Soundtrack Central The best classic game music and more

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avatar! Oct 9, 2013

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is coming out soon. Apparently it's an HD remake of the PS2 games, which are ports of the GameCube games (this game must have a bit of Final Fantasy syndrome in it). I thought it might be interesting, and although I'm not a huge JRPG fan, I won't deny that some JRPGs are a pleasure to play. So, I looked it at, and found it it's one of 14 or so games in the series! Sheesh. That said, those of you that play Tales etc, please let me know your thoughts. Are there any particular games in the series that are worth playing? Is combat turn-based, random encounter, etc? Also, unless you want to, please feel free to ignore any games in the series except for the more recent ones (ie ones that can be purchased fairly easily). Also, how's the music?

Ashley Winchester Oct 9, 2013 (edited Oct 9, 2013)

I'm kind of annoyed by the release of Tales of Symphonia Chronicles. Before the holiday last year I purchased a copy of the Gamecube original and it alone pretty much ran me what this would. Still, as a collector I guess like having the original...

However, despite buying the game last year I haven't gotten around to playing it yet. My friends had this back when the Cube was kickin' and it seemed pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I already know some of the major twists because of that. Like who is... (rest omitted)

I guess I was attracted to the game because back in the Gamecube era Symphonia was a pretty big release... it sold enough to reach the Player's Choice plateau. These days however am kind of sick of how many damn Tales games there seem to be anymore... it's like they grow on trees. That's really a side effect of the state RPG's find themselves in though, as only certain companies produce them and are able to make a profit on them. Kind of wish we were back in the PS1 days when everyone was making them but at the same time I have to admit I'm still kind of burned out when it comes to JRPGs. Because of that (and that I still haven't played Symphonia) I don't pay attention to Tales games. If I ever get around to the one I have maybe I will...

As for the music... correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't this one done by Sakuraba? Or at least partly done by him? Also, if I remember correctly I think there are two renditions of the soundtrack as well but I don't think either is common. Hopefully someone with more knowledge can fill us in.


Also, I think the combat is in the vein of the Star Ocean games, right?

Amazingu Oct 9, 2013

Yeah, it's a very long running series (I'm inclined to say "are there ONLY 14?") and there's a lot of variation in the quality of each game, despite the fact that not a whole lot seems to change every time.

That said, there's a bunch of really good ones: if you only look at the most recent ones, Vesperia is very very good (one of the best) and I really liked Xillia as well.
Symphonia is also generally regarded as one of the best games in the series, although the sequel seems to be a disappointment (I haven't played the sequel and only played a bit of the first game, which did seem nice). I hear Tales of Graces F (on PS3) is quite good too, but the Wii original sucks.

As for the old ones, Phantasia is pretty good (now also on iPhone with microtransactions! yay!) but if you're going to play Destiny (the very first one), you'd do better to get the PS2 remake, which is quite good. Also get the sequel while you're at it, because it's even better.
Abyss is another one I've never played but that's supposedly one of the better ones, and the 3DS port is apparently worth the while.

Rebirth was kinda boring and Eternia looked really nice but felt too frustrating for me.
Legendia I've never played, but it has the best soundtrack if you ask me.

And then there's a bunch of portable ones I've never really played...

Wanderer Oct 10, 2013 (edited Oct 10, 2013)

I've played most of the games in the series and will comment on them in order of release:

Phantasia: Played about a third of this one. It was a technical marvel around the time it was released for the SNES but hasn't dated terribly well. Still fun, though.

Destiny: Phantasia's big PSX brother. The only thing I really remember about this game is that the story was really trite. Battle system is very similar to Phantasia's so if you liked it, you'll probably like Destiny's.

Eternia/Destiny 2 in America: Like Destiny, only longer and prettier. Again, story and characters not much to speak of but the music is probably the best of the series and the battles remain a blast. Of the three 2D battle-system games, this one is the best.

Destiny 2: Haven't played, Japan-only.

Symphonia: For the RPG-starved Gamecube, this game was a breath of fresh air. Characters are JRPG archetypes but entertaining enough and the rest of the game has held up well (probably even better with the remake coming out). Recommended.

Symphonia: Dawn of the New World: I made it about a third into this before barfing. It's absolute trash, with two of the most annoying "heroes" in a JRPG. The story isn't much better. Worse, everything else is a lazy regurgitation of the first game, as you'd expect, from towns to music. Avoid like the plague.

Rebirth: Haven't played, Japan-only. I hear it's terrible, with the worst story in the series (and that's saying something).

Legendia: Didn't play much of this one. Found the battle system sluggish and the story really, really dull. Music's great though, the only game not composed by Sakuraba.

Abyss: Probably my favorite Tales game, if you can get on board with the (deliberate) obnoxiousness of the main character, there's a lot to love here. There's actual, reasonable character development in this game and for a JRPG, the plot is surprisingly in-depth and credible. There's a lot of backtracking later on but I was held in the story's grasp by that point and didn't mind. Battles are great, music is decent. Definitely a must-play.

Innocence: Japan and DS only. I played a bit of this. It's pretty awful.

Vesperia: Probably the best JRPG released on the 360, this is a really solid game. The main lead is refreshingly original, the rest of the characters a lot of fun and while the plot isn't terribly original, it gets the job gone. The game also looks gorgeous and has a terrific and challenging battle system. Recommended.

Hearts: DS, Japan only. Haven't played. Heard it's okay.

Graces f: I managed to beat this game, god knows how. It has one of the worst plots in a JRPG with stupifyingly dumb characters. You'll want to smack the lead every time he opens his mouth and most everyone else isn't much better. It's not a good sign when the characters are more tolerable in the children segments (you start the game in earlier times) than they are as adults. A lot of people claim the detailed battle system makes up for a lot of sins and it does at first but the game goes on forever and what was once original becomes stale the longer you try to tolerate the things the characters are saying.

Xillia: Haven't played yet. Was too burnt out on Graces.

The music in the series gets progressively worse with each game, Sakuraba on auto-pilot (as he's been for years now). He reportedly doesn't get much time to write the music and it really shows. I've heard Xillia is more inspired but haven't heard for myself yet.

TerraEpon Oct 11, 2013

Phantasia PSX is a lot less dated than the SFam one. There's a complete translation patch for it, too. Most fans consider it the definitive version./

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