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Namco Bandai



Namco Tales Studio



T (Teen)



November 11, 2008



- Skits still have the same charm as always
- 4-player multiplayer battle sequence



- Too many cutscenes
- Linear gameplay
- Pact system and Item synthesis feel tacked on



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Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

Score: 6.0 / 10


Itís no easy task to make a sequel when the first installment was such a big hit. Many games and movies tend to fall short of the expectations placed on them, or worse, are just flops. This is especially difficult when a game is known for bringing a franchise out onto the forefront of popularity. Such is the case for Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, successor to probably the most popular Tales game in its thirteen year history. Published by Namco Bandai, the developers with a daunting task; making a sequel that was not only as good as its predecessor, but better.




Dawn of the New World takes place after the events of the first game, where Lloyd and his crew had successfully merged the two worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla through the birth of a new World Tree. However, since the unification of the two worlds, the climate has fallen into chaos, and the world is at the brink of




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destruction. You start off as Emil Castagnier , a boy who had witnessed his parentís death first hand by a so-called Ďhero.í After being sent to live with his aunt and uncle, he meets and befriends a girl by the name of Marta Lualdi who is on the run from an evil organization. Together they embark on a quest to save the world from the being destroyed.


When I first started to play Dawn of the New


World, I was happy to see that many of the charms that made me love the series had returned in their full glory. The little skits that occur throughout the game add character depth without having to sit through hours of cut scenes. The game also keeps its fairly unique multiplayer battle system, allowing for up to four people to play together, making it fun even with a group of friends. In addition, the developers have many of the characters from the original make reappearances, and even going so far as to having some of them join your party to help you on your adventure. This game clocks in at about 30 hours on the first play through, which is a nice game length considering a lot of games nowadays are considerably shorter and come with higher prices tags. Itís unfortunate though, because as the initial high of plunging into a new Tales game wore off, many issues with the game began to crop up which took away from what the game had to offer.




One of the first things I noticed was that the game has an abundance of cut scenes, which the skits were designed to replace. While I donít mind cut scenes when theyíre done well, they can interrupt the pacing of the game and caused frustration due to the lack of playing in chunks at a time. It also doesnít help that the voice acting leaves a bit of something to be desire. Luckily, there is an option to turn off the voices if you choose. This brings me to another problem with the game; the world map. Where in previous games you would travel from town to town and fight monsters along the way to level up, this game has abandoned the feature in place of menu-based navigation. This makes gaining levels tough, especially when many times bosses will overwhelm you unless you go back to previous dungeons to level up.


While some of the better parts of the battle are system intact, a pact system was added that allows monsters to join your party and fight with you. At first glance the addition seems it could be fun, but it quickly gets tiresome as you find out that the monsters are rarely more powerful than any of the party members you recruit. You can level up the monsters but itís hardly worth it unless youíre trying to collect all the monsters in the game. The same can be said about the item synthesis system, which could have been a great system to take ordinary items and turn them into powerful gear if money was not abundant enough to the point where itís unnecessary.


All in all, I canít help but feel a bit disappointed by Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. While it is not a terrible game, it doesnít live up to the expectations that the first one created. On paper, the game seems like it was just what the fans would want in a sequel, but it fails to execute where it counts the most. Fans of the Tales series should still pick it up for the story but I wouldnít recommend it to people who are not familiar with the series.


- Marc Phillips

(April 1, 2009)


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