This game is so great! Not only can you experience
what was on the Dreamcast, but you can also play offline with up to four
friends. Not to mention the introduction of the much needed Ultimate level
difficulty where there are new monsters and bosses to battle. As well
as Episode Two.
This game came at a time where I was beginning to
lose a bit of faith in RPGs. It felt like something was missing. I know
that graphics are much improved, but it felt as if this vast improvement
had come at a cost. Take for example Ffinal Fantasy 10. It looked great
but when compared to final fantasy 7 and 8 it seemed as if it was lacking
in soul. Maybe Square-Enix were aware of this and influenced the decision
to release Final Fantasy X2, which seemed to fill the gaps that were missing
in FF10, like more fun. Bring back the good old days of the golden saucer
and its mini games.
Anyway back to the point. Tales of Symphonia rekindled the feeling I used
to get from playing older RPGs. The simplicity of things. The clear game
layout and a fun and involving battle system. With many current RPGs,
I'm beginning to be a bit put off by the endless options, tasks and stats.
I don't mind things like alternate endings but when you have to play every
single second of the game with your head stuck in a game guide, you miss
the fun of playing. Like if you were playing a RPG where you have to travel
into a place, where everywhere is dark and there's an eerie piece of music
playing. You feel scared when playing without a guide - the fear of the
unknown - and then some hideous creature leaps from the darkness and causes
you to jump and your heart to race. But when using a guide you already
know what is coming, so the affect of the scene on the gamer, envisioned
by the game designers, is ruined.
Guide books were for those who were quite frankly rubbish, but now they
have become part of the RPG experience. I was furious when I learned that
when playing Final fantasy 9 even though you spend money on the official
FF9 guide book, you soon discover that details about many of the secrets
in the game were omitted from the book. Instead, you are encouraged to
go online to actually get hold of these game secrets. But the question
remains how long will these secrets remain online and why bother to buy
Many current RPGs have over-excessive features. In older RPGs there were
secrets, but not a telephone directory's worth. Take this example. In
Final fantasy 7 there were secrets but they weren't excessive, like the
code to getting Bahamut Zero or how to raise a golden Chocobo, or how
to get the Knights of the Round Summon. But take a game like Star Ocean.
There are so many things to do that the story takes a back seat. It's
a bit over kill. You invent stuff, takes hours. Have to revisit previously
explored locations when you obtain the necessary item to break down the
walls of previously inaccessible areas. There's special events everywhere.
This has to be done before that, and this and that. It got to the point
where I was playing the game and doing everything else except play to
see how the story unfolds. So I decided to just make another save file
and just play the game for just the story and forgetting all the rest.
At last a proper Pokemon role-playing game in beautiful
3D. Previous outings involved playing on your gameboy, then importing
your pokemon into Pokemon Stadium on the N64 and participating in stadium
battles against your pals and the computer. Or playing the frantic multiplayer
mini games. Perhaps the leap to the first true pokemon rpg to simulate
what you see on the television was Pokemon Colloseum but this was not
a complete and fully-fledged RPG. Pokemon XD however is. The graphcs of
the attacks are amazing. Battles are challenging and the pleasant and
relaxed gameplay is refreshing.