Reviews: Tales Of Symphonia Dawn Of The New World
A derivative, downgraded disgrace.
And that's just in comparison to the first one. As a Tales title in the grand spectrum, it's an obvious cash-in, and was accordingly half-assed. As an RPG on its own merits...it has none—It's a lazy, generic, aneurysm inducing bargain-bin budget title heap of everything that's considered a negative aspect of the stereotypical 21st century JRPG, and played to a level that validates almost everything that haters of the genre could say of it (which I think a game like Final Fantasy X pioneered, but I digress). The one advancement in the game, full movement in combat, is made moot by the combat's clunkier controls, lesser customization and variety by being TOO reliant on whatever point in the narrative the game is in (never good game design for me), artes with no applicable flow, and repetition born of its major(ly forgettable) monster gimmick that doesn't even do a good job of being all that reliable as a battle tactic. Then there's the ENFORCED menu-based over world. An instant negative in any RPG, and the site's word limit means I can't explain here beyond just "nuff said". I could have called the game mediocre at best if it weren't for that part, but it's an inexcusable point of laziness. Emil is one of the most insultingly presented, and irritatingly unlikable characters ever. The dismal story already kills his first impression, and the only evolution offered is either hand waved, thus making him even more bland, or pretentiously flaunting a tediously annoying romance based completely on contrived obvious contrast between the initial personality traits of the characters in question that the narrative foolishly tries to make an emotional driving force of the plot. Both characters lack substantial development in their own rights that their reliance on each other is a contrivance in the narrative, not emotional depth or chemistry. Emil is a damn near Aspergers Syndrome satire made just to force us to relate to him because of how pointlessly shunned he is at the start, which makes his 'development' tedious, predictable and downright annoying. Where many of the original cast could be considered deconstruction, all I see from these characters is flanderization. I understand many who enjoy it even a little bit started the series with this game. I won't bother commenting on that. Simply put, it's one of my all-time most hated games.
God Damn This Game Is Awfull
This game sucks. I mean, wow does this game suck. The original game was a fun, if plot hole filled adventure where you get to fight half-elf robot suited angels with swords! Awesome! Sadly, this game lacks that awesome factor. It lacks the beloved cast of the original game. It lacks a friggin' over world screen. My God this game is bad. The original game ended ambiguously, with the two worlds merged into one, by Lloyd and his friends. Given that the game ends with the two worlds having just been merged, one would assume that the sequel would begin would begin Lloyd and company helping to integrate the two worlds. Wrong! Instead we begin several months later, after an event called the Blood Purge, where Lloyd went on a killing spree in the city of Palmacosta, under orders from the Church of Martel. Unfortinetly for the viewer, Lloyd fails to kill the games "male" "protagonist", Emil Castagnier. If you thought Lloyd was an interesting protagonist with a fun to use combat style, prepare to be dissapointed, because Emil sucks. Oh wow does he suck. The androgynous Emil is one of the whiniest, whimpiest, weakest protagonists ever. Everything out of his mouth is about how he hates Lloyd for killing his family. 1. Lloyd wouldn't do this, he'd either be under mind control, or it was just someone else disguised as him. 2. Lloyd just saved the world kid. Shut the fuck up. Through a series of stupid plot contrivances, Emil get's roped into going on a stupid journey to save the world that's oddly similar to the quest of the first game. And by oddly, I mean the exact same. He get's appointed the protector of Marta Lualdi, another character I want to bludgeon, who is attempting to awaken Ratatosk, a summon spirit who oddly wasn't mentioned in the last game. They travel with the Centurion Tenebrae, easily my favorite character, who spends his free time reminding Emil just what a loser he is. Emil also awakens a second personality, dubbed Ratatosk mode by his companions, and Wife-Beater Emil by me. Wife-Beater Emil is no better then the other Emil, dubbed Whiny-Bitch by me, due to being a stuck up asshole. Their are more things I could complain about, such as the combat, graphics, or awful voice acting, but this review has a 400 word limit. Let me just say this. I got this game for free from a friend. I still over paid.
