Last month, the Tales of Symphonia Chronicles HD remaster was released on the PS3 in Japan, and it's getting a Western release this coming February. And while we've all seen HD remasters before, there's plenty to be excited about in Tales of Symphonia Chronicles.
Two Games on One Disk
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is an HD remastering of two different games on the same disk: Tales of Symphonia and its sequel, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.
Tales of Symphonia came out originally in the West back in 2004 — so it's likely that many younger Tales fans (as well as anyone else who has come to the series in recent years) were never able to play it back in the day. Moreover, when it was released in 2008, Dawn of the New World was a Wii exclusive, meaning that anyone without that console has likely passed this one by in its entirety. So if you missed out on these two the first time around, now is the perfect chance to get both games in a single package.
Looking Better than Ever
Like many PS3 ports in recent years, the games of the Tales of Symphonia Chronicles collection have received a major graphical makeover. The textures of all the objects and characters are now in a much higher resolution and appear smoother as a result. This is particularly obvious when comparing Tales of Symphonia to its original GameCube release. But even in Dawn of the New World, there are noticeable visual improvements as diagonal lines are less jagged and a frame rate increase is clear in several places.
Dual Voice Tracks
One of the most awesome things about Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is that both the Japanese and English voice tracks for the games are included on the disk. So if you are one of those people who prefer hearing the games in the original Japanese, you are in luck.
But more than that, while the skits were voiced in the original GameCube Japanese release, they were text only in the Western release. So unless the skit voice tracks are cut for some reason, you should get a substantial extra amount of voiced dialogue if you choose to play the game with the original Japanese voices.
Retooled Cutscenes and Other Additions
While Tales of Symphonia was released only on the GameCube in the West, in Japan the game received a PS2 port as well. The Tales of Symphonia in Chronicles is based on this PS2 version of the game and thus has several changes and additions. In-game cutscenes are occasionally re-framed to show a different angle, and there are two additional animated cutscenes. On the gameplay side, every character now has a mystic art attack, and there are several new side quests. All in all, the Tales of Symphonia found in Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is the definitive version of the game.
The Tales of Symphonia Chronicles HD collection for the PS3 was released in Japan on October 10, 2013. It is scheduled for a US and European release in February 2014.