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Tales of Symphonia Chronicles - Playstation 3
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 26, 2014
Style Name: Standard Edition
In 2004, the JRPG was still a very popular genre. Popular enough that those who owned a Gamecube were wondering when they'd be able to enjoy a good RPG. The PS2 couldn't seem to stop receiving them. Well, in 2004 the answer came in the form of Tales of Symphonia. A game that came from what was then a very obscure series (if people were even aware it was a series to begin with). As such, the game became a run away cult success on the Gamecube. It introduced many fans to the series. With so many HD reissues coming out the Tales of Symphonia one is actually quite surprising. The game was a big success in the day, but Namco hasn't always been willing to reissue the Tales game in North America. Tales of Symphonia was a grand RPG back in 2004 and it holds up well today. There are some aspects of it that are either dated, or that it would've been nice for the developers to touch, but nevertheless I'm still glad to have a chance to replay a gem such as Tales of Symphonia.

The collection includes two games. Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World which was released on the Wii just a few years ago. While Tales of Symphonia is a great game, Dawn of the New World always had something of a mixed reaction from fans. It never quite garnered the cult status its older brother did. True enough, it's also not quite as good.

Tales of Symphonia centers on Lloyd Irving and his friend Collette. In the land of Sylvarant, life is slowly dying. The chosen of rejuvenation is tasked with facing the trials of Martel in order to restore the mana of the world, thus saving it. This is how the game starts. And at first it feels as though the story is a cliche straight out of RPGs 101. But Tales of Symphonia has two things that make the story so worthwhile. The first is that it is about much more than that. Tales of Symphonia is a game filled to the brim with twists and turns. You'll have characters join your cause, betray you and rejoin you again. You'll discover that there is so much more to the story at hand. On the surface Tales of Symphonia is particularly simple. But deep down inside is a story full of quite a bit of depth. It tackles some pretty heavy social themes. And though it can get preachy at times, Tales of Symphonia manages to make it all come across as natural within the world itself.

The second thing that helps Tales of Symphonia is that it has a remarkably charming cast of characters. Again, at first glance they are all nothing more than cliches. But at some point every character grows and develops into their own. You may come out really loving these characters. The story in Tales of Symphonia takes its time building all of this, however. Until the game's first major twist everything about it seems to be by the book. When the story truly takes off, however, Tales of Symphonia is actually quite a remarkable story.

The characters are also developed through various skits where they talk among themselves through the journey. Sometimes commenting on events. Other times just to speak of their favorite food or something like that. At least it adds a lot of personality to them. A lot of the story is also well written. Providing a lot of humor and a lot better dialog than most games. A lot of it feels natural and a lot of the interactions between characters feels natural.

The battle system is the same as you remember. Your characters are on a line and you are free to move about in battle. Each character has their own set of special abilities which you can set and use in battle. Using the same techs over and over again will eventually cause you to learn greater techs later on down the line. You'll also be able to later string them together. At first glance Tales of Symphonia seems like a game where button mashing can get you through. But the further along you get the less this happens to be true. Some battles can be quite dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. You can only control one character in the free flowing combat at a time, but most of the AI is actually quite good at what they do. They'll exploit an enemy's weakness if it's there and they'll also refrain from casting a spell if it proves ineffective. You can always override their commands if you need to or connect a second controller and do multi-player.

Your characters also learn abilities through ex-spheres. Some may grant you more hits to your combo. Others might increase your chances of protection from status updates. Unlike future Tales games, the limit to the abilities you can put on has to be considered because the possibilities aren't endless.

In Japan, Tales of Symphonia was released on the PS2 with some additional content that is all present here. Characters have additional costumes. Some have additional Mystic Artes (as opposed to just Lloyd this time). The HD Collection also adds in a few costumes for those who have save data from Tales of Graces f and Tales of Xillia on their system. There are also a couple of things added to the HD collection. You can now choose to hear the Japanese audio if you wish. The intro also contains the original Japanese lyrics instead of just being an instrumental piece.

Tales of Symphonia isn't without flaws, though. The original game is still a lot of fun, but there are some things that are apt to urk new players unaccustomed to Tales. The first is that there is often a lot of expository dialog throughout the quest. You, of course, should expect this from an RPG, but Tales games in general tend to spend a lot of time explaining something to you... and then later explaining it again. There is so much dialog at times that you are sometimes caught up in running between two locations with no battles in between only to hear what a character has to say. There's little problem with this except for the part where you may have figured it out before the characters have. Tales of Symphonia is one of the more annoying games with this trait. Other Tales games have done this (the final act of Tales of the Abyss is almost overkill with it) but Tales of Symphonia certainly shows its age when it feels it has to keep explaining the same plot point over and over again. Most times it as least done in a natural way, but many a time it comes across as though it is trying to make sure the player is keeping up with the events. And Tales of Symphonia has a lot to take in.

