|| by FABIO 08/15/2004, 10:49pm PDT
||This was one of the games I was really looking foward to, but thanks to game developers, it's the only one (out of it, Resident Evil 4, Silent Hill 4, and Star Ocean 3) that's came out during what will be my last summer vacation before leaving acadamia forever.
It's no secret. I love Star Ocean 2. It's by far my favorite console RPG out of the last TWO console generations. In fact it may just be my favorite ever due to it being objectively better than Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger (which I loved to death at the time). The combat system from the Tales games was what Star Ocean 2 was based on. Star Ocean 2's combat flat out rocked, sort of like a fast paced version of Secret of Mana with auto targetting and tons of crazy special attacks and all sorts of shit flying around at once and NO FUCKING "GRACE PERIODS".
So of course I was looking foward to Tales of Symphonia. Plus it would have 4 player support so everyone can control a character during the presumably awesome combat. Rock!
I'm an hour into it right now, and so far I am less than impressed.
-Plot (minor spoilers that you find out within the first 30 minuts anyways)
Holy shit this is the largest cornucopia of console RPG cliches I've ever seen. Evil empire (whose soldiers wear visored helmets as to cover their faces and properly dehumanize them). Only the chosen one can save the world. Main character is an orphan who never knew his mother (but whom left him a mysterious pendant!) raised by a foster parent. Then he brings disaster to his village which is razed by the empire so the villagers exile him. Oh yes, and there is a frigging MANA TREE (the exact name) just in case you thought the designers had a single original thought.
The Tales games (and Star Ocean 2) also always have basicallythe same character cutouts over and over again. You have the hot-headed, adventure-minded hero swordsman, the reserved heroine he is sworn to protect, the arrogant spoiled little kid who comes to see the hero as a big brother, the asshole wondering swordsman who starts out stronger than the hero and is his rival for protecting the heroine. I haven't run into the hot but pushy woman who tries to muscle her way between the hero and heroine yet, but I'm betting she's out there somewhere!
Then add to all of this that the fact that the main plot is an extremely blatant ripoff of a certain other RPG title. Every few decades or so the world must be saved from a great evil. To do this a chosen one must undergo a pilgrimage to visit various temples scattered throughout the land, receive a divine blessing at each, then receive the ultimate power so that they may sacrifice themself (the main character is the only one who doesn't know about the sacrifice part, just like another CERTAIN game)to destroy the evil. The heroine accepts this task and the hero pledges to protect her on her pilgrimage, completely unaware of the fate that awaits her.
I guess everything else was such a played out cliche that they decided ripping off Finaly Fantasy 10 wouldn't be so bad because it was done only once. I am totally looking foward to when the hero discovers the DARK SECRET behind the pilgrimage and decides to screw fate and BREAK THE CYCLE.
Star Ocean 2 took Tales's combat and refined it to make it fully 2 dimensional. Tales of Symphonia's combat seems like it decided to ignore this refinement and stuck with it's usual (and inferior) one dimensional side scrolling system. That's right, the combat plane is one freaking dimension. They try to give you the illusion of 2D by making your character look like he is running up or down sometimes with the camera rotating all over the place, but it's all smoke and mirrors.
Other than that the combat is basically Star Ocean 2.
-4 player mode
This part is pretty wonky. First of all, you don't start off or always have 4 characters in your party. In fact in the first hour you're going to frequently have less than 4. Those extra people are going to have nothing to do when the story reduces yours party. Characters also hop in and out of your party frequently so it's impossible to pick a favorite and stick with him.
Now here's a big boo boo. In fact, I think I must be mistaking on it because it's such a glaring gameplay flaw. You see, the controller port determines who controls which character. Port 1 controls whomever is in the first position, port 2 the second, etc. It seems that you CANNOT SWITCH WHICH CHARACTER YOU CONTROL DURING COMBAT. You can switch wheter a character is human or AI controlled, but you cannot change which character you're manually controlling. If you want to switch to the magic user so you can cast a specific spell, you're fucked. If the character you're controlling is killed, you're fucked. Actually, there is a gay way around this: just pause the game, and plug the controller(s) into a different port, then switch your old character to AI controlled and your current character to human control. What unnacceptably retarded bullshit is this? In Star Ocean 2 you switched party members with the press of a button with the AI taking over for the character you weren't controlling. Again, I'd like to think that there IS a way to switch characters and I just can't find it (no instructions with my rented copy), but pushing all the buttons on the controller yielded nothing. This is a huge goddamn design oversight.
