Namco Bandai
Nov. 11, 2008

“Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World” is a follow-up to 2003’s excellent “Tales of Symphonia,” widely considered by many to be the top Tales’ title out there and potentially the best RPG on the GameCube. Given this, it has quite a reputation to uphold, and in many ways, it does just that, and does those things very well.

There are problems with this game though, some the same kinds of problems many find in every Tales game, and some that are more glaring as we are now heading into 2009, not 2005. Read on to find out if the pros outweigh the cons for the first Tales game on the Nintendo Wii.

Tales games have a habit of starting off with somewhat clichƒ© characters and story, but eventually–maybe 5-6 hours in–they start to shed that tag considerably, and that is when the game picks up. “Dawn of the New World” is no different, with the game throwing curveball after curveball at you during the opening hours.

For those who have not played the original “Tales of Symphonia” may be taken aback at first, as there is a lot to learn and absorb–for instance, multiple organizations and factions are referenced, and many of them want you (Emil) and your partner Marta, dead, including the hero of the previous Symphonia, Lloyd Irving, one of the more revered RPG characters of recent memory.

This would not be a significant problem if the pacing were better, but this game takes its time moving you along at first, giving you various twists and turns without ever solving the last one thrown at you. It does not help that you are still in somewhat of a tutorial mode for the highly detailed battle system an hour into the game, but that’s a necessary evil given the complexity of the real-time affairs and the fact that many Wii owners may not be familiar with the Tales’ series.

Overall though, things pick up in the story relatively quickly–this is a 30 hour game after all, and that problem is laid to rest, meaning it is not something that should steer you away from experiencing the game, especially since the story is very well done overall, doubly so after the initial pacing issues are shoved aside and you start to see some questions–of which there are many-answered.

The returning characters from the original Symphonia–everyone makes an appearance except for Kratos, who acts only as narrator in this game–are a draw, especially if you have played the original. As is the case with most Tales games, they are well-crafted characters with histories and traits that you will come to know, but if you are already familiar with them, the fan service and self-referencing will be even more enjoyable to you.

Helping this are the skits, which are a staple of the series. Skits are optional, but you will want to watch every one of them. They are fully voiced, and though they are performed by the character’s portraits, they are animated to a degree, and act to fully flesh out your characters and give them that extra dimension that many games lack. It makes the characters more real to the gamer, and acts to enhance the story by drawing you further into it, giving you a vested interest in these characters who you can see as people rather than just puppets made of polygons and pixels.

As for the voice acting, many may take issue with the main character, but the rest of the work is solid. Emil is a character with two sides, as he is under the possession of Lord Ratatosk, lord of all monsters, while in battle (or when he gets a bit too angry) but is normally a mild-mannered, soft-spoken boy who sounds more pathetic than he truly is. The voice acting fits in with the story, and he progressively becomes more assured of himself with time, but it may still rub some the wrong way.

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About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

One Response

  1. miquel

    wy ToS the dawn of a new world not come to Nederland??
    let it come to in Nederland plzzz.
    dont matter when but if its come in 2009 then evryone will be happy
    plzz thats my wish


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