There are some things, however, that I wish the HD collection had changed or updated. Sometimes it's nice to play old classics because we get a chance to relive them or our nostalgia. But sometimes there are certain things you wish could be addressed. When Square reissued Kingdom Hearts they changed a couple of bothersome things like setting the camera to an analog stick or refining the battle system to be smoother. Basically taking bits of Kingdom Hearts II to help the first one be a smoother and better gaming experience. Tales of Symphonia could've used that in some aspects. For instance, the battle system is great, but the lack of a free run is going to take many a Tales fan to get used to. You can only run on one line as opposed to running throughout the entire scenery. Likewise, the camera in battle will only focus on player 1. So if player one runs off on his own in battle the other players are not going to be able to see themselves. It doesn't zoom out to accompany all of them. These are nitpicks but the camera issue was a problem even back in 2004.

You'll spend A LOT of time with the first Tales of Symphonia. The main quest itself stretches to about fifty hours with all the sidequests easily adding on thirty hours or so. The game also features a new game plus with a new difficulty setting where a couple of choice battles go a bit differently should you tackle the game on that difficulty. There are side events to do in almost every town you go in. There are tons of optional bosses and a few optional dungeons as well. It's a game that is apt to keep you busy for a while. The first game alone is worth the price of the entire collection.

As far as HD graphics go, however, Tales of Symphonia has been given a nice make over. A lot of the textures look incredibly good and have a lot of detail. There are still a few moments of blemishes and muddied textures, however. Particularly when you examine the ground in the towns and the world map. It's a nice smooth makeover at least. The character models and choice settings in particular look really good.

As for Dawn of the New World... this was a game I personally wasn't too crazy about. It has a story that takes a particularly long time to get going. And while the cast isn't too bad and the gameplay is pretty good, it just isn't as absorbing of a game. It's more linear than the first game but also manages to feel more restricted. It's a true sequel, however, where many of the previous characters return. However, it never quite reaches the heights as the first game. The story, while good, is a lot more tame. Many of your favorite characters take a back seat and are in supporting roles. If you are interested in what happens following the events of Tales of Symphonia it is at least worth trying, but it definitely isn't as good. Many of its aspects, at least, will be familiar. The battle system is still fun here (in some ways it might be better) but it's hard to shake the feeling that it's quite mundane compared to the original game.

That being said, the HD collection actually is worth it just for the original game alone. If you hadn't played the original Tales of Symphonia before then this is the perfect time to get it. It's a remarkable game. The sequel isn't too exciting but it is by no means a bad game.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2014
Style Name: Standard EditionVerified Purchase
Many fans today are likely familiar with the first Tales of Symphonia, released for the Gamecube in 2004. The sequel brought fans a heavy dose of nostalgia on the Wii. This edition brings out the best of both worlds, with new sidequests to flesh out fan-favourites like Genis, Presea and Zelos. If that wasn't enough, the Japanese voices are available for the first time ever, so otakus who refuse to watch anime in English will finally have their wishes granted.

The story (for the original game) appears simple and cookie-cutter fantasy fare - save the world and defeat the villain. Not long into the story, though, the player discovers much more hiding behind the scenes than they expected. Profoundly mature themes of racism, slavery, oppression and loyalty arise, and end up making one of the top-tier Tales games one of the top-tier RPGs ever created.

The combat is as intuitive, immersive and entertaining as ever, with HD graphics and faster load times for the Playstation 3. Add a whole bunch of new weapons into the mix and Symphonia's gut-wrenching story with tension and twists every twenty minutes, and you've got a recipe for an instant classic.

If you missed out on playing Tales of Symphonia the first time, don't make the same mistake twice. There is a copious amount of new material more than sufficient to make it enjoyable for fans to revisit this game for the second or third time.

This Limited Edition release also includes a short novel with an original story set in the land of Tethe'alla and Sylvarant.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2014
Style Name: Collector's EditionVerified Purchase
Each one numbered from 1-18000. This is essential for big Tales of Symphonia fans. Not only do you get all 4 figures shown. But the quality, paint and sculpt are amazing. Usually we get a taste of the sound track... But this set gives you 4 discs of themes from both games!!! Also the hard cover novel is something to look forward to. You also get the character art book showing concepts of the protagonists in different art styles, with the voucher for the exclusive dynamic theme shown on the back. My favorite perc is the game. Upon taking it out of its generic wrap you get a 'colored' Manuel, made exclusive for fans request, and a reversible cover, featuring Tales of Symphonua cover art on the front, and then Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of a New World cover art on the back. Definitely worth $150, 99.99 was a steal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2014
Style Name: Standard EditionVerified Purchase
I first played Tales of Grace F, it was an awesome game, awesome enough to convince me to get all other Tales Of games.

So I bought Tales of Symphonia Chronicles and Tales of Xillia together.

Though Tales of Symphonia Chronicles games (yes, it is 2 games) are not up to date in regards of graphics as Tales of Grace F or Tales of Xillia, it is an awesome game in its own merit.

The story line is so good that I could not put the controller down for hours.

There is an anime for this game, I would not suggest watching the anime until you play the game, unless you don't mind or like spoilers.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2014
Style Name: Standard EditionVerified Purchase
This is two games in one at a great price! It even comes with the option of switching into Japanese! If you're a Tales fan, get this game!!
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2014
Style Name: Standard Edition
This is my favorite video game of all time. Even tops Skyrim for me. So since everyone else has written short novels of reviews on this game already, I'll keep mine short and sweet.

