Tales of Arbitraria 2: Mistakes Were Made

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
Posted by ArbitraryWater (15519 posts) -

COURAGE IS THE MAGIC THAT TURNS DREAMS INTO REALITY

Top 10 Anime Betrayals
Top 10 Anime Betrayals

I wasn’t expecting things to go this way. Really. All I wanted was something to play with a controller after a repetitive stress injury in my right arm made playing Pillars of Eternity 2 (or anything else with mouse and keyboard) an actively painful experience. I figured, sure, why not try the bad sequel to Tales of Symphonia? Might as well put in a couple hours, get a basic grasp for why the fanbase hates it to death, and move on. But uh, as you might guess, that didn’t happen. For as much as I enjoyed Tales of Symphonia, it wasn’t so revelatory an experience that I’d feel the need to go on some sort of nightmarish journey through every other Tales game*. Sure, I was planning to eventually give Xillia, Vesperia, and Berseria (i.e. the ones I’ve heard generally positive things about) a shot, but the ones with more mixed/ambiguous reception like Graces F, Zestiria, and especially this one were going to be worth an optional glance at best. But, uh, around 30 hours of my life later, here I am. For once, my completion of this game wasn’t entirely the product of self-loathing and morbid curiosity. Tales of Symphonia 2 might be a bad game, but it’s bad and incompetent in the most fascinating of ways.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is a baffling thing. As the first direct sequel to another Tales game, specifically the first Tales game to get any sort of serious cult status over here in the west, it feels like a complete misstep (thus the part where mentioning it on the internet immediately draws the same kind of seething negativity normally reserved for the Star Wars prequels.) It feels like some people at Namco had some ideas for a JRPG, those ideas were tacked onto the idea of a Symphonia sequel, and then that sequel was given to a B-team to make something for the Wii (which, need I remind you, was still pretty hot shit in 2008) while the A-team worked on Vesperia (which came out a few months earlier.) That feels evident in the removal of any sort of overworld map, the number of recycled environments, a less visually striking art style, the somewhat floatier, less-responsive combat, and the inclusion of a Pokemon/SMT-esque monster taming mechanic, which I honestly think is one of those things that proves your JRPG sequel or spinoff has no interesting mechanical ideas. If I may be so bold, however, I don’t think those are really the biggest reasons why Tales of Symphonia 2 has the reputation that it does.

Controversial Opinion: I didn't mind the removal of an overworld. It meant I got through the game more quickly.
Controversial Opinion: I didn't mind the removal of an overworld. It meant I got through the game more quickly.

The closest direct analog I can think of is Final Fantasy X-2, which is not a flattering comparison unless you take delight in the suffering of certain Giant Bomb forum moderators. It’s a direct sequel in a JRPG series without many of them, and taking place after a fairly conclusive ending without a ton of dangling threads. However, while FF X-2 is well remembered for basically running roughshod through the characters, story, tone, and world of the previous game for the sake of making a quick buck and keeping Square afloat, Dawn of the New World comes off as doing the inverse. Rather than actively go out of its way to take a J-POP filled dump on the adventures of Lloyd and friends, the game is afraid of doing anything with those old characters or environments beyond remind the player (me) of a different game I finished a few months ago.

A large portion of Dawn of the New World’s runtime is devoted to our new (idiot) protagonists conveniently bumbling their way through most of the towns and dungeons of the first game for the most basic of reasons and bumping into various members of Symphonia’s main cast (sans Kratos) for what are essentially extended cameo appearances. It’s referential fan service of the least exciting degree, treating the original game with a level of undue reverence and disconnect that prevents this new one from doing anything interesting (or transgressive) with the returning cast and world. Lloyd and his friends have plenty of cumulative screen time, but very little of it is outside the context of their interactions with Emil, Marta, and Tenebrae (who I’ll get to) and reminders of their general state at the end of the last game. As someone who liked (most) of those characters quite a bit, some of those interactions still worked on me, and I was even happy to see the likes of Colette and Regal show up. This is all made even weirder by the notable absence of most of the original game’s English voice cast, which lends a certain bizarre tilt to all of this, as if they’ve been replaced by a bunch of adequately talented doppelgangers.

I can't really emphasize enough how much I hate (and love to hate) this little shit.
I can't really emphasize enough how much I hate (and love to hate) this little shit.

For a series that I’m to understand often hits and misses based on the strength of its ensemble casts, the surreal way this game treats its returning characters as static objects has the effect of firmly putting the burden of character development on the new dinguses who we’re supposed to like. I won’t dance around: Emil is a garbage boy with a split personality who spends most of the journey alternating between quivering meekness and violent sociopathy (I’d make a joke about cucks and alpha males here, but honestly I’m sort of exhausted with that kind of stuff right now) and Marta is the enthusiastic, adoring love interest whose affection for him starts to unintentionally resemble that of a battered spouse by the end. They’re the kind of bad, adolescent anime cliches that might survive as supporting characters in another, better written Tales game, but since they (alongside the shadow spirit Tenebrae, who is totally okay at his job of being stuffy, offering exposition, and making sardonic quips) are almost entirely in the spotlight, their dumb, bad relationship is given ample screen time to make you roll your eyes and wish you had more characters to play as. This is made even dumber as the original Symphonia cast starts to play a bigger role in the plot and the game desperately tries to integrate those two as “part of the gang.” It, uh, doesn’t work. It’s not the fault of the voice actors either. Johnny Young Bosch and Laura Bailey do their darndest to earn those paychecks by delivering those lines at maximum anime, but hot damn do they have nothing to work with.

Speaking of nothing to work with, Dawn of the New World has a story. It exists. Between the comparison to Final Fantasy X-2, the way returning characters and areas are paraded around for fan service, and the unfortunate main duo, you’d be right in assuming that the plot is both flimsy and profoundly stupid. I don’t need to spend too much time on it because it doesn’t matter beyond being a way to convey the characters from location to location. All you really need to know is that Emil and Marta spend half the game cursing Lloyd because they think he murdered a bunch of people (something any player over the age of 10 would immediately know he didn’t do), there’s some vague motions towards conflict between the worlds that were united at the end of the first game (but barely any of it is shown), MacGuffins are chased after and obtained, the villains are ineffectual and cartoonish, lost memories are revealed, the final boss is a well-intentioned extremist who wants to destroy the world because he’s sad, and of course, “Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality.” Really, I think that kind of sums it up. It’s the sort of inane, obvious JRPG nonsense phrase that probably sounds better in Japanese, and it’s repeated by the cast ad nauseum because there’s a little too much talking happening at all times.

Don't worry, dear reader. I'm not planning on returning to the heady days of 2013, where I started intentionally seeking bad video games to play for no good reason.
Don't worry, dear reader. I'm not planning on returning to the heady days of 2013, where I started intentionally seeking bad video games to play for no good reason.

It’s understandable if, given the words I’ve written, you’d assume I utterly hated my time with this game. Surprisingly? Not as much as you might think. For one, the combat is still alright despite being objectively worse than Symphonia and only giving you two characters to really develop and mess around with (the returning characters have locked equipment and don’t level up.) Emil eventually gets the ability to juggle foes in the air for absurdly long periods of time, and Marta’s easy, spammable multi-hit combos mean that you can abuse the generous bonus XP granted for high hit totals. The monster mechanics… are at least very low maintenance and can be shoved aside after a certain point. The incredibly linear pacing and lack of world map at least meant that I was never really bogged down. But more importantly, I hope I’ve conveyed how practically everything in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World feels like a catastrophic misstep or a downgrade. It’s a near-perfect confluence of mistakes that loops around from weird, bad sequel to “academic poster child for everything to not do in a video game sequel.” That’s not to say any sane person should actually play this, no. There are like a bajillion other Tales games one could likely play instead to scratch that itch, and I’m led to believe almost all of them are better than this one. But, buuuuut, as far as my intentional playthrough of a bad RPG for the year is concerned I don’t hate myself and the world around me like I did after Mass Effect Andromeda last year.

