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Chris Enjoys The Vidya, 3: Tales Of Symphonia

Monday, July 14, 2008 by Chris Brown

Hmm... this is gonna be a tricky one, cause despite only being 4 years old, the nostalgia goggles are firmly in place here. I love this game, it's the only RPG that I've went through to complete twice, and done pretty much all of the pointless bonus quests too. The mere hint of a sequel had me excited, and the fact that there is still no European release date distresses me greatly...

Still, I shall attempt to make this a fair review, and point out both good and bad in the game. So, without farther grandstanding, bullet points go!

  • Battle system, the most important part of an RPG. If it sucks, you're gonna stop playing, no matter how amazing the story is. Books are basically RPGs with crappy battle systems, at the end of the day. The Tales of... series always does well here, but ToS really excels for one reason - CHAIN ATTACKS. Basically, once you level all your specials, you can chain them together to make your opponent cry tears of pain. Plus it makes you look badass.
  • Story, has it's weak points, but overall flows pretty well, and lacks some of the 'What just happened?' that can curse J-RPGs all too easily. Not gonna ramble here, cause I'd end up spending my life on it.
  • Items and weaponry, whilst varied, become pointless after a while. You find a weapon you like, and stick with it.
  • Leveling, not too complex, but engaging enough. Nice balance here.
Okay, that oughta do it for the praise. The battle system is free-flowing and 3D (not turn-based, running about and smacking things), there are no random battles, the story is well-rounded and engaging... all gold stars for this one.

...okay, fine, I'll say some bad things. The main problem I had is that there are too many characters, most of which I used only when necessary. You tend to pick a balanced team and stick with it, till the story decides to steal someone from you. The voice acting can grate at some points, especially after hearing someone announce a special move for the hundredth time ("It's pancake time!"), and you'll occasionally find yourself wanting to get from A to B without crossing fifty miles of nothing in between.

These are all fairly minor complaints in what is otherwise a great RPG, one of the finest I've played. Also, fun fact, this was gonna be on FFVII till I spotted this sitting in my games rack. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna play this and cry over the lack of European sequel...

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