Wii

North America

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

by Steven Rodriguez - December 22, 2008, 9:01 pm PST
Total comments: 41

6

Annoyances and an uninspired monster breeding system make the sequel nowhere close to as good as the original.

Dawn of the New World is a direct sequel to the original Tales of Symphonia for GameCube, and with it come new features and a new cast of characters. The game takes place two years after the merging of Tethe'alla and Sylvarant, and not all is well in the world. A social divide between the two worlds is causing a lot of tension and a nasty uprising, and it's up to a boy named Emil to figure out how to bring the world together and restore peace.

This immediately brings forward one of the biggest problems with Dawn of the New World. Emil, our hero, starts as a whiny, apologetic, pathetic loser who suddenly gains the power of bad-assery, yet somehow remains a whiny, apologetic, pathetic loser in the process. Though he slowly gains confidence through his lady-friend, Marta, Emil will be a thorn in your side for almost the entire game. It feels out of place for the main character to be that annoyingly whiny, especially considering for how long it goes on. I don't care how it works into the story. Heroes are supposed to be manly, because we want to play as manly men. Not whiny kids.

Thank goodness you can choose to control other party members in battle! The battle system has been improved upon tremendously with the addition of a free-run button and the ability to equip more than four Artes (special moves) thanks to the motion controls of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Because the battles are more open this time, setting up a good formation and then maneuvering your characters into a favorable position is more important than ever. It's very easy to get surrounded if you don't watch what you're running into. Still, often times the battlefield feels clogged up because of how your partners and enemies seem to roam around freely themselves without really staying in some pre-determined battle formation. While you do have some control over how characters act and what moves they can perform, battles usually turn into free-for-alls.

This is especially true when you are using captured monsters to fight alongside you. New World introduces the ability to ally with enemy monsters and have them join your party. Unfortunately, you go about capturing them through some very confusing elemental system that somehow determines whether or not you can capture a monster from that battle. After joining your party, captured monsters can learn new skills, including very useful healing Artes. Because different monsters have different elemental alliances, adding them to your party when entering certain areas can be helpful.

However, there is never a point in the game where having monsters fight with you is any significant advantage over main characters. Since you can never directly control them, and they cannot use items, friendly monsters don't feel like they're really a part of your team, but rather just out there doing their own thing. In fact, it never really feels like you have a solid party at all, particularly because the characters from the original game will constantly join and leave the group as the story dictates. You never have a chance to build up a stable platform that you're comfortable with, which ultimately ruins the flow of the game.

Still, the one thing that the Tales games have always excelled at is telling a good story. Optional skits further explain the story behind all of the characters, and if you decide to read through them all you'll learn quite a bit about the heroes. However, even that comes at the expense of speedy gameplay, as everything stops when you activate one of the skits. There really should be some way for the skits to take place simultaneously with the action. Despite that, the story is really the thing that gets you through the beginning of the game, if only because you want to know why Lloyd (the main character from the first game) killed Emil's parents. About the time when you find out is also, conveniently, about the time when the game actually starts to become much more tolerable. Even so, that's asking quite a lot to have to sit through a lot of slow conversation and curious story branches early on.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is going to disappoint a lot of people, particularly fans of the original GameCube epic. Naturally, it would be hard to live up to the original, but the sequel feels uninspired. It's still a good game on its own merits, mostly because the battle system is still solid and it's addicting to try to string together the biggest combo possible. However, the constant whining from Emil, a party that never feels like it has a foundation, and poor pacing and flow make waiting for the good stuff an exercise in patience, where it should be an exercise in fun.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 5 8 6 8 6
Graphics
7

Although it looks rather rough around the edges at times, the colors and the new animations, particularly the motion-captured cut scenes, help make Dawn of the New World stand out from most other Wii games.

Sound
5

Other than the familiar battle themes, I guess the most I could say about the audio is that it wasn't noticeably bad…or noticeably good.

Control
8

The fighting system feels great in your hands. The motion controls of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are used to perform additional Artes for any non-monster character on top of the four you can assign for yourself, which means you theoretically can indirectly control everyone during a battle at the same time. To get the most out of it, switch your character to Manual control mode.

Gameplay
6

Throw aside the fun battle system and you're left with a mostly disjointed mess. Your party never feels complete, your captured monsters don't feel like they are really a part of your team, and to top it off, Emil's constant whining will make you wonder why you're even playing the game in the first place.

Lastability
8

The game can take 100 hours to complete if you really want to go after all the subquests, monsters, and optional goodies. However, unlike the original, which took as many as 80 legitimate hours to complete, this will only take half of that. Because the majority of the game is optional, whether or not you decide to explore it comes down to how much you can tolerate its weaker parts.

