Video Game: Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World aka: Tales Of Symphonia Knight Of Ratatosk
Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Tales of Symphonia: Knight of Ratatosk in Japan) is a spin-off sequel to Tales of Symphonia, released in 2008.The game takes place two years after the end of the original, and things did not turn as well as our heroes had hoped. When the two worlds of Tethe'alla and Sylvarant were merged into one, it invalidated every existing map and threw the climate of the new world into chaos. Furthermore, tension is stirring between the two civilisations: the people of Tethe'alla look down upon the less-advanced people of Sylvarant, to the point where a group of Sylvaranti calling themselves "The Vanguard" have begun a campaign of military resistance against the Tethe'allan Church of Martel.Emil Castagnier is a timid and ostracised boy whose parents were killed in the "Blood Purge" of Palmacosta, an attack by the Church of Martel that was apparently led by Symphonia protagonist Lloyd Irving. While the other kids in his town revere Lloyd as a hero who saved the world, Emil despises him and wishes he had the strength to avenge his parents.One day, he meets and befriends two people: an enigmatic Vanguard warrior named Richter Abend, and an Action Girl called Marta Lualdi. Marta is being hunted by the Vanguard due to the Plot Coupon embedded in her forehead, which contains the dormant Summon Spirit Ratatosk. Determined to protect her, Emil makes a pact to become a Knight of Ratatosk, allowing him to use a fraction of the Summon Spirit's power in battle but awakening a much more dangerous and ruthless side of his personality in the process.The slumber of Ratatosk is the cause of much of the chaos in the new world, as his presence interferes with that of the new World Tree created at the end of Tales of Symphonia. Thus, Emil sets out with Marta to awaken the other slumbering servants of Ratatosk and in turn awaken the Summon Spirit himself, whilst protecting her from the pursuing Vanguard and seeking his vengeance against Lloyd.Dawn of the New World plays a lot differently than its predecessor. The player only has Emil and Marta as permanent members of the party, and over the course of the game they meet and join up with the other heroes of the first game, who are in various stages of disbelief about the situation with Lloyd. To fill out the roster between them, Emil is able to defeat and recruit any regular monster in the game. Cooking is used in the game to power up the monster beyond the usual leveling, and can also evolve them into their different variations. Gathering monsters also helps Emil become stronger as more of the Centurions' cores are awakened.An HD collection of this game plus the original Tales of Symphonia, titled Tales of Symphonia: Chronicles (or Tales of Symphonia: Unisonant Pack in Japan) was released for the PS3 in 2014. Both games can also be bought separately off the PlayStation Network.
This game provided examples of:
Accidental Misnaming: This happens to doggie...er... Tenebie...er... Tenebrae. He eventually accepts being called Tenebie.
Lloyd gets stuck with this role again, when Genis (jokingly) accuses Lloyd of wanting to have an affair with a married woman. All of the previous game's possible love interests scold him while Marta eggs him on.
And when the party visit the hot springs, the same thing as last time happens when the girls bathe: Lloyd tries to stop Zelos from peeping, but Lloyd is the one who is caught and blamed.
When it's the boys' turn to bathe, Marta puts Emil in a similar situation, causing him to bond with Lloyd over the sorrow of being members of the Accidental Peeping Toms club.
Art Evolution: Compared to the original game, the CG models became more detailed and bear a greater resemblance to their drawn character models as well as having more detailed movements. (The fact that this game uses motion-capture instead of Going Through the Motions helps greatly in this regard.)
Alice allegedly recruits monsters to massacre all of her fellow orphans, because they teased her about her half-elven blood. The end of a quest chain about her past reveals that she didn't recruit monsters to kill the other orphans. She made a pact with a demon so that she could save Decus, and that is what Decus said was responsible for the attack. The death of that demon also led to Alice losing her ability to control monsters.
Everyone in the party that still has a Derris Emblem in the final dungeon experiences a temporary condition that they describe as this.
The bad ending of the game will result in this for Emil/Ratatosk as he traps himself in his core form to seal the Ginugagap forever.
