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Tales Of Symphonia 2 Best Titles For Essays

The PC games of 2017 mega-preview

By RPS on December 31st, 2016 at 3:00 pm

As Old Father Time grabs his sickle and prepares to take ailing 2016 around the back of the barn for a big sleep, we’re looking to the future. The mewling pup that goes by the name 2017 will come into the world soon and we must prepare ourselves for its arrival. Here at RPS, our preparations come in the form of this enormous preview feature, which contains details on more than a hundred of the exciting games that are coming our way over the next twelve months. 2016 was a good one – in the world of games at least – but, ever the optimists, we’re hoping next year will be even better.

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A Hat in Time, A House of Many Doors, Aaero, Absolver, Agents of Mayhem, Agony, Aquanox: Deep Descent, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, Aven Colony, Battalion 1944, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, Birthdays the Beginning, Bulletstorm, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, Call of Cthulhu, Chuchel, Conan Exiles, Conarium, Constructor HD, Crackdown 3, Cuphead, Dauntless, Death's Gambit, Disgaea 2, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Dreadnought, Echo, ELEX, Expeditions: Viking, feature, Finding Paradise, For Honor, Frostpunk, Frozen Synapse 2, Full Throttle Remastered, Future Unfolding, Get Even, Gorogoa, Halo Wars 2, Hand of Fate 2, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Hello Neighbor!, Hiveswap, Impact Winter, Iron Harvest, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Kingdoms and Castles, Knights And Bikes, LEGO City Undercover, LEGO Worlds, Little Nightmares, Loot Rascals, Lords of the Fallen 2, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, Mass Effect Andromeda, Megaton Rainfall, Memoranda, Metal Gear Survive, Mosaic, Nidhogg 2, NieR: Automata, Night in the Woods, Nights of Azure, Nine Parchments, Octogeddon, Outcast - Second Contact, Outlast 2, Overkill's The Walking Dead, Overland, Overload, Oxygen Not Included, Phantom Dust, Prey, Project Sonic 2017, Pyre, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Rise & Shine, Routine, RPS 2017 preview, Scalebound, Sea of Thieves, Shadowhand, Shenmue III, Snake Pass, Sniper Elite 4, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, Sonic Forces, Sonic Mania, South Park: The Fractured but Whole, SpellForce 3, Star Citizen, Star Control: Origins, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, State of Decay 2, Strafe, Styx: Shards of Darkness, Sudden Strike 4, Sundered, Syberia III, Tacoma, Tales of Berseria, Tekken 7, Tether, The Bard's Tale IV, The Church in Darkness, The Escapists 2, The Guild 3, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd, The Pillars of the Earth, The Sexy Brutale, The Signal From Tölva, The Wardrobe, The Wild EIght, Them's Fighting Herds, Thimbleweed Park, ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove, Tokyo 42, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Urban Empire, Vampyr, Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War III, What Remains of Edith Finch, Xenonauts 2, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, Yooka-Laylee, Zero Escape: The Nonary Games, .

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Video Game / Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Tales of Symphonia: Knight of Ratatosk in Japan) is a spin-off sequel to Tales of Symphonia, released in 2008.The game takes place two years after the end of the original, and things did not turn as well as our heroes had hoped. When the two worlds of Tethe'alla and Sylvarant were merged into one, it invalidated every existing map and threw the climate of the new world into chaos. Furthermore, tension is stirring between the two civilisations: the people of Tethe'alla look down upon the less-advanced people of Sylvarant, to the point where a group of Sylvaranti calling themselves "The Vanguard" have begun a campaign of military resistance against the Tethe'allan Church of Martel.Emil Castagnier is a timid and ostracised boy whose parents were killed in the "Blood Purge" of Palmacosta, an attack by the Church of Martel that was apparently led by Symphonia protagonist Lloyd Irving. While the other kids in his town revere Lloyd as a hero who saved the world, Emil despises him and wishes he had the strength to avenge his parents.One day, he meets and befriends two people: an enigmatic Vanguard warrior named Richter Abend, and an Action Girl called Marta Lualdi. Marta is being hunted by the Vanguard due to the Plot Coupon embedded in her forehead, which contains the dormant Summon Spirit Ratatosk. Determined to protect her, Emil makes a pact to become a Knight of Ratatosk, allowing him to use a fraction of the Summon Spirit's power in battle but awakening a much more dangerous and ruthless side of his personality in the process.The slumber of Ratatosk is the cause of much of the chaos in the new world, as his presence interferes with that of the new World Tree created at the end of Tales of Symphonia. Thus, Emil sets out with Marta to awaken the other slumbering servants of Ratatosk and in turn awaken the Summon Spirit himself, whilst protecting her from the pursuing Vanguard and seeking his vengeance against Lloyd.Dawn of the New World plays a lot differently than its predecessor. The player only has Emil and Marta as permanent members of the party, and over the course of the game they meet and join up with the other heroes of the first game, who are in various stages of disbelief about the situation with Lloyd. To fill out the roster between them, Emil is able to defeat and recruit any regular monster in the game. Cooking is used in the game to power up the monster beyond the usual leveling, and can also evolve them into their different variations. Gathering monsters also helps Emil become stronger as more of the Centurions' cores are awakened.An HD collection of this game plus the original Tales of Symphonia, titled Tales of Symphonia: Chronicles (or Tales of Symphonia: Unisonant Pack in Japan) was released for the PS3 in 2014. Both games can also be bought separately off the PlayStation Network.

