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Tales of Symphonia has the massive Gameplay and Story Segregation in the Ymir Forest: You have to get some fruit for a little boy whose mother needs it on account of being sick. But for reasons unknown, the character who spends every battle floating a foot and a half in the air has forgotten she can fly, so you have to knock it out of the tree with a blindly charging pig. And then, even though it's within arms' reach, no one seems to want to get near the water on account of some of the fish; it never occur to anyone to get a stick or even use their damn sword, so you have to go through a long and convoluted puzzle of hypnotizing other, smaller fish and getting them to push it to where you can get at it easier.
After you (finally) get that damn fruit from the water in Ymir Forest, an optional skit features Lloyd expressing an interest in trying some Ymir fruit for himself. Apparently this fruit is the last in the world, because everyone assumes he means to try the fruit they've just gotten (reasonable, since Lloyd is a shortsighted idiot), they berate him for being such a horrible person as to propose eating this all-important fruit they've just gotten (unreasonable, since if they'd just said, "okay, we'll get some on the way out for you to try", Lloyd, as a shortsighted idiot, would have probably forgotten all about it by the time they left).
This can be taken both ways. On one hand, the above is absolutely true. Or, it can just be the total aggravation of the party not wanting to go through that bullshit again.
Symphonia is also exceptionally good at ruining its own drama. At one point, Colette seems to turn into an angel and leave the party...and then a message box pops up telling you she's learned a new spell. At another, Your party seems to have been killed off, one at a time, which is made much less convincing by the fact that you can still find new equipment for them in treasure chests.
Near the end of the game's Final Battle segment, Lloyd runs past a series of traps, culminating in an arrow that strikes him directly in the chest and takes down the last party member. At least, it would have, if not for a precious item his trusted friend gave him. What makes this annoying? If you befriended a character who didn't give you an item, Lloyd swiftly dodges the arrow with little effort. This becomes even more of a wall banger when you consider that the arrow probably wouldn't have killed him at all even without the trinket, because Lloyd certainly took hits a lot worse than an arrow to the chest by that point.
Very true, though by the same token, being saved by the trinket was more of a metaphorical way of saying that person "protected" Lloyd. In Kratos' case he taught Lloyd swordsmanship and gave him advice, even while they were enemies. Zelos used his influence within Tethe'alla several times and was branded a traitor for helping Lloyd, and Collette was willing to sacrifice herself so that the world, Lloyd in particular, would prosper.
The original complaint was shortened from a longer writeup that put more emphasis on the way he simply dodges the arrow if he doesn't have such an item. It was less about the use of Pocket Protector and more about its hamfisted use. Anyone who watches both outcomes can see that the item existed solely to deflect an arrow that wouldn't have been effective normally in order to force the protection metaphor. Once you start thinking about the trope in that way, it loses all emotional impact.
At one point in the game, you have a seemingly innocuous conversation that actually is used to determine whether someone dies a short while after. Never mind that the conversation is entirely unrelated to the later events, here's how it is implemented: In both situations, he seems to betray you. In situation one, you kill him. In situation two, he is not killed and saves your lives at the end of the game—however, the only reason he doesn't die is that you just sort of...don't...kill him. There's no reason for you letting him go in the second situation and killing him in the first, it just kind of happens.
The reason why you don't kill him is because he flees with Pronyma and leaves you to fight some guard angels. In the scenario where he dies the angels flee with Pronyma and he fights you.
Yeah, the emphasis there is that he either chooses to fight for you, or die by your hand. It comes down to whether or not he believes he can redeem himself in the eyes of the party. (Scenario 1 Lloyd: Can I trust you? (He dies) Scenario 2 Lloyd: I trust you. (He lives))
Near the end of the first chapter of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, a man named Magnar occupies a town, orders them to turn over Marta or be killed, receives her, reveals his intent to kill her, and then proceeds to have his men destroy the town anyway. Emil shows up to save her, almost dies, recovers with the help of his Superpowered Evil Side and saves her. They then fight Magnar in a boss battle ("Pray for a painless death!") that somehow doesn't kill him. And yet, after all of this has happened, Emil continues to beat up Magnar, and Marta yells at him to stop. That's right. He intended to kill her, almost killed Emil, went back on his word and almost slaughtered a town of innocents, he's framing an innocent group for his actions, and she decides that it's wrong to punish him for it?! What the hell? What's worse, he is allowed to leave, and he continues to be a murderous villain for the remainder of the story.