Final
6

Dawn of the New World is a moderately enjoyable game, but there will be plenty of times when you wonder why you keep bothering with it. It may be because the battle gameplay is good fun, or that the story is interesting enough to keep your attention. Or maybe you've got a high tolerance for annoying lead characters.

Summary

Pros
  • A bonus for GameCube Tales owners
  • Four-player co-op during battles
  • Free-movement battle system is fun
Cons
  • Emil Castagnier, the most pathetic hero ever to grace an RPG
  • Monster capturing system doesn't add much to the game
  • Your party never feels like a party
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

I more or less agree with Windy, though not with every little thing he says. I'd give it a 7.

It's funny--I really like that the party is always changing, although I can see why Windy was annoyed by it. I think it helps add variety, though I wish the strategy settings weren't deleted every time someone leaves the party.

Anyway, good review. I think I grew more tolerant of Emil than you after the initial four or five hours, and have enjoyed the dialogues--aside from some groan-worthy stuff in the love stories. That said, the first two hours, between an especially annoying Emil and a horrible story-driven tutorial, are EASILY the worst in the game.

I agree that the music was a disappointment. Aside from the title screen, a battle theme or two, and one song near the end, the soundtrack consists of lifeless rearrangements from the GameCube game.

I talk about this game in upcoming Episode 127 of RFN.

EDIT: Stupid and unintentionally hurtful remark removed.

broodwarsDecember 23, 2008

I take issue with that statement about how we should have "manly men" as our heroes in RPGs (it's rather limiting and stereotypical), as well as the (ironically enough) whining about the game stopping when you view the skits.  The character windows take up most the screen, and they'd be nowhere near as effective shrunken down and hidden in a corner or something, so I'm not sure how you would be able to view them while still playing the game.  I also don't see the problem with the soundtrack largely being remixes of Symphonia 1's score, as Symphonia 1 had an excellent soundtrack to begin with.  Also, if you're going to go out of your way to compare this with Symphonia 1, why no mention of the vastly-improved voice acting (and better still, the fact that the skits are voice acted now)?

Otherwise, I agree with this review overall (particularly with regards to the monster capturing system, which I never felt was a good idea), although I'd probably score the game somewhere in the mid-7s.  I would have also added (for comparative purposes) just how lifeless the game looks without the first game's cel shaded style, but that's just me.  It's a spectacularly average experience.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusDecember 23, 2008

The reason why I gave this game the score that I did was because the only reason why I found myself playing it most of the time was because of the actual battles and the action.  I feel everything else was either annoying or not really fun or just an afterthought.  Overall I liked that game, but just barely.  Hence.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterDecember 23, 2008

I think the Tales is at a point where the only ones that will truly get it are the fans.

The series barely gets glowing reviews, yet it has legions of fans who swear by it and enjoy it the most.

I am waiting for Pro to come in and say something about it.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

Pro Smash?

RABicleDecember 23, 2008

I'M TELLING PRO!

EnnerDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: pap64

I think the Tales is at a point where the only ones that will truly get it are the fans.

The series barely gets glowing reviews, yet it has legions of fans who swear by it and enjoy it the most.

Hmm, from a brief glance it looks like Vesperia was reviewed rather favorably. Some of the reviews for it seem quite estatic for it.

While I have yet to play Symphonia 2, am in a few number that doesn't mind the drop in cel-shading? Thinking back to Symphonia 1, the look for it was kinda spotty in places. Maybe I'm just thinking of the clunky animations during the cutscenes.

Actually, it's hard to tell, but this game is very subtly cel-shaded. I probably didn't notice until my 5th hour of gameplay.

broodwarsDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: Enner

Quote from: pap64

I think the Tales is at a point where the only ones that will truly get it are the fans.

The series barely gets glowing reviews, yet it has legions of fans who swear by it and enjoy it the most.

Hmm, from a brief glance it looks like Vesperia was reviewed rather favorably. Some of the reviews for it seem quite estatic for it.

While I have yet to play Symphonia 2, am in a few number that doesn't mind the drop in cel-shading? Thinking back to Symphonia 1, the look for it was kinda spotty in places. Maybe I'm just thinking of the clunky animations during the cutscenes.

The thing about the cel shading in Symphonia 1 is that did a very good job of bridging that gap between the elaborate hand-drawn concept art and 3-dimensional models, and it made the game look distinct.  It had issues with stiff animation, but I attribute this to cel shading (well, well-done cel shading) being a relatively new process at the time and they were still getting the hang of it.  The problem with losing it for Symphonia 2 is that the models actually lose visual detail, and the entire game looks blurry and undefined.  They took away the cel shading without adding something in its place to make the game look polished, and motion captured animations just aren't good enough a replacement.  The game just looks half-assed visually, like a badly ported PS2 game (which, considering the engine was ported from the PS2's Tales of the Abyss, isn't that far off a comparison).