This game provided examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: This happens to doggie...er... Tenebie...er... Tenebrae. He eventually accepts being called Tenebie.note In the literal worst case, he gets named Paw Pad (by Presea)
  • Accidental Pervert:
    • Lloyd gets stuck with this role again, when Genis (jokingly) accuses Lloyd of wanting to have an affair with a married woman. All of the previous game's possible love interests scold him while Marta eggs him on.
    • And when the party visit the hot springs, the same thing as last time happens when the girls bathe: Lloyd tries to stop Zelos from peeping, but Lloyd is the one who is caught and blamed.
    • When it's the boys' turn to bathe, Marta puts Emil in a similar situation, causing him to bond with Lloyd over the sorrow of being members of the Accidental Peeping Toms club.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Alice and Decus's scene. By that point in the game, the player is most likely wanting to really rearrange their faces with Emil and Marta... and the two wind up dying holding each others' hands.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Referenced and partially deconstructed in the hot springs segment. Marta tries to trick the party into thinking that the hot springs were closed so that she could be alone with Emil in the men's spring. Her plan fails and the two of them are caught by the rest of the party. Naturally, everyone blames Emil and assumes it was his doing, even after Marta admits the whole thing was her idea.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Alice allegedly recruits monsters to massacre all of her fellow orphans, because they teased her about her half-elven blood. The end of a quest chain about her past reveals that she didn't recruit monsters to kill the other orphans. She made a pact with a demon so that she could save Decus, and that is what Decus said was responsible for the attack. The death of that demon also led to Alice losing her ability to control monsters.
  • Altum Videtur: All of the Centurions' names are simply the Latin words for their own elements (Tenebrae means "darkness", aqua means "water", et cetera.)
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Everyone in the party that still has a Derris Emblem in the final dungeon experiences a temporary condition that they describe as this.
    • The bad ending of the game will result in this for Emil/Ratatosk as he traps himself in his core form to seal the Ginugagap forever.
    • Richter's plan to use the Cruxis Crystal and the mana fragment to burn himself alive for all eternity using the mana generated from that to keep the demons from passing through the Ginugagap.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Played with. Marta's love for Emil is well known, even as it changes from infatuation with an idea of him to truly falling for the real Emil. Even so, Marta tearfully shouting while asking if she ever meant anything to Emil in chapter 8, then burying her head into his chest and telling him she want to be with him might be considered one, even if it's not exactly a confession of love. Emil nervously tells Marta that he loves her, though she cuts him off at the end with a kiss. His confession is not all that anguished, but it does come out during a pretty heartwrenching moment, as it may be the last time the two of them will get a chance to make their feelings for each other known.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Other than the ones in Lloyd's party and the royal family, most of the aristocracy in Meltokio are stereotypical snobbish douchebags.
  • Art Evolution: Compared to the original game, the CG models became more detailed and bear a greater resemblance to their drawn character models as well as having more detailed movements. (The fact that this game uses motion-capture instead of Going Through the Motions helps greatly in this regard.)
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Ars Nova is a secret unison attack that can be used when the Unison bar isn't full and two of the minor elements are Light and Dark. It's a long stream of attacks that do a small amount of damage, at least compared to the gradually more powerful Second and Third elemental movements - it's actually a lot more useful if one can use it at the END of their combo chain.
    • For those who are trying to collect all the monsters, be warned; using Unison attacks of any kind will clear all minor elements from the grid. Using one at the wrong moment will erase the elements you worked to build (though if the monster you're trying to recruit is killed by the Unison attack, it can still be recruited).
