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Community Review

blazemanx

Review: Tales of Symphonia dawn of a new world

By: blazemanx Jun 29, 2011 | 6 Comments

A sequel that falls short of the original but still a great game.

I don't know if this has already been stated but im a HUGE tales fan. Its my favorite RPG series and of course i was hype beyond all comprehension when i heard that namco bandai was making a sequel to my favorite gamecube game. As a fan you automatically have high expectations for this game because it is a sequel to arguably the best game in the series. So how did it stand up to the greatness of its predecessor? Read on and find out.

Story:

The story in Dawn of the New World picks up approximately two years after the events of the original game. As a result of the World Regeneration of the first game, the worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla have become one. However, this isn't as rosy as it all sounds - because of their inferior technology, the people of Sylvarant are oppressed by the Tethe'allans, and the Church of Martel has essentially sided with the Tethe'allans. Because of this, a renegade group known as the Vanguard has risen up to supposedly free the Sylvaranti from their oppression. The town of Palmacosta is caught in the crossfire when Lloyd Irving, the main protagonist from the first game, ravages through the town in an event called the Blood Purge. The new protagonist, Emil Castagnier, watches his parents murdered right in front of his face by the former hero.

Six months later, Emil is living with his aunt and uncle in the town of Luin, shunned by everyone else for hating Lloyd and supposedly bringing bad luck. Here, he meets up with two new characters - Marta, a girl being pursued by the Vanguard, and Tenebrae, a Centurion of the demon lord Ratatosk. In order to protect Marta, who carries Ratatosk's core around on her forehead, Emil forms a pact with Ratatosk, gaining a second personality whenever he is in danger or angry. His new quest is to seek out the eight Centurions' cores in order to awaken Ratatosk and save the world from destruction. Unfortunately, Lloyd Irving and the now sinister Vanguard are after the cores as well, each aspiring to use them for their own devices.

In the beginning, I had loads of questions. Why did Lloyd attack Palmacosta? Why is everyone looking for the Centurions' cores? Is Emil's other personality a result of possession by Ratatosk, or is it another personality deep inside of him? Everything eventually rounds out in the end, but it takes a while for the story to really get going. Plus, Emil's constant bouts of whining, apologizing, and angst grate on the nerves, though he thankfully becomes far less whiny as the story goes on. Despite these minor annoyances, I enjoyed the story a lot. The script is very well written, and there were several moments when I was laughing out loud, especially during the optional skit sequences. There's also plenty of voice acting to flesh out each main character. The story is nothing truly exceptional, but it gets the job done.


Pacing:

One thing often present in RPGs is a gigantic overworld to cross. In Dawn of the New World, that's not exactly the case. Instead of a large, connected world to explore, it's broken up into icons on a world map representing towns and dungeons, navigated through either a menu or point-and-click interface. While some might find this to be a step backwards, I personally was ok with it although i would have preferred the traditional overworld. The experience is a lot less open-ended, as you'll need to progress in a very linear fashion to advance the story. In towns, you'll need to mingle with NPCs for hints at your next objective, which often take you into dungeons filled with sometimes clever, but sometimes bland puzzles. Plenty of characters from the original Symphonia will drop in and out of your party as well, each receiving a fair amount of screen time. This game will take a good amount of time to complete, clocking in at 40-50 or so hours - a good length for most RPGs. The overall progression of the game - town, dungeon, boss, repeat - is very standard, but I had no complaints. I had fun, got in a few laughs, and kept coming back for more. Sometimes that's really all you need.

Music:

The music is, all in all, pretty good. You'll notice that a lot of tracks are from Symphonia, while others have been remixed, and still others are completely new. And a lot of the completely new ones are completely awesome. I really don't have much more to say about that - I listen to a lot of music, but I don't make a good critic of it. I can't explain why the music's good, just that it always seems to fit the scene.

The voice acting is pretty good. Not too many voices from the old game are back, but a lot of the replacements are pretty good . The only real problem i had was Lloyd's voice i really wish they would have brought back the original voice actor. The new voice actors are good as well. Emil's voice actor brings back nostalgia of Tales of the Abyss (and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers), Marta's adds to her character's overwhelming cuteness (but sometimes annoying), and other new characters I haven't mentioned yet, like Richter, have voice actors that fit their personality perfectly.

Graphics:

Alright, those of you that already have Vesperia aren't going to like this part. The graphics aren't fantastic. It's a Wii game, what do you expect? However, that doesn't mean they're bad. They're actually pretty good. Fight scenes are pretty awesome to watch, and, best of all, the cutscenes don't have to stick to the basics of the character models.
What do I mean by that? It's simple. During normal "press A after each text bubble" scenes, each character has a few different animations they have for speaking, acting scared/embarrassed, etc. But during a lot of cutscenes, they seem to be animated almost from scratch. I still prefer the smooth cartoon like cell shading of the first one though.

