Reviews: Tales Of Symphonia

One Of The Best RP Gs I\'ve Ever Played

Tales of Symphonia is a RPG that really changed the Tales formula and undoubtedly contributed to the way RP Gs are made today.

The story takes the archetypal hero's journey and injects elements of realism that slowly carve away the romanticized myths and lore. The main adversaries, the Desians were originally a discriminated race that had endured such suffering, that they feel the only way they can feel liberated is through force of arms. The standard fantasy setting is an enforced Medieval Stasis. Small details start to add to a much greater plot that carries through after the first third of the game. However, what truly makes this game great is that after the first third, it is the characters that drive the story. There isn't an ancient prophecy telling them what to do, no age old mentor to guide them. The characters have rely on each other to resolve the plot and piece together the rules of their world in order to create a world they desire.

Which plays into the game's main strength which is character interaction. I don't think this game would be nearly as dear to me, if it didn't have good character interaction. Even in the more conventional beginning of the game, how the characters interact is diverse and multidimensional. The elf character, Genus, secretly hates the ignorant human masses yet strains to maintain his relationship with his childhood friends who are both human. The chosen hero, Colette, gradually loses her human qualities to become an all powerful savior. When the situation changed drastically, Lloyd steps into the role of leader, and finds himself fighting the personal demons of his friends just as much as the enemies that want him dead. The scenes offer much variety as well from late night confessions to cold-hearted betrayals, the game has many memorable dramatic moments.

Gameplay-wise, tactics and positioning are just as important as stringing together combos. Symphonia is admittedly one of the easier entries but some of its late game and bonus bosses can be brutal if not decently prepared.

Symphonia remains a classic of the RPG genre. It experiments with fantasy plotlines, it challenges fantasy archetypes, and it possesses truly great scenes of drama and suspense. It's quality justifies its spot as one of the hallmark titles of the Tales series.