Revisiting Sylvarant and Tethe’alla…and Spira
Posted by Doug on October 30, 2008
With a sequel on the horizon, I decided to play through Tales of Symphonia on the ol’ GameCube a few times. This is a game that surprised me—as a diehard Final Fantasy fan, i believed no other series could deliver the RPG goodness like Squenix’s flagship series could. And I was wrong.
Tales of Symphonia shares a lot in common with Final Fantasy X, which was released a couple years before. In both, a girl (Colette/Yuna) goes on a quest to save the world according to the beliefs ingrained by the local religious organizations (Church of Martel/Yevon), a task that would result in her death. Both are accompanied by a badass swordsman (Kratos/Auron) and an older-sister type (Raine/Lulu). Both are romantically entangled with the male lead (Lloyd/Tidus). The male lead’s sidekick carries a goofy weapon (Genis and his kodama/Wakka and his blitzballs). In both, they are eventually joined by a roguish young woman who is considerably cooler than anybody else, and hails from a distinctive culture (Sheena/Rikku). In both, the heroes decide not to go through with the false path that had been presented to them, and instead kick reason to the curb and do the impossible, and save the world(s) and the girl, too.
Opposing religious dogma is a theme in both; indeed, had the heroes followed the instructions their priests and pastors had given them, Colette and Yuna would be dead and their worlds would still fight for a limited supply of mana/be harassed by a gigantic sea-monster suck. There might be a moral there, but, really, who plays video games for their morals?
The cel-shaded look and more likeable characters really made Tales of Symphonia stand out to me, and I’m having a blast replaying it, and looking forward to Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World to come stateside.
Another similarity: both games have a direct sequel that picks up two years after the finale of the first game. Hmmm…