    • Ain Soph Aur is a move that can be chained into from Emil's Mystic Arte after a certain story event if you know how. It costs twice the amount of a normal Mystic Arte (100 TP instead of 50, and if you don't have enough it drains all of your TP), and it's based off Emil's naturally low Arte Attack stat. It hits more times (and possibly does more damage) the more monsters the player has pacts with. This, unfortunately, still doesn't really make it that useful unless you really work for it, and it's still based off of Arte Attack. It's even more impractical when used against Richter, who will launch it right back at you with Eternal Recurrance.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Emil and Marta during their "Ars Nova" combination attack, as well as during a couple after-battle conversations. Certain party members from the previous game also enjoy one-on-one after-battle scenes; occasionally, their victory poses result in this trope.
  • Bag of Spilling: No matter how powerful you got the party in the first game, they won't have any of the Infinity Plus One Swords or techniques in the sequel at first, and the first time they each join your party, their level caps are much lower than you probably got them (especially if you got 2x, 10x, or combo experience in a New Game+). At endgame though, they'll once again have their endgame equipment from the last game (with the exception of Lloyd, who is using a new weapon due to the fact Flamberge is at Anna's grave). They'll be stuck at level 50 though.
  • Barrier Maiden: Richter's master plan involves turning himself into one of these. Emil also attempts to become one.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Post-Final Boss against Ratatosk's personality. Win or lose, the ending continues and Ratatosk's and Emil's personalities come to terms with each other, and agree to become one.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Before fighting Ventus/Windmaster, Emil laments that "[he wishes] Ratatosk would just possess [him] all the time so [he] wouldn't be so scared". Point A: "Ratatosk" is a lot more accurate than he probably meant at that time. Point B: As it turns out, his "Ratatosk Mode" is an ass.
  • BFS: Decus has one. And after Decus dies, Alice, using the power of forsakenlove, manages to wield it as well, until she herself is killed.
  • Bishōnen: Several of the males.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: No matter which of the three endings you get, they'll all be bitter-sweet. The good endings are sweeter, though. No matter what, Richter's plan fails, meaning Aster doesn't get brought back to life. He's also stuck guarding the Ginnungagap for at least 1000 years. But Ratatosk has given humanity another chance and is even re-writting the laws of the world to allow it to survive without mana. And in the best ending, he lives out the rest of "Emil's" life while his servants take over.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Monsters, according to one series of quests.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Which is normal for the series, but really noticeable in cutscenes where people take lethal hits like Emil fatally slashing Decus' back and Marta doing the same to Alice; clothes are not even damaged.
  • Bonus Boss: Album Atrum, who can only be fought at the end of the game after finishing the Treasure Hunter Katz quests.
  • Book Ends: Assuming one gets the "good" ending, the story begins and ends with Marta in Palmacosta near the same shop with Emil arriving and fulfilling her wish.
  • Brick Joke: When the party finally reaches Altamira, you can find Eau de Seduction (the offensive cologne that Decus is always wearing)'s creator, who's wondering why he hasn't gotten any commendations on it.
    • One early skit has Tenebrae talking about his shapeshifting abilities, including that he could even turn into a beautiful woman if he so wants. Near the end of the game, he transforms into Celsius to distract a pair of Vanguard soldiers.
    • When Emil, Marta, and Tenebrae first find one of Lloyd's masks, all three of them (and the menu) dismiss it as "pretty tacky". A second mask can be found later on, described as "still tacky" in the menu. During the last of a series of sidequests involving Richter, Emil offers to put one of them on due to perceiving his resemblance to Aster as making Richter uncomfortable; Richter reacts to him drawing it out with "What is that?!" in a tone that makes it clear he, too, finds it tacky.
  • But Thou Must!: A few choices are offered to the player during cut scenes at the very beginning of the game. Either choice causes the cut scene to ultimately play out the same way and the story continues on in the same path, although one choice does affect which ending the players might get.
  • Call-Back: In the first game, Lloyd mentions the Quick-Jump option in a skit while having to climb the Tower of Mana again, only to get a confused reaction from the rest of the party. This time, Tenebrae mentions it when the party has to revisit the Temple of Ice, with the same result (although this time Regal gets a smug, knowing look on his face instead.)
    • One of the Hot Springs cutscenes has Lloyd getting falsely accused of spying on the women (again.) Afterwards, his title changes to the Peeping Tom title you gain from the same scene in the first game.
    • Emil and Marta can also get the Peeping Tom and Ironing Board titles that Lloyd and Colette get.
    • In the first game, Kratos was in possession of unique "Cruxis" equipment that could not be removed, with certain elements (Flamberge and Arredoval) worked into his character model. In this game, Richter (as a temporary party member) cannot have his equipment removed, and every item is simply a piece of his attire.
