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Tales of Symphonia Chronicles: Initial Impressions
Originally released on the GameCube and Wii, Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World have finally come to Sony users outside of Japan in this two game collection for the PS3. The original Tales of Symphonia being my first and favorite Tales game made it impossible for me to pass this one by.
Opening up the Game
To those of you who got the Collector’s Edition: I am officially jealous. The Collector’s Edition omes with the soundtrack, an art book, a small novel, a fancy case, and four adorable figures. With only 15,000 copies produced, you can bet Bandai Namco sold out of them quick (and that was after they raised the number they were making).
The standard edition is still a nice catch—two games for $40.00, both with updated graphics and a welcome surprise: the option to play the game with the original Japanese vocals. The openings of each game both now feature the original Japanese introductions, rather than the musical versions created for them upon their original outside Japan releases. Nifty.
Pop in the game and you’ll be given a menu screen where you can choose which game you want to play. Both of them take a few minutes to install once you choose them, so be prepared for a small weight.
Starting in the Left Corner...
…We have Tales of Symphonia, originally a 2-disc game for the Nintendo GameCube. The updated graphics are immediately apparent; and while the almost-chibi style of the characters still reads “GameCube,” there’s a lot of improvement. The backgrounds look more detailed, the eyes of the characters are crisp and bright, and Lloyd no longer looks like he’s sporting a mustache (the thick black line used to indicate his mouth in the GameCube version was awful). The gameplay is about the same, just with different buttons. Guess I can’t keep calling the skits “Z-skits” anymore, now that they’re on the select button. The skits are, unfortunately, another thing that reveals Symphonia’s age: none of the skits are voiced like they are in later Tales games.
Another nice edition, especially if you decide to play the game in Japanese, is the subtitles added to the end of battle. Every Tales game I’ve ever played has the characters making some sort of remark after defeating the enemy—it’s nice to finally know 100% what they’re saying.
There’s also a special bonus for those of you who’ve played other Tales games: once the PS3 recognizes your save files you get some extra costumes from other Tales games for the Symphonia characters (from Abyss, Xillia, Xillia 2, and Graces).
All in all, a great way for those who missed out last time to experience it now.
And in the Right Corner...
…Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the Wii sequel to Tales of Symphonia. The graphics improvement isn’t as noticeable in this one since it had decent graphics to begin with, but the menus definitely look brighter. Again there is the welcome inclusion of battle subtitles, but I like the way they’re designed better here: the cool translucent blue banner bearing the text looks nicer than the little translucent black box Symphonia uses. I’m not sure why these two methods differ—perhaps to match their perspective games better?
The addition of Japanese vocals far more excites me for this game than for the original. Both games had good English voice actors, but the problem was a lack of continuity between them: only two of Tales of Symphonia’s original voice actors made it to the sequel. The same cannot be said of the Japanese vocals, which are, as far as I know, the same people for both games. So there’s that.
If you’ve never played these games before or you’ve got the nostalgia bug, the Tales of Symphonia Chronicles edition of them will not disappoint. And for those of you Teen Titans fans out there, you may want to play the original Tales of Symphonia in English—Lloyd’s voice actor is the same as a certain masked hero’s.
Anyone interested can check out the official trailer below. There are some minor spoilers even if you don't understand Japanese, so just be aware of that when you check it out. Most of them are spoilers you get within the first few minutes of playing Dawn anyway.