One of my favorite GameCube games and one of the first JRPGs I ever completed. Tales of Symphonia is the start of this Japanese game craze it seems I went on. Games like Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest, and more all seemed to appear on my radar.
Tales of Symphonia follows Lloyd Irving as he sets out on an adventure with his friends to save the world. Yep, just a save the world plot with anime characters. A few plot twists but nothing that made me go crazy.
A big part about what I like about Tales of Symphonia stems from the combat system. Instead of turn based action, battles take place in real time with characters being able to move around and position themselves on the battlefield. The game also had a “hidden” cooperative mode where you could play the game with up to three other people, I played with a friend of mine and my brother whenever I could. Teaming up and using special moves to defeat enemies was pure fun.
The characters aren’t fantastic in any sense of the word but they also aren’t annoying. Most of them fall into dumb anime tropes but manage to add some charm to their roles so they don’t feel stale. Sheena is without a doubt my favorite character in the game outside of Lloyd but she easily falls into the tsundere trope for a good portion of the game. Still, she’s a kick-ass sorceress who was also fun to play as.
Like I said, I was a dumb kid when I played the game so anime tropes, plot, and character development were all just unknowns to me but I couldn’t stop playing. It wasn’t until I replayed the game on the PS3 that I truly took the time to understand these things and it clicked so well. Would I recommend Tales of Symphonia to someone in 2017? No, it hasn’t aged well and the more recent games like Xillia, Graces f, and Berseria have all evolved the combat system to be a lot more accessible.
Tales of Symphonia is a game that opened my eyes to JRPGs all around. That’s not to say I wouldn’t like JRPGs if I never played it, it just would have been a question of when would I play games in that genre.