Richter's plan to use the Cruxis Crystal and the mana fragment to burn himself alive for all eternity using the mana generated from that to keep the demons from passing through the Ginugagap.
Anguished Declaration of Love: Played with. Marta's love for Emil is well known, even as it changes from infatuation with an idea of him to truly falling for the real Emil. Even so, Marta tearfully shouting while asking if she ever meant anything to Emil in chapter 8, then burying her head into his chest and telling him she want to be with him might be considered one, even if it's not exactly a confession of love. Emil nervously tells Marta that he loves her, though she cuts him off at the end with a kiss. His confession is not all that anguished, but it does come out during a pretty heartwrenching moment, as it may be the last time the two of them will get a chance to make their feelings for each other known.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Other than the ones in Lloyd's party and the royal family, most of the aristocracy in Meltokio are stereotypical snobbish douchebags.
Ars Nova is a secret unison attack that can be used when the Unison bar isn't full and two of the minor elements are Light and Dark. It's a long stream of attacks that do a small amount of damage. It's actually a lot more useful if one can use it at the END of their combo chain. If used before doing a combo, it is fairly useless.
Ain Soph Aur is a move that can be chained into from Emil's Mystic Arte after a certain story event if you know how. It costs twice the amount of a normal Mystic Arte (100 TP instead of 50, and if you don't have enough it drains all of your TP), and it's based off Emil's naturally low Arte Attack stat. It hits more times (and possibly does more damage) the more monsters the player has pacts with. This, unfortunately, still doesn't really make it that useful unless you really work for it, and it's still based off of Arte Attack.
Bag of Spilling: No matter how powerful you got the party in the first game, they won't have any of the Infinity Plus One Swords or techniques in the sequel at first, and the first time they each join your party, their level caps are much lower than you probably got them (especially if you got 2x, 10x, or combo experience in a New Game+). At endgame though, they'll once again have their endgame equipment from the last game (with the exception of Lloyd, who is using a new weapon due to the fact Flamberge is at Anna's grave). They'll be stuck at level 50 though.
Barrier Maiden: Richter's master plan involves turning himself into one of these. Emil also attempts to become one.
Bloodless Carnage: Which is normal for the series, but really noticeable in cutscenes where people take lethal hits like Emil fatally slashing Decus' back and Marta doing the same to Alice; clothes are not even damaged.
Bonus Boss: Album Atrum, who can only be fought at the end of the game after finishing the Treasure Hunter Katz quests.
Book Ends: Assuming one gets the "good" ending, the story begins and ends with Marta in Palmacosta near the same shop with Emil arriving and fulfilling her wish.
Brick Joke: When the party finally reaches Altamira, you can find Eau de Seduction (the offensive cologne that Decus is always wearing)'s creator, who's wondering why he hasn't gotten any commendations on it.
One early skit has Tenebrae talking about his shapeshifting abilities, including that he could even turn into a beautiful woman if he so wants. Near the end of the game, he transforms into Celsius to distract a pair of Vanguard soldiers.
But Thou Must: A few choices are offered to the player during cut scenes at the very beginning of the game. Either choice causes the cut scene to ultimately play out the same way and the story continues on in the same path, although one choice does affect which ending the players might get.
Quite a lot of Emil's early idiocy (such as not knowing how to fish despite growing up on a coastal town, nor knowing anything about the Desians' Human Ranches despite there being one near his home town) comes across as lame exposition on the Symphonia world for those who haven't played the original game. It's actually foreshadowing the fact that this person has no memories and is filling in the blanks as he goes along.
Everything about the awkward way Richter interacts with Emil, and especially the way he frequently refuses to look directly at him, makes much more sense by the end of the game.
Also, Emil's two personalities being able to imitate each other.
Niflheim only appears as part of a sidequest in the first game. Now it's a major focal point in this one.
Chekhov's Gunman: Yuan makes a brief cameo in Asgard at the beginning of the game before he's revealed as the World Tree's guardian.
One portion of the game (a skit maybe?) has the characters discussing time travel. Tenebrae says it's impossible, but then corrects himself, saying "There are those who can manage the task, but for humans it is exceedingly difficult." The obvious implications are the time traveling events of Tales of Phantasia.
