Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

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Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World review
Professor Layton


Does this spin-off do the series justice?

Wii are left out

When it comes to role-playing games, nobody can do it better than the gaming giant Square Enix. With top-notch franchises such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest under their belt, it is no wonder that the world, the Japanese in particular, always seem to migrate to them when they are in dire need of an RPG.

On Wii though, things aren’t exactly hunky-dory. With only a couple of RPGs on the system from Square Enix and only one of them being noteworthy, it seems as though the company has directed its attention elsewhere, most notably the DS. So what do die-hard RPG fans do if they only own a Wii and are waiting for something huge from Square Enix? Simply put, they are going to have to wait. In the meantime, Namco Bandai has released a spin-off in its popular Tales series to cater to those anxious gamers. Though not quite a home run, Namco Bandai has still managed to serve up a healthy main course of fun.

Welcome to the ‘New World’

Way back in 2004, Tales of Symphonia was released on the Nintendo Gamecube, at the time a pinnacle for third-party RPGs on the console. Now almost a half decade later, Namco Bandai has supplied gamers with a long-awaited sequel that is fun, but way too much like its predecessor. When playing the game it sort of triggers a déjà vu-like feel, as if you have already done that before.

Set two years after the events of the original, Dawn of the New World highlights some of the characters from the original while at the same time throwing in a decent amount of new ones. During the first game, Lloyd Irving and his companions embarked on a quest to merge the twin worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe’alla. Eventually the two lands were fused together and maps became useless and the climate of the land underwent a huge change.

But things aren’t all that great; the Tethe’allans look down upon the Sylvaranti due to their inferior technology, and the Sylvaranti fear the Tethe’allans for their power. The people of Sylvaranti decide to create an army, known as the Vanguard, to rise against the Church of Martel and the Tethe’allans.

The Church of Martel goes to war with the Vanguard, and Sylvarant’s beautiful city of Palmacosta is caught in the middle of the raging conflict. The city is devoured by flames, and many innocent lives are taken. This event is later referred to as the “Blood Purge”, a massacre led by Lloyd.

Emil Castagnier, a Palmacostan boy, watched his parents be killed by Lloyd. After this incident, Emil is sent to Luin to live with his relatives. His life takes a dramatic turn once he befriends Marta Lualdi, a girl who is being hunted by the Vanguard and the Richter Abend. Determined to protect her, Marta accompanies Emil as they set out on an adventure to attempt and make things right and to get revenge on Lloyd.

The ‘New World’ is a lot like the old one...

At a glance, Dawn of the New World looks like a last-generation game, and for good reason too. The menus are slick and stylish, but the actual in-game graphics are not up to par with the standards of today. On the bright side, character animations are impressive and there are some nice details to be found sometimes.

Copying a page from the past game, Dawn of the New World utilizes the same basic gameplay. Battles are in real time and fortunately not random. Four characters can engage in battle though there will be a lot more traveling for you on your journey. Players select which character they want to control and set strategies for the remaining ones.

While in battle, players have several different techniques at their disposal. The A button allows for combos, B triggers magic attacks (which the game refers to as Arte), and C brings your team together for a powerful unison attack. It may not be complex, but it certainly gets the job done.

Slowing things down...

Dawn of the New World is by no means a fast-paced game. The story is sluggish, as are the loading times. Heck, the loading times often span several seconds. Bundle this with the linear feel of the game and you have got yourself a huge disappointment. It is sad to see a game with such great potential be ruined with little things that could have been improved upon.

This game didn’t turn out as it should have. The gameplay is pretty basic, the graphics are last-gen, the loading times are ridiculous, and the game is too linear. Positive are the voice acting which is impressive and the controls that work pretty well. Maybe we will finally get the Tales game we have been quenching for with Tales of Ten, a recently announced main game in the series…


fun score

No Pros and Cons at this time