*This is not to say that a “I play all of the Tales Games” nightmare scenario/feature is something that couldn’t happen. I’ve watched almost all of the Fate/Stay Night anime series this year for no good reason, so I’m not above this kind of bad decision making. I think these games are pretty fun, and if this is the worst of them then I think I could theoretically tolerate something like Tales of the Abyss’ dipshit protagonist.

Random Endorsement:

This game makes me happy
This game makes me happy

So, in a totally different direction from this whole blog, I’d like to quickly talk about a game I’ve genuinely adored my time with. A Hat in Time is the throwback collectathon platformer that I wanted Yooka-Laylee to be. It’s admittedly a much tighter, smaller, and more structured game compared to the sprawling, directionless levels of Y-L, but what it loses in scope it makes up for in charm and variety. There are only 40 hourglasses (your star/jigsaw equivalent) but each of those hourglasses is behind an unique scenario or part of a platforming challenge hidden in one of the levels. It’s the kind of zero-bullshit, low-filler experience that didn’t insult my time and genuinely delivered on the promise of making an idealized, modernized representation of a type of game from my childhood, rather than (as Yooka-Laylee did) kinda just making a prettier version of a game from 1998. It also helps that the game has tight, responsive controls on top of how good it looks and sounds. Can't really recommend it enough.

Avatar image for slag
#1 Posted by Slag (8121 posts) -

Thanks for taking one for the team AW. I feel no desire to ever play this, so mission accomplished I guess.

I wonder what happened in the PS2 Era that onwards from then these cash grab fanservice phone it in sequels starting show up in JRPGs, like Dawn of a New World/X-2 etc I guess dev costs must have risen that much that they needed to find a way to cut corners.

Their presence alone is why i'd buy the argument that the PS1 era was the greatest for JRPGs. Even if your could argue about which had the greatest games, it's clear which era had more of the worst.

Arc the Lad: End of Darkness might outweigh 3 or 4 games by itself.

Hope your RSI is feeling better!

Avatar image for efesell
#2 Posted by Efesell (3976 posts) -

@slag: At least with X-2 I would argue that it's a pretty solidly made game mechanically. That battle system is great, the Job system is really fun and a good version of Vs. Unfortunately these elements have to share a game with an extremely polarizing tone and aesthetic. I think people also remember the tone and story of X being better than it actually is and that hurts too.

Got no defense for this game though this game does feel like they pulled 3 or 4 people to the side and told them to cash in on Symphonia as best they could while we make the actual sequel.

The PS1 has a lot of JRPG high points but it also has maybe the most bland filler as well. Might still prefer all the more ambitious missteps.

Avatar image for slag
#3 Posted by Slag (8121 posts) -

@efesell: I don't disagree about X-2 other than I think the recycled environments and bestiary were its biggest sins as opposed to the story/tone etc.

Yeah I certainly was more willing to tolerate bland filler in the PS1 era since I felt many of it was devs trying to figure out how to make games in 3d. Some succeeded, some failed. But in the Ps2 era, it was clear X-2 etc were always intended to be nothing other margin padders.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#4 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15519 posts) -

@slag: To be fair to Dawn of the New World for a sec, it came out in 2008 for a console that didn't have a ton of RPGs, which I feel like puts it more in the era of games like Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata, and Lost Odyssey than the encroaching complacency that you mention happening during the PS2's lifecycle.

As a former Nintendo kid, I can't personally comment too much on the progression of Japanese RPGs from the PS1 to the PS2 era, given the N64 and Gamecube's... general lack of them. I didn't get a PS2 until 2009, and that was mostly for the purposes of playing Persona 3 and 4. I eventually also enjoyed the heck out of Suikoden III, but that entire period is still something of a blank spot for me.

