Tales of Symphonia was a formative experience for me. For a young 11-year-old brain, it redefined the understanding of the JRPG genre. I was blown away by the vibrant presentation, action-focused combat, and mature story. Every weekend, my friend and I would explore his Sylvarant world together, making a little progress with each of his sessions of play. I’ve played a few of his JRPGs before, but none have hooked me like Tales of Symphonia.
Despite my deep respect for Tales of Symphonia, I haven’t touched it since 2004. I’m not sure why. He bought it on PC a few years ago, but it felt wrong to sit at his desk and play that game one night after work. But with the release of Tales of Symphonia Remastered, I decided it was finally time to return to this world to see if it was as good as I remembered it. The results were a bit disappointing.
Tales of Symphonia follows the adventures of a boy named Lloyd Irving as he travels the world with the Chosen One. Colette, the Chosen One, is dictated by divine prophecy and must “regenerate” the world to end war, famine, and hatred. It looks like your standard JRPG, but the story is darker and much more complicated than it started. Despite trying to do the right thing, Lloyd and his companions face moral issues that often leave a trail of destruction behind them. is to seldom avoid the consequences of your actions. Conflicts are rarely resolved neatly, and stories are better that way.
But what really makes the story memorable is its excellent cast of characters.To this day, Symphonia has the best character cast in the history of the series. Lloyd is a charismatic, smart kid who sees the world for the first time. Genis is a clumsy wizard who plays the role of Lloyd’s perfect best friend and foil. Kratos appears to be a cold and cold mercenary at first glance, but to Lloyd he is like a stoic father. There is a wonderful dynamic between all party her members that leads to funny, heartwarming and devastating moments along the journey.
The story and characters are sometimes jerky with their localization, but the lack of a proper quest tracking system is stopping the momentum. Like the original, there’s a synopsis menu that summarizes your adventures so far and occasionally tells you where to go next. The problem is that sifting through these “synopsis” entries can be tedious and vague at times. An inelegant but often needed solution is to pull up the walkthrough. Tales of Symphonia also has some side quests, some of which you just can’t miss. Again, it’s very easy to miss some quests because there’s no reliable way to keep track of these quests.
The presentation doesn’t do Tales of Symphonia much favor either. The user interface has undergone some tweaks, but it looks pretty much like his 2013 released PS3 port. And the classic chibi-esque style feels at odds with some of the game’s darker themes.
What sets the Tales of series apart from other JRPGs is its real-time combat. Although you can pause time to change tactics, manage unique attacks called Artes, or use items, the battle itself takes place in real time. requires some degree of exposure meter management combined with a basic attack using Artes. This basic combat loop hasn’t changed much in subsequent titles in the series, but it feels stiff and painfully slow compared to Tales of Berseria and Tales of Arise. Ultimately, as you unlock more Artes, the combos get more complicated, resulting in more satisfying success, but the early hours can feel like a slog.
You can play as different party members to offset the repetitive nature of combat. Each character boasts a different playstyle with its own ultes and bespoke combos. Spellcasters like Jennis thrive on the edge of the battlefield casting spells from a distance, and assassin Sheena, voiced by the incredible Jennifer Hale, uses elemental cards to attack her enemies. increase. However, no matter who you play, you can’t escape the sluggish pace of combat.
Most combat encounters are relatively slow and easy, but boss fights are the highlight. Even on normal difficulty levels, players may find boss encounters to be as difficult to inertia as normal boss encounters. The fundamentals still feel a little awkward, but the increased difficulty makes the boss fights considerably more engaging.
On Nintendo Switch, I ran into some technical issues in the first 10 hours. A few rooms within certain dungeons are experiencing a noticeable drop in frame rate. This doesn’t carry over into combat, so it doesn’t directly affect gameplay, but it’s still annoying to see a 19-year-old game plagued with frame rate issues on modern hardware. every second. Additionally, in the town of Asgard, the game breaks every time you enter a building. So far, this is the only example I’ve seen of it, and while it doesn’t directly affect gameplay, it’s still another weird issue that’s weird to see.
Even more frustrating, my game crashed twice in the first 10 hours. What made these crashes particularly painful was the lack of an autosave feature combined with Tales of Symphonia’s rigid save system. Some storage locations can only be saved to specific locations and cannot be accessed without specific items. That means one ill-timed crash can cost you hours of work. I lost a total of 2 hours in crashes. Both crashes occurred during long play sessions of 4+ hours. Since then I’ve been saving regularly and restarting the game every few hours and it hasn’t crashed since. It’s worth noting. Hopefully, this means players who get their hands on the game at launch won’t run into these same issues.
Tales of Symphonia Remastered is still a compelling JRPG and, unfortunately, a little less than recommended today given its outdated exploration mechanics and sketchy presentation. Some modern conveniences like autosaves and quest tracking can go a long way, but its emotional narrative regularly subverts expectations, making it seem like a simple adventure a gray area. Overall, this is a thin remaster that doesn’t shine a very flattering light on one of my favorite JRPGs.
https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/tales-of-symphonia-remastered-review-a-classic-regenerated/1900-6418037/?ftag=CAD-01-10abi2f Tales of Symphonia Remastered Review – A Classic Reborn