Tales of Symphonia celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2023, and I unexpectedly find myself celebrating two of the biggest Nintendo GameCube classics at the same time. In addition to playing the exciting Metroid Prime Remastered, I also had the pleasure of playing Tales of Symphonia Remaster and I consider it a pleasure as the new version has many improvements and the quality of the original product has stood the test of time with grace.
Tales of Symphonia is a cult classic and a beloved treasure for JRPG fans around the world. We can even say that it is to this series what Final Fantasy 7 is to yours. It was the first to be released in Europe and featured 3D graphics for characters and settings, not forgetting that the battle system is the basis for everything that came later, but there is a history of different versions that can lead to some confusion.
Originally released on the GameCube in 2003, Tales of Symphonia ran at 60fps on Nintendo’s console in a worldwide release. The PS2 version arrived in 2004 with a lot of new content, but ran at 30fps. In 2013, a PS3 version was released (a version called Tales of Symphonia Chronicles that includes visual improvements and the sequel to Dawn of the New World, released on the Wii in 2008), which in 2014 came to PC and allows the use of mods for graphical improvements .
Now, almost 10 years after the PS3 HD port, you have this Tales of Symphonia Remaster, all to say that Bandai Namco chose to use the PlayStation version as the basis of the work again. This means you don’t get 60fps, but you do get more costumes, more attacks, more Mystic Arts, Japanese and English voices, extra dungeons, more missions, and general improvements to the experience. In addition, more improvements were made to the overall quality, controls and also graphics improvements for this Remaster.
When I started playing the Remaster I turned my nose up at the lack of 60 frames per second, but the truth is that I didn’t even notice their lack, in return you get a lot of extra content and the visual improvements catch me off guard. Running in pure 1080p, Tales of Symphonia Remaster combines the resolution boost with visual enhancements, and without hiding the years, it manages to make a commendable effort to hold up well in 2023. It’s not a remake, and there are no major texture improvements, however. the increase in resolution combined with the improvements made help maintain the visual appeal and serve as a testament to the work done in 2003.
It was easy to get carried away by some scenes and remember how great or exciting Tales of Symphonia was, it was the best this Remaster could have done. Tales of Symphonia was created as an “RPG that could move us” and its cast still has charm to this day. Loyd Irving, Collete, Genis and the rest of the gang do a lot to remember the golden age of JRPGs, it’s a joy to play again 20 years later through this version.
In this fascinating world of Sylverant, you will discover a conflict between races that imposes certain rules on the behavior of different societies. Humans share the world with the Desians, a superior race with mysterious designs ready to impose a script of social and ideological conflict. They are themes that never get old and will be easy to get hooked on.
Collete’s journey to regenerate the world and restore balance among all living creatures is the starting point for exploring this world and participating in epic events. Tales of Symphonia became the foundation for everything that happened in the series over the next 18 years, and this Remaster shows why. From the world design and storytelling, characters, graphics and battle system, the Tales of series were developed globally on the back of Symphonia.
I say this because you may be familiar with one game or another in the series or be a new fan won over by Arise, and you have to consider that it’s a 2003 game whose quality was so transformative that it became a cult classic and the reference for everything that followed. Although games like Vesperia won more players, many of those accolades came from Symphonia.
Playing a Tales of made after Symphonia means experiencing combat systems that are highly convincing, easy to learn, energetic and gifted with high tempo. All are evolved and improved versions of the system born here in 2003 called the Multi-Line Linear Motion Battle System. Then it was received as something special and today it is still a real treat. Simple but fun.
The matches are in real time and despite the breakneck speed, the attack button mashing is a mistake. In the style of the games of the time, Tales of Symphonia Remaster is a difficult game, requiring you to invest time to develop the characters, during the battles you have to manage your time. Attacking, using special arts, and defending or jumping out of range of an enemy’s attack is a rhythm you’ll have to learn.
Unlike the PS3 version of Chronicles in 2013, Tales of Symphonia Remaster does not disappoint in the technical and graphical component. 60fps would be the icing on the cake, but there are other arguments and general improvements here that deserve attention as well. It is a cult classic JRPG and a son of a generation with its own methodology and for that it should be celebrated and appreciated.