There's definitely a level of variety and ambition to a lot of those PS1 (and to a lesser extent PS2) JRPGs that I'd like to take a look at... if it was 5 years ago and I had more free time on my hands. I still mean to give something like Vagrant Story or Suikoden II a shot, and I still have that fancy pants Zodiac version of Final Fantasy XII hanging around, so I'm not totally done, but I think I'm okay never playing more Chrono Cross or Legend of Dragoon, for example.

As for my arm, it's still a little messed up, so I haven't earnestly resumed most of my PC gaming yet. I've been playing stuff in short bursts, but the thing with me and RPGs like Pillars of Eternity is that "short bursts" aren't really part of the attraction.

Avatar image for slag
#5 Posted by Slag (8121 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: Yeah I just meant the PS2 era is where these blatant cash grab JRPG games (kinda Disney direct 2 video sequels) first started showing up. Or at least when I first noticed them.

My personal take is that the golden age of JRPGs isn't necessarily confined to one era, it probably began in the SNES era, peaked in PS1 and ended sometime in the PS2 era. There have certainly been amazing and better games since, but the genre doesn't quite dominate popular imagination like it once did.

Certainly understand the free time issue, every adult gamer has it. I certainly do. When you are a kid you have the time but no money, as an adult it's in the inverse. I'd probably choose Vagrant Story out of the 3 you mentioned, if you do get around to it. It's short (20-40 hrs) and perhaps the most unique.

Yeah I can see how that'd be a problem. Personally I like to play in 3-4 hr blocks or basically not at all with single player games, so I feel ya. Hopefully you can root out whatever the source of the problem is, as these types of injuries tend to be nagging.

Avatar image for generic_username
#6 Edited by generic_username (941 posts) -

You summed this game up pretty nicely.

Emil's motivation for hating Lloyd being complete bullshit really, really turned me off to the game immediately though. I mean, a lot of people hate Lloyd in the real world, so maybe it didn't bother those people as much, but it's painfully obvious Lloyd wouldn't burn down and murder an entire village for no reason, so following around Emil as he whines about how Lloyd is evil is just the most obnoxious thing.

Avatar image for redhotchilimist
#7 Edited by Redhotchilimist (2834 posts) -

Dawn of the new world turned me off really hard. I think Emil, within ten minutes of the game starting, has flashbacks to what the villain said five minutes ago. It's one of those.

I played until I ran into Lloyd as a boss fight, who devastated me in one move with some kinda Tempest variant. At that point I figured it couldn't get any better than this and turned it off. Seemed reasonable that my level 90 Lloyd should kick this kid's ass there and then and be done with it.

Avatar image for zeik
#8 Posted by Zeik (5170 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: I can kinda respect your willingness to play trash games like this just to see why they are trash, but you're telling me you haven't played Suikoden 2, one of the best JRPGs of all time, and you still chose this? Priorities man!

Online
Avatar image for efesell
#9 Posted by Efesell (3976 posts) -

Suikoden 2 has such a weird script now that I didn't notice way back when.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#10 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15519 posts) -
@zeik said:

@arbitrarywater: I can kinda respect your willingness to play trash games like this just to see why they are trash, but you're telling me you haven't played Suikoden 2, one of the best JRPGs of all time, and you still chose this? Priorities man!

Turns out quoting is slightly broken, because the text editor ate what I was going to write to you. Ah well. I can paraphrase it.

My priorities during backlog time are pretty weird and sometimes straight-up terrible. I literally played some Resident Evil 6 today with my brother-in-law because we ran out of good Halo games to play cooperatively, and it was something I had with split-screen co-op. Like, I'm one of those monsters who kinda likes how much of a flaming trainwreck RE6 is, but that's not a good excuse to inflict it upon a relative.

