Dice, give it to me straight here.... I need your honest answer, being the tales girl.Phantasia
While I'm sort of considering going backsies on my "waiting on symphonia" stance, I still know there are way too many tales games i want to get to.
I'm sort of just falling prey to the new release excitement, and as I expressed weeks ago here I really want to get to Eternia, Destiny and Phantasia.
So my question to you specifically, although I would love anyone elses input as well, is which out of those 4 (Eternia, Destiny, Phantasia and Symphonia HD) would you suggest looking into first. I really love old hand drawn art and spritework which is part of the reason I was/am leaning toward Eternia, Destiny or Phantasia but am also feeling REALLY compelled at the moment to just say screw it and check out Symphonia.
I know you (Dice) have mentioned Eternia as your unsuspected favorite and that really sways me. But I am curious how you feel it holds up to or trumps the others.
EDIT: I must say part of the Symphonia appeal to me is superficial. I didn't know you get costumes for having Xilia and Graces save data. I love costumes... this may be a decieving my senses a bit and luring me into the wrong choice...
is cute, sweet, and like the "classic film" of JRPGs. The music and graphics [were] ahead of its time, and it was probably the first game to include a pop opening ...on the SNES (check it out, it's darling
). Problem is, the US releases have been poorly handled. There IS a free download available for the iOS, but it's a bit of a mixed bag with reported crashes, a leader board for some reason, and an always-online requirement (you get what you pay for?). I'd recommend either find "other means" of playing it on computer (and with a 'speed up' button that takes away how boring the combat kind of is). Alternatively there is an OVA if you just want to watch that (it's ok), or the PSX version (translated) which is pretty decent. I recommend it in that you know what you're expecting. It was made for the SNES and it's probably the vibe you'll get. It's good, but I honestly think if time is of the essence there are better options worth your while. Destiny
I can't really vouch for because I actually haven't beaten it (*GASP* -- I know, right?). It was my first Tales title anyways (I rented and rented, but couldn't beat it on time). It's pretty good and has everything you'd have loved in PSX-era JRPGs that weren't part of that high-caliber that SquareSoft was pumping out. ToD and ToP(PSX) are very similar to each other. The characters and dialogue are wonderful (Stahn is one of my favorite Tales heroes for being amusing as hell), but the battles are really sluggish and the random encounter rate is stupidly high (worst of all the game has you do puzzles while fighting battles; it's like punishing you for screwing up a puzzle because you gotta back track). I kinda recommend it, problem is that the vaaaastly superior Tales of Destiny R exists with a battle system that introduced the famous "CC" counter that Graces used (and some actually prefer ToD's version to ToG). A group is translating the PS2 Destiny, but they also work at a snails pace and of course it's not easy setting up translated PS2 games.Eternia
is a personal favourite of the "older games" and probably my favorite of the early lot. It's on the PSP too, so that makes things a lot easier and limits all disc-swapping from the PSX version. The voice acting and characters are faaaar from ideal; however I find the plot interesting and the battle system is a lot of fun. The game sports really lovely hand drawn backgrounds
to make every place you visit unique and full of life and colour. Furthermore, the spell casting system is probably the most unique in the series asking that you to either combine or divide up summon spirits to create (or limit) certain spell sets. Finally, the overworld is amazing and did the "two worlds" concept better than Xillia (which isn't hard to do) but maybe even more effectively than Symphonia does to some extent. Both worlds have a ton worth exploring and the before end-game sidequests give you a lot more mileage out of the game. I fully recommend Eternia, especially if you're a sucker for PSX-era RPGs. If you go the PSP route, just be warned of the "Volt Glitch". But if it happens, I can help you out.
Plus, you get to play Uno.Symphonia
is the first of the more "modern" styled Tales. Yeah, primarily because it's 3D, but also they sort of just....feel similar with how they handle the plot and characters. This also introduces where Tales started to really milk its characters and do a fucking great job at it. It's hard to hate *any* cast member and all of them are interesting. I also found, personally speaking, the game had the best skits (which isn't hard when you hero is an idiot, the main girl is a sweet ditz, your best buddy is a sarcastic brat, and your professor hates water and literally goes crazy over antiques). The plot gets a bit muddy by the end, but the battle system is a lot of fun and surprisingly deep. On a more somber note, this is probably the last Tales title that really showed its dungeons some love. Each dungeon is brilliant and carefully thought out practically creating a "Zelda RPG" in that most places you visit (though not all) usually requires more than a little brain power to get through (the antithesis of what Xillia offered). Also it has "nostalgia" in the best ways. Whereas Final Fantasy 13 starts you off on a crazy runaway train in some city in the hole of the moon, Symphonia starts you in that small village, then your next stop is the mandatory "desert town". It's a classic for good reason, I think. And it (on its own) is only $20 off the PSN network.
If you loved Vesperia, you will mostly likely love Symphonia.
Go with Symphonia (for console) or Eternia (for handheld).
Or lemme know if you have maybe more specific questions
Bah. I really don't have the heart to switch to the Japanese voices, but they liven skits up nicely.Are the skits not voiced in English?
Nope, JP only.
I'm guessing it would have been waay too much effort and money to get the original cast back together. But many if they did I probably would have shelled out the full $60 tag for it (the Dawn of the New World "replacement cast" was like a bad joke).