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Tales of Symphonia Member Review for the GameCube

T Contains Fantasy Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes

What do these ratings mean?

Immerse Yourself In An Amazing Tale

So what the hell is a symphonia? To be honest, I have no idea, but the game is still good to play! If you're thinking it'll be some sort of orchestra innovation music making game...well you'd be wrong. Instead it's a looooong, thrilling RPG that could definately join the same league as Final Fantasy.

So when i said long RPG game, I wasn't kidding! If you research your stuff and get every secret and look in every crack and corner, it'll take a good 80 hours to complete! And without doing all the extra jazz, it's still 50 hours long! So you buy this, you're set for the month! To be honest about a quarter of the game are cut-scenes and are of little kids doing "inspirational" speeches just go they build up the courage between them to go that extra 5 mintues. Then they do another long speech and repeat the whole process! It can get a little frustrating, but that's mostly the nature of RPG's lately. 5 miutes play, cut-scene, 5 minutes play, cut-scene. It's not as bad as Metal Gear if you can cope with that, you can cope with this.

The plot is very similar to Final Fantasy X in how you go on a pilgrimage journey to pray to all the gods. But instead of just praying, you pray AND you gradually get angel powers for your girlfriend (which you can then use in battle), so it's all well in the end. But like every other RPG the plot always thickens into a more complicated story, but i wont spoil it by telling you, you can find out on your own.

The greatest thing about this game is that it has pretty much revolutionised the RPG genre. It's injected something completely new into the battle system that no other RPG has done. When you engage in battle, you can fight in them yourself! Not quite like Tekken, but it definately makes battle in the game WAY more exciting. You can also control any character from a choice of 8! And you can have 4 in a field. There's also none of that "time bar" stuff that goes on, where you have to wait for the enemy to hit you before you hit them. In this game all of your party strikes at the same time! And so do the enemies, it's one big battlescene. An excellent revolution to RPG, and i'm so glad that FINALLY someone has thought of it.

The graphics are interesting in this game too. The surroundings and background are all toned realistically, not in great detail...but it uses face imaging for texture, which pays off i'm sure as it'll save memory. but the characters and people in the game have sort of a cartoon style, and when this style and the background are put together, the outcome looks fantastic. Another nice little detail is that the characters blink too, nice to know that the makers cared about detail in the game.

Framerate is superb, you dont get any slow-down or anything like that. You'd think with loads of objects, enemies and allies fighting and swinging their weapons all at once, with magic sparks flying everywhere would do some damage to the weak gamecube power. But to all heaven, it looks great! framerate 1 gamecube weakness 0!

Well the sound and light is pretty much the same with any japanese RPG: hectic, multi-coloured crap everywhere. There's no real shading anywhere, it's just bold shadow where the shadow should be on the objects. There's nothing on the characters, including no light effects either. Whenever they're in a dark room, it's just a dark brightness setting. But that doesn't matter because the game looks good anyway.
The music is alright, you have the typical bad cymbal crashes and base drum bangs when something fatal happens, but other than that the sound quality is good and it comes out satisfactory.

I'd really recommend this game if you're into levelling characters and long RPGs with gripping stories. And this game has nice revolutionary ideas for RPGs, such as the whole new manual/semi-auto battle system. And on that note I just thought of another nice change in RPGs. You know in Final Fantasy you have the smashing glass effect on the screen when an enemy all of a sudden eganges battle with you. Well when you're on the levelling field roaming around, the enemies are actually in sight, and you can attempt to dodge them if you dont want to level your characters. Or you can go straight to them if you do. This game has all sorts of nice surprises like that, and when it's incorporated with the thrilling plot and clever twists, you get one hell of a tale.

More information about Tales of Symphonia
A- Revolution report card
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