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Tales of Symphonia Chronicles Review


Even with the "Tales of " games having quite a strong presence during the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation and generally being well received, Namco Bandai Games have taken a look over their back catalogue, bringing up to date two of the series more well regarded titles, Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World all on one disc in the Tales of Symphonia Chronicles.

Both classic games of their time and making a debut on the PS3, these action RPG’s take us thought the tales of some of the inhabitants of a strange world called Sylvarant. The first game on disc, Tales of Symphonia follows the adventures of Lloyd Irving, a headstrong and mischievous young boy who gets caught up in a huge adventure, not only protecting his friends but also trying to save the world. His friend Colette has been nurtured from childhood to become the saviour of Sylvarant, taking on a role that has existed for generations by taking on the mantle of the Chosen of Regeneration and replenishing the worlds Mana reserves. Things do not go quite as to plan, with the arrival of a stranger bringing socking news that there are in fact two worlds sharing the Mana resource and that whenever one world takes control, the other will suffer greatly and so, with some harsh choices to be made and plenty of bad guys looking to abuse power, Lloyd battles though this huge quest.



Tales of Symphonia is set up like many RPG’s before it; you have the town and villages to visit which are full of shops and characters to barter with and gain more backstory through chatting and viewing the many character skits (talking head cutscenes) that in turn will offer hints on where to go next, mostly a monster and puzzle laden dungeon or a new town. When moving around the world you venture through a field map, a bird’s eye view of the world, moving Lloyd through the wilderness in search of the next area. In the wilderness there are also plenty of monster that lurk about who are shown in real time, allowing you to avoid them if you wish; as and when you do connect with them you are then transported to the battle screen. It is the fighting system of Tales of Symphonia that is quite unique to these titles, with the battles being carried out in real time on a 2D plain, Lloyd running in and out of the action, blocking and attacking and using special moves to defeat the enemies. As and when you have a party following you they will also get involved with the battle, with the game offering a range of instructions that you can set for each member, be it focusing on healing, defending or getting stuck in, whatever the choices you make you will always feel that you are part of a larger battle.

Being a title of some ten years old there will be a few issues with the game that we are not used to anymore, like sensible waypoints, the game really not signposting where to go, leaving quite a bit of guess work or taking careful note of what the locals in villages and the party skits have to offer. The biggest issue though is with the visuals, as even with a HD makeover and a lot of the sharp edges being taken away, they still look a little basic; maybe we were spoilt with likes of the makeover of Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD on the WiiU, but they just do not compare. On a plus side, fans that have played previous “Tales of” games and have save files present on the hard drive will be awarded a few extra treats.



The second game on the disc, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is a newer title and thus, looks a lot better with HD updates. Set a few years after Lloyds journey we join up with Emil, a rather whiney and weak character who witnessed Lloyd slay his own mother and father in cold blood. Orphaned and abused by most from his village for his beliefs, Emil quickly finds himself caught up in aftermath of the events of the first game, with the new world tearing itself apart, he joins others on a quest to rebuild the world, racing to locate Cores that will restore some balance.

Whilst the majority of the Dawn of the New World is similar to its predecessor there have been a few changes made; first up the field view has totally been removed with the game just using quick travel to venture to new towns, villages and dungeons. The real time party fighting system returns, again with plenty of options to customise your commands to the rest of the party, however this time you are able to create a formidable army thanks to the ability to go into pacts with monsters.



Depending on the elemental circumstances when entering a fight, once you have defeated an enemy you may have a chance to forge a pact with them, essentially recruiting them to your party. With over 200 monsters to win over, each with their own levelling up system and skills to unlock and use there is a huge amount of possibilities to create a might party that can overcome most odds.

The Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is a wonderful reminisce of an older gaming generation, a great blend of the heavy storytelling know to RPG’s along with an abundance of customisation options for battles and a wealth of weapons and equipment to arm yourself with and an engaging and well executed real time battle system, for fans of the series and newcomers this is a great package to purchase, however for those that have played through before, there is very little to lure you back.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)

Pros

+ A chance to play a couple of “Tales of “classics.
+ HD updated visuals.
+ Dual audio for both English and Japanese.
+ Two huge games for the price of one.

Cons

- HD update of the first Tales of Symphonia isn’t great.

Edited On 03 Mar, 2014

Comments
( 5 )
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
It's not a great HD collection to be honest. Doesn't seem like enough effort went into updating the assets for HD and it doesn't run at 60fps either. Lame. Also, the gameplay in the first game feels extremely dated after more recent Tales titles. It hasn't aged well. Saying that, I still would have liked the collector's edition as it looked nice, but I had no choice but to cancel the pre-order I had for that after Shopto tried to force me to pay £24 in postage alone (Despite living in the UK) for it if I wanted it. Thanks Shopto.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
It is well worth the price since the originals would set up back £60+
Artemisthemp's avatar
Artemisthemp 3 years ago
The European Collector's Edition of Tales of Symphonia is a Ripoff.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
I wouldn't call it "A ripoff" but I would have liked the 4 Disk Soundtrack instead of the 2, don't really care about Steelbooks
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
Like mentioned when you look at the way Wind Waker was handled and then this it really makes the game feel all the more dated. Honestly I would have preferred them focus on Symphonia, make that look good and drop Dawn of the New World completely since it's pretty dire.

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