I tried out an early English build of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World and, as you probably guessed, its set in the “same” world as the first game. You’re going to visit some of the same dungeons too. A Namco Bandai rep told me they won’t be exactly identical, but the layouts will be similar. New players won’t notice this, but veterans may have mixed feelings. On one hand it’s nice to visit Tethe'alla after Lloyd saved the world, but it also feels like the Tales team is reusing assets. One of the major changes is you don’t need to dodge shadows while running to the next dungeon on the overworld. Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World completely cut random battles to make a Chrono Trigger-like map so you can peacefully walk from one dungeon and back to town without fear of attack.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World adds motion control support, but it feels unnecessary. You don’t mimic movements to throw Demon Fang energy waves. Motions are assigned to one of four slots where players move the nunchuck and remote up, down, left, or right during battle. I found it was more natural to stick to button controls for combos. Namco Bandai USA revised the amount of technique slots in the US version by increasing the number from four to eight. You can map attacks to nunchuck + B button combos and D-pad + B button combos. The result makes Emil or whoever you’re using more versatile. This change should benefit players controlling a mage like Genis the most. Since more spells are pre-mapped you don’t need to disrupt the three other players as much by opening a menu that occludes the screen.
The pet system is something I’m interested in since you can replace your entire party, except Emil, with monsters Why use Raine when a cute looking Chimera can take her place? There are over 200 monsters you can get, some of them only through a series of evolutions. At the end of each battle you’re given an opportunity to cook food. Certain meat has metamorphosing power similar to the Saga games on the Game Boy.
This isn’t official, but it looks like Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World won’t cost $67, the equivalent of 7,140 yen in North America. It may even be less than $50, the standard price for a Wii game. Some retailers have Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World pre-orders priced at a very reasonable $39.99.
Images courtesy of Namco Bandai.