Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Review
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Namco 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Namco 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 13, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Tales of Symphonia (ToS) was a magical experience for many Gamecube owners. An epic gameplay offering and collection of characters who were easy to fall in love with, along with a battle system that defined “action-RPG,” made Symphonia a tale destined to leave its mark on many. With Dawn of the New World, fans get a chance to go back to the now-reunited worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe’alla and experience an all-new adventure on Wii.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World screenshot

The story in New World takes place about two years after the events of the first game, and though each of the main characters from the original Symphonia play a somewhat integral role here, it’s Emil and Marta who take center stage. Emil is a young boy from Palmacosta who, after witnessing the death of his parents at the hand of Lloyd Irving, is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Luin. He eventually meets up with Marta, a girl on the run from the newly formed Vanguard (a group of Sylvaranti rebels fighting against the now “oppressive” Tethe’allan regime), and Emil ultimately makes a pact to protect Marta with his life.

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Gone are the Summon Spirits (well, not entirely) of the first game. New World takes a slightly different approach, one that allows you to recruit monsters to aid you in battle. Yup, that’s right. However, don’t concern yourself too much with the notion that Tales has gone Pokémon. Though there are quite a few elements lifted right out of both Pokémon and Dragon Quest Monsters, New World still plays very much as a Tales game, and your characters remain the driving force in battle.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World screenshot

In lieu of Summon Spirits, the game introduces new powers called the Centurions. Like the Summon Spirits, however, the Centurions are aligned with the elements of the world, and each oversees a specific aspect of it. When you meet Marta, she is accompanied by Tenebrae, the Centurion of Darkness. You play as Emil, and both Marta and Tenebrae will journey with you throughout the game. The adventure will take you back to many of the old haunts from the first game, though a lot has been added to make the experience feel new.

New World is an action-RPG, and if you haven’t played the first game, well, here’s the scoop: When traveling throughout dungeons, monsters will patrol various areas; if you run into one or one runs into you, you’ll enter battle. When you’re moving about dungeons or towns, you only have control over one character, but during battles, up to four people can play together.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World screenshot

You’ll have the option of setting characters to Auto (completely A.I. controlled), Semi-Auto (some functions, such as guarding, are done automatically) or Manual. Like the first ToS, battlefields are three-dimensional, though you’ll move along a 2D plane. However, borrowing from Tales of the Abyss, New World has added the Free Roam ability, which allows you to move in any direction while holding down the Z button (which also acts as the guard button when not moving the analog stick).

Combat is pretty straight-forward, but like the last game, there’s plenty of room to add depth to the experience. You’ll use both the Wii-mote and Nunchuk, and basic attacks are performed by pressing the A button. Most moves and attacks are mapped the same as they were in the last game, and Techs, now known as Artes (also lifted from Abyss), are executed using the B button and control stick. You can set shortcuts with the D-pad and jump by pressing up on the control stick.

Screenshots / Images
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