Mithos Yggdrasil, the games Big Bad. On one hand, many players love him for being the Evil Counterpart to Lloyd, and how threatening he is when first introduced. His interactions with Genis, and his past as a victim of racism as a Half-Elf also help give him weight to the story, making him interesting of a threat to want to stop. On the other hand, he has a sizable amount of detractors for reasons such as the rather awkward incestual tones he has about his sister, how whiny he is compared to later antagonists like Van, and how his motives are ultimately shallow and simplistic compared to how imposing the game makes him out to be at first. The main draw stems from how effective he is seen as a villain, as if you find him a credible threat, he makes for a compelling villain, but if you don't, he comes across as just a poor antagonist.
Colette has always been a hugely polarizing character. Some find her cute, funny, and sweet, others get pissed off at her Damsel in Distress tendencies and find her martyr complex annoying.
Captain Obvious Reveal: Mithos actually being the Big Bad in another form is pretty obvious from the get-go, given the fact he just happens to be found by the party in the ruined Ozette, yet doesn't have a scratch on him in the middle of an enormous fire, looks eerily similar to Colette, the incredibly suspicious fact he not only stole a Rheaird without being spotted by the Renegades but has a flute that can summon Aska and the odd breadth of knowledge he has for a supposedly isolated half-elf. Even Zelos comments on how quickly he's accepted by the party and wonders how they can trust him so easily.
Kvar the Fury Tempest is infamous for being the cruelest of the Desian Grand Cardinals. Heartless and sadistic, Kvar runs a Human Ranch where his prisoners are turned into Exospheres in a process that leaves the party horrified. Discovering that some of his prisoners escaped from the ranch to the village of Luin, Kvar attacks Luin, destroying the village, killing many and capturing the survivors for his experiments. When Lloyd encounters Kvar, the Cardinal brags about how he removed the Exosphere from Lloyd's mother, causing her to turn into a monster and attack both her child and her lover, Kratos, which resulted in Kratos killing her to save their son. The depth of Kvar's depravity is such that even his own men are appalled by him.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Remiel is only a supporting villain, but the reveal that he was Evil All Along makes him a well done example of a character the audience can Love to Hate despite his short screen time, especially after it's revealed he was a villain.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Quite a few examples since Lloyd can be paired off with anyone, but notably Lloyd/Sheena and Zelos/Lloyd for the Ho Yay shippers.
It's cute when Colette is drawing on Lloyd's hand in the opening cinematic, until you get to the point in the game where she does this, and the player learns why: she can't talk.
The skit "Lloyd's Thoughts on Angels" has Lloyd point out that angels' wingsnote This occurs after the only angel they've seen is Remiel, who has flesh-and-feather wings instead of the pure-light wings that Colette gets would get in the way when they're trying to sleep. Upon breaching the second seal, Colette loses the ability to sleep.
Lloyd: Being an angel is pretty inconvenient, huh?
The skit "Pretty Boys Die Young," in which Lloyd and Sheena comment that Zelos seems like the type of guy who just won't die. You can see where this is going. In one of the endings, he dies.
The ending becomes a lot less hopeful for people who have played Tales of Phantasia and realize that once Yggdrassil's system of mana distribution fell, it eventually lead to exactly what he was trying to prevent — another great Magitek war that destroyed all advanced human civilization on the planet.
During one of their training sessions, Lloyd compares Kratos to an older brother. Coming from Lloyd, its genuine acknowledgement over how he appreciates Kratos' lessons. Kratos knows full well that Lloyd is actually his son. Imagine how awkward it must feel to have your son compare you to a brother, especially after you've already been trapped in the same youthful body for 4000 years.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: As far as sales go, it's the Tales Series equivalent to Final Fantasy VII: in Japan, it was a very good, important Tales game due to the 3D jump and the advances made in game mechanics, and is well-remembered and even stands out a bit, but it doesn't completely dominate the discussion, even though every Tales game that followed does owe a little to it. Outside of Japan (in America in particular), it defined the entire first generation of international Tales fandom (outside of the tiny handful who had played Destiny and the fan translation of Phantasia) and is the game people will think of when casually mentioning the series as a whole, largely due to a combination of being released on a console that was starved for RPGs and Nintendo Power magazine hyping it every chance they got.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The final form of the Final Boss comes right out of no where and gets no explanation at all. The cutscene beforehand doesn't naturally Segway into either, leaving it as just a odd choice for the finale.