KDR_11kDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: broodwars

I take issue with that statement about how we should have "manly men" as our heroes in RPGs (it's rather limiting and stereotypical)

They don't have to be manly, they just shouldn't be emos. Noone wants to listen to a whiny annoying guy (urk, FF8). If the character shouldn't act manly then at least make him shut up rather than complain. Hell, RPG heroes tend to grow to godlike powers, a whiny character just doesn't fit for someone who can kill a dragon with his pinky. Or, you know, the best option for RPG characters is just to let the player pick the line he wants to say and thus give his character a personality himself since that's what role playing usually means.

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 23, 2008

I largely disagree with elements of the review cuz I approached the game from a very different angle from many reviewers:  I played its entirety in multiplayer, and I assumed the role of Marta.  So as of last Saturday I've invested about 100 multiplayer hours as Marta over 2 completed games.

Granted, the conditions of the review in a single player setting lead to the similar opinions across existing reviews of the game.  My issue with the critical majority is there's hardly any discussion of alternative experiences for the game; there's some fundamental options that easily affect the flavor of the experience, yet reviews don't seem to explore them.

- What are the comments on the game as a lenghty, co-op JRPG adventure?  (the battle improvements and Marta's genuine playability make this the most co-op friendly Tales game to date)
- Did it cross the reviewer's mind to try co-op?
- Were any reviewers sick of the endless stream of sword-wielding boy-hero losers in previous JRPGs (Lloyd Irving), such that they decided to kick Emil out and use Marta throughout the game instead?  (afraid you'll just lose Marta for large blocks of time and be stuck with Emil the rest of the way?  well, consider it a risk worth taking)
- Did any reviewers actually invest in their monsters throughout the adventure (you know, for the sake of have at least one strong monster buddy that could potentially outclass the human characters and provide unique and usefull skills ) such that he or she would have something to willingly UNLEASH upon the end bosses of the game?

It seems many reviewers just got too comfortable employing the cameo characters whenever they popped in.  Well, fine, but I personally wasn't interested in repeating the experience of Tales of Symphonia GCN.  I chose differently, cuz WE DO have that choice, and determined it can be a good choice.

Why invest in the monsters?
I suspected there was potential, so I was willing to explore their benefits, if any.

Why concentrate on usage of the cameo characters?
I DON'T KNOW, FOR NOSTALGIA I GUESS?  CUZ RAINE'S HEALING DISCO FLOOR IS QUICK AND CHEAP?  I didn't take long to realize that (1) They do not grow (exp. and levels are capped), and (2) They're not permanent!  Why should I have a has-been character temporarily take up space when I could be investigating the strengths/weaknesses of a monster buddy?  << This was another conscious choice I made where my experience sharply began to differ from reviews and other boring players.  It's also where it began to depart from other Tales titles because the ridiculous amount of power I wielded strictly in animals became a guilty pleasure (Go out there!  KILL!)

If they're not "a part of your team," then what can a player do to make them feel useful?  Treat them as WEAPONS.  Weapons like Alucard's familiars.  Weapons like the Gradius Ship's laser-shooting missile-launching fireballs.  Weapons you cook for.  Weapons that shame the old Symphonia cast in raw stats, skills, and AI.  You are MR. RPG ALONE PERSON, and these monsters are extra WEAPONS.  If you take care of them, they will take care of themselves (and you).  If they run into trouble, the "Auto-Item" skill will usually remedy things.  If you run into trouble, "not my problem."  Either improve your combat or realize it's an RPG situation that requires leveling up a bit.  Not all Game Over screens are reasons to blame the game.

When I revisited the end bosses in singles mode... having 3 solid monsters fight alongside me was actually more effective than using extra human characters during the end bosses!  Because I had been growing them throughout the game, I had no interest in re-deploying the old characters.  The monsters proved to be stronger, tougher, faster, and smarter than the AI humans.  I carefully set them up to take care of themselves while I ran around as an observer and made sure I wasn't getting killed first (battles play out quite differently when you play as the primary healer the entire game, rather than relying on AI buffoons; issues like monsters being unable to use items just wasn't a problem).  My participation would speed up the fight of course, but the monsters were simply doing great.  They were having bosses for breakfast, which was a different picture from the one painted by 2 or more human characters on the field (hit, hit, hi-- FUCK!  *LIFE BOTTLE*... and it bothers me to use life bottles at all)

Again, when you don't explore the game mechanics (just a small, small gamble, really), you don't reap the benefits.  You acquire & evolve monsters, PAY ATTENTION to what skills they learn, teach them new skills according to their strengths, and KEEP THEM in the party long enough so that they reach insanely high levels/stats.  If you know if you should hold onto a monster for levelling, keep it if it looks cool or funny, i don't know.  What's important is that it grows as your game time progresses.  And when it's time to evolve, make a backup save and experiment.  There are pleasant surprises in store.  Monsters can be useful, even over-powered.  To say they don't have a significant advantage over "main" characters is flat-out wrong.