The game was amazing. Period. The HD graphics? Not so much. In the original GameCube version, the frame-rate was much smoother, and the system actually did a great job with cutting down on load times. In the HD remake, the curves and lines are much more pronounced. People can swing both ways with this, but I'm alright with it. However, the frame-rate is horrible. While porting a game over from one system to another is difficult and will never be perfect, Namco/Bandai could have done much better with the frame-rate. If you've played Tales of the Abyss for both PS2 and Nintendo 3DS, you'll notice the difference in smoothness, although the games were the exact copies. The same goes for this. The GameCube's version was much smoother, whereas the PS3 version isn't.

Also, the sound has some issues. The treble has a hard time, peaking out much sooner than it should. It sometimes sounds like my speakers are turned up way too loud, but that's not the case. It's just the game itself. I've tested different games at the same volume, and they sound just fine. Not a big issue, but definitely noticeable.

To review, they could have done better with making the frame-rate and sound quality better, but I'm still extremely satisfied with the fact that they actually spent money to remake these great games.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2014
Style Name: Standard EditionVerified Purchase
I love this game. I have several hundred hours of game play on the GameCube version so the release of this game was a wonderful surprise for me. The puzzles are the same, and the story has some added features and some changes (additional cut scenes, added special effects, additional techs and compound unison attacks etc...) , but it is basically the same game I've come to love brought back to life on the PS3.
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on November 9, 2014
Style Name: Standard EditionVerified Purchase
When I finally reached end-of-life for my third - or was it fifth? - set of GCN disks of the original Tales of Symphonia copies were going for hundreds. Two days later a friend texted me info on Chronicles every two seconds for three days. Not just text, but Facebook messages, voicemail, email...sadly, the special edition sold out in North America in about an hour, which meant me, on a three-hour bus ride featuring a broken antenna, lost out by about two hours.

I have to admit I've not tried out ToS2 yet on Chronicles, though I have logged over 100 hours and three completes, inc. two New Game +'s.

I am not going to review Tales of Symphonia itself. Let its reputation of selling more GCN copies than Vesperia(PS3 and Xbox), Abyss(PS2), and Xilia(PS3) combined speak for itself. It's the #1 rated of all Flagship Tales of... Titles. People still find it relevant. I personally know two people who say Tales of Symphonia probably saved their lives.

So much for not reviewing it, if you can call that a review.

So! Dual-audio, which I will love come ToS2 time as Kari Wahlgren especially did not reprise roles so well. Raine sounds both more feminine and less intelligent than she did two Symphonian years before and why did Scott Menville abandon Lloyd?!

Redubbed lines, newly-dubbed lines, and they actually got Menville back for his ToS redubbed/newly-dubbed lines.

Got rid of that annoying double-outline thing they had going on in non-animated cutscenes.

It's basically an update of the PS2 version, which means more costumes, more sidequests...and Yuan seems to have replaced his GameCube in the base with some odd-looking piece of junk.

MORE HI-OUGIS!

Dual-audio, which I will love come ToS2 time as some, Kari Wahlgren especially, did not reprise roles very well. Raine sounds both more girly-girl and less intelligent in ToS2.

Definitely a great port of a great port of one of the best games I've ever played.
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on October 18, 2014
Style Name: Standard Edition
I first came across Tales of Symphonia thanks to a copy of the Nintendo Power magazine (when it was still around), and, since it gave the game such good reviews, I thought I would try it out for myself. This was one of the best decisions I've ever made game-wise. This is a role-playing game that features a very unique fighting system. Instead of turn based fighting, it plays out more like an actual fighting game, allowing you complete control of the character as you move on the battlefield. I was fully engrossed in the storyline of this game. In fact, I have enjoyed it so much that I try to play through it at least once a year! Tales of Symphonia was the starting point for me for the rest of the Tales series. I believe you will find it to be the starting point for you as well.

As for the sequel, I will say that personally, it was worth playing once for the sake of seeing what it had to offer, but like most sequels, it does not even come close to the first. I felt as though they tried to change too many key elements to the characters from the previous game.

All in all, a great deal for your money, and a great opportunity to enter the realm of the Tales series.
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on December 28, 2014
Style Name: Standard Edition
I played the original Tales of Symphonia on my Gamecube and I thought it was a excellent game and really one of the rare RPGs for the Nintendo Gamecube.

So, when I heard that Tales of Symphonia was adapted to the PS3, I was kind of excited. I finally got a copy from a GameStop in town to go with my new 500GB PS3 I got from my parents and I started playing it and It's still just as good as the original for Gamecube.

The good things about the game is that you also get Dawn of the New World, which was for the Wii. Also, the graphics and audio are a little updated plus the colors look spectacular on my HDTV. Plus, you get tons of new outfit Titles for your characters that make them look like characters from other Tales games. Other than that, so far, I don't see too much difference than the Nintendo versions.

The Bad things is that the graphics look still a little dated when compared to Tales of Vesperia and Eternal Sonata. Plus, in terms of story, you will see most of the plot twists coming a mile away.

At any rate, this game is really worth buying.
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