Convection Schmonvection: One series of quests has you jumping over pools of lava without any ill effects in order to, wait for it, deliver someone dinner.
Cutscene Incompetence: When you use the Ain Soph Aur Mystic Arte in an actual fight, then as long as it's not against Richter, then it will operate perfectly fine, flying across the field almost before you can blink. When Emil uses it in a cutscene....
To be fair, all the times he uses it in a cutscene are against Richter.
Cutting Off The Branches: Both subverted and played straight. When Lloyd talks about who he picked to bring with him on his quest at the end of the first game, the game allows to player to pick who it was they chose. However, the ending in which Zelos dies is rendered non-canon.
The game also has the original cast doing the Nibilim sidequest, revisiting the temple next to Iselia to discover Corrine's fate, and visiting the hot springs.
Dark Is Not Evil: Tenebrae is just really snarky, rude, and condescending. Also Emil, the protagonist, is a good person yet of darkness element.
Deconstruction: You know how the first game ended with the belief that things would work out for both worlds and that everything the heroes did would make the new world better? Well that's not the case here. The issue of racism towards Half-Elves? Still around but slightly mitigated by new found racism between Sylverantis and Tethe'allans. Heroes praised for their actions? Nope, most people ether hate Lloyd and Collete, or view them as almost religious like figures. Basically the game deconstructs everything the party did by showing what the consequences of their choices were.
Indeed, the more we learn about Richter's backstory, the more it seems like a Ho Yay repeat of Kratos', or even Regal's. But... surprise! It isn't. All the people saying he killed his best friend are only making assumptions.
In one skit, Colette mentions the "Symphonian Eight" and that they fought against the sinister "Dark Five", as well as one of the Dark Five proving to be Symphonia Red's father. This also doubles as a reference to that one show
Downer Ending: The Bad Ending. After hurting Marta, Emil kills himself and makes Ratatosk seal the door. Marta, who appeared to be dead, mourns the loss of her friend and spends the rest of her life wishing she could have saved him.
Richter dual wields a sword and an axe. They and his whole body are on fire for the final boss fight. The Rule of Cool may have just reached critical mass.
Lloyd's still using two swords as well.
Dulcinea Effect: Deconstructed. When Marta first meets Emil, it's as if she wants him to come to her rescue, even though he's really reluctant to get involved. Then for a while, she's really insistent that this is what's going on, until Emil snaps at her, telling her that he thinks it's really annoying to be followed around by someone like her.
An alternative battle quote for Ain Soph Aur ("Now, return to oblivion! Ain Soph Aur!") that can only be heard by using a cheat code to use Ratatosk in the final battle against Richter. This hints that at one point, it may have been planned to allow the player to choose which personality would be dominant for the end-game..
Another example would be the multitudes of items that were going to be in this game (such as Holy Bottles, Magic Lens, etc) that were apparently dummied out when the developers decided to not use a world map.
In addition to that, there is a unique set of Boss Banter in the final boss fight for each of the heroes of the first game, triggered when that character is in the first slot in the active party. The only problem is that the game doesn't allow you to use anyone but Emil or Marta in that slot, so it's impossible to hear those lines unless you hack the game to remove that restriction. They're fully voiced and include the boss's responses and everything.
If you hack in an old Symphonia character, earlier on in the game than you're supposed to, they will have worse equipment suggesting that maybe we were supposed to play as the old characters at an earlier stage of development.
Earn Your Happy Ending: An out-of-the-ordinary-example; if you play the EXP X10 or Combo EXP games, chances are that Emil will be around level 150 or so by game's end. Seeing as the Good or Normal endings require you to let a computer controlled Lloyd and Marta defeat Emil, be prepared to sit and wait for an hour or more as they whittle away at him one point of damage at a time One of the few times that it would be nice if \the computer WAS a cheating bastard! The best way to deal with this is to either change your equipment to the worst possible or (if you have it) equip the Pain Killer. After that, just hold the free run button and run in front of Lloyd.
Excuse Plot: Most of the side quests are excuses to have the characters run around and beat up monsters.
