MP (militarypenguin) wrote,

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Just beat Tales of Symphonia.

Uh, damn. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole story...which got unbelievably complex. It started out as one huge cliche but got creative with it, and in the end, was far from being the story it was in the beginning. That said, I loved this game. Now, THOUGHTS:

RE: the Cast

Lloyd: I liked him at the beginning, and he grew increasingly likable as the story went on. He's the most stereotypical member of the group (Hero Complex Personified) but ends up growing up enough that his stereotype is whiped away. I also really liked the concept of him being Mithos' "shadow" because that's really what he was. It's easy to imagine how Mithos himself could've been like him, and how Lloyd probably could've messed up and tried to make a lifeless world like he did, too, had he not had such a wide variety of party members that helped expand his views.

Kratos: I wish I could say more about this guy than "HOLY SHIT HE'S COOL". But hey, I'll try. He ended up being my favorite in the end. He reminded me a lot of Auron from Final Fantasy X in being the epitome of badass with a hint of a cynical sense of humor. Angst-ridden type characters tend to be either hits or misses in my opinion, and Kratos is one of the hits. He was one you really did want to learn more about, especially after he betrayed Lloyd and the gang and yet would help them from time to time as well. At the same time, he wasn't too angsty in that he was far from being softhearted, though wasn't a Cold-Blooded Killer, either.

Colette: Stick Sylphiel from Slayers and Osaka from Azumanga Daioh in a blender and you'll get something along the lines of Colette. I tend to dislike characters like her, either because I find their airheaded tendencies to be grating or they seem too good to be true, but Colette was one of the more realistic versions of this archetype I've seen. I was really "meh" on her character in the beginning, but after her effects from being an angel kicked in and Lloyd called her on her bullshit acting, I gained a lot of respect for her as a character. She wasn't the smartest of the group, nor the wisest, but everytime she did offer some useful advice, it wasn't something that she pulled out of the nowhere, but rather was based on what she'd learned from all her negative experiences. But in the end, she's just a normal klutz who likes turtles and naming every dog she can find.

Genis: He really grew on me. I disliked him at first because his voice irritated me and for a while he just seemed to be there to be the cute kid of the group, but, like Colette, ended up being more complicated than he seemed. Bratty, kind, smart, close-minded, open-minded--he was a little bit of everything.

Zelos: A riot. I loved shamelessly setting him as my avatar and getting free items from the ladies. Besides his amusing horny tendencies, he also ended up being more interesting and realistic than he seemed. He had no dark past to share, but he was fully aware of his role as the Chosen, and the negative aspects of it he had to take along with him. As a result, he had one of the saddest death scenes I've seen in a while. You never would expect that the most upbeat member of the party with the least gloomy backstory would ultimately be the most depressed. He was simply a guy who didn't think his life was worth living and thought his existance only made it worse for others. To top it all off, he doesn't reveal this until you kill him.

Mithos: I'm...honestly not sure what my overall opinion on him was. He was a fine villain with a realistic motivation, and even felt sorry for him at times. Despite these qualities, however, I still can't say he's one of my favorite characters. This may be because his design is overly effeminate (along with his voice) and I was surprised that none of the characters mistook him for being a girl. Otherwise, I can't put my finger on just what it was I didn't care for about him. Getting back to what I did like about him, I was glad Lloyd wasn't able to "redeem" him, because that would've been really lame. A guy who's lived for thousands of years while holding a strong belief can't be changed that easily, and I'm relieved that the creators seemed to be aware of this.

I left out a buncha characters here, mainly because I either was too lazy to write up something long about them liked them but didn't have a lot to say about them (Raine, Regal, Presea, Sheena) or they just didn't seem important enough to bother mentioning.

Overall Pros:
- Has a story that transforms a cliche into a complex, dark plot.
- Likable, fleshed-out cast of characters.
- A setting where beliefs are never black and white, and even in the end, it's still left ambiguous about just who's "right" (as indicated by Mithos' death).
- Thought-provoking themes and lessons about life.
- HUMP-WORTHY battle system.
- Plenty of replay value.
- Great soundtrack.
- Decent, albeit rushed, ending.

Overall Cons:
- Way too much Tethe'alla. This may be due to how I can't stand the music that plays while you're wandering the fields, and the battle music, while decent, just doesn't capture the energy like Sylvarant's does.
- Some characters were introduced and then forgotten too quickly. Rodyle, Yuan (what happened to him after he gave Kratos some of his mana?), Zelos (I know this is only if you get the Kratos ending and I was glad that there was a skit where the characters reflected over his death, but I hoped that he'd at least get some sort of memorial or something), and Kvar (I think he really should've gotten a bigger role. He was so badass.) are some of the characters guilty of this, and it kinda bugged me at the end.
- Never got a chance to use the Eternal Sword in battle. :| (though using one sword probably wouldn't have been as fun as using two).
- Not enough flashbacks. In fact, I think the only one who got a flashback was Regal, and I was expecting/hoping that there'd be one for Kratos, Mithos, Yuan, and Martel, too. The information given was enough, but it would've stuck in your head a lot better if they showed what happened, rather than have it all told to you in one setting.
- Ending could've been a wee bit better, though I honestly can't really think of any other way to end it.

Overall Grade: A-. Will play again soon.

(P.S.: this probably contains loads o' typos and repeated usage of words that I can't be bothered be bothered to fix and I'll probably regret having written this up by tomorrow morning. A bit like waking up and realizing what you did while you were drunk, except now you don't have much of an excuse)

(P.P.S: yes, a 4chan picture post is on its way. In fact, it'll be posted right after this)

(P.P.P.S.: and I realize I kinda fail at life for being able to make a longass post about a reaction to something fictional for the first time without an obligatory "I JUST FINISHED [TITLE] POST LATER" and never getting around to posting it. :B)
Tags: tales of symphonia
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