It's a pity too, because I bet I'd love the hell out of Suikoden 2 if I was in the right mood for it. My hang-up is probably a vague desire to play the first Suikoden, but I have to admit the hour or so I played of it like 3 years ago wasn't especially inspiring, and I got distracted by something else. There isn't a whole lot else coming out this year that I'm interested in though, so I think there's a fairly decent chance I'll at least give one of the games I mentioned to Slag a shot before 2018 is through... assuming I don't just drive myself into the ground by playing more Tales games.

@generic_username: The best part is that's the driving impetus for the plot for a little more than half the game. Emil hates Lloyd, chases Lloyd, runs into other Symphonia people who tell him he's wrong, he befriends them, rinse and repeat.

@redhotchilimist Yeah, yep. You made the right choice there.

Avatar image for zeik
#11 Posted by Zeik (5170 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: If it helps motivate you, Suikoden 1 is really quite short. (I can complete it in like 10 hours. Probably 15-20 for an average playthrough.) And Suikoden 2 isn't significantly longer. (25-30 hours or so.)

Suikoden 1 is pretty rough compared to Suikoden 2, especially these days, but I still think it's a pretty solid RPG overall. There are plenty of noteworthy RPGs out there that hold up worse.

Online
Avatar image for vortextk
#12 Posted by Vortextk (807 posts) -

My priorities during backlog time are pretty weird and sometimes straight-up terrible. I literally played some Resident Evil 6 today with my brother-in-law because we ran out of good Halo games to play cooperatively, and it was something I had with split-screen co-op.

Aw man I LOVE shitty backlog games to play sometimes. I have a ps3 in the bedroom for blu-rays/streaming and everything else out in the living room. So what do I load up in there when the main tv with pc/ps4 are taken? The classic GOTY contender Knight's Contract that I bought used for $5 of course. Could I be playing my never played(but used) copy of ni no kuni or replaying demon's souls or...honestly a lot of my ps3 library is on pc/remastered already but you get the point I have better games to play, BUT WHY DO THAT?

This Tales game sounds real bad. A long time ago on the ps2 I wanted to play all the tales games, starting with the ones on ps1. In classic giantbomb style I'm not going to look it up, wasn't there one on snes? Maybe fan translated, that I did play? Anyway, I got like 1 game into the ps1 tales, never came back until Berseria. Just a jrpg series that I mostly missed through out the years though my friends raved about the first symphonia in high school. Alas.

Avatar image for efesell
#13 Posted by Efesell (3976 posts) -

@vortextk: Tales Debut'd on the SNES with Phantasia which was such a late cycle SNES game that it looked better than some early PS1 games did. Had very small sections of voice work too.

Definitely would have been (questionably) fan translated if you played way back when.

Avatar image for doughnutwarlord
#14 Posted by doughnutwarlord (19 posts) -

I just bought Tales of Symphonia on the Steam sale, so I after I play that, I could theoretically play this if my interest is piqued enough... that probably won’t happen though.

I’ve never done much of the “deliberately playing bad/questionable games” thing, although it’s always interested me a little. I always get to thinking of the million other actually good games I could play and lose interest in that idea, though I imagine you gain more of an appreciation for the really good stuff when you go out of your way to see the not-so-good stuff.

Avatar image for gundamguru
#15 Posted by GundamGuru (786 posts) -

Sure, I was planning to eventually give Xillia, Vesperia, and Berseria (i.e. the ones I’ve heard generally positive things about) a shot, but the ones with more mixed/ambiguous reception like Graces F, Zestiria, and especially this one were going to be worth an optional glance at best.

For what it's worth, I enjoyed my time with Graces F (and I cleared almost the entire game before my PS3 died), but the cast is definitely one of the game's weakest points. It's not awful overall, though. I remember liking the combat, worldbuilding, and overall plot well enough. And some of the minor characters were alright, if I recall (it's been quite a while since I played it).