Story?  In a Tales game?  Big whoop.  Story is just a bunch of candy-colored anime characters that stand between me and the next fight.  Nothing against taking breaks between battles, mind you.  Annoying boy heroes have solidified their place in gaming, afterall.

The base adventure may be shorter, but the review doesn't note that the adventure maintains a steadier focus on the main plot, revisiting the plot with a some cutscene/info at a healthier pace.  The first game, if everyone remembers, was "legitimately long" because of endless plot twists and ridiculous coinciding detours that pulled you away from the main-main quest.  Just when you thought you were on your way, Colette got sick or something like that, and you'd spend a good half-day, or one, or two just to get back on track.  On top of that, some of those rapid-fire groups of dungeons really dragged on.  Dawn is toned down in these respects, it's clearly a smaller game, but feels more streamlined to me.  Stage structure has a better pace since the boss association isn't so predictable (none of that "we're definitely going to the JELLO Temple, and we'll definitely fight the Summon Spirit of JELLO there" Zelda knock-off structure).  It's less predictable because story bits are more prevalent in dungeon areas than the last game (which preferred to draaaag oooon).

I'm no RPG player, I'm just looking for the next combo-filled battle.  I'll delve into the micromanagement and character building for the sake of optimizing an intense, satisfying battle.  Not sure why the review doesn't discuss the differences in menus/mechanics of the two Symphonia games.  I'd think Symphonia fans would appreciate reading things like the dumb T<>S balance for skills was tossed out, how the main menu is generally easier on the eyes, and how some things simply haven't changed, for better or worse.  Plus, there's a big emphasis on Synthesis (the new Customize--mixing equipment and special ingredients to make better stuff), and when I mean emphasis, I mean there's a lack of "free gear" in the main adventure.  Getting an incrementally stronger piece of armor in the next dungeon area is assured, but frankly that's a boring way to go about it.  A lot of the nice gear between the beginning and the end of the game is acquired through Synthesis.  To Synthesize all that neat stuff, you'll need ingredients.  And if you try out the dungeon-crawling side-quests, you'll realize that's the fast way to get ingredients, which builds some incentive to bother with these quests in the first place (ass-kicking gear plus 2 Mystic symbols for everyone in the party?  rock-on!).  Of course, if reviewers don't try this out and see the relationship, they're not going to write about it!  You'd think various reviews would discuss it cuz it's the sort of thing that affects time investment, difficulty and gameplay balance and such and such--stuff to complain about and mention in the write-up.

The game's technical shortcomings are very sore; it's supporting resources is less than stellar.  The game had a smaller budget, a smaller dev team, a less experienced dev team, and a non-existant marketing budget.  The parent company didn't seem to care a lot, but the dev team cared enough bring some good new things to franchise that aren't rooted in "looking good on an HDTV."  The miracle that this game is likable is a triumph over the sabotage it endured from the get-go.  Think Danny Devito's character opposite of Arnold Schwarzeneggar in the movie `Twins.`

All this was about questioning what's conveyed to the READER based on the frame of reference, bringing attention to the fact that the frame of reference was actually common among critics.  I like Tales of Symphonia GCN, not because of what I experiened the first time thru, but because of the 10 subsequent times I spent getting to know the rest of the game, with and without co-op.  I simply would not be satisfied playing the sequel achieving default goals using default conditions.  Is a Tales review really just an exercise in "getting to the end" and writing about it to the rest of us who look forward to more than "the end"?

Proof reading in the Quick Reply box sucks.

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: TheYoungerPlumber

Actually, it's hard to tell, but this game is very subtly cel-shaded. I probably didn't notice until my 5th hour of gameplay.

Monsters are subtly cel-shaded.  Humans even less so; the majority of the time, the humans lack cel-shading altogether, like there was 3 months of development time cut short.

I wanted clear shading levels like Wind Waker had; no black outlining.

KDR_11kDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: NinGurl69

Proof reading in the Quick Reply box sucks.

Try the preview button.

Pro, I stopped reading when I realized you didn't notice Windy's comment about playing as other characters. (He cites it as a plus because he didn't like Emil as a character and didn't want to play as him.) That, and because I don't have your love of micro-management.