The Tech Glitch. Normally, the Tech Tree is set up so that you can't learn skills from opposing branches simultaneously. However, with clever use of C-stick shortcuts and party member swapping, you can learn the final-tier skill from the branch you aren't taking, as well as the skills from the branch you are.
Just before the final boss fight with Mithos, during the cut-scene, if you advance any of the dialogue before the audio finishes playing, then when the boss changes into his young form he'll glitch out for the rest of the cut-scene. He will just stand there, talking to you, mouth not moving, arms lifeless, body totally inert.
As mentioned in the main article, the dragon that gives 10,000 Gald upon defeat only does so because of a typo that resulted in an extra zero — the Japan-onlyPlayStation 2Updated Re-release has it only give 1,000 Gald instead. Chronicles's version, being a PS3 port of said Updated Re-release, is the same. This unfortunately makes completing the Luin Rebuilding sidequest a lot more cumbersome than it already was; the next best Money Spider is the Gold Dragon, which gives almost as much Gald, but appears in a later, more troublesome dungeon.
One funny bug that's manifested in at least the PS3 and Steam versions is the "dirty Sheena" bug, wherein if the player takes the "hard path" first and meets Sheena in the newly destroyed Luin, her character model will still be in its "dirty" state even after moments when it would have been cleaned up in the original version. The bug sorts itself out if you change her title to an alternate costume title and back but is otherwise kept on generally so that serious moments are Narmed up a bit by Sheena looking like she hasn't had a bath in forever.
The PS2 version onward removed the skill tree glitch, but one REALLY useful glitch somehow slipped by them. By moving the cursor around the artes menu in a certain way, you can scroll PAST the menu and into an almost entirely complete collection of artes for everyone including some Dummied Out ones. But the best part of this glitch is being able to find Mystic Artes in this magic glitched menu, being able to map them to a single button and being able to perform them at any time regardless of requirements. And since you can spam spell-based Mystic Artes, this means great things for Genis, Raine and Zelos. Furthermore it still allows you to map spells from the opposite skill tree, making a great replacement for the skill tree glitch.
Growing the Beard: This is pretty much unquestionably where the series really began to find its stride. While Tales of Eternia had previously used some of these plot and gameplay elements, it was Symphonia that really fleshed out concepts like the skits and character customization and made it an RPG for the ages.
Harsher in Hindsight: The Clara sidequest manages to do this to already very harsh events in several of your party members' backstories. It turns out that people who mutated into monsters because of the Exspheres can be turned back into humans after all. Kratos, Regal, and Genis may not have needed to kill their loved ones, and Lloyd and Presea could have possibly kept their family members.
In a skit, Lloyd also says he avenged his mother after killing Kvar, even after Kratos points out his father actually killed her. It turns out Kratos is said father. It's also one of the rare moments he actually has a "sad" expression on his portrait.
One of Lloyd's possible KO quotes is I'm sorry... dad..." If this occurs if he's KO'd by Kratos, after you know their relationship... yeah.
Corrine comforting Sheena and promising to protect her should Volt go berserk... which he does, and Volt electrocutes him to death.
Kratos' Level 100 Title is "War God".note There's really no chance this was on purpose, as God of War came out two years after Symphonia.. Also, Kratos betrays his son, and whenever they meet, Lloyd has a tradition of shouting "KRATOS!!" and the two become rivals, and Kratos is also Lloyd's father, before Kratos becomes a returned angel. Considering all of this happened in the God of War series, except with Kratos taking Lloyd's place, it is very hard not to think that this game foreshadowed the series.