In Tales of the Abyss, after defeating Grand Maestro Mohs, who had become a monster by this point, the party expresses sorrow and pity for him. This is the guy who forced Anise to betray the party, and the one who murdered Ion, (which led directly to the death of the much more sympathetic Arietta) and the party feels sorry for him when they finally kill him.
The above mentioned death of Arietta. Why, just WHY, does the party accept that duel and not just tell her the truth about Ion? Do they think she'll Go Mad from the Revelation and kill herself? Then let her! It sounds cold, but it's far better for them to leave her fate in her hands than to have her blood on their's! But no, they -particularly Anise, Designated Hero extraordinare, who owes Arietta an explanation the most- just kill her in battle. Just kill a teenage girl who has so obviously been misled. There are no words.
A worst one is how everyone got on Luke's case about trusting Van, his beloved mentor and father figure, when the only other people on his side that seemed even remotely trustworthy were Ion, Guy, Anise and Meiu. And of the four, Ion was hiding vital information, Guy and Anise were both traitors, Meiu was Meiu, and none of them would have had any reason to disobey Van's orders — and in Ion's case, actually enabled the destruction of Akzeriuth by following said orders, despite the fact that he was technically Van's superior and knew about the nature of the world already. And when he pointed that out to the rest of the party, they brushed it aside in order to blame Luke, whom they damn well knew was being mind-controlled at the time.
The excessive harshness toward Luke's mistakes — mistakes which were mostly based on genuine ignorance and inexperience — seems particularly egregious when compared to the much milder treatment given to outright enemies (Mohs) or deliberate spies/traitors (Anise) who manage to get off with being Easily Forgiven.
Despite being a generally good game, Tales of Vesperia has some moments that left many players groaning.
The general aesop of the game is that sometimes, the law is too inadequate or incompetent to do the right thing. When that happens, there are only two things to do: change the law or, failing that, break the law for the greater good. The problem is that the game uses Strawmen to make this point and it never really offers a different viewpoint other than Flynn (who achieves next to NOTHING on his own when compared to Yuri). So basically, what the story is telling you is that vigilante justice is the best and ONLY true brand of justice.
The problem is that Yuri forces it on Flynn, without him getting a say in it. Flynn tells him not to, tells Yuri not to give him the credit and by all means should be dragging Yuri to jail as a murderer because he didn't even wait to see if the law would punish them, he outright killed them without a conviction. Yuri, being the impatient man he is, just assumes he's correct every single time, ignores Flynn's advice and offs the Strawmen. He never once considers the increasingly precarious position he's forcing Flynn into, and doesn't even seem to consider that Flynn is breaking his own moral code to protect Yuri, let alone could get jailed and/or executed for allowing Yuri to walk free dispensing his own view of justice. Flynn isn't entirely blameless because he's so blinded by his loyalty to his best friend that he can't uphold his own code as a knight, because it means putting Yuri on the executioner's block. His idealism falls short when he's forced to deal those laws onto Yuri and he wavers, which eventually leads to their confrontation sword fight, when Flynn finally puts his foot down and says enough is enough. It does take a while, considering how much of a dick Yuri is to Flynn, and these guys are best friends.
This also leads to Sodia attempting to shank Yuri, believing Flynn would be better off with Yuri dead... Sodia's logic that killing Flynn's oldest, best, childhood friend will be better for him, and get her in his pants is another wall banger altogether.
Yuri's Shut Up, Hannibal! to Phaeroh becomes significantly less awesome once you remember that Yuri used the exact same logic as Phaeroh to justify killing Ragou and Cumore.