And even if I did, I still shouldn't have to make detailed observations about the monster capture and evolution system to figure out the fundamentals. I've completed the game (once) and still don't understand the monster capture system.

I'm sure I would have enjoyed playing this game multiplayer. Sadly, I have no such person to play it with. But considering next to none of my (or Windy's) issues with the game stem from the combat system, I don't see how multiplayer would have significantly altered my overall opinion of the game.

LJKKJLCM9December 23, 2008

Yes Emil is whiny, but the amazing long combinations of attacks/artes you can have is awesome.  He quite easily became my favorite character to play as in any Tales game, greater than Lloyd was.

As for the monsters, if you do multiple play throughs, the monsters are far superior than any original ToS character.  Considering they can never get over level 50, and monsters can get to level 200, they're far superior.  Having Emil, Marta, a Dragon (with 9999 P Atk) and a ghost (with 9999 A Atk) is far superior than any original cast character.

I think taking the game as a separate entity, you can enjoy it more.  As for the whiny hero, yeah he was annoying at times, but it became key to seeing him grow and actually become a "man" by end game.  It was far more realistic to have some wimp who ends up in a situation and has to mature, than having some macho guy walk around awesome.  Squall in FFVIII was actually one of my favorite main characters because he was a real person unlike many other main characters.  Call him "emo" but neither of them was talking about how much the world hates them and that they just wanted to die.  Emil was just not ready for the situation that got thrust upon him, and Squall just felt he could only count on himself... a dwarven vow(4) actually "Don't depend on others, walk on your own two feet."

So I actually really enjoy this game.  It was short, and I honestly don't even care about the old cast joining my party.

THE JACKEL

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusDecember 23, 2008

After reading Windy's review and reading Pro's comments it seems to me that Windy only scratched the bare minimum of this game like Pro stated if you really bother to delve deeper into the monster mechanic and figure you that you can evolve them because of the cooking system it's a really deep system because that you can evolve them.

When I found out the monster evolution system it made me happy because it reminded me of the game Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne where you have to bribe demons to join your party by giving them money, sometimes blood,giving them items, letting them hit you, or answering a question for them. Both SMT:Nocturne and ToS:DotNW doesn't have a "foundation" of a party because both games encourage you to find the best monster/demon combination and both encourage you to evolve your party (and fuse demons in SMT:Nocturne). And both even has some nostalgia in characters in ToS:DotNW you can use people from ToS1 and SMT:Nocturne you can have Dante from Devil May Cry join your party.

It also seems to me that the reviewer didn't bother to do the Katz quests because you usually get the best synthesis ingredients in the game through those, while to some they may be considered optional fluff but as Pro said it's worth it to get the best gear in the game and it's not as painful as the stupid FF:X side quests where you have to do beyond ridiculous things. 

In my opinion this tales game has a lot of character development and it's sad that every reviewer falls into the "Lol Emil what pathetic loser" stereotype, his character develops quite nicely. And the story in this game never gets sidetracked with it's story so there is less fluff that is forced on the player so there isn't any offensively bad backtracking in this game at all and is more linear in general.

So I dislike this review in general because it feels lazy that the reviewer didn't play the game more or hasn't bothered to discuss the mechanics more. But then again on a whole video game journalism has gotten much lazier and crappier including the big boys like IGN.

KDR_11kDecember 23, 2008

I hated Squall because he was an idiot and often just stood idle while the evil guys did something that he really should prevent. He was so busy pitying himself that he messed up way too often. When I play as a character I expect that it's my job to prevent him from failing and that the storyline shouldn't just randomly make him fail for no real reason.

I think it's a tad unfair to assume that Windy didn't bother with aspect X of this game just because its wasn't mentioned in this review. We generally shy away from lengthy reviews on this site; if something isn't terribly important to a reviewer, it will not be given much attention in the review's text in the interest of brevity and clarity.

If you expect the average game reviewer to spend 100 hours with this game before rendering his/her verdict,  you're being unrealistic. If you want a review that describes and evaluates every little nuance of the game in detail, you're best off finding a site dedicated to this genre.

More personal thoughts:

Monsters add little to the game for me, because I'm not interested leveling characters up to god-like abilities. I don't see the fun in having an disproportionately powerful character--and if a "hard mode" counteracts that, then it's just the same thing as before only with bigger numbers. I tend to plow through RPGs, enjoying what I come across on my way to completing the story. I try my darndest to complete an RPG with minimal grinding.

While I can see the appeal of monsters and their evolution, the monster collection thing is hardly new, and this game does not do it exceptionally well (though it's decent). (And yes, I fed and evolved my monsters regularly.)