It gets even more hilarious (and heartwarming) with God of War (PS4), due to having similar plot threads: A supernatural being named Kratos, who is long disillusioned with his past misdeeds, going on a journey with his Wide-Eyed Idealist son whom he has a rather strained relationship with.
Zelos occasionally acts slashy towards Lloyd. In Japanese, he even refers to Lloyd with the exact same epithet he uses on all his lady loves - "hunny."
It certainly doesn't help that he's one of the only male characters Zelos shows any real affection for. Other guys might as well be pieces of furniture to him.
Genis cooks for him, and he totally resents it if he's not chosen to be in Lloyd's group in the times you have to split the party in two. His friendship with Mithos also has elements of adorable Toy Ship (especially when Mithos goes "Who do you like better, Lloyd or me?", which actually makes Lloyd react jealously), except... then the whole thing gets much more serious.
Zelos prepares a meal with sleeping drugs. Just before serving, he grabs Lloyd from behind and hugs him tight. "'Cause we're best friends, right? I worry about you. You must be tired." Or verrrry uncomfortable. Still, cue the Squee!. Or just run with it altogether.
The first thing he says to Lloyd and Genis when he meets them is, "I'm not interested in talking to guys". Which makes some people think that it's a case of Suspiciously Specific Denial.
When raising Zelos' affections to the max, his interactions with Lloyd grow noticeably more intimate. Granted, most characters grow closer to Lloyd when their affections are raised, but considering how Zelos replaces Colette during Lloyd's Heroic BSoD, along with calling him "hunny" in certain scenes, fans have begun to ship him with Lloyd.
Hype Backlash: Given that it's often dubbed "The best Tales of game" by its fans, it's not surprising that many get disappointed with it as a result. Doubly so when coming back to this game after having played later tales series games, and Symphonia will be surprisingly stiff by comparison. Not terrible or bad by any means, but in comparison to advances or changes in the gameplay like Xillia, Graces and Abyss offered, Symphonia will show its age. Adding to it, while Symphonia is where the writing team really hit their Deconstructor Fleet, later games had more complex main characters and more complex antagonists. Going from Abyss to Symphonia feels like a step down in story to many for example.
It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Before the series became super popular in the states, fans held it as one of the best games ever. Since the series has gotten more fame now, fans of the original Nintendo GameCube version tend to have this mindset, at least in regards to the PS3 version.
Though if you see Porting Disaster below a lot of the PC version's problems apply to the PS3 version. Generally the best version of the game performance wise is the original Game Cube release.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The Chronicles re-release gets this a bit due to all new features that weren't in the PS2 version being largely superficial. Particular points of contention are the lack of Free Run, and the preservation of the spell queuenote The game's inability to show the animations of two mid or high level spells at a time., the latter of which was only in the original version due to technical limitations.
And that it runs at 30 fps (because the PS2 version did), while the GameCube version from 10 years ago ran at 60.
Love to Hate: Remiel is a well-done example, requiring just one scene to make you utterly loathe him, and then you immediately get to beat the piss out of him. And it feels very good.
Kratos Aurion was a former hero of the worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla who escorted the very first "Chosen", Martel to defeat evil. Having ascended to be an Angel of the Four Seraphim some 400 years prior to the game's story, Kratos wed a human named Anna Irving and she gave birth to hero Lloyd. Being forced to kill her. Thinking his son also died he decides to work as a Double Agent for the Angelic organization of Cruxis, manipulating the current Chosen of Sylvarant and her retinue to become an angel and vessel for Martel. After defeating his son while holding back, it strengthens the boy's resolve to defeat him and stop Mithos Yggdrasil which is exactly what Kratos wanted. Snarky, brooding and very intelligent, Kratos was an honorable adversary to Lloyd and constant wrench in Mithos Yggdrasil's plans.