Fan Nickname: Some have come to referring the altered versions of Emil's artes by names referring to the elements that alter them (like Demon Fang becoming Black Fang when infused by darkness due to the Tenebrae skill, or Burning Havoc, Phoenix Gale, & Ravaging Thunder for Havoc Strike, Phoenix Rush, and Ravaging Tiger when infused with their respective elements through skills).risk-return
Fanservice: A return to the hot springs from the original has the new female lead, Marta, joining Emil for a bath... Emil, upon being discovered, is accused by everyone else (Except for Lloyd) for being a major Peeping Tom.
False Flag Operation: It was the Vanguard led by Decus who destroyed Palmacosta in order to eliminate any dissent in the Vanguard and have Lloyd and the Church of Martel take the blame. In the game itself, Magnar tries to do the same thing to Luin, with the same motive.
Fantastic Racism: In addition to the return of the half-elf bias from the last game, there is now a class war waging between Sylvarant and Tethe'alla.
Flashback to Catchphrase: For the first couple of chapters, it is almost guaranteed that when someone speaks the words "courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality", the scene will cutaway to Richter's initial utterance of the phrase.
Foreshadowing: Late into the game, Ratatosk Mode Emil pretends to be regular Emil, disguising his voice (the camera is behind his back the whole time so the player can't see his eyes.) At the end of the game, regular Emil does the same thing in reverse, and the only clue for the player is that his eyes don't change color.
Fun with Acronyms: "Flex Range Element Enhanced Linear Motion Battle System" (FREE-LiMBS).
Gameplay and Story Integration: Ain Soph Aur only works once against Richter before he learns how to reflect it back at you. This works both in cutscenes and in boss fights with him.
The Glasses Come Off: Richter, in his final boss form and cut-in. Apparently, pacts with demons can also correct your eyesight. Who knew?
Going Through the Motions: Take a shot every time Marta leans over with her hands behind her back, Richter adjusts his glasses, or Emil slumps forward.
Good Is Impotent: Emil is a complete and utter wuss when he's not channeling his Blood Knight persona. But subverted in the end when Emil seals away his Ratatosk personality and turns out to be just as powerful and courageous as his evil side.
Got Me Doing It: One of the Katz Guild Quests have Emil and Marta saving a man named Donero, who speaks with a sort of coutry/Texan drawl. Marta is the first to start talking like him, then Tenebrae, who constantly wonders why Emil hasn't been "infected." When Donero is saved, Emil finally starts speaking like him, too.
Gotta Catch Them All: The Centurion Cores, which Marta has to hatch so the nature will stop being all messed up. The Mons Emil recruits too, though it is not a requirement to get them all.
Gratuitous German: Decus' artes. The word "Zauberbindung" appearing to signify possibility of forming a pact. "Richter Abend".
Healing Checkpoint: Yellow checkpoints avert this, while green ones (usually found in dungeons near boss battles) play it straight.
Heroic Sacrifice: A massive Double Subversion. Richter's Thanatos Gambit was to end with him using himself to permanently seal away the demons of Nifelhelm by burning for all eternity. Emil and chums beat him up, but then Emil springs his own so that he can take Richter's place. Following a massive combo Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! and Enemy Within fight, Ratatosk decides to solve the problem by rewriting the natural laws of the world. Richter still has to burn in order to seal the demons until Ratatosk finishes, just for a thousand years instead of eternity.
Hot for Teacher: You can make Lloyd and Raine an item in one small optional scene near the end of the game.
HP to One: Played with. Story-relevant bosses have their own Mystic Artes, which are ridiculously powerful, but can't reduce any party member or Mon below one HP. Not a completely straight example, as characters with high HP and defense can endure with more than 1 HP, but in practice, it usually fits.
I Know Your True Name: The name that Lloyd gave to the World Tree is treated like this, with Yuan explaining that is Ratatosk were to learn it before the tree stabilizes, he could steal its power.
Innocent Innuendo: The letter from Raine to Regal. Neither will divulge what the contents were, but the way they refuse to talk about it leave everyone convinced it was a love letter. It's actually about Raine's concerns about Emil and his Ratatosk Mode.