For the record, I kind of liked Emil by the end of the story. But "character development" is a poor excuse for some of the painful storytelling at the start of the game. This game flashes back four or five times in the first hour to a scene you already *watched* in that hour.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

Why do I get a "You don't understand Mystery Dungeon Games" vibe from Pros post?

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 23, 2008

To clarify, my comments do refer to my first ~45 hours of the game (finishing the game), which is comparable to the implied length of Windy's play-thru.

So we're two different players with comparable time investments, but our perceptions are worlds apart.

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Why do I get a "You don't understand Mystery Dungeon Games" vibe from Pros post?

I've never played a mystery dungeon game.  I just cut things up.

broodwarsDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: KDR_11k

Quote from: broodwars

I take issue with that statement about how we should have "manly men" as our heroes in RPGs (it's rather limiting and stereotypical)

They don't have to be manly, they just shouldn't be emos. Noone wants to listen to a whiny annoying guy (urk, FF8). If the character shouldn't act manly then at least make him shut up rather than complain. Hell, RPG heroes tend to grow to godlike powers, a whiny character just doesn't fit for someone who can kill a dragon with his pinky. Or, you know, the best option for RPG characters is just to let the player pick the line he wants to say and thus give his character a personality himself since that's what role playing usually means.

The thing is, I know that's what the reviewer meant (because the "emo" side of Emil is something every review I've read harps on), but that's not what he said.  That's a distinction that should have been fixed in editing, and in general that's my biggest problem with this review: it comes off as a rough draft rather than a polished final draft.  It's unnecessarily vague in portions (that the Pros and Cons at the end that summarize his position cover areas not even mentioned in the review is surprising) and has some questionable word choices, making the reviewer come off amateurish.  Maybe that's appropriate considering the game comes off as amateurish in places, but that's probably a disservice to the reviewer's writing ability.  This review needed another pass before it was posted.

broodwarsDecember 23, 2008

Hmm...upon re-reading my last post, maybe I was being a bit harsh there.  I guess my post could have used another pass through before posting.  ;)

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

While I haven't played the game I know I would knock it quite hard if it took this "deep" of an understanding of the game mechanics to enjoy it. If a game doesn't grab my attention after 10 hrs or so, then too bad for it.

LJKKJLCM9December 23, 2008

it's really not that difficult to understand, and is far easier to understand than the original.  When it comes to capturing monsters and the "elemental grid" that everyone has such difficulty with... if the entire grid is a single element, you can try and capture a monster after battle.  That's not difficult to understand...

And for unison attacks, if that monster/characters element is present on the grid in the corner, they will contribute to the attack.  It may seem difficult at first, but it really is extremely simple.

THE JACKEL

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: LJKKJLCM9

it's really not that difficult to understand, and is far easier to understand than the original.  When it comes to capturing monsters and the "elemental grid" that everyone has such difficulty with... if the entire grid is a single element, you can try and capture a monster after battle.  That's not difficult to understand...

And for unison attacks, if that monster/characters element is present on the grid in the corner, they will contribute to the attack.  It may seem difficult at first, but it really is extremely simple.

THE JACKEL

Must not be too easy to understand considering the game averages scores around this.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterDecember 23, 2008

LOL game reviewers suck.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: pap64

LOL game reviewers suck.

Especially that Windy guy. ;)

LJKKJLCM9December 23, 2008

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote from: LJKKJLCM9

it's really not that difficult to understand, and is far easier to understand than the original.  When it comes to capturing monsters and the "elemental grid" that everyone has such difficulty with... if the entire grid is a single element, you can try and capture a monster after battle.  That's not difficult to understand...

And for unison attacks, if that monster/characters element is present on the grid in the corner, they will contribute to the attack.  It may seem difficult at first, but it really is extremely simple.

THE JACKEL

Must not be too easy to understand considering the game averages scores around this.

except I explained everything you need to know about that elemental grid to play the game in my post.  That's all there is to it.  All one element, capture monster.  Characters element on grid, participates in unison attack.

If people have a hard time understanding that if you use a water element move, a water symbol appears on the grid, fire move, fire symbol, etc... well that's just... yeah...

THE JACKEL

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: LJKKJLCM9

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote from: LJKKJLCM9

it's really not that difficult to understand, and is far easier to understand than the original.  When it comes to capturing monsters and the "elemental grid" that everyone has such difficulty with... if the entire grid is a single element, you can try and capture a monster after battle.  That's not difficult to understand...

And for unison attacks, if that monster/characters element is present on the grid in the corner, they will contribute to the attack.  It may seem difficult at first, but it really is extremely simple.

