The ‘Tales of’ series has been consistently putting out fantastic action RPGs since 1995 and as new gamers are being born every day many have missed out on countless classics. While PSN and the Nintendo eShop certainly help the next generation get their hands on these classic games in the form of porting them to current handhelds and consoles, when a publisher decides to do an HD remaster of these classic games I get a special warm feeling in my heart. Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is comprised of Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.
In reality, Namco Bandai Games really didn’t need to do all that much with the remaster of Tales of Symphonia Chronicles. The original games were already great as they had decent graphics to begin with, an engaging story (crucial for any solid RPG), and a real-time battle system that actually has you looking forward to monster encounters. That being said, its the subtleties and little things that were added that provide that extra TLC making it just that much better. For starters players can now choose between full English or Japanese dialogue. While that might not seem to be that big of a deal for some, I personally couldn’t stand Lloyd’s voice acting even back in the day on the Game Cube version, so I was very pleased with being able to listen to the Japanese voice actors instead.
In addition to the dual audio dialogue and updated graphics, I was pleasantly surprised that the game recognized my saved data for other Tales games (Xillia and Graces F) on my PS3 and gave me new costumes and titles for my characters. One important thing of note is that Tales of Symphonia was originally only released on Game Cube here in the west, whereas in Japan there was a PS2 version. Tales of Symphonia Chronicles contains this previously unavailable PS2 version of the game which already had some minor tweaks to the game including in-game cutscenes which were occasionally shot in a different angle, a pair of new animated cutscenes, and new side quests. But one of the key strengths of the Tales games is the real time battles (more details on that later) and the PS2 version of the game gave every character a mystic arte attack which was previously non-existent in the Game Cube version. Trophy support was also added which always makes me happy as it provides an extra sense of accomplishment when completing various milestones.
While both games take place in the same universe, feature recurring characters, and have real time battles, there really isn’t that much that the games have in common. Dawn of the New World doesn’t really have a world map to explore in the traditional sense as you simply select with the cursor where you want to go and voila you are there, while Symphonia’s world map can be explored on foot (which can be painstaking at times), by riding your pet ‘dog’ Noishe (which isn’t really faster than walking), or other modes of transportation later in the game. Symphonia typically has a battle party of four characters, whereas in Dawn of the New World you primarily have a team of two along with monsters that you recruit to join you in battle to fill in the extra slots in the party.
Dawn of the New World’s two main characters (Emil and Marta) definitely play second fiddle in terms of personality when compared to the all-star cast of characters in Tales of Symphonia, but overall still entertain. It’s the real-time battles that always keeps me coming back to the Tales games and both games in the bundle excel in this area. The movement, battle skills, spells, unison attacks, and newly added mystic artes provide an incredibly enjoyable experience. Battles are ultimately ranked in the game and give you a grade which accumulates and can be used for items and goodies throughout the game.
Tales of Symphonia in my opinion is far and away the better of the two games and it works out relatively well given that it provides a substantially longer gaming experience. You can easily sink 80+ hours into Tales of Symphonia with all of the side quests and additional content which supplement the main story, whereas Dawn of the New World proves to be a much shorter game. Don’t get me wrong, simply because I enjoyed Tales of Symphonia more than Dawn of the New World back in the day (and reaffirmed with the HD remaster), Dawn of the New World is by no means a bad game.
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles provides two games with a reasonable $40 price tag. Honestly I’d drop $40 for just the Tales of Symphonia remaster even without Dawn of the New World, so I look at the packaged deal as an added bonus. If you never got to experience the Tales of Symphonia universe either because of your age or the fact that they were on Nintendo consoles do yourself a favor, and pick up Tales of Symphonia Chronicles – you won’t be disappointed.
This review is based off a review code of Tales of Symphonia Chronicles for PS3, developed and distributed by Namco Bandai Games.
- Battle System
- 2 Games for 1 Price
- The Sequel to Tales of Symphonia isn't very good