There's definitely a level of variety and ambition to a lot of those PS1 (and to a lesser extent PS2) JRPGs that I'd like to take a look at... if it was 5 years ago and I had more free time on my hands. I still mean to give something like Vagrant Story or Suikoden II a shot, and I still have that fancy pants Zodiac version of Final Fantasy XII hanging around, so I'm not totally done, but I think I'm okay never playing more Chrono Cross or Legend of Dragoon, for example.

That's too bad about Legend of the Dragoon. It's one of my favorites from the PS1 era, so much so I replay it every few years. I've got a lot of nostalgia for it, though. It's gotten harder to go back to since the combat is so latency-sensitive. It's pretty rough running emulated on a PS3 through my entire home theater setup.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#16 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15519 posts) -

@zeik: Yeah, I hear Suikoden 1 is really short by PS1 JRPG standards, so I could see myself powering through it, much in the same way I powered through the high-quality product this blog is about. I've traditionally had a much lower tolerance for and staying power with Japanese RPGs than with their western counterparts, and even though I'm all into anime 'n shit now and played two Tales games over the course of a few months, I can't imagine that my general distaste for aggressively frequent random encounters or lengthy, unskippable spell animations has gone away. It's what killed my playthrough of Suikoden IV before it even began!

@vortextk:I don't quite have the willpower or acute self-loathing to actively seek out garbage video games like I used to (I wasn't in a great place in 2013, which I feel was probably reflected in me paying literal, actual money for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.) but I'll still embrace the darkness every now and then to sate my morbid curiosity. Sometimes I've been genuinely surprised, but when you get to stuff with the kind of dire reputation that this game has, it's mostly a question of degrees. Mass Effect Andromeda was the big one for last year, and I don't foresee myself playing something this year that's worse than this. Nothing will compare to Bound by Flame though.

@doughnutwarlord: Symphonia is a lot of fun, just be ready for it to be a bit of a slog and have a couple of quirks that remind you it's from 2004 (also I guess the PC port is a bit of a dumpster fire, but I believe there are some DSfix-like solutions to fix the most egregious issues.) I should state unequivocally that you probably shouldn't play its sequel. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you can sometimes learn more from bad pieces of media than you can from good, but you can get a pretty clear picture of everything that's wrong with Dawn of the New World by around the end of Chapter 3. Like, as a whole, I think it's a lot more baffling than it is miserable, and the plot goes full stupid near the end, but I was already writing this blog in my head by the 5 hour mark.

@gundamguru: The general reaction I see about Graces F seems to have a lot to do with how much the person in question values characters and storytelling, because I've heard it has excellent, really tight combat but a really dull, archetype-heavy cast. I'll probably at least give it a shot if it goes up on sale on PSN again, which I think is probably more than can be said for Zestiria. It sounds competent by all means, but the things I've heard about the equipment system sound like the most ass-backward stuff imaginable, and even the people who like it seem pretty milquetoast in their praise.

Me singling out Legend of Dragoon was less about that game in particular than it was me mentioning something offhand that I had on my PS3. I've heard fond things about that game (which is why I bought it on sale in the first place) but I just don't think I quite have the patience to deal with the kind of 4-disk, dubiously-translated, ponderous monstrosity that Legend of Dragoon represents. Feel free to substitute any of the PS1 Final Fantasy games in that sentence too, because heaven knows ZombiePie's griping about them has successfully persuaded me to never give them the time of day.

Avatar image for zeik
#17 Edited by Zeik (5170 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: Suikoden 4 is especially notorious in that regard. Suikoden 1 and 2's combat is really quite fast by comparison to most JRPGs. Animations are generally quick and to the point, most encounters don't last more than like 20-30 seconds, especially when you can auto battle, and once you're strong enough you can just "let go" enemies for a guranteed escape.

You said you played and enjoyed Suikoden 3, and that game's combat is significantly slower paced than 1 or 2.