Gameplay:

This game is played solely with the Wii remote and Nunchuk. There's no option for Gamecube, Classic, or any other kind of control, but it doesn't really matter - Namco Bandai pulled off the controls almost flawlessly. There's no need to worry about forced or excessive motion control use - you'll really only use the pointer for the Sorcerer's Ring, which is a key element in several puzzles, and the occasional shake or flick for some minigames. You can move around in towns or dungeons using either the analog stick or the pointer and B button, though the former is much preferred. You initiate combat by coming in contact with monsters on the field - touching them from behind gives you the upper hand, as all monsters start out stunned. Yes, I know it's a bit dumb to be happy over this, but even if you can't see exactly what you're fighting, you should at least know when it's happening.

Combat is an absolute joy, and one of the game's high points. You are in direct control of Emil, while competent AI takes over your partners. You can move left or right in a 2D plain with only the analog stick, or hold Z and move around for a free run, which allows you to get a better positioning on your enemies. Motion controls are thankfully not forced, as attacking is handled with the A button, while Emil's Artes are used with the analog stick and B button. You can use more Artes with the D-pad or by shaking the Wii remote in a certain direction, but I never really used these - it's tough remembering the button assignments of 12 different Artes at a time. Once the Unison Gauge at the bottom of the screen is full enough, you can combine multiple party members for a Unison Attack with the C button. In short, combat is fast-paced, occasionally challenging, and a blast to play.

Outside of battle, you can assign Emil's Artes to the analog stick and B button, and customize your party with equipment and passive Skills. Most of the human characters who drop in and out of your party have fixed levels and equipment. Therefore, the rest of your party will consist primarily of monsters you can capture and train. As a Knight of Ratatosk (hence the Japanese title), Emil can form pacts with monsters, adding them to his party, and then strengthening them through battle and cooking food at Katz Guilds scattered throughout the world. You can also use Katz Guilds to accept side quests and swap monsters in and out of your party (since you can only take four with you at any given time). The monster-raising system is surprisingly deep, but whether you exploit it or not is your choice. You can take whatever you manage to accidentally stumble upon, or put some real effort into it and raise some extremely overpowered beasts. Your monsters can evolve when they get to a certain level so in that regard its just like pokemon.

Final Verdict: BUY IT

All in all, Dawn of the New World has earned its place among the Tales games. The story will get you started, the characters will drag you in, the battle system will keep you going, and everything else melds in to pull you closer to it all. It may not be what I expected, maybe not even what most of us did, but that doesn't make it worse than previous games. So i think all wii owners should give this a try tales fan or not as long as you enjoy a good RPG you should enjoy this one. Any wii owners out there? Let us know and don't be a jimmy.


 

Community Preview

Story Image

Soul Calibur 5 gameplay trailer

By: blazemanx Jun 3, 2011 | 5 Comments

we finally get a taste of what the next installment of the soul calibur franchise will look like.

In terms of looks it doesn't look that much different from SC4 but with a 2012 release date im sure it will be more polished and crisp. It also seems as though the characters are using some sort of special moves maybe channeling their inner street fighter?

so what do you guys think are you excited to about the 5th installment of the king of weapon based fighters?

let us know what you think and don't be a jimmy.

 

Community Video

grey walrus

Two new Tales of Xilllia Trailers

By: grey walrus May 30, 2011 | 9 Comments

The next entry into the "tales of" series, is Tales of Xillia, and it's looking fantastic.

The first video is nothing but gameplay. It shows walking around cities and other locations, and battle. The fighting styls remains the same, but what is cool is that the main character fights hand to hand. I think that's awesome. 

The second trailer is a story trailer, but since I don't speak Japanese I had no idea what was going on. It still looked badass though. 

 

Source: http://gematsu.com/2011/05/two-new-tales-of-xillia-trailers

Community Blog

blazemanx

My favorite rpg series

By: blazemanx May 13, 2011 | 11 Comments

This is a story of a franchise that has grown with me overtime.

Video games can invoke all different types of emotions from joy to anger to sorrow. I want to talk about my favorite rpg series.........Tales of (insert crazy name here). Yeah i know FF is the most beloved rpg franchise of all time but that's not true for me. Every game i have played in this series is like a bookmark on the chapters of my life. So let me take you on a trip down memory lane.