Yuan Ka-Fai, one of the Four Seraphim, is a cynical, calculated half-elf who rose in the ranks of the Sylvaranti military. When the capital of Tethe'alla was beseiged, Yuan joined Mithos, Martel, and Kratos to revive the Kharlan Tree and "expose his hypocrisy." Applying his military might, Yuan became one of the four heroes of the Kharlan War. After his beloved died, Yuan ultimately grew disillusioned with Mithos's methods. Spurred by Martel's desire to eradicate discrimination for all races, Yuan established the Renegades as its secret leader meant to oppose the Desians and Cruxis. Stopping at nothing to see Mithos foiled, Yuan orders assassinations on Colette to stop the Journey of Regeneration and, failing that, takes Lloyd hostage for leverage whenever the opportunity suits him. When traps and his contacts don't work, Yuan advises Lloyd and crew to make pacts with Summon Spirits in order to weaken the Kharlan Tree. An enemy as often as an ally, Yuan employed all manner of tricks to stop the cycle and reunite the worlds.
Memetic Badass: Regal and his Kamehame Hadoken have become a minor case of this, with people theorizing that if he'd just use it during combat, he'd be the most powerful character in the entire game.
The infamous "Coffee Mind-fuck" has generated a minor meme cluster, with Lloyd being referred to as Coffee-kun on certain Image Boards, and often being portrayed as an enraged Starbucks employee who offers only two options for an order - "motherfucking hot coffee" or "motherfucking cold coffee," offering none of that "Espresso or Frappucino bullshit."
It got to the point where there's an image floating around of Hideo Baba (the director/producer of the Tales series) holding up a fanmade "Lloydbucks" shirt.
The Coffee scene is so memetic, that it get three references in the "Successors of Hope" novel.
Kratos's apparent dislike of tomatoes (he never willingly uses them as an additional ingredient while cooking, and is less proficient at recipes in which they're required) shows up quite a bit in fanart. Lloyd's dislike of tomatoes is also brought up in various fanworks on a regular basis, especially when people are trying to come up with father son similarities/bonding experiences.
Referring to Mithos Yggdrasill as Disco Lord Yggdrasil, due to his fabulous white bodysuit.
Colette, in spades: Cute face: check. Small, delicate body: Check. Adorably clumsy: Check. Adorable voice, courtesy of Nana Mizuki in Japanese and Heather Hogan-Watson in English: OOOOOH! Soooo check! The Woobie as big as you can get: CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!
Remiel crosses it when he makes Colette into Martel's vessel with no remorse, or care that he is essentially erasing her from existance, and that everything the party learned was all a lie. It is satisfying to see the bastard get the death by Kratos he deserves.
The Pope crossed it pre-story when he decreed all half-elves who break the law are to be punished by death, then you find out his daughter is a half-elf, and he specifically says he initially opposed the anti half-elf laws but became disturbed over how Kate never seems to age.
Vharley crosses it when he uses Alicia in the Angelus Project, then when it fails, nonchalantly unleashes her on her lover Regal and comments it "worked just fine on another member of her family", utterly uncaring of the devastation he's caused.
Regal: "What is this ominous light that threatens to engulf us?!" That one is pretty much a meme.
Colette in the OVA tells Lloyd that Kratos is "A wonderful father!" after being a floating, soulless shell for ages. As a human doormat in the first place, she has no right to make a judgement call on the weather, let alone the complicated feelings of an estranged father who has betrayed the group multiple times by that point.
Due to the slow movements and wooden animations outside of battle, many supposedly action-heavy cutscenes can come off as undynamic and laughable. One example would be Genis running slowly in front of someone to block a fireball that got cast over 5 seconds ago and then casually wandering off again.
Related to that, the standing and running animations for Desians are so ridiculous that it can be impossible to take some of their story scenes seriously.
There's also the scene where Yuan is on the ground and Mithos proceeds to kick him and do an Evil Laugh. It's totally hilarious if you don't continue, and Mithos just keeps kicking Yuan while he's down. The icing on the cake is Lloyd in his idle pose like he's thinking, "Huh, so that's how gravity works..." It's massive spoilers but it can be seen in this video.