Invisible to Normals: The Centurion Tenebrae can hide himself from most people. Yuan and Colette can see him just fine. He's still invisible to the rest of the original cast, but can reveal himself whenever he so pleases.
Lethal Chef: Marta has experience, but because she never tasted her own food and her only taster was her father (who assured her that it was delicious) she's horrible. However, once she realises this she vows to get better and eventually becomes a decent cook. Richter is also a bad cook, but for the opposite reason: his utter lack of experience.
Also don't forget the "Passable" Chef from the first game Raine. She starts off by trying to give people her rice stuffed lemons.
Lost Forever: The Richter sidequest and cutscenes offering Character Development for Alice and Decus become lost after certain points. Katz quests, too, including the Treasure Hunter series of quests that need to be cleared to fight the game's Bonus Boss.
Loving a Shadow: Emil calls Marta out for this, showing that he is growing a spine. She later gets further comeuppance as manly, badass "Ratatosk Mode" shows up more often and proves to be a huge jerk. Subverted in the long run when she falls truly in love with both sides of Emil.
Meaningful Name: Aside from the above-mentioned Genius Bonus with 'Ratatosk', 'Tenebrae' is Latin for "shadows". All of the Centurions are named similarly for their respective elements. And 'Aster' is Greek for "star", and it turns out he had a star-shaped birthmark on his collarbone. 'Richter' is German for "judge" (literally "righter") and 'Abend' is "evening", but that's just Gratuitous German with no particularly deep/ironic meaning (unless you consider it Theme Naming, given that the previous game's purple-wearing redhead mentor, Kratos, had a last name that translated to "Tomorrow").
Mid-Season Twist: Throughout the game, you are tasked with the challenge of reviving Ratatosk, The Lord Of Monsters, and Emil is named The Knight Of Ratatosk to protect Marta, who has a key item for reviving him. The reality is that Emil died in the prologue, and was replaced by Ratatosk. Your whole quest to revive Ratatosk was a sham.
Minion Maracas: Richter does this to Emil at the beginning of the game.
Mons: A major gameplay system and plot point and the source of all non-Emil, Marta, or TOS 1 party members. Fortunately, it's not the entire point of the story.
One True Sequence: Considering the antagonists have Rheiards on their side, you'd think Emil and co. wouldn't be able to get to all the dungeons exactly when they do every time, especially with all the sidetracking they do.
The Other Darrin: Out of all the returning cast, only Colette, Presea and Kratos kept their original voices.
Painfully Slow Projectile: Emil's Ain Soph Aur attack in a few cutscenes. In one, it takes several seconds to cross a small room. Which is odd, considering the fact that in battle, it sweeps across the battlefield in about second. Not to mention a certain flashback, where the projectile was as fast as lightning.
Pair the Smart Ones: Likely subverted with Raine/Regal, specifically with Raine's love letter, which was actually a letter with her suspicions about Emil.
Post Final Boss: Twice in succession. After defeating the Final Boss, Richter, Emil faces two more bosses. First, a fight he must lose against Marta and Lloyd (or get the Bad Ending), followed by a fight against Ratatosk's personality. The latter fight can be won or lost, with no difference other than a small scene change.
Power Creep, Power Seep: None of the original cast have given up their Exspheres yet... and yet are easily matched by Marta and Emil, as well as the Vanguard.
Regional Bonus: The PAL release of Dawn Of The New World has an exclusive Gallery option, allowing players to view the artwork and all of the skits.
Reincarnation: Of a fashion. In a skit with Tenebrae, Lloyd reveals his belief that Mithos became the new World Tree.
Remember the New Guy: an Ascended Extra, Aster, is retconned into the first game. What's depressing is that, since there actually wereNPCs in the place where Lloyd supposedly met him, Team Tales could've just picked one of them and not bothered with these sorts of shenanigans.
Marta does it as well, though less often. She even writes them in the diary.
Schrödinger's Gun: Lloyd asks Emil to guess who went with him on the journey to collect the Exspheres. No matter what the player chooses, he's right, and that person becomes Lloyd's 'special person.'
