One of the most beloved entries in Namco’s Tales RPG series is the classic Tales of Symphonia on GameCube. Now you can enjoy it and the Wii sequel on your PS3 with Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, featuring new content and HD graphics. Two RPGs on one disc is a very good value indeed.
In Tales of Symphonia, play as Lloyd Irving and his friends as they save not one, but two worlds in peril. The sequel, Dawn of a New World, takes place shortly after the events of the first game, where new characters and familiar faces deal with the aftermath. The sequel adds a monster capturing element where you can recruit hundreds of monsters to fight by your side. Both games feature Tales staples fans have grown to love, such as the action-packed real-time battles, cooking system, and tried and true RPG gameplay.
The games have received an HD overhaul with clearer and sharper visuals. Text boxes are gussied up and are easier to read as well. However, the limited animations of the characters reminds us that these are still games from past generations of consoles, although they still hold up well today. Other extra goodies include PS3 trophies to get, and extra costumes. It was a nice surprise when I fired up Tales of Symphonia and automatically got costumes from Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Xillia, and Tales of Graces f because it read my Tales of Graces f save file. Not sure how to use those costumes in the game yet, though (Tales games usually let you dress up your characters in costumes later on, too). You can also switch between English and Japanese voices, too.
Because Tales of Symphonia was the first game in the Tales series to feature 3-D battles, the fights aren’t as evolved as in later titles. So if you are used to the more fluid moves in newer entries like Tales of Graces f, you may be in for a shock here. Plus, the game seems harder than what I remember on the GameCube, but that just may be me. Really the only beef I have with the game is a problem I have with most modern RPGs in general, including the original Symphonia on GameCube. It’s just too long and meandering for me. But if you enjoy these types of RPGs, Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is a great bargain with two games in one!
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Simulated Gambling, and Suggestive Themes. While you do smack enemies around with swords and magic spells, defeated foes usually just fall over and disappear. The mild language and suggestive themes are mostly just in the text, and used sparingly. Tales games usually have an island that’s like a casino with gambling mini-games, so that’s where the simulated gambling comes in. But because of the strong reading skill required, as well as the complexity of the gameplay, it’s best enjoyed by older players anyway.
However, one of the cool things about most Tales games is that during battles, up to four human players can control the characters on screen. When my brother Jeff was young, that’s how we played the original Tales of Symphonia on the GameCube, so honestly, I’d be OK with kids younger than teens playing this game, too. Especially if they can join in with an older gamer. In fact, replaying Symphonia for this review was kind of bittersweet because Jeff is all grown up now and (mostly) out of the house and I don’t get to play games with him as much like I used to, and I really miss that. The lesson here is that you should enjoy playing with your kids as much as you can, because it won’t last very long!