Saturday, November 21, 2020

Tales of Symphonia #2 - Everyone Is Hiding Something

Everyone is hiding something. At least that is what it seems like. Colette is turning less and less human with each seal that we destroy. Genis and Raine seem to be hiding the fact that they aren't real elves, for whatever reason. Sheena, the character who started out by attacking us but has now joined forces with us, seems to be hinting that she is actually from another dimension (?). Kratos the mercenary says he is only in it for the money, but is he really?

The only one I really trust is myself, Lloyd. Even I seem to have a colourful past, the difference being I don't know about it myself yet. Since I was found next to my dead mother by my adoptive father it seems like both my birth parents were something special. I don't know what but I am sure to find out soon.

I am curious to see how her character develops.

It seems clear that this game is trying to throw me a curve ball by pretending to be trope when actually there are plenty of twists along the way. We'll see I guess.

This game is actually clever in many little ways. At this one point I was required to run between two cities that were a bit of a trek in between, I was given the option to accompany an NPC to get between the cities instantly. Nice. Another cool feature is an option to "Customize" weapons so even old weapons that you've outgrown can be customized into a better one. And the "long-range mode" on the map actually means enemies won't move when you don't, so they can't attack you unless you let them, which is very convenient for when you want to explore the world map.

They've also added another interesting feature to bolster your feelings towards the characters. Whenever you're out and about you can get a prompt to press the Z button, if you do you get to watch a little conversation play out between some of the characters where they talk about all matter of things, usually something connected to where you are story wise but usually not crucial to know. These conversations are entirely optional (I think!) and there are many. I try to watch all of them, but they can really pop up absolutely anytime. I know for sure I missed one because it popped up right as I was entering a town, and once I loaded in it wasn't there anymore. They're pretty fun to watch and really do help build the characters a bit, so that is nice. Very nice also that if you happen to replay the game you don't have to watch through all of that dialogue again if you don't want to.

The enemies on the map have generic models, so you never know exactly what you'll encounter.

Another interesting thing that happened to me was that I went to open a seal but got beaten by the boss. What actually happened was that I beat the seal boss but then Sheena attacked me right after, before I had saved or gotten a chance to stock up on any items (all of which I had used on the previous boss). She beat me and I decided to go a different route. I went to another seal, which turns out was probably the one I was actually meant to take, because it was a lot easier. Sheena attacked me after this boss too, but the save spot was in a different location so this time I at least had the opportunity to save in-between. I beat her this time, and when I got to the other seal she didn't attack me. It seems it was entirely possible to tackle that part of the story in two completely different locations on the map, and if I hadn't failed the first time I wouldn't even have known. 

It probably doesn't matter much in the long run but it's cool to know the game has this flexibility programmed in to it. Makes me wonder where else it can differ like this.

Also can I just throw in here that I've always loved the little Gamecube discs. They are the cutest.

There are other tiny details that add to the overall feel of quality too, like how the doors only open one way (as is usual with doors). On most RPGs the characters always push the doors open. But in this game, they'll push it one way and pull it another. You can also choose whichever character in your roster you want to display and run around as. It's a minor thing that doesn't really change anything gameplay wise, but it's fun to be able to do.

Most importantly this game just plays well. While so far it might not be reinventing the wheel, it has definitely polished the details and worked out a lot of typical JRPG kinks, making for an easy moving whole. It pulls you forward without effort, even though as I've mentioned before it's far from an easy game. I hope this quality sticks throughout, because so far I am having a lot of fun with it.

Images from,

No comments:

Post a Comment