There's been something of a subtle love triangle between Senel, Shirely and Chloe (more of a square when STELAAAAA!!! is taken into the equation), but it seems to be resolved in the Quiet Lands in a touching scene between Senel and Chloe where Chloe lets Senel have it for rejecting Shirley for a dead woman and seems to give him up to Shirley, realizing that she cares more for Senel as a friend than as a lover. It's a great, mature way to cap this off, and...wait, what's this scene in Werites Beacon before the final dungeon of the Main Quest? What? Chloe, no, you just...! DAMN IT! Prolonging this love triangle is bad enough, but it gets worse when the Character Quests pretty much resolve it in the same manner, with Chloe accepting that she'd rather keep Senel as a friend than go through romantic trouble with him. Senel/Chloe being a Fan-Preferred Couple be damned, she and Shirley's angst over who will end up with the guy did not need to be this dragged out!
Tales of Xillia has a disappointing story, mostly because it takes plot points from other games in the series, such as the Dual worlds, Alvin being the traitor, Milla not actually being Maxwell, stuff we've seen countless times before. Many fans are starting to complain that Namco needs to hire new writers, and their complaints sound reasonable.
There's also one moment in the game that's straight up hard to watch, since it makes Jude unlikable: Milla has died, sending Jude into a deep depression. In the meantime, Leia has been taking care of him, even though he shows no gratitude for it, and just throws her food on the floor. Then, Alvin shows up to kill them both as part of a deal Jude, nearly suicidal, puts up no resistance. Then Leia steps in to save him, but is outmatched. She then flees, and is forced to DRAG JUDE ALONG WITH HER, since he refuses to walk, putting her in considerable danger. Then, cornered, Leia puts up one final fight while Jude sits around and feels sorry for himself. It's not until Leia is wounded and incapacitated that Jude steps in to win the fight. Jude being suicidal would have been fine, if only he weren't also putting one of his true companions in danger because of it. It's hard not to spend this whole scene yelling "STAND UP AND SAVE YOUR CHILDHOOD FRIEND YOU WUSS!". Now, Tales main characters have had shameful moments before, but usually the rest of the party calls them out on it, and they're forced to pay for their misdeed and grow. The thing is, no one ever mentions this incident again, not even Leia, who should have been pissed that Jude let her get beaten up and then shot before he finally stepped in to help. The rest of the party just goes on about how awesome Jude is for the rest of the game, completely ignoring that shameful little scene.
A recurring premise of the series, demonstrated as early as Phantasia, is to start the plot off like a stereotypical RPG and then eventually add elements to the plot that reveal that things weren't necessarily as they seemed and there were more shades of gray than expected. Unfortunately, this frequently runs into problems when it comes to characterizing villains. Far too often, a character will be introduced as a Card-Carrying Villain who receives multiple Kick the Dog moments, and around the time the main party gets around to defeating them, it will be revealed that the villain had less selfish motives than expected in an effort to make his or her death tragic. Which isn't a bad idea... except that the villain still acted like a Card-Carrying Villain and had tons of Kick the Dog moments, so the player is not likely to sympathize.
Especially noticeable in Tales of Graces with Lambda. His backstory is revealed in the Very Definite Final Dungeon of the game, whereas previously he has used his influence over Richard to get heinous crimes committed and the world being brought upon danger. Then the backstory comes in, revealing him to be an entity put into a humanoid body that was continuously experimented on and tortured to figure out how he works and the party suddenly feels sorry for him. Completely ignoring the previously committed crimes, the fact that he was close to ruining the big deal of friendship in the game and has no sign shown of caring at all.
Much maligned entry Tales of the Tempest has an early wallbanger that is a sign of things to come: One of your first tasks is to escape from your besieged village and into the Black Forest. If you've rested at the inn before setting off, you'll find that the day-night cycle has just transitioned from day into night by the time you arrive at the forest. If you attempt to enter, your party decides it's far too dangerous to pass through the forest at night and you should wait until day. As it's too far to journey back to the inn, you stand in place and watch as the clock slowwwly ticks back to daytime. Upon entering the forest, your party decides it's too dangerous to pass through the forest during daylight, and the scene immediately transitions to nightfall.