First off, I'd like to say I was VERY DISAPPOINTED with To S 2. It absolutely drove me away. I instantly became annoyed of Emil's poor voice acting, late responses, and his wimpy personality. Don't get me started on Marta. I despised the way she clinged onto Emil. Seriously? She became in "love" with him after just meeting him briefly for when he saved her life, and it wasn't even him. I also hated how the characters looked. Their faces were flat and their design was just..a bit off; Their hands, their feet, weapons, ect. Moving to Tales of Symphonia, I felt connected to that first game. I've recently just cleared the game for the 5th time and immediately started again. When I would finish this amazing RPG game over and over again, I'd still get the feeling of sadness because I felt like my friends have left. *Not to sound creepy. I liked the way the characters looked in To S. Chibi-like with those fat heads and sharp features about their designs instead of the stretched out, flat faces and body's that looked wide from the front in To S 2. ( AND THE WAY THEY OPEN DOORS!). I wish they kept the original look for the other Tales games. For Lloyd's voice actor, that killed the game completely for me. Scott Menville 5ever. I don't mean to bash on the new voice actor, but he just doesn't make me feel that To S 2's Lloyd is the same from To S 1. And the way they made Lloyd the antagonist at first? No. Bad move. Everything was poor. They were obviously too lazy to make the game have more depth in the story. Plus, starting it off in Palmacosta, which they pronounced weird, ( also with Mana, they were like, MAWNAW.) was not in my best interest. At least it was rebuilt, but I wish we could've rebuilt Palmacosta in the first game like Luin. (was optional if you wanted Lloyd's pirate costume) One thing I was happy about with To S 2 was the character Decus. He was really funny to me and was also the bad boy that wasn't exactly bad. But, also when there was two Lloyd's and Emil had to kill the fake one. When Emil chose the real Lloyd, Zelos butted in all like, " uh-uh, not my man." Zelloyd 5ever. ♥
Much Better Sequel
First off, let me say this: I disliked the orignal To S. While I liked the characters, the rest of the game just didn't connect with me. That said, it's cool they show up in this game, but I like the main characters (and overall game) much better. Is it for newcomers? No. Is it humorous and fun? To me it is. The main characters? I realize Emil could come off as annoying, but I have an immunity to that kind of thing. And once Emil gets his superpowered side, he and his other side start growing a pair as the game goes on (with a surprising reveal on who this other side really is). Marta is a down-to-earth girl, which I enjoyed, and I could understand her crush on Emil, even as it didn't start out right. Still, she grows over the game as well, learning to really love Emil for who he is, both sides of him. Tenebrae? A funny snarker that I enjoyed every word of from him. And along with the original cast, I enjoyed Richter, Decus and Alice (as well as our lesser-known rival commanders). Alice was a 'witch', I knew that right away, so I enjoyed her villany, because that's who she was. Decus is a bit delusional, but he's so funny at being, well, DECUS. Richter... well, he's awesome, thinks he's doing the right thing, and isn't afraid to speak his mind. The gameplay is awesome, to me. It's simple enough for casual gamers, but it has depth too, allowing just the right amount of awesomeness you could want. From Mystic Artes to the widely different fighting styles of Emil and Marta, there might be something for everyone. The monster catching system I've seen before, for sure, but I enjoyed this game's version of how you catch the monsters. A wide variety of elemental artes and powers helps tremendously with that. It's also a joy to see them evolve from cute (or not-so-cute) forms to widely different forms, all with powerful or unique attacks or spells. And with 232 monsters you can collect, there's a monster for everyone's tastes. The story is a bit convoluted, that is true, but it's not too hard to keep track of, though first timers won't get everything on a first playthrough. Still, it's enjoyable with it's twists and turns. Not everyone will enjoy this game, for sure. Those who played the original and loved it, it's either love it or hate it for the sequel. Still, it's worth a shot, you might enjoy it after all.
What happened to the story?