Rodyle mocking Presea when you confront her at his Ranch. After, Presea goes, "DIE!!" ...And then just stands there. It's as awkward as it is hilarious.
After a rather heavy scene in which Regal reveals himself as the murderer of Presea's sister, Regal receives the title "El Presidente".
In the Devil's Arm sidequest, once you defeat Abyssion, Genis cremates the body with a fireball and Presea earns the title "Empty Shell" ...while the same cheery jingle you get with every title plays up.
In a series of cutscenes starting atop the Tower of Salvation on disk 2, the cast starts pulling a comical number of Taking the Bullet dives in rapid order. Each time is supposed to show how much Character A cares for Character B; but the shot is so overused that somebody's hurling themselves across the screen every other minute, turning back-to-back plot twists into a total farce.
Colette throwing a chakram at Kvar during the first infiltration of his ranch, and he apparently ice-skates out of the way.
One True Threesome: While there was a modest following for Lloyd/Colette/Zelos, the OVA ended with Lloyd travelling not only with Colette, but Zelos and Sheena too, effectively launching a new OT 4.
Porting Disaster: The PC port had a number of issues that ranged from annoying to game-breaking, including typos that weren't present in previous release of the game, text not appearing correctly or not appearing at all (especially if the language setting was changed), large amounts of lag when saving or opening the menu, frequent crashes, the game outright refusing to load up, and dodgy DRM that created a new .exe file whenever the game was opened. It was also locked at 720p resolution and 30fps, despite the original Gamecube release running at 60fps.
However, later official patches helped remedy the issues, including dropping the DRM.
Ron the Death Eater: Colette gets a lot of this treatment in Lloyd/Sheena fanfiction. Sheena does in Lloyd/Colette fanfiction.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: While a major Growing the Beard for the series in both gameplay and writing, and is often seen by some as the best game in the series, as time has gone on, Symphonia tends to be seen as being less polished and refined than it was seen as in 2003. Its story was unique for its time, but some games after can make Symphonia look dated and not as interesting, while the gameplay can be outright unrefined compared to the many innovations the later titles were able to make (in particular, the lack of full field control in this version of the LMBS tends to drive people crazy). While it still is recommended for newcomers to avoid this issue and remains a strong entry, later games like Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Vesperia are often suggested first.
Sequel Displacement: In America especially, this is probably the first Tales game many people played and is the most well-known. It's also the first game in the series to sell over a million copies. It gets to the point that a lot of fans forget that Destiny and Destiny II/Eternia even got releases outside of Japan, or that a lot of Symphonia's mechanical and plot elements appeared in embryonic form in Eternia.note The tiny print runs the PS1 games got sure don't help matters, but...
Ship-to-Ship Combat: The aforementioned Colette vs. Sheena war, plus the numerous Yaoi Guys ships. The various skits and Ship Tease moments do not help one bit. Nor did the sequel, which decided to make any given pairing happen, depending on a question you ask Lloyd.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The game's condemnation of racism is frequent and unsubtle, particularly as the game goes on, but it is surprisingly nuanced. Rather than repeatedly drumming in the point that discrimination is bad over and over (though there's certainly a lot of that), different parts of the game focus on different aspects of racism, from open slavery, genocidal pogroms, and death camps, to separatism, to violent supremacist movements that ultimately prove no better than their former oppressors, to showing how even someone who isn't overtly racist against a group is still affected by the stereotypes and discrimination against that group.
Several titles allow the characters to change costume; however, anything that requires the alteration of the character's model (Sheena getting dirty, Colette's sleeve being blown off, etc) only has alterations for their original outfit, most of Kratos' costume changes are fix-scripted, and the fights with Sheena, Regal, Kratos, and Zelos feature their normal outfits in battle.
Stoic Woobie: Regal, especially in the anime, which takes his already tragic backstory and elevates it to outright Tear Jerker status. Despite all the bad things that happen to him, however, Regal never angsts unless the issue's being pressed.