  • The Cameo: One of the murals in a cave room in Asgard has what appears to be an image ofNatalia Luzu Kimlasca Lanvaldear on it. The Judas Mask is mentioned in game as one of Presea's crafting specialties, and is actually usable in the PAL Wii and HD versions.
    • Due to plot reasons from the first game, Kratos is the only party member absent from this game's story. He does make a very brief appearance in an optional cutscene towards the end of the game in addition to narrating the prologue though.
  • Chaste Hero: Still somewhat played straight by Lloyd, but Emil subverts this, despite his naivete about the world.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Quite a lot of Emil's early idiocy (such as not knowing how to fish despite growing up on a coastal town, nor knowing anything about the Desians' Human Ranches despite there being one near his home town) comes across as lame exposition on the Symphonia world for those who haven't played the original game. It's actually foreshadowing the fact that this person has no memories and is filling in the blanks as he goes along.
    • Everything about the awkward way Richter interacts with Emil, and especially the way he frequently refuses to look directly at him, makes much more sense by the end of the game.
    • Also, Emil's two personalities being able to imitate each other.
    • Niflheim only appears as part of a sidequest in the first game. Now it's a major focal point in this one.
    • Anyone who's played the original game knows that Lloyd Irving hates the word "justice" (Mystic Arte notwithstanding). When Marta's father shrugs off her attempts to call him out with "Means and methods are insignificant in the eyes of justice!", you KNOW that Lloyd is not your enemy, and he WILL kick this guy's ass.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Yuan makes a brief cameo in Asgard at the beginning of the game before he's revealed as the World Tree's guardian.
    • This is a good example of a previous character appearing that doesn't look like it's him; the character models in this game are overall proportioned much differently, Yuan is a half-elf who doesn't have pointed ears, he's traded out his Renegade armour and cape for a suit, he's wearing his hair in a ponytail, and his voice actor is different (at least in the English version).
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Decus' cologne.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Ratatosk's Core.
  • Combination Attack: Emil and Marta's "Ars Nova" Unison Attack.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Tons, all over the place, but manages to avert Continuity Porn. Special mention goes to the overworld theme, which is not from Tales of Symphonia (like most of the music), but from Tales OfPhantasia.
    • One portion of the game (a skit maybe?) has the characters discussing time travel. Tenebrae says it's impossible, but then corrects himself, saying "There are those who can manage the task, but for humans it is exceedingly difficult." The obvious implications are the time traveling events of Tales of Phantasia.
  • Continuity Snarl: Demons are... Drastically different between Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Phantasia, and hoo boy this game does not help matters, flat out stating demons are allergic to mana... Despite the presence of several demonic spirits in Phantasia, which are made of mana as a rule. Demons are also neutral at worst in Phantasia, willing to help save the world provided they are approached with the right pact ring like any other spirit, whereas in both Symphonia games they are implied to be an Always Chaotic Evil race.
  • Convection Schmonvection: One series of quests has you jumping over pools of lava without any ill effects in order to, wait for it, deliver someone dinner.
  • Counter Attack:
  • Crutch Character: The Tales of Symphonia cast, and Richter. They're powerful initially, but they don't gain experience points or level up. That said, their Mystic Artes are still ridiculously powerful.
  • Cute Little Fangs:
    • Marta actually has a single fang. They don't draw that much attention to it, though. One post-battle scene actually did mention it directly.
      Marta: Beautiful roses have thorns!
      Ratatosk Mode!Emil: Cutie Marta has a fang.
    • Alice has one too when she's in sadist mode.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Very nicely averted by Emil's Ain Soph Aur Mystic Arte. It's unlocked for player use after a cutscene where he uses it on Richter, and it doesn't visibly do anything. In normal gameplay, it's perfectly functional (if Awesome, but Impractical)... until your next boss fight against Richter, whereupon it won't do anything worth the extra TP (although the Devil's Hellfire leading up to it will be perfectly functional).
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Both subverted and played straight. When Lloyd talks about who he picked to bring with him on his quest at the end of the first game, the game allows to player to pick who it was they chose. However, the ending in which Zelos dies is rendered non-canon. The game also has the original cast doing the Nibilim sidequest, revisiting the temple next to Iselia to discover Corrine's fate, and visiting the hot springs.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: A Compilation Re-release that contains both a game that came out before Free-Run and a game that came out well after Free-Run is going to result in a lot of this if you go from one to the other. Also, attempting to activate returning characters' Mystic Artes the old-fashioned way will achieve nothing. And a... 'strategy' that enables Over Limit is now counterproductive, as the player party cannot activate Over Limit.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Tenebrae is just really snarky, rude, and condescending. Also Emil, the protagonist, is a good person yet of darkness element.
