The Tales collection is one other long-running JRPG collection that has attracted a following within the West for the reason that Nineties. First launched within the west in 2004, Tales of Symphonia was a landmark RPG and daring new course for the collection that’s until felt practically twenty years later, boasting memorable characters, an intriguing story, and colourful 3D graphics. In 2013, the sport was launched for PlayStation 3, packaged with its sequel, Daybreak of the New World. Ten years and a PC launch later, Bandai Namco brings Tales of Symphonia Remastered to the newest console generations. Nevertheless, whereas the mechanics and presentation maintain up, the blatant disregard for the title and lack of quality-of-life enhancements renders this an accessible, but solely inferior model of Symphonia.
The sport sees gamers management Lloyd Irving, a younger man who accompanies his childhood buddy Colette on her pilgrimage to regenerate the world of Sylvarant, a world slowly in decline as a result of gradual depletion of the planet’s mana. The place the world was beforehand beneath assault by a race of beings referred to as Desians, they have been sealed away by the goddess Martel. Sadly, because the supply of mana has faltered, so has the seal; consequently, the Desians have re-emerged and have been kidnapped people for labor camps and experimentation. They’re joined by the duo’s buddy Genis, his elder sister and schoolteacher Raine, mercenary Kratos, and finally a solid of others who be part of the group on an journey that goes significantly additional than it first seems.
Symphonia options a lot of fascinating and modern story twists that also excite twenty years later. The risk the Desians poses is rapid and harmful, and the stakes solely proceed to develop as layers of the story are peeled again. The story beats turn into more and more wild, particularly within the final third of the sport, however the bonds between characters assist floor the story’s emotional middle as a result of robust characterization between Lloyd, Colette, and the household they’ve chosen for themselves. This deep characterization is partly as a result of skits between the occasion. These chats will go over story occasions, but additionally character quirks and qualms between characters. Quick, candy, and virtually solely non-compulsory, the skits present depth to every character whereas additionally infusing loads of humor into the combination. The top consequence are relationships that really feel natural and completely earned by the point the credit roll.
Fight is ruled by the “Multi-Line Linear Movement Battle System”, with gamers controlling one character whereas efficient AI controls the remaining occasion. Every character makes use of a novel weapon kind and collectively present a various array of combating types, that are complemented with using arts within the type of battle methods or magic spells. Fight is gratifying with out being overwhelming, and provides a surprisingly intuitive mixture of 2D fight and 3D motion, the lineage of which remains to be seen in fashionable iterations of the collection. This technique is just not good, as it may be tough to barter fight when enemies method from a number of angles, making it tough to assault one enemy whereas defending from a second on the identical time. Battles are anticipated to be turned over briefly order with an emphasis on blocking enemy assaults and touchdown efficient counters. Gamers can button mash to some effectiveness, however true back-and-forth technique yields
Tales of Symphonia has a timeless artwork fashion that engages the participant and supplies a vibrancy to the locales the characters discover. Years — and a lot of upscaling filters — later and the colours nonetheless pop off the display, if now a bit muddled. Lush jungles and arid desert landscapes function thrilling backdrops for dungeons and villages alike. The sport nonetheless appears to be like lovely, even because the cel-shaded impact has been scaled down. Whereas the extent of consideration to element in cities and villages is spectacular, the overworld is drab, because the world itself is poorly modeled and enemies are represented by greyish blobs. The soundtrack for the sport is primarily composed by Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura, with contribution from Takeshi Arai. The presence of Sakuraba is strongly felt, with some stirring battle anthems and a spread of full of life village themes which might be wholly nice, if not solely memorable.
Except for the numerous skits, there are different non-compulsory worldbuilding efforts that heighten immersion for keen gamers. There are a variety of mini-games and sidequests, least of that are a worldwide hunt for a Grasp Chef who masquerades as on a regular basis home goods. When accosted, he supplies a brand new recipe and substances. It’s thrilling to return throughout a brand new city and finally uncover a touch misplaced merchandise, to be rewarded with a recipe for a meat pie. This sidequest feeds into one other part: cooking. By discovering and getting ready a lot of meals, Lloyd and firm can try and get well a bit after every battle as long as they’ve the requisite substances.
Symphonia additionally options spatial puzzles all through practically each dungeon, requiring gamers to push blocks, manipulate components with the Sorcerer’s Ring, activate switches, and the like. Every puzzle is well-designed to characteristic selection and accent the various aesthetic of every dungeon, leading to thrilling puzzles which might be elaborate with out feeling inordinate. This recreation is filled with considerate and thoroughly applied design decisions.
For the numerous strengths Tales of Symphonia provides to players, this Remastered launch suffers from peculiar points. First, it includes a locked framerate of 30 FPS, whereas the GameCube launch ran at 60 FPS. It isn’t a deadly flaw, principally an annoying one, however it nonetheless looks like a cop-out, particularly given the opposite efficiency points launched together with it. Different minor quibbles detract from the expertise, together with messy or lacking battle transitions, compressed graphics, and bloated loading occasions. Gamers ought to anticipate to spend time on a loading display earlier than and after every battle, when getting into or leaving cities, or finishing most actions. Newcomers to the title won’t discover these points off-putting, however any Tales veteran who’s enjoying this recreation a 3rd or fourth time will discover themselves extra puzzled by this improvement than by something they encounter in one of many dungeons.
The efficiency points, mixed with no different tangible profit from the discharge, make this remaster is a troublesome promote. The bottom recreation is a seminal expertise, a lot in order that the sport’s DNA is felt inside the collection twenty years on. This particular launch, nevertheless, is maybe its worst, and comes with a major query of worth. The final time this recreation was launched for consoles, it included a second recreation, Tales of Symphonia: Daybreak of the New World. Failing to incorporate it, whereas additionally charging a premium value for this remaster feels each confounding and anti-consumer. The 2016 Steam launch has every little thing this launch provides, and prices half the value.
Tales of Symphonia deserves to be obtainable to the widest viewers, but the dearth of consideration or care demonstrated right here is troubling. Remastered looks like an inexpensive and lazy port, and that alone makes this model disappointing, regardless of the strengths of the sport itself. Why ought to players reward these ways when there are remasters of PSP video games and extra lately, different GameCube video games, which might be actually modernized? There was a chance right here to launch the definitive model of Symphonia on fashionable consoles for followers and first-timers. As an alternative, Bandai Namco has doled out an inferior port of a decade previous re-release at double the value it’s bought elsewhere. If the maths doesn’t add as much as you both, don’t fear: the PC model remains to be obtainable.
Disclosure: This overview is predicated on a free copy of the sport offered by the writer.
MUSIC & SOUND
A basic Tales recreation, now on the Change
A port of a port of a port, on this day in age?
Inexplicable new loading occasions?
Lack of Daybreak of the New World makes for poorer shopper worth