THE JACKEL

Must not be too easy to understand considering the game averages scores around this.

except I explained everything you need to know about that elemental grid to play the game in my post.  That's all there is to it.  All one element, capture monster.  Characters element on grid, participates in unison attack.

If people have a hard time understanding that if you use a water element move, a water symbol appears on the grid, fire move, fire symbol, etc... well that's just... yeah...

THE JACKEL

I guess that depends how significant that aspect is to the game in regards to whether someone enjoys the game or not. From what I've read the game just comes accross as low budget and lacks polish.

LJKKJLCM9December 23, 2008

well the game was low budget actually....
and not the original development team either.

THE JACKEL

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

While I haven't played the game I know I would knock it quite hard if it took this "deep" of an understanding of the game mechanics to enjoy it. If a game doesn't grab my attention after 10 hrs or so, then too bad for it.

I don't blame you.  The JRPG audience is dominated by casual grandma gamers, as the majority of non-casual Tales fans are shown to be Wii owners.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: NinGurl69

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

While I haven't played the game I know I would knock it quite hard if it took this "deep" of an understanding of the game mechanics to enjoy it. If a game doesn't grab my attention after 10 hrs or so, then too bad for it.

I don't blame you.  The JRPG audience is dominated by casual grandma gamers, as the majority of non-casual Tales fans are shown to be Wii owners.

Windy a Grandma gamer. Confirmed!

broodwarsDecember 23, 2008

Quote from: LJKKJLCM9

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote from: LJKKJLCM9

it's really not that difficult to understand, and is far easier to understand than the original.  When it comes to capturing monsters and the "elemental grid" that everyone has such difficulty with... if the entire grid is a single element, you can try and capture a monster after battle.  That's not difficult to understand...

And for unison attacks, if that monster/characters element is present on the grid in the corner, they will contribute to the attack.  It may seem difficult at first, but it really is extremely simple.

THE JACKEL

Must not be too easy to understand considering the game averages scores around this.

except I explained everything you need to know about that elemental grid to play the game in my post.  That's all there is to it.  All one element, capture monster.  Characters element on grid, participates in unison attack.

If people have a hard time understanding that if you use a water element move, a water symbol appears on the grid, fire move, fire symbol, etc... well that's just... yeah...

THE JACKEL

Actually, it's not quite that simple.  What element you make the entire grid makes capturing monsters of the same element easier.  Also, you can use one of your monsters in the current battle to try to strengthen your chances or properly pacting.  Problem is, I've found that even using monsters of the same element as the one I'm trying to capture doesn't work all that often (it doesn't help that the game doesn't tell you what element the potentially captured monster is).  I usually just try to pact with just the grid instead.  Also, you don't get moves that allow you freely change the elemental grid quickly till a fair bit into the game.  Until then, it's a real crap-shoot whether or not you'll get a random grid that'll allow you to capture monsters.  Also, you generally never really know if the captured monster is even useful till you've done a fair bit of grinding.  You can eventually grind any monster up to insane levels, but if their innate moves suck and they look lame (which most of the monsters do) I never feel compelled to do so.  By virtue of being monsters, your captured comrades don't really add any personalty to battle (unlike their human counterparts, who can do more than grunt or make that annoying high-pitched whine), so I'd rather not use the monsters at all.  I only use them at all because the non-Emil, non-Marta human characters can't level-up or change equipment.

Ian SaneDecember 23, 2008

Scimming over this thread here's the vibe I'm getting.

If you're a huge Tales fan then you're going to buy this game anyway regardless of the reviews it's getting.  So go buy it and enjoy it (or at least convince yourself you do) and call it a day.  There's nothing to be accomplished by getting overly defensive of it.  Windy isn't the only reviewer to give it a low score.  It may just be a game that will seem brilliant to some and meh to everyone else.

Fire Pro Wrestling doesn't always that great of scores but I think the series is absolutely brilliant.  I bought a PS2 just for Fire Pro Wrestling Returns and I don't regret the purchase at all.  IGN and Gamespot both gave it a 7.  I give it a 10.  But I understand that most gamers aren't going to like it.  It's a niche game that has an audience and specifically caters to that audience.  Everyone else doesn't get it and that's fine.  Tales is very much the same way.  It's not as big as other RPG series but it has it's group of dedicated fans.  If the dedicated fans like it then does it matter if others don't?

LJKKJLCM9December 23, 2008

Quote from: broodwars

Actually, it's not quite that simple.  What element you make the entire grid makes capturing monsters of the same element easier.  Also, you can use one of your monsters in the current battle to try to strengthen your chances or properly pacting.  Problem is, I've found that even using monsters of the same element as the one I'm trying to capture doesn't work all that often (it doesn't help that the game doesn't tell you what element the potentially captured monster is).  I usually just try to pact with just the grid instead.  Also, you don't get moves that allow you freely change the elemental grid quickly till a fair bit into the game.  Until then, it's a real crap-shoot whether or not you'll get a random grid that'll allow you to capture monsters. 