1 hour verdict: If you don't mind the Frankenstein's monster of standard issue RPG cliches for a plot, an extremely frustrating interface method for switching characters in combat, and the one dimensional side scrolling battlefields, then this is basically a decent Tales/SO2 4 player combat game. Just make sure you actually have 4 characters in your party when you invite everyone over, and be prepared to have them sit out when the plot forces some characters to leave.
Final verdict to come later this week
Tales of Symphonia by 08/15/2004, 10:49pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/16/2004, 12:15am PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/16/2004, 4:30pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/16/2004, 9:27pm PDT
than The Punisher? Probably not NT by 08/17/2004, 1:48am PDT
Than everything. And on the contrary: definitely yes. NT by 08/17/2004, 5:09am PDT
time for an objective look at the two by 08/17/2004, 1:31pm PDT
My HL2: Lumberjack mod has this covered. by 08/17/2004, 3:38pm PDT
Im assuming that by spiders you mean ant lions by 09/02/2004, 9:40pm PDT
Those aren't SPIDERS, those are TRITES! TRITES! NT by 09/03/2004, 7:31pm PDT
thq torture contest by 09/03/2004, 6:15pm PDT
Torture is going to feel wierd if all the faces look so nonchalant. NT by 09/03/2004, 7:52pm PDT
they all look like that by 09/04/2004, 12:02am PDT
Re: they all look like that by 09/04/2004, 10:29am PDT
Re: Torture is going to feel wierd if all the faces look so nonchalant. by 02/03/2006, 2:18pm PST
thx wrom NT by 08/20/2007, 3:13pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/16/2004, 10:49am PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/17/2004, 3:19pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/28/2004, 4:33pm PDT
okay change this one to negative by 08/28/2004, 12:04pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 11/15/2004, 3:02pm PST
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 11/15/2004, 3:21pm PST
Perhaps you should lick a few less Japanese asses, this game sucked. NT by 11/15/2004, 3:35pm PST
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 11/15/2004, 4:32pm PST
dastardly review! by 11/15/2004, 6:27pm PST
Re: dastardly review! by 11/15/2004, 10:54pm PST
You're stupid and have bad taste and lick and suck and cuddle dicks NT by 11/16/2004, 1:03pm PST
No need to be irrational or obscene by 11/16/2004, 5:20pm PST
Fuck you. Go die. by 11/16/2004, 6:21pm PST
To quote Mr. Scarface - by 11/16/2004, 6:46pm PST
Go back to fucking Kuro5hin, you fucking faggot. NT by 11/16/2004, 8:49pm PST
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/20/2007, 9:16am PDT
What Your Talking About vs. Get Off Ur Religious High Horse NT by 08/20/2007, 11:38am PDT
It's ripping of Christianity? NT by 08/20/2007, 3:14pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 08/20/2007, 9:35pm PDT
Thanks for reminding me that FABIO liked SO 2 by 08/21/2007, 11:22pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 09/09/2007, 7:26pm PDT
Same thing for Tales of Destiny/whatevery for the PS1 that me and joh cooped by 09/10/2007, 12:20am PDT
the old "it really takes off after hour 6!" j_RPG defense by 09/10/2007, 1:08pm PDT
Re: the old "it really takes off after hour 6!" j_RPG defense by 09/11/2007, 8:27pm PDT
but now I am embarrassed :( NT by 09/11/2007, 8:27pm PDT
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 01/30/2010, 12:07am PST
Re: Tales of Symphonia by 01/30/2010, 10:36pm PST
Welcome to Caltrops! NT by 01/30/2010, 10:49pm PST