Tales of Symphonia is one of the best entries in the long-running Tales JRPG series, and one of the more exceptional games in the Nintendo GameCube’s otherwise short-lived and uneven library. Naturally, old fans and newcomers alike were pumped to see the cult classic get a remaster for the Switch. What a shame, then, that the recent remaster is a subpar port at best, leading publisher Bandai Namco to apologise and promise an upcoming patch.
“We have confirmed that there is a problem with gameplay in this product version that is currently on sale,” reads a rough translation of a tweet thread labelled “Apology and Information.” “We are currently investigating a fix.” Bandai Namco doesn’t go into detail about which problems it’s talking about or when the first update might arrive. Kotaku has reached out for comment.
The acknowledgement comes a week after Tales of Symphonia Remastered came out on both Switch and PS4. The cute and colourful role-playing game tasks you with fulfilling an ancient prophecy and fighting back the evil overtaking a dying world — standard JRPG fare elevated by likable characters and a fun hybrid combat system.
Fans were already in an uproar over the fact that the new version would be capped at 30FPS rather than run at 60FPS like the original GameCube version, but hands-on time confirmed other shortcomings as well, from long load times to some textures breaking under the new HD upscaling. A number of players have been sharing their frustrations online, even going so far as to compare footage directly against older HD versions available on PS3 and Steam:
— さなえす (@kyusenkyou) February 16, 2023
I’m sorry but this is fcking embarrassing!!
As someone who was REALLY excited to finally see Tales of Symphonia on the switch, this is breaking my heart…
— Kortrex❌ PLAY 13 SENTINELS! (@KortrexA) February 17, 2023
My shorthand review for Tales of Symphonia Remastered for the Nintendo Switch family of things. pic.twitter.com/aPZrtNVxSV
— Daniel Alba (@EvernightStudio) February 22, 2023
I’ve spent a few hours with the Switch version over the past week and while I’m enjoying playing it overall, the technical shortcomings and lack of new quality-of-life features leave a bad taste, especially for a $US40 ($56) port of a nearly 20-year-old game. The colours are bright and the resolution is sharp, but the longer load times between random encounters really do start to drag and the lack of any auto-save feature is a real head scratcher. As RPG Site points out in its review, even small things are missing like fades between scenes that now jarringly cut to black, or the blurred background when navigating the pause menu.
We’ve seen this before with 2022’s remaster of Chrono Cross. While the game included new quality-of-life features like unlocking fast-forward right from the start and letting you scale down the difficulty, the HD effect was hit-or-miss and the framerate actually performed worse than in the original PS1 version. It wasn’t until just this week that the game finally got an update attempting to improve its performance, targeting a ceiling of 60 FPS.
Hopefully, it doesn’t take as long for Tales of Symphonia Remastered to get patched, though I’m not optimistic it won’t still end up feeling like a major missed opportunity. If you’ve been waiting decades to get back to Lloyd and company’s fight against the Desians to bring peace and stability back to the land of Sylverant, I can say it hasn’t lost its charm. I just wish it had been transported through time with more care and fanfare.
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