I always kind of disregarded Tales of as a low tier jRPG series... so I never really planned on playing one of the games. This Christmas, I bought myself my first Tales of game... only because I wanted to play a colorful game and this is the only one I found at the shop. I'm talking about Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles
on PS3, which includes the HD remaster of the PS2 version and the sequel, Dawn of the New World
At first, I wasn't much into the story or characters (to be honest, I'm still not that much into them 40 hours later... but I enjoyed my time in
Tethe'alla and the characters you get there
a bit more)... but the more I played, the more I enjoyed the game itself. The gameplay used to frustrate me too because I set the game on hard (thinking I could handle it) when I started the game. Then I totally forgot about the game having a difficulty setting and got frustrated by the difficulty up until the fire temple. Then, I realized what I did, set the game on normal and I didn't have an issue ever since
Anyway, yeah... I'm enjoying the game mainly because it's fun. But aside from Regal (and maybe Presea), I don't really have favorites. The story can get dark at times, but it's not really presented in a way that would suck me in (dunno how to explain it... just that I prefer the directing/style of the FF series *among other series* much more). But I do like the little talks/scenettes the characters can have in between events. It helps making them feel like a group (it's always important to have a feature like this, I feel).
I don't really dig the character models (the look of them... the anime cutscenes/portraits are, of course, much pleasant... even if it's everything you would expect from japanime), the music is kind of disappointing (considering it's Motoi Sakuraba... I enjoyed his work in other franchises *Valkyrie Profile, Baten Kaitos or Eternal Sonata* but very little in Tales of Symphonia), the world is fine (kind of has a soft cell shaded look that reminds me LoZ Skyward Sword)... but like I said, the highlight of this game is the gameplay and the puzzle sections (very Zelda-esque)...
even if I needed to google the solution for some of them.
I just have one problem... it's with the exsphere system. The fact that I have to sacrifice the expheres I set (to replace them with new ones) and lose the combinaisons I unlocked just frustrates me. So, I kind of stopped caring about the system all together where I am (hoping it won't penalize me in the future... so far, it went well).
Oh, and I hate the NPCs in cat costumes. Mostly because their service seems to be useless and they don't tell even you how much money they need for their "researches" (so, I gave them a certain amount of money that one time, and they came back empty handed... ahah ... I want my money back).
I'll probably do a replay of this game in the future... if only because I really enjoy the gameplay à la Valkyrie Profile (combat) + Zelda (exploration/dungeons)... and because I missed a lot of things apparently (I like doing 100% challenges). If the New Game + is good, I will probably use the same file and pick the Hard mode again. If not, I will start anew completely.
For now, I will try to get to the end (I'm back in
Sylvarant, in the underground sea farm
) and see how the sequel is like. Oh yeah... and Symphonia has an anime, I saw. I should check it out, maybe.
So, at the end of the day... maybe Tales Of is not for me when it comes to story/characters/music (or maybe there are Tales Of more to my tastes in the series)... but I discovered a fun game with Symphonia. I wouldn't mind trying another one if it's as (or more) fun.