They're a bit on the easy side, which is part of the reason why, and something some people would consider a flaw, but Suikoden 1 and especially 2 have maybe some of the best combat pacing for a turn based JRPG I can think of. Certainly for the era at least.

Online
Avatar image for efesell
#18 Posted by Efesell (3976 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: Tales of Graces F is aggressively 'Okay' in basically every category which means that it's largely just a really uninteresting game. Zestiria is mostly fine but it's very similar to Berseria in many ways which is just a much better game that overshadows it now completely.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#19 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15519 posts) -

@zeik: I do remember thinking Suikoden III was on the far end of what I considered acceptable in terms of random battle speed, so I guess it's good that the earlier games are faster. I'm kinda torn on difficulty, inasmuch as I like to be challenged and forced to take advantage of a game's mechanics... but also I'm totally okay with breezing through if the mechanics aren't all that interesting.

@efesell said:

@arbitrarywater: Tales of Graces F is aggressively 'Okay' in basically every category which means that it's largely just a really uninteresting game. Zestiria is mostly fine but it's very similar to Berseria in many ways which is just a much better game that overshadows it now completely.

Aggressively okay? Mostly fine? Sign me up! I think I'm probably going to end up playing Xillia next, though I also think I might to take a bit of a break from Tales games, lest I burn myself out on a series that seems based around delivering a handful of different takes on a very rigid core set of ideas.

Avatar image for solh0und
#20 Posted by Solh0und (2166 posts) -

Thanks for jumping on the grenade. I'm STILL trying to find the willpower to play more than a hour of my copy of Valkryia Revolution.

Avatar image for chibi_kaji
#21 Edited by Chibi_Kaji (189 posts) -

Dawn of the New World was such a let down. iirc I made it as far as Colette and just stop playing. Think I just went back to Vesperia and started up a new game.

The Xillia games are pretty enjoyable. I'd recommend taking a long break between playing 1 and 2. Xillia 2 reuses a good deal of content(monsters/Areas) from the first game, although there is a decent amount of new monsters and areas as well. Still I think story and combat are more enjoyable in 2. It was also fun to meet up with the old cast members after the events in the first game. It's kind of what I wanted from ToS 2.

@arbitrarywater said:

@doughnutwarlord: Symphonia is a lot of fun, just be ready for it to be a bit of a slog and have a couple of quirks that remind you it's from 2004 (also I guess the PC port is a bit of a dumpster fire, but I believe there are some DSfix-like solutions to fix the most egregious issues.) I should state unequivocally that you probably shouldn't play its sequel. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you can sometimes learn more from bad pieces of media than you can from good, but you can get a pretty clear picture of everything that's wrong with Dawn of the New World by around the end of Chapter 3. Like, as a whole, I think it's a lot more baffling than it is miserable, and the plot goes full stupid near the end, but I was already writing this blog in my head by the 5 hour mark.

Actually the PC port of ToS is running pretty ok at this point. But I'd still recommend installing DSfix for the cut scenes though.

They didn't even bother porting Dawn of the New World over to Steam. Not really sure what the reasoning was, but I didn't care enough to look into it.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#22 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15519 posts) -

@solh0und: You just reminded me that Valkyria Revolution is not only a video game that exists, but one that came out last year. You don't see many games that were as aggressively unwanted as that one by both fans of Valkyira Chronicles and JRPGs at large. At least Sega did a make good by announcing a real Valkyria Chronicles 4, but for a while I was sure Revolution was going to be the final nail in the series' coffin.

@chibi_kaji: Yeah, I've heard Xillia 2 is pretty heavy with its asset and environment recycling, so I can't imagine going straight into it after spending 40+ hours with the first one. I've heard kinda mixed things about it as a sequel, but I figure that'll be a bridge I can cross if/when I get there. In any case, it sounds like they at least treat the returning cast of Xillia 1 better than Dawn of the New World treats Symphonia's cast.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.