  • Deconstruction: You know how the first game ended with the belief that things would work out for both worlds and that everything the heroes did would make the new world better? Well that's not the case here. The issue of racism towards Half-Elves? Still around but slightly mitigated by new found racism between Sylverantis and Tethe'allans. Heroes praised for their actions? Nope, most people either hate Lloyd and Collete, or view them as almost religious like figures. Basically the game deconstructs everything the party did by showing what the consequences of their choices were.
  • Distressed Damsel:
    • Seles and Marta. Alice insults Marta for that tendency in her speech in the final dungeon.
    • Also Regal as James Bondage. This is even Lampshaded as the other characters get worried about how he seems to be used to getting imprisoned and being in handcuffs.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Indeed, the more we learn about Richter's backstory, the more it seems like a Ho Yay repeat of Kratos', or even Regal's. But... surprise! It isn't. All the people saying he killed his best friend are only making assumptions.
    • It's not enough to be considered a Whole Plot Reference, but in this game, the main protagonist is an amnesiac alter-ego of a powerful entity turned evil, who the game's purple-clad Big Bad tried and failed to kill. Said Big Bad is also after the female lead for a special MacGuffin she possesses.Where have they done that before? Given the previous game's big twist, one wonders if George Lucas is one of the developers.
    • In one skit, Colette mentions the "Symphonian Eight" and that they fought against the sinister "Dark Five", as well as one of the Dark Five proving to be Symphonia Red's father. This also doubles as a reference to that one show
  • Doomed Hometown: Palmacosta and Luin, though they recover very quickly.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Played with in-game. For most of the game, Marta's swooning over Emil is mostly harmless schoolgirl crushing. Until the Hotsprings Episode, that is. Marta tricks everyone in the party, except Emil, into thinking that the hot spring is closed so that she could be alone (and naked) with him (an action that would probably be received a little differently if the genders were reversed). Emil is understandably shocked when Marta wanders into his side of the spring but before anything can come of it, the rest of the party walks in on them as well. Nicely Lampshaded in that Marta promptly confesses that the entire thing was her idea and yet none of them believe her, instead insisting that it must have been Emil's doing.
  • Downer Ending: The Bad Ending. After hurting Marta, Emil kills himself and makes Ratatosk seal the door. Marta, who appeared to be dead, mourns the loss of her friend and spends the rest of her life wishing she could have saved him.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Richter dual wields a sword and an axe. They and his whole body are on fire for the final boss fight. The Rule of Cool may have just reached critical mass.
    • Lloyd's still using two swords as well.
  • Dulcinea Effect: Deconstructed. When Marta first meets Emil, it's as if she wants him to come to her rescue, even though he's really reluctant to get involved. Then for a while, she's really insistent that this is what's going on, until Emil snaps at her, telling her that he thinks it's really annoying to be followed around by someone like her.
  • Dummied Out:
    • An alternative battle quote for Ain Soph Aur ("Now, return to oblivion! Ain Soph Aur!") that can only be heard by using a cheat code to use Ratatosk in the final battle against Richter. This hints that at one point, it may have been planned to allow the player to choose which personality would be dominant for the end-game..
    • Another example would be the multitudes of items that were going to be in this game (such as Holy Bottles, Magic Lens, etc) that were apparently dummied out when the developers decided to not use a world map.
    • In addition to that, there is a unique set of Boss Banter in the final boss fight for each of the heroes of the first game, triggered when that character is in the first slot in the active party. The only problem is that the game doesn't allow you to use anyone but Emil or Marta in that slot, so it's impossible to hear those lines unless you hack the game to remove that restriction. They're fully voiced and include the boss's responses and everything.
    • If you hack in an old Symphonia character, earlier on in the game than you're supposed to, they will have worse equipment suggesting that maybe we were supposed to play as the old characters at an earlier stage of development.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Villainous twist: When you kill off the Terrible Trio, Alice and Decus, they admit their love for each other in a sequence that ends with both of them cut in half, yet lying in each other's arms. They're together in hell.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: An out-of-the-ordinary-example; if you play the EXP X10 or Combo EXP games, chances are that Emil will be around level 150 or so by game's end. Seeing as the Good or Normal endings require you to let a computer controlled Lloyd and Marta defeat Emil, be prepared to sit and wait for an hour or more as they whittle away at him one point of damage at a time. One of the few times that it would be nice if the computer WAS a cheating bastard! The best way to deal with this is to either change your equipment to the worst possible or (if you have it) equip the Pain Killer. After that, just hold the free run button and run in front of Lloyd.
  • Evil All Along / Good All Along: Surprisingly enough, Emil and Richter.
  • Excuse Plot

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