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VINE VOICEon February 25, 2014
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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on February 25, 2014
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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on March 20, 2014
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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on January 18, 2016
This was my first Tales game. I played it in 2004 on the GameCube, and boy did it get me addicted. If you've ever played a Tales series game, you won't be surprised that this game is also cartoon-ish and cheesy at times. However, the storyline is wonderful and keeps you immersed.

The battle system does show it's age here, however. It is very linear. Unison attacks make up for the lack of other features in the battle system, though.

In addition, this includes the sequel Dawn of the New World. Even though the sequel is not as great, it is a worthy addition to the series. Overall, this is an extremely good deal.
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on August 12, 2014
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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on September 13, 2015
I know Tales of Symphonia was hailed as the greatest jrpg of all time, but it actually bored me a little. The battle system was a lot more difficult than what I was used to. I kept dying so much in the first half. ;-p So this title was a lot more challenging that way. Not that I really minded that.

The story was what bored me a little. It just didn't draw me in as much as other Tales of titles. That goes to Tales of Abyss for me.

That's not to say that it's a bad game. Objectively, it has all the elements I like in a game: Decent battle system, interesting sidequests, battle to save two worlds. It doesn't have interesting plot elements in treatment of the different races and going between two worlds.

The sequel was actually a little more interesting though a lot more corny and nonsensical. Maybe that was the draw.
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on March 2, 2014
So I realize not many people will be able to actually own this. So this review will be short and sweet. Many of you already know what comes in this set. So i won't go into detail about that. Although i have to say that the steel book case is a beautiful case that comes with this set. The one negative thing i will say is that in the 4 disc soundtrack, neither full opening themes from tales of symphonia one or two are on it. I find that very odd. You would think to add in the full opening theme songs, especially since they used remix versions for the intro of each game. i'm just really sad we didn't get the themes in the soundtrack album.
Which brings me about the game, yes the opening theme songs are in japanese and they are in fact remixes of the originals. But they aren't so different from the originals, just something more. a lil more umph was added which was nice. other than that, the anime cut scenes look pretty good. i wouldn't say they are full 720p. I mean, i'm only going by the opening intros i saw and they looked pretty much like dvd quality in terms of video. not sure how the other cut scenes look like but i'm thinking somewhere between dvd and hd quality. both games are on one ps3 disc. for some reason people thought they would be on 2 separate discs. not sure why when the tales of symphonia 2 was on the wii that was under 5GB's used up, especially the ps2 version of the game which was probably lower, since i think ps2 still used cd's? or did they use dvds? either way, both games were clearly under 5 GB's each and being a blu-ray disc, which can hold up to 25 gigs of data, nothing is being compressed or lost.
Another drawback i just remembered is that there is no selection from game one to game two, and vice versa, meaning if you accidentally hit game two to load, and wanted game one, you'd have to exit the entire game and than load it to select game one. a menu button should of been added to both titles so that we didn't have to exit all the way. but this doesn't affect gameplay or what comes in this set. i'm still giving it a 5 star rating.
if you were a symphonia fan i'd say this is the set to get. a lot of us don't have working ps2 or gamecube consoles anymore, even if we did, this HD upgrade(dvd upgrade) is very much worth it. also we are getting the ps2 version of symphonia which adds a few more things apparently items and side missions i believe. i forget. and for those who weren't into the wii game you get that here as well. i've never played symphonia 1, i'm kind of worried honestly, since you can't do free roam when your in battle its just back and forth movement, unlike symphonia 2. but i will enjoy it no matter what.
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on April 5, 2014
I really don't know how to write a good review, but here it comes.
The first time I played this game was on Nintendo GameCube and it was awesome, I'm not really an RPG person (pokemon is always the exception) But this game was different from so many games, Baten Kaitos, Final Fantasy etc.. You really felt the action and the sword in your hand since you actually take controll over the character, but you still learn new technices, your stats grow as you level up, you need to select items or other actions from a menu but that is all, you need to actually make combos, wich you can make in many different ways, then you can finish a combo with an ''arte'' (special atack) and later you can finish them with a stronger ''arkane arte'' The ecuation ends like this:
(Normal Attack)+(Normal Attack)+(Normal Attack)+(Normal Attack)=Combo You can increase this combo as you level up. Then you can finish your combo like this
(Combo)+(arte) or (Combo)+(arkane arte) and even like this (Combo)+(arte)+(arkane arte) wich is the best way to deal damage and fight like a pro.
So the fighting mechanics are awesome, this mechanics were improved with the launch of new tales games, such as tales of abyss, tales of vesperia etc etc But the escence it's still the same.

Now the story, oh, the story of this game is.. like icing on the cake.
I don't want to spoil anything but I can tell you that you will definetly fall in love with each character and their story, everything that happens is really cool, there's a lot of drama, love, and really really great twists to the story, so you will be entertained more than 30 gameplay hours, this game is going to became one of your favorites of all time.

Replay value, even after you finish the main game there's still a lot of sidequests to finish, and I mean A LOT. Every sidequest comes with funny new dialogs between the characters wich makes you feel more into them.

The music, well it's not great but it's not bad either, some tunes are really simple and fun, some others will make you want to leave the area really quick to stop hearing that tune. But mostly it is really enjoyable.

The other game. Knights of ratatosk is a great game too, though it's not as great as the predecesor, you will still love the story, since every character from the first game is back on this secuel.

This is a must for ps3 owners, it an all time classic wich you need to keep on your collection for loong loong years, trust me, you wont regret the experience.
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on October 28, 2015
This is my favorite Tales of game. I just had to buy the collectors edition and I am very pleased. Any fan of this game or even the series would love this. I love the extra metal case and the little book for adding extra depth to the story. The replay value of this game is also amazing. In my life, I played over 300 hours on the gamecube and have almost caught up again on the PS3
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on July 29, 2015
I have had the other two version for the Gamecube and the Wii, so let me say I know what to expect, however, this version has added content from the japanese version and is two games in one for the price of less than one. Personally there is not much to say if you have played it before, except that it is the best Tales Of game in the series (and for a good reason)
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