yet uses his legs to kill people. He specializes in a variety of kicking attacks and long combo's. He trys to talk to Presea.
  • Presea Combatir is yet another mysterious character we don't know much about when we first meet her. She uses a giant axe, and is capable of impressive feats of strengths. She's not much of a talker, either.

Plot

The story takes place in the land of Sylvarant. Legend has it there once was a great mana tree, that produced prosperity to the land. However, a great war occurred, and a hero named Mithos died to take the place of the tree. Because of this, the goddess Martel mourned and fell into a "sleep". She told her angels that she must be woken up, or else the world will be destroyed. The angels gave birth to The Chosen of Mana (aka The Chosen One) who would go on a pilgrimage to each seal and regenerate the world.

In present day in Sylvarant, the world is in peril. Mana is lacking, causing food shortages and oppression by a technologically advanced group called the Desians. The Desians consume much of the world's mana to create their technology. Colette was born as the new Chosen One. She lives in a small town called Iselia with her friends Genis & Lloyd. One day, though, while in a classroom under the instruction of their teacher, Genis' sister, Raine Sage, a bright light shines from Iselia's temple and the Day of Regeneration where Colette is supposed to save the world begins.

Criticisms

  • The AI of your partners in battle is sometimes suspect. Some players complained that these guys would often get themselves killed if they didn't keep switching between all characters. Though personally, I've never had any problems.


Tales series
Tales of... - Phantasia - Destiny - Eternia - Destiny 2 - Symphonia - Rebirth - Legendia
the Abyss - Innocence - Vesperia - Hearts - Graces - Xillia (2)
Spinoffs and related games
Tales of... - Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon - Fandom - the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2 - the World: Summoner's Lineage
Tactics - the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3 - the Tempest - Eternia Online

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