Screwed By The Budget: The game was deemed an 'escort' (side) title in the series and given limited budget. It shows.
Ship Sinking: Subverted: Lloyd, in his stupidity, proposed to some random woman named Lilia—torpedoing all main ships? Nope. It's stated in the same scene that Lloyd never had feelings for Lilia, and was proposing to her out of duty, 2. She rejected him massively, and 3. the second Flanoir scene confirms any canon ship you desire. The torpedo was fake. On the other hand, it's played straight with...
Ship Tease: The "Love Letter", which is sunk once you find out the contents of the letter.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Addresses this aspect of Lloyd from the original, showing that the world hasn't gotten that much better, and that many people blame Lloyd for many deaths that he may or may not have indirectly caused. On the other hand, this is Tales of Symphonia we're talking about, after all.
Snow Means Love: Features a return to this from the first game, when Lloyd joins you at the very end of the game, although it's optional. Moreover, the scenes themselves are optional (and only one can be chosen) and can very well be missed.
Staged Populist Uprising: Inverted, The Vanguard is formed after the unification of the two worlds, as a way for the Sylvaranti to oppose and resist their status as second-class citizens to the Tethe-Allans, and their systematic oppression by the Church of Martel and the protagonist of the previous game, Lloyd Irving. Later, it is revealed that the travesties carried out by the "church" are actually being staged by the Vanguard as a way to generate grassroots support
Tenebrae: Why do humans have a tendency to stop and talk? Need I remind you that we are currently being pursued?
Taking the Bullet: Richter rebounds Emil's Ain Soph Aur on him. In his shock at this, he doesn't move... then Marta takes it for him.
Tenebrae does this in Meltokio to get rid of a monster that was about to self destruct and take Emil with it.
Theme Naming: All of the Centurions' names are simply the Latin word for their respective elements. Alice's Mons are called Athos, Porthos and Aramis, referencing the Three Musketeers. As shown in the pictures gallery unlocked after beating the game once, Emil and Marta's early designs were initially called 'Soleil' (French for "sun") and 'Selene' (Greek goddess of the Moon).
Undying Loyalty: Tenebrae to Ratatosk and to Emil after it's revealed that he's Ratatosk.. Zelos has this towards Lloyd, outright refusing to associate with Emil and Marta at first due to poor word choice on their part about Lloyd. He's the only party member who outright refuses to believe that Lloyd did any of the crimes he's accused of and outright believes that Lloyd has to have good reasons for his secrecy. He's proven to be right, doesn't mean that everyone isn't annoyed about it.
Ungrateful Bastard: How does Ratatosk mode Emil thank you for healing or reviving him? "You're slow!" Ironically, when he uses an item, he tells the recipient to "Be grateful."
The Unreveal: Remember how the original game teased us with "This tree's name is-"? Well now we've got this game, and we think that we'll learn what he named it, but it turns out that it's a plot point that Emil can never learn the Tree's name, for its own protection. And it turns out that everyone from the previous game knows it already. Presumably they all learned its name during the credits of the first game.
For the curious, the tree's name was revealed in Tales of Phantasia, set in the far future of the same world as Symphonia. The tree's name is Yggdrasil.
What the Hell, Hero?: Ratatosk Mode Emil gets this a lot from Marta on his Jerkass moments. Emil gives himself one when it's revealed that he's Ratatosk and that he used Marta to keep himself safe.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Centurion Cores grant their owner great power, but will drive them insane. Except Marta (using Ratatosk's power), Emil (being Ratatosk), Lloyd (protected by the blessing of the new World Tree) and Richter (strong willpower, as evidenced by his inadvertant ability to make Aqua fall in love with him even before he makes a pact with the demonic realm).
Surprisingly, Emil carries out a Batman Gambit although the trope is rather subverted since it fails if Emil actually loses to Lloyd and Marta (which gives the player a shot at the good ending), and it Goes Horribly Right if the player kills them, netting the player a bad ending.
It could be argued that the entire game is Tenebrae's attempt to calm down Ratatosk and get him to change his mind about ordering the Centurions and monsters to commit genocide through his journey as Emil. Naturally, he succeeds.