Let me start off by say that I love the Tales series, particularly Tales Of Symphonia. I loved the plot, the characters, and everything. However, when I was expecting a great sequel and they gave me "Oh, we forgot to tell you? There are these god-thingies that you should have known about, you know, since you played the chosen and stuff but now these are gonna replace the Summon Spirits, kay?" I know something's wrong. Really, the whole 'Centurion' business seemed tacked on and lame. Oh, and did I mention that you can only play as two characters? Emil and Marta, while they did have some depth to them, seemed more like stereotypes than characters. Emil has no backbone until much later in the story, and Marta's in love with him, for some reason. Sure, he saved her and all, but that's no reason to be obsessive, is it? I can only guess that she's in love with his voice actor, Johnny Yong Bosch. I wouldn't blame her for that. While I'm on the subject, the voice acting was pretty good. While they recasted most of the original characters, most of them sounded okay. The exception being, of course, Lloyd. I really don't know why they bothered to keep any of the originals at all, if this is how they're going to cast them. If you have Lloyd, you need him to be played by Scott Menville. It's just a fact of life. There's no overworld map for you to explore. It's just "Why don't I teleport you there?" which takes some of the fun out of the game. I liked exploring, even if it was a little tedious. Then there's the monsters. I liked collecting them, but they really didn't add anything for me. It just seemed like Namco was trying to make the game stand out, which failed. Overall, the game seemed like a poor sequel. I didn't add much, and what it did add wouldn't be remembered for long. I think this game does not deserve to be a Tales game, as they just made a crappy story and slapped some old characters in there. If you like the first game, prepare to be disappointed.
Enjoyable, with a few flaws
I've never played the first Tales of Symphonia, however, I know the storyline from a weird combination of seeing the OVA of it so far and reading/seeing general info on it, so my knowledge of the first game isn't completely nonexistent. I know the main plot. However, this might affect my opinion on the gameplay since I clearly can't compare Dawn of the New World's gameplay to the first's—I've not played it. From what I hear, this was made on a spin-off budget and that becomes clear at some points—(like during the scene when Marta got knocked over by a turtle monster)—however, the creators still did a splendid job on it. The voice acting was terrific, the humor genuinely good, and the battle system wasn't glitched up or anything. I really praise, as I said, the voice acting and humor and many aspects of the battle system made it fun for me to beat the crap out of things. The monster system was a nice touch, too. However...I'd give this game four out of five stars. My brother and I began to dread the words "Marta/Lloyd and the others/Genis etc left the party. Formation has changed." because it meant we had to set our shortcuts back! And the level cap on the old cast infuriated me. I'm certain Sheena is a Summoner and can summon in the first game, so why not now?! ...Yeah. Anyway, people may complain about Emil and Marta but I don't give a damn. I think they're both wonderfully developed characters and it's not like they're screwing with any of the various couples from beforehand—they get shipped with each other. Their interaction is genuinely adorable and charming, they fit right in with the old cast, them and Tenebrae. Otherwise, I just have to say that the lack of an actual world to travel around makes it a bit worse—world maps aren't all that fun, now are they? Too bad the monsters aren't playable, or Lloyd didn't join your party earlier, but I guess you can't have everything. All in all, loved the game. one of my faves on the Wii. Nice music and the Good Ending is as heartwarming as it should be.
Good, but Not Great
ToS:DotNW perked my interest as soon as I heard that it existed. I had played Tales Of Symphonia and had thought it to be the best game on the gamecube and one of the best RP Gs I'd ever played. This game ended up being a little disappointing, but still, in the end being a good time. The visual effects were definitely better than the last game, the voice acting was good for the main characters (most of the time) it even had some Narm Charm which I love. Now that that's out of the way let me Accentuate The Negative.
- The combat was not as enjoyable as it could have been. Enemies with tons and tons of Hit Points, their constant respawning; these ended up feeling like padding. Lots of artes that did poor damage and didn't combo well with each other and when they did work just pushed the enemies out of my range.
- The mons were an interesting idea, but their implementation was lackluster. They never felt as useful in combat as the GuestStarPartyMembers. Also, just getting them was a chore, the game will browbeat you if you fail a number of times, but doing better seems to mostly involve luck.
- The GuestStarPartyMembers nature of the game just got annoying after a while, levelable/equipable party members are definitely preferred for this type of game.
- The Katz quests: the items they offered were almost never useful, and the time it took you to do them was either 1 minute or a half hour but you got the same level reward for either. They felt like just another time sink sense they were necessary in order to get the crafting items. And the crafting was not nearly as interesting as in Tales Of Vesperia.
- The music was mostly just rehashes of the previous game, as were the dungeons, in fact almost all of the dungeons were just copy/pastes of the previous games dungeons.
- Having only a few of the characters retain their previous voice actors. While most of the replacements did a good job recreating the voices (Raine, Genis, Collette), the others were so far off that it proved distracting.