Also, you generally never really know if the captured monster is even useful till you've done a fair bit of grinding.  You can eventually grind any monster up to insane levels, but if their innate moves suck and they look lame (which most of the monsters do) I never feel compelled to do so.  By virtue of being monsters, your captured comrades don't really add any personalty to battle (unlike their human counterparts, who can do more than grunt or make that annoying high-pitched whine), so I'd rather not use the monsters at all.  I only use them at all because the non-Emil, non-Marta human characters can't level-up or change equipment.

For the first part of your post... as soon as you reach the second town you can buy a grimoire to teach any monster first aid, and undoubtedly, marta knows first aid at that point.  That's three characters per battle starting at the second town, that can all use a water element, making the elemental grid water easily.  At the beginning of the game, you have like 80% chances of capturing the first evolution monster, regardless of using the right element or having a monster help form the pact.  It's not difficult at all to capture monsters at the beginning of the game.

As for not knowing if a monster is good or not... any monster can be just as good as the humans you don't put into the party.  Yes generally some are better, but it's not that hard to figure out.  A dragon will be a great damage dealer.  A ghost will be a good spell caster.  In fact, capture a Were Dragon, and it's evolutions are the fastest growing P atk in the game, and catch a ghost, and you have the best A Atk monster in the game.  Now there are tons of monsters in the middle, but it's not THAT difficult to figure out.  It's mostly common sense.  Something like a turtle will have great defense, a wolf will be fast, a bear will be slow but strong... etc.

Now as for what monsters are good... it actually turns out the two you're forced to capture... an Imp and a Wolf, can be two of the better monsters in the game.  An imp never evolves, but gets some great skills and artes that make it an awesome spell caster when given spells from grimoires.  While a wolf can be one of the fastest and stronger physical attackers in the game.  Most people overlook the imp, but most players actually love the wolf evolutions.  So even if you don't want to capture anything, using the two starting monsters the entire game will give you some good allies.

And just to add, you never need to actually level monsters.  In fact don't use them at all, they're completely optional.  They add a lot of customization to the game, but they're not necessary at all.  Level 50 is a perfectly adequate level to beat the game at, so having all the ToS 1 guys capped at 50 isn't bad.  If you choose not to use something that a game gives you, it's not the developers fault.  And don't complain about monsters being difficult. 

If anyone who played the first ToS could stand the T---S system, where you have to see if a move is good and choose to keep it or not, try the other one etc.  Or the Exsphere system where you have to commit to using an exsphere on someone before being sure it'll give good combinations... I don't see how they can complain about this monster system.

I find the major issue is people expected another great Tales of Symphonia, with the original characters being central to the story.  They're usable for the fans, and the name Tales of Symphonia is purely on this game to sell it.  The game could've easily been a standalone game, no need for the original cast, or even the same world.  They did it purely for the fans to have some throwback, but intended it to be it's own seperate game, where they wanted you to focus on Emil, Marta, and the monster system.  But you don't HAVE to.

THE JACKEL

GoldenPhoenixDecember 23, 2008

Another nerd wars has started. Time to run away before we start debating who is the best roguelike player.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusDecember 24, 2008

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Another nerd wars has started. Time to run away before we start debating who is the best roguelike player.

LOL

KDR_11kDecember 24, 2008

Quote from: Ian

If you're a huge Tales fan then you're going to buy this game anyway regardless of the reviews it's getting.  So go buy it and enjoy it (or at least convince yourself you do) and call it a day.  There's nothing to be accomplished by getting overly defensive of it.  Windy isn't the only reviewer to give it a low score.  It may just be a game that will seem brilliant to some and meh to everyone else.

Sounds like a conflict of the play styles to me. Windy wanted an easy but epic story driven game (what Malstrom calls hardcore), Pro wants to simply optimize his skill levels and whatnot (what RPGers call a Munchkin). I think a focus on munchkinning in an RPG isn't too strange, SRPGs tend to be about that (especially ones like Disgaea). I wonder what a Disgaea review from Windy would've looked like?

GoldenPhoenixDecember 24, 2008

Why must nerds have terms for everything! We trekkies have nerd terms and they seem to spread everywhere.

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 24, 2008

Why must you nerds import your vocabulary into the discussion!  at least KDR was nice enough to provide definitions!

Share + Bookmark





Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Namco
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Release Nov 11, 2008
PublisherNamco Bandai
RatingTeen
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement