Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles, the HD re-release of the classic Tales games from back in 2004 and 2008 respectively, was developed and published by Namco Bandai who are famous for their Tales series, .Hack series and their Naruto fighting games. Bringing back these great games, remastering their graphics for HD wide screen and porting them to the PS3, is this bundle worth your buck?
This is the first half of the review for – Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles: Symphonia – for the second half click here.
Story – Symphonia
The world of Sylvarant, a world enchanted with Mana which improves the lives of its inhabitants as well as sustains the earth itself, is under threat as the Mana stores are depleting and are allowing the Desians to return, a breed of Half Elves bent on harvesting Humans. You and your companions must return mana to the world and push back the Desians and save Sylvarant.
You play as Lloyd Irving an orphaned child who as raised by a Dwarven craftsman and is a student in the small village of Iselia along with Genis his best friend, Colette the Chosen one and Raine their teacher. The backstory of the world and current status of the war is told to us through the beginning cutscene and the class Lloyd is currently in. Humans are constantly under siege by the Evil Desians, enslaving the weak and killing the ones who put up a fight.
Shortly after your lesson, you travel with Genis and Colette to the nearby temple where the Desians have attacked but quickly dispatch them with the help of Kratos a Mercenary for hire. The group then enters the temple and help Colette realise her destiny and confirm that she is the one who will become an Angel and return Mana to the world.
After some short events you set off with Genis, Colette, Kratos and Raine across the lands to unseal the sealed temples around the world to continue Colette’s ascension to her final Angelic form and rise to the heavens and restore mana to Sylvarant. Fighting Desians, the raising monster threat and even an Assassin from another world you make your way across deserts and oceans to the temples, but all is not what it seems when the existence of another world is revealed.
Being an RPG the main story mode will take around the normal 60+ hours to complete, unlike the shorter sequel, and offers additional hours of fun when completing side quests, getting titles and unlocking 100% for that completionist feel. As well as the additional activities to find in one playthrough there are also 3 different endings to be had in Symphonia categorised to the Best, Good and bad Endings with the first two allowing New Game+.
The gameplay found within Symphonia is an unrefined version of the latest releases in the series, at least in my opinion. You control Lloyd with the left analogue and can move left, right and jump up and forces you along a single line more akin to a 2D game but still allowing some movement into the third axis if a bit chaotic. You can simply mash the X button to create combos on the enemies with directional attacks made by titling the stick in any direction, as well as throwing in some Artes with the O button which vary from slashes to elemental attacks.
Besides the basic attacks and Artes you also build up a Unison Gauge which when full allows you to combine your parties Artes together to do several attacks at once for a lot of damage or to combine then into new moves for increased damage output.
After battle you Gain Gald, the currency for the game, EXP, for levelling up your characters and Grade which is used to purchase EX Gems to equip to your party members or to unlock bonuses in New Game Plus. EX Gems are used to unlock new Skills for the characters which allow for different Artes or increasing their attributes.
Besides the fighting aspects there are some minigames to be found within the World, ranging from being a waitress, treasure hunting to copying characters moves.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
Symphonia was a great game back in 2004 and is considered the one game that brought the Tales series to the mainstream Audience, which can be felt with the amount of games and ratings it has got with recent releases like Tales Of Vesperia and Xillia. Symphonia has aged pretty well for 10 years, but it definitely shows the signs of old age with its combat system that is a decade behind what we currently have on offer, but with all Tales games it is a matter of playing the game and getting used to it.
While this is a HD Remaster there isn’t much in the way of change, Symphonia’s textures and models are much brighter, more colourful and shaper than the old 2004 edition and looks beautiful even with its outdated style and graphics. Besides the graphic update there is also some additional clothing to be found if you have played Vesperia or Xillia on your PS3 and have a save file, with costumes from each character in those two games to be had for each character in Symphonia which is a nice nod to the series.
Overall I would give Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles – Symphonia a 5/5, this great game deserved the HD clean-up and it gives new fans a chance to play this old gem they otherwise might not have been able to play nowadays. While there could have been further improvements and changes to the game I feel it gained more from less tampering then if it had been remade entirely. This Bundle is absolutely worth the price if just for the first game itself.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.