Tales of destiny 2/ Eternia

We start off with my very first tales game tales of destiny 2. 2001 i was only a 12 year old kid but even then i was knee deep into rpg's. Christmas was coming up and i didn't know what to get and then my cousin tells me to get this game called tales of destiny 2. I had never heard of it but my cousin was a true gamer so i trusted him and asked my mom for it. So i got my wish and on Christmas day i popped it in and i was hooked from the very start. I loved the 2D sprites because it was so clean and crisp but what really grabbed me by the throat was the battle system. It was AMAZINGLY fun teaming with my party of 4 doing epic combos and flashy magic spells in real time. This was the first step in what was to become a long line of greatness.

Tales of Symphonia

On to my second tales game Tales of Symphonia this one was a doosey. Now 2004 i am a 15 year old young man and once again its Christmas. It was my first Christmas back in Chicago after moving to Minnesota the year before and my whole family was there. All my aunts and uncles were giving me money and then at one point i had enough money to get pretty much whatever i wanted. So i walked up to my local GameCrazy which was open on Christmas which is pretty awesome and i scooped up my second tales game. I was thinking about waiting till i got back home to Minnesota to play it but i COULD NOT wait so popped it in my aunts Gamecube and once again i was hooked from the start. At that time it was probably the best looking game i had ever seen it had a beautiful cell shaded look and a soundtrack to DIE for. This was the first rpg game to make me feel real emotion by what was happening i wont go into any details because i don't want to giveaway the story. Once again the battle system was deep and AMAZINGLY fun and for many years this was my #1.

Tales of Legendia

On to my third tales game Tales of Legendia this one was a little odd but awesome none the less. Now 2006 and I'm on the fast track to 17 years old and i just got a little side job at my local mom and pop game store. I was really waiting for this game to come out and my boss knew it too and he gave me a Tales of Legendia necklace featuring the main character and one of the main villains of the game and needles to say i was elated. The game came out in February and on release day it was a blizzard outside but i wouldn't let that stop me. I went up to my job / local game store and the game was already on the counter waiting for me because my boss knew that a blizzard wouldn't keep me away. I took it home and once again i was into it from the very beginning i was a little thrown off by the blocky graphics but it didn't bother me. The battle system was not on par with the previous games but it was still very fun and a unique story that has many twist and turns to keep you guessing it was not as good as the rest but a solid tales game.

Tales of the Abyss

On to my fourth tales game tales of the abyss such a great game. Still 2006 but at the end of the year i had just moved into a new apartment and didn't have a whole lot but i was looking forward to one thing a brand new tales game. The box art alone had be thinking greatest game ever and boy was it close. The visuals was beautiful and the environments were really refreshing but the battle system was AMAZING. AT this point this battle system was by far the best i had experienced so deep and elements would change your special moves completely and just gave you that much more to work with. For me the story was incredible you start in one place and you end up somewhere you would never expect it was my favorite tales story at the time. It also featured my favorite mage in ANY game to date Jade Curtis (the guy in the blue) play the game and you will understand how godly he really is.

Tales of Vesperia

On to my fifth tales game tales of Vesperia.......PERFECT. In 2008 i got this game and i didn't even have a 360 that's how bad i wanted this game. I got a 360 for Christmas that year and it was time to experience to perfection that is Vesperia. The problem at that time is that i had a small SD TV which made the game look weird and the text was almost unreadable. SO about a week later i was able to get my first HD TV and being the first game i will play in HD i didn't know what to expect. Once the intro started to roll i just stood there eyes wide open and mouth gaping i was literally blown away it was the most beautiful game i had EVER seen it was like a living anime. The battle system was taken up a few notches and added air combat and massive enemies to set the stage for epic battles. The story was kind of iffy but the pure charm and beauty of this game heavily out shines that and to this day it remains my all time favorite rpg game.

Video games are a form of entertainment for people and nothing else but for me they are so much more i look at my game collection and see a story of my life. From a small kid with a Playstation to a grown man living in the HD era i have grown and this franchise has grown with me. I hope i have inspired you get into this franchise or to share your life stories as a gamer. Do any games go side by side with events in your life any games hold a special place in your heart let us know.

News

Cinderkin

Dragon Ball: Game Project 2011 Teaser!

By: Cinderkin May 11, 2011 | 22 Comments

I recently Tweeted about a new Dragon Ball Video Game launching the official Website, but it was all in Japanese. Now there is a teaser trailer for the new title, which is coming out later this year. Check it out!

I've been a huge fan of Dragon Ball Z since I was 11 years old. Since then they have churned out a new game every year and some are great (Budokai 3) and some are not (Dragon Ball Z Sagas). Well it looks like another game is scheduled to drop later this year. Oddly titled Dragon Ball: Game Project 2011 (I'm sure a new name will surface later on) looks really nice graphically, but what worries me is that on the official Japanese Website it states that it will support Move and Kinect. This can make or break a game, I hope it's not Move and Kinect exclusive because I probably will never play it.

Check out the teaser below and tell us what you think in the comments. Don't be a Jimmy!

 

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