Strangled by the Red String: Lloyd and Colette, but only if you don't pay attention to the Relationship Values (Colette is the easiest to please, especially by idealistic decisions that are in character for Lloyd) and end up with her as Lloyd's "default" soul mate. Actually investing in the relationship proves to have quite the opposite effect. It can get annoying if you're trying to get some of the more elusive party members to be Lloyd's closest partner. (Especially Zelos, which is by far the hardest to win over.)
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: So, it turns out Kratos is Lloyd's biological father. He never interacts with the adoptive father, Dirk. The OVA series did have a brief scene of them discussing Kratos exiling himself to Derris-Kharlan in the last episode. Think about the potential for them to talk about how Lloyd was raised, how he grew up, and more depth into Dirk's decision to adopt a human boy (since a dwarf will most likely outlive him and might not understand human customs as well). The game already puts heavy Foreshadowing and emphasis on fatherhood. (Remiel and Colette, Kilia and Dorr, anyone?)
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Due to either the game's AI or how characters' stats are, several characters are placed in different tiers:
Colette is a mixture of both: Under the AI's control, she will try to get close and melee enemies if they get near her. She's supposed to be a mid-range fighter and spellcaster. Under the player's control, however, her potential is finally seen and is actually a really good character in combat.
Regal is a case of a character who the AI doesn't utilize that well. Under a skilled player's control, they can make him one of the best characters.
Sheena is seen as low tier by a lot of players. Her stats are extremely low, and one key skill she learns is not until Level 56, which is right around the time the party is ready for the final dungeon.
Be honest, did you think that figure in pink in the back of the box art was going to be a man? Not only that, but a total Casanova at that? The fact that he's way in the back and in a very androgynous pose doesn't help. Raine can also be mistaken for a very hot effeminate guy... well, until thirty seconds of playing. Later, the kid Mithos also has a quite girly design, rather similar to Colette. Granted, Colette and Mithos looking similar is quite deliberate and is meant to foreshadow the game's later developments.
It's very common for people to assume Genis is a girl. The voice and hair don't help.
Apparently, that rainbow Kitsune with a feminine sounding voice and name (Corrine) is male. Except in the manga, unless that was a translation error or something.
Remiel is pretty effeminate. His voice shows he's a guy, but his clothing and face aren't very masculine.
When Zelos betrays the party, three angels show up to be fought. Two of them are obvious female enemies that you have fought already. The third also looks very feminine until he speaks with a voice deeper than Remiel's.
A side quest has you looking for four little girls. One of the girls, Jo, has a sprite that makes her look like a boy. She even says she is impressed you found her and thought she was a girl.
While it's understandable that Regal still carries around guilt over Alicia's death, he continues going on about it long after it's been established that he actually put her out of her misery and Vharley is the real one to blame for it, but Regal keeps insisting he's an unforgivable murderer and refuses to use his hands, even in situations where it could have really been helpful.
While he has some understandable reasons for it, Mithos, the Big Bad, spends a huge amount of screentime after he is revealed as Yggdrasil effectively whining about how bad the world is, how he wants his sister back, and that he's doing what should be done. It detracts from the seriousness because he sounds like a child throwing a tempertantrum instead of a a complex Anti-Villain. This may have been intentional of course, but for those who didn't sympathize with him, it's eyerolling to see the Big Bad acting in such a manner.
Woolseyism: Raine and Genis were originally named Refill and Genius, respectively, in the original Japanese. While the Japanese would find this incredibly funny in a good way (especially since "Refill" is a healer, thus, she refills your HP), Namco's editorial team wisely realized that Westerners would find the names eye-bitingly stupid and dropped the "u" from Genis' name to preserve the joke without being too obvious, and came up with a nice equivalent for Raine without being quite as blatant as the Japanese version (that is, her English name invokes the image of a soothing rain washing away pain).
Backfiring slightly, as Genis tends to get a rather... inappropriate nickname by some people, and Raine's name is a hilarious/harsher in hindsight moment, considering her intense fear of water.