Released as a stellar exclusive on the Nintendo GameCube, Tales of Symphonia is undeniably the greatest entry in the long-running JRPG series. The follow-up, Dawn of the New World, released to a bit less fanfare exclusively on the Nintendo Wii. While a great game in its own right, it never stood a chance at improving on the perfection of its predecessor. For years gamers have begged Namco Bandai to give gamers another taste of the Symphonia universe. Finally, their prayers have been, somewhat, answered.
The announcement of an HD remake noticeably disappointed gamers when they found out it would be released on the dying Playstation 3. With the PS3 marching to its grave and the PS4 assuming its responsibilities, it confused many fans to not see Tales of Symphonia Chronicles make the leap to the freshly launched Nintendo Wii U. Gamers can only assume the developers lacked faith in the next gen consoles, but it is a loss worth forgiving. Many have feared that by snubbing the original fans on Nintendo consoles, Chronicles may struggle at retail.
Combat is still fluent, and you can assign your special moves to various button combinations to help things flow more easily. However, fans crossing over from Tales of Graces F may have a bit of trouble adapting to the ToS fighting system, which admittedly takes a bit of time to get used to. Rather than Symphonia’s simple structure of being able to learn a new arte after using a certain one however many times or by being in over-limit mode- ToG F gave gamers a more button-mash friendly experience.
Tales of Graces F forced you to ‘combo’ into certain special moves- making many skills simply not worth the trouble and thus limited how much battle experience newcomers walked away with. In a similar fashion, Tales of Xillia utilized a somewhat convoluted battle system that encouraged frenzied offense over calculated defense. Gamers that try to carryover these play styles will be seeing the Game Over screen frequently in Chronicles.
As usual in a Tales game, skits are present and often crucial to elements of the story and filled with nuance, foreshadowing, and humorous talk between the characters. Even if you purchased the excellent Nintendo Wii and GameCube originals, replaying Tales of Symphonia for the great cast of characters, intense story line, and fun gameplay will be worth every moment- with the added bonus of previously Japanese exclusive content!
Gamers that enjoyed Tales of the Abyss on the Nintendo 3DS or Tales of Vesperia on the Xbox 360 will be pleased with the return of a traditional Tales open world. The ability to explore, quest, and treasure hunt freely was significantly trimmed back in Xillia and Graces. The first title will easily hold you for a hundred hours or so, but the sequel may clock in at only half of that.
The visuals have been nicely polished, but don’t really hold a candle to what could have been achieved built ground up for the Nintendo Wii U. The aging PS3 more than displays the two RPGs with dignity. The original especially benefits from the graphical cleanup, while Dawn of the New World is only a modest setup from the Wii version. Whether you missed these amazing RPGs or played them endlessly, you can joyously revisit their worlds and earn some trophies to boot. The new content manifests itself in some challenging extra bosses, costumes, and the occasional gameplay tweak.