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Tales of Symphonia actually put me to sleep

I usually try to be positive in these, but man, this just isn't a good game. The combat is clunky and un-intuitive, the plot and characters are straight up bad, and the music is some of the worst stuff I've heard in years. Full disclosure: I made it to the area with the wind seal before I stopped.

First of all, the characters. I hate Genis. He's a pompous goody-two-shoes who usually insults every party member when he gets the chance. This even spills into combat as well, as every victory quote this character says just echoes with smugness. The only redeeming quality about this character that I've seen so far is that every time he says something stupid or patronizing, he usually gets called out for it by other party members.

I wish the other characters were better, but they sadly come with their own bag of problems. Raine and Kratos are characters that I want to like, but god damn, they fall into one of the worst character tropes ever. They consistently hide important plot details and don't speak up until it's absolutely necessary. I get that was a style of writing that was popular with JRPGs at the time, but man, it drives me up a wall. As for Collete, I get what they're trying to do with her, but she constantly hides things from the main character, and many of her problems would be fixed if she said anything other than "I'm sorry."

Speaking of driving up a wall, let's talk music. Some of these tracks are the most boring things ever. The soundtrack routinely goes for an air of mysticism and it doesn't do much else. I don't know if it's the instrumentation or what, but it bores me. Like the title of this post said,

actually put me to sleep, and it's basically the main town theme for a good chunk of the early game. I understand there's some good tracks in this game, especially the combat theme for a character that I didn't get to, but I cannot be bothered to get that far.

Lastly, the combat itself. The combat is one of the most deceptively obtuse things I've ever had to work around. To describe it, it throws multiple enemies at you in a pseudo-3d environment, and you get to attack them one at a time in 2d-lanes (think Tekken or 2d fighters) using Smash Bros-like combat. Your special attacks use a resource called TP that replenishes at 1tp/hit, meaning you are constantly running out of it unless you stock up on restoration items. As for how the combat feels, it doesn't work. You are constantly either defending from enemies that hit like a truck, even in early game, or hitting enemies while they're defending, doing maybe 10% of your total attack strength. And let's talk about the bosses for a sec. They are massive damage sponges. Never before have I seen so many Game Over screens because they just drain you of your resources.

All in all, I can't reccomend this game in good faith to anyone. I love JRPGs and will routinely play something like Chrono Trigger or one of the Final Fantasy games, but I don't get how this game is so beloved. Yeah, it has an air of adventure and I'm sure kids would love this, but as an adult with a backlog and limited time on my hands, no thanks. Maybe some of the sequels fixes my complaints, but if this is one of the better entries in the series, then I'm good.


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