Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

Review: Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

12:00 PM on 02.21.2014 // Chris Carter

Lloyd Irving returns at last

The Tales series often doesn't get the same recognition as big-name JRPGs like Final Fantasy, and that's a shame. It's a consistently quality franchise that has been delivering year after year, but one of the problems with it is that some of the titles are a bit harder to find.

Whereas Square releases port after port of Final Fantasy, making it easier to acquire older games, Namco doesn't tend to re-release Tales games often in the West, leaving them a little harder to track down on older consoles. Thankfully they've wised up for Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, which delivers one of the best games in the entire series on PS3.

Oh, and the sequel is in there as well.

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles (PS3)
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Released: February 25, 2014
MSRP: $39.99

Symphonia is one of the most critically acclaimed games in the Tales franchise for a reason -- it's a damn good RPG. Here in the Chronicles package on the PS3, you'll get remastered visuals, dual audio, and a few minor content extras (like new Mystic Artes, costumes, attacks, and a few extra skits, so nothing major). This isn't just an upscale, as most assets were overhauled and there are some all-new illustrations in tow. It's not going to look as good as the recently released Tales of Xillia or most of the recent JRPGs currently on the market, but fans of the genre should be able to cope just fine.

Symphonia offers up essentially everything you could want from an RPG experience, from a colorful cast, to an overworld you actually want to explore, to an engaging battle system. Lloyd Irving is also one of my personal favorite genre protagonists, and he's a general fan favorite for a reason: he is likable, fun to watch, and most of all -- he has flaws, and feels human.

The narrative is very reminiscent of the "Crystal" Final Fantasy games (or most recently, Bravely Default), and just as charming. Lloyd and his party must assist Colette Brunel, a savior of sorts, in regenerating the world and unsealing its five temples. From there the story takes off with a series of twists and turns (and interesting player choices) I won't spoil here, but suffice to say it's worth the ride. Characters interact with each other by way of skits and numerous dialog sessions, and genuinely feel interconnected with one another, rather than an isolated collection of fighters.

The battle system is in real time, and in Tales fashion, operates similarly to an action-JRPG hybrid. From a party of four, one member is controlled by the player, and the other by the game's AI component. Thankfully, you can set up parameters for said AI to act before combat, and they actually stick to the plan more often than not. It's all relatively simple but fun, and after dealing a certain amount of damage you can spring "Unison Attacks," which involve the entire party.

Skills work by way of "EX Gems," which allow you to equip abilities similar to Final Fantasy VII's materia. Standard stuff, yes, but it all works. As good as this sounds just don't expect anything revolutionary from Symphonia. Most of your time is going to be spent in a typical RPG manner, watching the story unfold by way of cutscenes, or in dungeons fighting off monsters.

Symphonia is a meaty game overall, with 40 hours worth of content at minimum, and around 100 if you do everything (and you probably will, since the game draws you in so well). The second piece of the Chronicles package, Dawn of the New World (released for the Wii in 2008) is a tad shorter, and sadly, not as essential.

To be blunt, the majority of New World is forgettable. Lloyd and his companions take a backseat in favor of an updated cast, lead by newcomers Emil Castagnier and Marta Lualdi, and they aren't nearly as likable. It sets up an interesting premise in that Emil's parents are allegedly killed by Lloyd (who in turn had to face his mother's murder), but it doesn't really go anywhere from there.

It also doesn't help that exploration is limited due to a lack of a real world map, and the game on the whole is easier. There are a few new mechanics, though -- the main draw is the ability to capture monsters -- but it isn't nearly as deep a system as the game thinks it is, mostly due to the fact that they feel utterly underpowered compared to the rest of your party. Capturing monsters is also a chore since you have to line up specific elemental Artes and abilities to even get them.

The crux of the problem is that the new cast just isn't as interesting to watch (and the old cast that does return doesn't sound or feel the same), and as such, the story isn't as poignant. That's not to say it's bad, but when compared directly to its predecessor, it's tough to not want to go back and just beat Symphonia again. The good news is that if you love Symphonia and want more out of its world, New World sort of delivers on that promise.

While only half of the package is truly worth the price of entry, the fact of the matter is Tales of Symphonia is required reading for JRPG fans. If you've been itching to get into another giant quest filled with twists, turns, and a top-notch battle system, this is your chance. For fans of the original, all of the components that made the tale so great the first time around are still here. Think of the sequel as a bonus for those of you who can't get enough.



Tales of Symphonia Chronicles - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

  Oct 22

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles heads west in February 2014

Collectors Edition coming to North America, Europe, Australasia

  May 13

Rumor: Tales of Symphonia to re-release on PS3

Hideo Baba discusses high-definition RPG bundle

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

So I Got a 3DS

Negotiations are over. Rainbow Six Siege is a no buy from me as of now.

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 72: Sexy Dog

Meesa Back! (or, here, or something.) Dev Log #1

Cblogs of 11/23/2015 + Sexuality in Videogames

Better with Age: Classic Games Just Look Better... For Now


 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Flegma avatarFlegma
To my surprise, I've more or less figured out Rodea Wii U controls. Still a different game from the Wii version, but not as decidedly inferior in my eyes. Did the legacy medals do anything in Wii version?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
"Am I a kid, or a squid?" I ponder as I stare off into the horizon. A wise man once told me "Son, you can be whatever you want to be. You are only limited by your lack of ambition " And I want to be a squid. A squid now.
Parismio avatarParismio
Captain America: Civil War trailer dropped!: [youtube][/youtube]
lewness avatarlewness
Gah, wanna go Alexander farming but The Old Hunters ;_;
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Holy shit, Splatoon is addictive.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Duck Hunt was a trickier unlock than I expected. Jigglypuff, you are next on my list! [img][/img]
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Yay, this arrived today. Nekro is quite happy, as he's been looking forward to playing this game for a while. [IMG][/IMG]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Dtoid mobile has apparently broken again. This is it. This how the dtoid ends. *black hole opens, dtoid disappears*
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Gave Ronin one more chance before I chucked it in the "never to be finished" pile, glad I did. It could have been so much better but as a frustrating time waster it's not bad.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I'm sitting on the Fapcast's most recent recording. I just feel like I need a day for myself after, you know, freaking out about rent.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Why is every Quickpost now spaced out like poems with random amounts of stanzas that never ever rhyme?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Was anybody else here extremely disappointed by the ending of Assassin's Creed 2?
Parismio avatarParismio
Just tried Fallout 4 on my PC Via my Cousins steam account and nope, it does not run for me very well. Buying the PS4 version it is!
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
You know who never took any shit from anybody? Dr. Blight.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Am I the only one who has to pull up their sleeves to play competantly at videogames? When my hoodie's sleeves are down I play like a piece of shit but when i pull them up, I have more flexibility.
Shinta avatarShinta
PSA: Just picked up Falco amiibo at Best Buy. They had about 20 Tom Nook, 10 singles of Splatoon Boy/Girl, the Splatoon triple pack, about 30 Marths with a big sign saying "Look Who's Back!," Dark Pit, and probably about 15 others. Not too shabby.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
I long for the day that people get over their weird circle jerk hatred for FFXIII related things and just ignore things they don't care about.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I'm upgrading my PC on the cheap and I'm going with AMD, out of these two CPUs, wich one is better?, A8-7650K or FX-6300?
Logeon avatarLogeon
Huh, I think we broke LightningFarron19, you guys.
Archelon avatarArchelon
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -