#3 – Tales of Symphonia
Tales of Symphonia is one of the best and simultaneously most frustrating RPGs I’ve ever played. I loved this game; it was my introduction to the Tales series, and I know I’m not alone. But being largely attached to Nintendo consoles for most of my life, I never got to play another Tales game after Symphonia until I drummed up a PS2 years-too-late. Symphonia was both the glorious birth and tragic death of the series on Nintendo systems.
Symphonia’s greatness lies in more than just the linear-motion battle system that the series still uses to this day. It takes the typical shrine-maiden-awakens-elementals plot, follows it to the letter for the first ten to fifteen hours or so, then totally subverts it with an alternate world, a corrupt church, a god that may not exist, and a cast of nine characters with a lot of moral ambiguity. It’s easy to get happily lost as you roam Sylverant and Tethe’alla hunting down sidequests, secret bosses, and ridiculous costumes to battle in. Easily the best of the Tales franchise, Nintendo consoles are unfortunately unlikely to see such a Tales game ever again.
Next: 2 - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker