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 Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)

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Phaelin

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Join date : 2014-05-16

PostSubject: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:51 am

This is a detailed look attempting to chronicle (pun intended) the changes made in Chronicles (specifically comparing the PS3 version to the GCN version of Tales of Symphonia, although many of the changes were actually made in the PS2 version). At present this list does not cover the obvious things such as the new logo, new Techs, new Unison Attacks, new events, new costumes, new movies, and other such things that everyone talks about (unless I have some applicable commentary). Instead, I'm focusing here on the more obscure and even unexpected changes, many of which are easy to overlook. Also, I'm reviewing only the American English version of the game, as I have not played any of the others. (This post does not yet cover Dawn of the New World.)

Spoiler Warning: Some plot elements are mentioned in places as a way of describing a specific portion of or location in the game. Some of the screen shots used for illustration purposes are also spoilers. Do not scroll down if this concerns you.

~~~ Graphics ~~~

HD...ish? Sort of?

The game obviously renders in a higher resolution and the environments generally look more crisp. However, this increase in sharpness is largely due to the lack of depth-of-field. The original GCN deliberately blurred things in the far background (and in the far foreground) to mimic a camera's depth-of-field; the PS3 version eliminates this entirely, probably because it was too difficult to implement on the PS3.

Another thing to point out is that while the resolution itself is higher, the 3D models appear to have exactly the same polygon counts, and almost all of the textures are still their original sizes. It does appear as though they remastered the textures for the faces of the main characters to make them higher resolution, but it does not appear that they increased the size of most other textures.



Still, even despite this, with more pixels to use to display it all, the characters and UI and such do look sharper.

(Personally, I'm glad they didn't alter the graphics too much. I like the originals.)

Aspect Ratio

Due to the new widescreen aspect ratio, there are a few (very few) places where the player is able to see things at the left/right sides of the screen that he shouldn't. There are not a lot of occurrences of this considering how vast the game is; I personally only spotted about two: you can see the edge of the map in Luin, and in a cut scene in Dirk's House, the Memory Circle pops into visibility at the time when it would have become visible on the original 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than when it's visible at the widescreen ratio. It's very minor.

Frame Rate

Does Chronicles render at a lower frame rate than the GCN? (This might be more of a PS3 issue than a Chronicles issue.) I didn't even notice until I went back to the GCN version and realized how much faster and more smoothly it appeared to animate. Either way, this isn't a big deal; Chronicles doesn't have slow-down or anything of that sort. But I think the overall frame rate might be a touch lower. (In theory a lower frame rate might be part of what is affecting various play control issues as mentioned elsewhere in this document, but I rather doubt it.)

Cel-Shading

The GCN used cel-shading to produce anime-style black outlines around the characters. The PS3 appears to have the same sort of cel-shading, but the outlines are much thinner now, making them far less defined (and at times virtually invisible). While this doesn't make the game look overly different, there are a couple minor problems that were overlooked. First, many outlines that were drawn directly into the textures (such as for fingers, or lines on clothing) were drawn to match the original thick outlines, and have not been altered to match the new thinner ones. So now they look out of place. Also, when a character is holding a weapon, sometimes (especially during cut scenes) his weapon has the original thick outlines, while the rest of his body has the thinner outlines, and the two do not match up at all.



Wings

The textures for the angel wings have been altered to be crisper and less feathery. They look much more solid now, with more defined outlines. On the original GCN most wings had very feathery edges and visible veins, like stylized birds' feathers (or insect wings). The PS3 wings have straighter curves and look more like they were cut out of sheets of plastic.



I suspect this was done to make their appearance match the anime better. (Almost no one bothers to properly hand-draw those feathery wings, as it's quite time-consuming to duplicate the effect by hand.) Personally, I liked the GCN's feathery look better, although I don't mind that on the PS3 the wings are (as a side effect) also more bold and bright now. (Although Mithos's wings in particular go from being rainbowy on the GCN to being almost pure white on the PS3.)



Z-skits

During Z-skits, the portraits change size and bounce around and such much more than they ever did on the GCN. I personally find this rather distracting overall, although it's used appropriately in a couple of cases.

Dialogue Balloons

The dialogue balloons are no longer seamless. You can now see the rectangular balloon behind the overlays for the name box and the little arrow pointing to the speaker. In other words, instead of the overlays appearing to be built directly into the balloon, it's obvious now that they are overlaid on top of the full rectangle of the balloon beneath.

Example:


3D Clipping

Colette's upper body clips into her lower body pretty badly now during many of her poses. It appears that her upper coat does not move correctly to account for her lower body anymore. The original game had some clipping issues to be sure, but I never noticed it being this bad with Colette's default outfit.

Judgment

They altered the Judgment beams from being rainbowy white to being cylinders made up of thin blue vertical lines. I prefer the original graphics, to be honest. The blue lines just look rather weird.



Magic Lens

They added new graphics for using a Magic Lens on someone, for what it's worth. The same graphics are used for the new Inspect Magic spell.



Item Graphics

It seems many (if not most) of the items now have new icons in the item list. I have a hard time finding anything as a result. I assume the icons were redrawn to take advantage of the higher resolution.

Attack Attribute

To be honest, I don't know how to categorize this, whether it is a translation issue or a port issue, but on the second page of the description for equipment items (when you press START while pointing at that item), the icon denoting attack attribute is in the wrong location. Basically, there is a spot where the game shows "Lck: 0 Atk: #" where # is supposed to be the icon. However, on the PS3 the icon gets shifted to the left and looks like it is part of the Luck stat instead. I guess they were trying to line it up with the defensive icons that show in the row above, but the reason the defense ones are positioned as they are is because there can be more than one of those...

Example:


Polygon Seams

There are noticeable seams in the polygons where towns and other objects are placed on the field map. I never noticed this on the GCN.

Water Reflections

On the GCN version, certain bodies of water had reflections on the surface (a good example is Ymir Forest where you can see the surrounding trees, boardwarks, and even your own character reflected on the water). The PS3 appears to eliminate all of these, leaving the water looking fairly flat and transparent. (You can now see straight through to the bottom in Ymir Forest, for example.)



Colette's Costume Titles

They fixed the bug of Colette floating around in battle if you put a costume title on her before she has her wings. (Requires carrying over Titles in the GRADE shop.) Actually I'm not certain this was a bug on the GCN--I think they did it on purpose as a concession to avoid other issues--but either way, the PS3 eliminates the problem entirely.



Colette's Cruxis Crystal

In a couple of places in the original game, cut scenes would show Colette wearing her Cruxis Crystal before she actually obtained it in the game. The PS3 fixes these.



Model Goof

Colette now has white gloves in her "damaged" version of her regular clothing costume. (The one used to show the Crystallus Inofficium.) Her regular outfit does not have any gloves. Which means when she gets shot by Forcystus, all at once she suddenly has gloves on. I'm kind of surprised nobody noticed.



Handcuffs

When the gang gets arrested in Sybak and held in the basement room with Kate, Zelos is now tied up along with Lloyd. (Sort of. No ropes are visible, but the models are posed with the intention to make it look like the hands are tied.) I'm a little surprised they bothered with this, since it required making a new model pose for Zelos that's used all of once in the entire game. Guess that's attention to detail for you. (Apparently I'm not the only one who noticed the discrepancy that Zelos remained unbound during that sequence...)

Abyssion

Abyssion now has bright glowing yellow Super Saiyan hair during battle. (Not on the overworld.) I...don't recall him having that on the GCN...?



Sword Dancer

For some reason, the Sword Dancer's overworld skull is now just the same white as every other skull enemy. (It used to be a grayish-brown to differentiate him from regular enemies.)

Camera Angles

Unless my memory is playing tricks with me, I think the PS3 version of the scenes where Lloyd rescues his soul mate from Mithos's possession have different camera angles than the GCN. The GCN was basically just all overhead, whereas the PS3 versions of the scenes sometimes zoom in to show the characters from a closer angle.

Zelos Battle

Interestingly enough, when Zelos produces his wings right before his boss fight, he now does so after the player dismisses his final dialogue balloon. On the GCN, he did the animation while his final line was still playing. I think they changed it on the PS3 so that you can see the animation more easily, without it being partially covered up by the dialogue balloon.

Minor Goof

A minor point, but Raine's eyes get stuck in starry mode while she's punishing Genis and Lloyd in the Martel Temple. Kind of gives the impression that she's entirely too happy during that sequence...

~~~ Sound ~~~

Voice Actors

They got the original voice actors back. They got the original voice actors back. THEY GOT THE ORIGINAL VOICE ACTORS BACK. This one deserves all caps. They not only got the same actors back for the main cast, but it sounds to me like they did so for even a bunch of bit characters like Celsius and Seles. (I'm not certain those are the same actors, but if not, they certainly sound really close.)

I know that in Japan voice actors are taken much more seriously than here in the U.S. (which strikes me as odd since no one here can refer to a live action movie without mentioning some actor that played in it), so it really was a gamble whether we would get the same voice actors back in English. So I want to just pause and offer kudos here, both to Namco and to the voice actors themselves.

Most of the voices sound a little "off," but I can forgive them for that--I mean, it has been years and years since the original game. I'm just thrilled beyond words that they got the original actors back.

Z-Skits

Before Chronicles was released I'd read a rumor somewhere that Namco had claimed that with this remake, the skits would finally be voiced on the English version of the game. (They always were in the Japanese version, even on the GCN.) But, as it turns out...they're not. (Unless you consider switching to the Japanese voice track to count.) The Z-skits remain completely silent.

I have to say I'm severely disappointed by this. They even got the original voice actors back, but they didn't voice the Z-skits. I am fully aware that reality rears its ugly head and these things aren't always possible. There was probably a good reason (cost) they were unable to record lines for the skits. But, nonetheless, it just seems like a huge lost opportunity, since they even had the original actors back and everything. Such a shame.

Battle Lines

There are a few new lines recorded for battle, not just for party members but some enemies gain new voices as well. (For example, the Angel Commander was silent on the GCN but now has voice lines.) The odd thing here is these new lines are all drastically quieter in volume than any line that originated on the GCN (at least in English; the Japanese voice lines don't appear to be affected by this problem). In fact, it's very easy to tell which lines existed on the GCN version and which were newly recorded because of this obvious difference in volume. What makes this bad is the new lines are so quiet that you can hardly hear what they are saying. (I think I used Inspect Magic for three or four seals before I even noticed that Raine has a new voice line there at all, for example.) What is the point of getting the voice actors back and doing all of that recording if nobody can hear the lines anyway?

Note to sound editors: Try "Normalize."

Shuffling

Mysteriously, some existing battle lines were shuffled around for no obvious reason. In this case, all of the lines in question existed on the GCN version of the game; they just weren't necessarily used, or they were used for different things. Take Kratos for example. His Over Limit quote used to be "Want more?" but was changed to "Too slow!" in the PS3 (which happens to be a quote he uses during his boss fights, when he teleports). He used to say "Outta the way!" before Thunder Blade and "Ready?" before Eruption. Now he says "It's over!" and "Die!" respectively. What I find odd is why they bothered to shuffle these quotes since doing so does not add anything. I could see if they added new quotes before Grave or Air Thrust, for example (which presently do not have special quotes), but why alter existing quotes?

Grave Blade

This is just something I find amusing. So far all of the new element-altered Techs that I have seen (such as Blazing Tempest, Severing Wind, and the like) have new voice lines to match. This is similar to how Lloyd has custom voice lines for Lightning Tiger and Lightning Thrust. They even added a new voice line for Rising Phoenix (which existed in the original game, just didn't have a custom voice line there). Yet, for some reason, Grave Blade remains as one of the only (if not now the only) altered Tech that has no custom voice line. Lloyd, Kratos, and Zelos all have access to this hidden Tech, and all three of them say "Fierce Demon Fang!" when they pull it off.

Divine Justice

Lloyd no longer says "Divine Justice!" when using Falcon's Crest. Instead, they simply deleted the line altogether and shuffled around the other quotes used during that move. (Notably, he doesn't say "Falcon's Crest" either.) I'm actually not sure why they bothered with this (unless it was sheer fan service) because it's not like the developers particularly cared in any other instance whether or not the voice lines match the displayed Tech name...

Extended Voices

I don't remember this happening on the GCN, but with the PS3, if a character starts to say a long voice line during battle, that quote often continues to play even when the character has been interrupted. For example, Colette's angel skill chants carry over after you activate a Unison Attack. And enemy spell chants will often continue even after you interrupt their spellcasting by hitting them.

Sound Volumes

Akin to the new voice lines being very quiet, the volumes of other sounds seem to have odd balancing issues. For example, footstep sound effects (for when you are walking around on the overworld) are quite noisy on the PS3. Also, Nurse is extremely loud (the sound effect, not the voice line). It sounds to me like the PS3 plays the sound effect once for every member in your party--simultaneously--which means it ends up amplifying it four times...

Sound Options

They took the wayward background sound effects off the voice track. Now when you turn off the "SE" volume slider in the Customize menu, all of the sound effects do in fact go away and all you hear are the voices. (On the GCN certain sounds, most notably the water in Meltokio Sewers, were improperly on the "Voice" track and could not be muted.)

Music

The opening music has been replaced with the two Japanese songs that were used for the Japanese GCN and PS2 releases of the game. (If you wait at the title screen and let it cycle through, it'll alternate between them.) To match this change to the opening, the music during the Yggdrasill scene near the end of the game has also been altered. I'm probably alone here, but I actually liked the English opening (though it was an instrumental only). I don't see why they couldn't have added it as a third option in the rotation. Oh well, it's not a big deal.

Saved Music

Minor point: When you load a save game while in the game, the background music restarts from the beginning of the tune. On the GCN, the music restarted only if it was a different song than what was presently playing.

Presea's Personal

They removed the sound effect for Presea's Personal EX Skill (when she finds a food item). The graphical effect (the white circle) is still there.

~~~ Translation ~~~

Font

I don't know whether to put this under graphics or translation, but the font has changed, something which is immediately obvious as soon as one looks at a screen shot.

The original GCN version of the English game used a font called DFPFuun, which is actually an Asian font (meant to be used for writing kanji and kana) which happens to also have English characters in it. Although I don't know this for certain, I assume this was the font being used in the original Japanese version of the game and since it had English letters in it, they simply used it for the English version as well.

The GCN version's font is very stylistic (some might call it weird), but I rather liked it. It had its own unique feel to it.

Its sequel, Dawn of the New World, for whatever reason, did not elect to use the same font. The substitute font they selected, Formal 436, is very similar in appearance, though less stylistic than the original. I do appreciate, though, how they made an effort to pick a font that is at least similar to the original style.

The PS3 version of Symphonia uses an entirely new font called Belwe that lacks any similarity at all. It is serif instead of sans-serif and uses the traditional lowercase 'a' rather than the rounded one. What baffles me is why they selected this font instead of just using DotNW's again. I can understand that perhaps the GCN's font was too wonky to use on the PS3, but surely DotNW's would have sufficed.

I must admit that while I did not like the font substitution at first, over time it has grown on me. I still like the original as well, but the new one does have its own style to it, and at least it is polyspaced and looks nice. So I don't really mind the change anymore.

I do have one minor quibble with the font, however. Letters with descenders (such as g, j, y, and so on) were shoved upward so that they align with the baseline. (Actually the original GCN font had the same issue, though largely that is due to the font itself.) This is reminiscent of 1980's games which had to stuff fonts into 8x8 tiles, and looks rather tacky in today's day and age. Still, it's not that big of a deal.

I also think the font for dialogue balloons could stand to be a bit bigger. Not too huge, of course, but large enough to see comfortably even on a not-so-large TV screen.

Ellipses

I have no way of knowing for sure exactly what happened here. I have two theories, either of which may or may not be correct:

Theory #1: Whoever edited the English text for the PS3 version had a serious aversion to ellipses and thus went through eradicating as many of them as possible.

Theory #2: When they copied the text data from the GCN version to the PS3, for whatever reason the ellipsis character did not make the transition. (For example, perhaps the original game used the actual ellipsis character (Unicode #8230: '…') and for whatever reason that character was not present in the font being used on the PS3, causing the character to simply disappear.) The play testers quickly noticed something was wrong, so edits were made to add in missing punctuation...but many, many omissions were missed or overlooked.

Basically, for whatever the true reason is, though the GCN translation makes heavy use of the ellipsis (that is, three dots: '...'), the PS3 version largely eschews them. Most of the ellipses from the original game were removed in the PS3 version and replaced with either:

  • An em-dash, represented in the game by two dashes: "--"
  • A single period or a comma.
  • Nothing at all, producing either sentences that end without punctuation, or run-on words with no spaces in between. (Is "run-on words" a phrase?)

While in a lot of cases the missing ellipses are not even noticeable, overall this tends to make the text look more sloppy than the original. Ellipses were used frequently in the original to denote places where the characters were uncertain or where their speech trailed off. A lot of these emotional connotations are now summarily missing. And then there is the unprofessionalism of the numerous places where the missing ellipsis causes words to run together or sentences to cut off with no punctuation at all.

Additions

Of course, content that is entirely new to the PS version of ToS had to be freshly translated into English for the PS3 port.

The original GCN version of the game had a quite good and very consistent English translation. As a student of grammar, I noticed the trends of the original translator(s), and one point in their favor is they were at least extremely consistent.

For example, experts disagree whether one should use an apostrophe-s (that is, " 's ") after a name that ends in "s" (which a remarkable number of names do in Symphonia). Older style guides said to never use a trailing "s" in this situation (for example, "Mithos' Panpipe"). New guides recommend using " 's " after any word that is singular, leaving off the "s" only when the word is plural. (Example: "Mithos's Panpipe.") Regardless, experts do agree that whichever style you choose, you should use it consistently within a particular body of work. The original GCN translation selected the first convention, and very faithfully. I don't recall seeing a single place where it erred and used the " 's " form.

Likewise, the original GCN translation always used "?!" rather than "!?" whenever combining the two. And it even tended to use four ellipses when a sentence ended with an ellipsis--the fourth denotes the period at the end of the sentence. This is a fairly obscure grammar rule, but the GCN translation followed it. (It was not overly consistent about this particular usage, however.)

The GCN was also pretty consistent about capitalizing certain words (Pope, King, Papal Knights, etc.), not capitalizing others (gels, magitechnology, etc.), using "Judgment" instead of "Judgement", and using consistent phrasing and such.

The additional translations in Chronicles, while mostly well done (though see below), did not entirely follow the style of the original translator. The new translator has a habit of using capital letters for emphasis (something the original almost never did, except in very specific circumstances--e.g. "WHAT DID YOU SAY?"). The new translation uses the " 's " form fairly frequently. And once in a while the new translation has characters say things which sound somewhat unlike them. It's not so much what they say but how they say it. Again, this isn't anything overpowering or anything; it's just a very minor quibble. (The new translation also forgets to convert Zelos's "hunny" to "Bud" when addressing Lloyd, something the original did consistently.)

Guidepost Monuments

I stated above that the new translation was mostly well done. It was. But there are a couple of places where, for some reason, the translation fell through the cracks. The Guidepost Monuments are a prime example. In the English GCN version of the game, touching one of these monuments produced text that was translated just fine. There was no need to re-translate the text, as nothing has changed about the monuments in the PS3 version. Yet for some reason, all of their text has been replaced...with Engrish. No joke. A simple description is not enough; I cannot do this justice with words alone. Images are the only thing that will suffice here...


...What?


WHAT?


WHAT?


WHAT??


WHAT?


WHAT?


WHAT?


WHAT!?


WHAT?


WHAT??


WHAT?



I think you get the idea.

They also senselessly altered the text in a couple of other less noticeable places, such as the "On Ship" and "Landing" prompts for the EC. ("On Ship"?)

Item Thief

This one I think might be more of a programmer error that somehow got overlooked. My understanding is that in Japanese, the verb almost always goes at the end of the sentence and there are no spaces. So when Colette successfully steals an item, the prompt effectively says "###Stole" (in Japanese) with the ### replaced at runtime with the item name. In the English GCN version of the game, they remembered to reorder this so that it says "Stole XYZ" instead. In the PS3 one...they forgot. So you see things like "CabbageStole." Yeah.

Schizophrenic Tech Names

In the PS3 version Kratos and Zelos can now perform a move called Shining Bind. This move has existed in previous Tales games that were translated into English, such as Dawn of the New World and Tales of Vesperia. Yet in the PS3 version of Symphonia, when Kratos pulls off this move, the translators gave it not one but two different names (going by the boxes at the top of the screen), and they're both wrong. Mysteriously (yet thankfully), the recorded voice line is fine; Kratos says "Shining Bind!" Which means the move has a grand total of three different names...within a single game. (And actually it's four, because Zelos says "Luminous Bind!" when he uses the ability, so that's yet another name for the same move in the same game.)

A similar thing happens with a few other Techs, such as where Zelos says "Severing Wind!" but the box at the top of the screen says "Decisive Slice." (Of course, even the original GCN version of the game had an instance of this, where Lloyd says "Divine Justice!" when the box at the top says "Falcon's Crest.")

(I suppose one could argue that these mismatched voice lines are simply the character saying random stuff instead of actually saying the name of the Tech, ala Raven from Vesperia. The main difference is Raven speaks phrases or even complete sentences (such as "Who loves ya, baby?" and "Ah, such grace!"). By contrast, the mismatched lines in Chronicles are typically two words that don't sound like a phrase but rather sound like they are supposed to be a Tech name.)

Figurine Book

Right alongside my disappointment over the lack of voiced Z-skits, the Figurine Book was not enhanced in any way either.

My understanding is that in the original Japanese version of the game, each figurine could be zoomed and rotated, and was accompanied with some descriptive text. Evidently Namco did not want to bother having to translate all that text, but to get around the need, they simply disabled all button controls aside from the ones needed to page through the list and cancel out of the menu. What this means is we English folks not only lose out on the nice information gleaned from the book but we also lose the ability to zoom and rotate the figurines as well. I was really hoping for the PS3 version they would at least restore zoom/rotate functionality (even if they didn't translate the text), but...they didn't.

Battle Quote Subtitles

There are new subtitles displayed on the screen for certain battle quotes (mostly win quotes, but also certain in-battle dialogues such as when fighting Mithos, and some of the bosses' spell chants). While this is a nice added feature, I wish there was an option to enable/disable these at will, because the win quote ones often cover up the new win poses. I also am amused that some of the quotes are word-for-word transcriptions of what the character is saying in English, and some of them...aren't. I really don't know why the difference. That part is not particularly bothersome though.

Altered Decisions

Although for the most part the GCN script was used as-is (with the ellipses thing being the biggest alteration), I have noticed a few curious tweaks to the script. For example, during the dialogue with Marble at the Iselia Human Ranch, both of the choices that the player gets to make get turned into "Okay." and "But--" both times. (Usually, decisions include the first line that Lloyd will say after the player picks the option.) It's a very minor change, but why did they make the change at all? (My best guess at the moment is they noticed the missing punctuation after "Fine" and fixed it by just copying over the "Okay" from the next decision. Because, you know, typing a period is too hard.)

Presea's Missing Dialogue

This isn't actually a translation error, because this existed in the Japanese port as well, but I'm going to list it here. For some reason, when they made the original PS2 port of Tales of Symphonia in Japanese, they removed one of Presea's lines in the Meltokio sewers and replaced it with a simple "..." line. This change was carried over to the English PS3 port despite using the GCN's version of the English script...which indicates to me that they had to go out of their way to remove this line from the English script as well. Why? No clue.

Update: It's actually even worse than this; see post below: #12187

Update: And it's even worse than that; I've since noticed at least one or two more removed lines.  For as much as this port hates ellipses, it sure replaces an awful lot of Presea's lines with them.

Remiel's Missing Line

Oddly, one of Remiel's lines during the Martel Temple scene is simply missing. The voice acting does not play and the text does not show. Instead, Remiel's previous line ("Colette, the Chosen of Regeneration") gets stuck on the screen until Colette's response ("I humbly accept this task")...which naturally doesn't fit at all, since she's reacting to the missing line that never plays. (Considering the missing dialogue includes instructions on what to do next, I could see how new players might be lost without it, although the game reiterates it several times.)

Tower of Mana Books

Listed here even though it's not a translation issue, but they changed all of the books in the Tower of Mana. For example, one of the books on the GCN mentioned the moon's original name. Now the books talk about Efreet going berserk and the various Chosen journeys (and the Wonder Chef...). This isn't a bad thing (we get to learn some things that we didn't know before), but it's curious that they replaced the old text here with the new, rather than just adding the new books elsewhere like they did with other new books in other locations.

Update: Ah, most of the books were repurposed for use elsewhere, which explains why they were replaced in the Tower of Mana. See post: #12222

Speaker Confusion

Depending on who you selected at Flanoir, the game gets schizophrenic in some of the Mithos illusion scenes in Welgaia, in particular the spider one. I don't remember the GCN having this much trouble with it. There are frequent mismatches between the name shown on the dialogue box and the voice that actually speaks the line. Whether characters say "he" or "she" also gets scrambled a lot. I do remember that on the GCN Sheena says "He beat me to it" regardless (even if Colette is the one in the scene with her), but there were additional such goofs in the PS3 that I don't remember occurring on the GCN. It's almost like the PS3 gets confused as to who you picked at Flanoir. (The game seems to assume I picked Colette, even when I didn't.)

EX Skill Descriptions

The descriptions for a couple of EX Skills have been altered, including Nimble Mage and Kratos's Personal.  I assume the PS3 translators were trying to make the descriptions more clear, although to be honest, I think both game versions' descriptions of Nimble Mage are rather confusing.  (It all depends on how you define the word "casting"...)

Orochi's Explanation

Not a translation error; this one is actually a correction. On the original GCN (at least in the English version of the script), during his explanation in the Tethe'alla Base, Orochi erroneously refers to the Renegades as "Desians." The PS3 version of the script actually fixes this.

Saving Clara

Also not a translation issue, but placed here anyway. If you cure Clara late in the game, the PS3 dialogue was adjusted a bit to account for Palmacosta's destruction.

Skit Viewer

Don't know whether to put this under translation or game play, but they fixed the missing skit in the skit viewer. (For those that didn't notice: Any skit which bestows a title or unlocks a feature or something else like that does not appear in the viewer, probably to prevent the player from gaining those things unnaturally via the viewer. Having said that, the skit "Tethe'alla's Chosen" does not do any of these and yet improperly fails to appear in the GCN viewer.) However, they messed up the titles on several skits; the correct title shows when you play the skit, but the title shown on the list is often wrong. (Also, the controls on the skit viewer are...incongruous to say the least.)

Minor Goof

Almost not worth mentioning, but the PS3 version has a formatting error in one of Sheena's lines during the Kuchinawa conversation at Altamira. I don't remember it being there in the GCN.

~~~ Game Play ~~~

Buttons

They changed the button configuration from the layout of the GCN. Granted, the GCN controller has a fairly unique button layout, but it can be reasonably mapped to the diamond-shaped PS controller layout. In particular, the Tech and block buttons are reversed on the PS3. If you come to this game directly from the GCN, this can be frustrating. (This also affects other functions using those buttons, such as the cancel button, the Sorcerer's Ring, and getting on Noishe and the Rheairds.) The good side? The buttons can still be configured in the Customize menu. This doesn't affect the field map controls, but that's not as big of a problem as hitting the wrong buttons during battle. (It just means I always get on Noishe before I get on the Rheairds...) Amusingly, the default button layout makes Spell Charge much more awkward to use, and also curiously moves the Tech button away from the attack button, when normally you'd think you'd want those close together. (Having said that, other PS2/PS3/PSP Tales games probably use the same button configuration (I know of at least one for sure), in which case players coming from those games will appreciate the buttons being the same here.)

Missing Menu Screens

There appears to no longer be a way to access the "Records" screen that the GCN had. So you cannot see how many times you've run away from battle and such. It's not a huge loss, but it does rather diminish the point of purchasing "Battle Info" in the GRADE shop (which now just turns into a way to power up the Devil's Arms--well, okay, so that's mostly what it was used for in the first place).

You also can no longer see character usage percentages, because those used to be displayed on the save screen, and now the game uses a PS3 save screen that includes far less useful information.

Added Menu Screens

On the other hand, they added a new feature: A sound test. Yes, even in English. (Yay!) (Though amusingly enough it's labeled "Sound test" on the options screen, despite all of the other headers being title case. The label on the main menu is fine.)

Also, although the save screen overall has a lot less information on it, it does now denote whether the save is a clear game save (no more loading up what I thought was an end-game save, only to be asked to insert disc 1), as well as how many times you have cleared the game.

Main Menu

Completely irrelevant, but the main menu on the title screen has been changed slightly. "Continue" has been renamed "Load Game" and of course they (nicely) added the "Sound Test" option.

Title Screen

The disc 2 title screen appears to be no longer accessible, because the game no longer spans two discs. The shame about this is that screen is actually quite pretty (it's a nighttime view of the same scene as the disc 1 title screen). If there's a way to switch the title screens on the PS3 version, I haven't found it yet.

Synopsis Menu

The Synopsis now uses reverse sort order to put the newest entries on top.

Dialogue Balloons

The default text speed is now 0. If you bump it up to 1, it goes pretty slowly. The GCN was a lot faster at the lower text speed numbers. Also, sadly, the PS3 version no longer allows the player to press buttons to speed up a particular dialogue box; it is now necessary to wait for the text to finish typing by itself before the window can be dismissed. This really hurts any setting aside from 0 (which might be why the game now defaults to 0).

Not only that, but the mouth movement animation only seems to work at a setting of 1 or above. At 0, even if there is voice acting, it messes up; originally the game would animate the mouth for as long as the voice acting plays; here, the mouth just gets stuck open until the voice line finishes playing, then it closes.

Strat(egy) Settings

Not sure whether to put this under translation or game play, but it is no longer possible to rename your Strat(egy) settings. You are stuck with the default names: Reserve, Guard, and All Out.

Unison Attack Meter

Once full, the Unison Attack meter reminds you in every single battle that it is full by doing the same "ding" sound effect and animation that it makes when it first fills. It's kind of distracting. Also, the "ding" doesn't come immediately at the start of battle, but waits a few seconds, as if it takes a while to realize it's full. (It might be that it only plays the effect when you perform some action that would normally increase the bar, thereby reminding the bar that it is already full.)

Walking

It is much harder to walk slowly, especially on the overworld. The character tends to move in jumpy spurts when you try to walk slowly. This might be more of an issue with the controller than the game, though. (Either way, it does make walking over the spike traps in the Balacruf Mausoleum that much more difficult...)

Overworld Collision

The PS3 seems to have messed up the collision with boxes that you can grab and drag, along with sealed Memory Circles. Sealed Memory Circles now only react (show the action button) if you are standing on their lower portion ("lower" according to visually on the screen). Worse than those, though: boxes that you push or pull around for puzzles are very finicky about their positioning and often do not offer the "grab" icon even when you are standing right next to them. I often have to run back and forth trying to get the icon to show up. (This is particularly aggravating in the Meltokio sewers.)

Noishe

It is no longer possible to enter towns while on Noishe. One has to dismount first, then potentially move away from the town and back up against it in order to bring up the "enter" prompt. Additionally, field map cut scenes (such as mandatory Z-skits) can no longer trigger while on Noishe. If such a scene tries to start, the player gets stuck and cannot move forward until he dismounts. (It seems the trigger location for the cut scene acts like an invisible wall while on Noishe, preventing the player from crossing it.) Yet it is still possible to jump straight from Noishe onto the EC or the Rheairds, for some odd reason.

Temple of Lightning

The PS3 seems to add an additional black overlay in the dark rooms in the Temple of Lightning to make them truly black instead of just fairly dark. I assume the intention was to force the players to wait for the lightning flashes instead of simply bumping up the brightness on their monitors. However, one feature I miss was in the GCN version of the game, you could put Raine or Genis as your on-screen character and see better because they have elven nightvision. That's a cool hidden little feature. The PS3's overlay largely eliminates this. If you use Raine or Genis, you can see slightly better, but mostly the only thing you can see is whatever is at the very bottom portion of the screen, which is generally not particularly helpful.

GCN examples:


Temple of Darkness

It might be just my perception or luck, but the little shadows in the PS3 version of the Temple of Darkness need to lay off the caffeine. In the GCN version, they would follow you fairly well and they would mostly stick with you as long as you were moving at a walking speed. On the PS3, they go berserk at any speed, racing around wildly in random directions (though usually directly opposite the way you want them to go) and generally making a total nuisance out of themselves.

Stationary Runners

In the forbidden book bonus dungeon ("Niflheim"), monsters on the overworld map often get stuck in the middle of nowhere and will run in place and won't move except when your character moves. This is actually kind of annoying since you lose Soulfire for moving. If you want such monsters to attack you (e.g. red floor), you have to waste Soulfire chasing them around since they won't pursue you while they are stuck running in place.  (Of course, on the flip side, this can sometimes be used to avoid fights when desired.)

Disaster

The Disaster Devil's Arm is significantly more expensive now. In the original GCN version of the game, the guy who sold it to you claimed he wanted 1000 Gald but didn't actually take the money, so the only cost of getting the Devil's Arm was the 400 Gald you spent to get to nighttime Altamira. Now you have to buy it out of the casino for the equivalent price of 125,000 Gald. Granted, at least it's nowhere near as expensive as...well, nearly everything else they are selling for chips at the casino (10,000 Gald in chips for a Miracle Gel that you can buy in shops for 2,700 Gald?). And it's not like Gald is something difficult to come by; merely time-consuming. Still, this is a rather significant change so is worth mentioning.

(Side note: I realize it's possible to earn the chips through the games rather than buying them directly. However, at least personally, I'm not terribly good at coming out ahead in the casino games. So the only surefire way to get the Disaster is to buy it flat-out. I mention the price in Gald since it seems to me like it would be even more difficult and time-consuming to gather sufficient GRADE or EX Gems to use to exchange for chips instead.)

Earth Dragon

In a similar vein, the dragon in the Earth Temple underwent two changes. First, he was moved from his original location under the bridge puzzle, to behind the Gnomelettes right next to the Devil's Arm chest. What this means is you can't even fight the dragon at all until you fulfill all of the requirements for getting the Devil's Arm (because you now have to get the Gnomelettes to move out of the way first). Second, the dragon now only drops 1000 Gald upon defeat instead of 10,000. I think the 10,000 was a typo to begin with, actually, so probably the change to 1000 was simply fixing what was originally a bug. (Of course, this change does make it that much harder to earn the new Disaster as well. Along with making it more time-consuming to repair Luin enough to view the Fake Chosen scene there before the cut-off time.)

Restoring Luin

At Luin, the game won't allow you to donate more than what is needed for the next tier. No more needing to keep track of how much you've already donated.

Easy Gigolo

They removed the "Easy Gigolo Glitch" on the PS3...and made it even easier. Now, instead of having to hike all the way out of Derris-Kharlan before picking up the Derris Emblem, you simply have to talk to Zelos's butler at any time after getting the Sacred Stone. Which means the title is pretty much automatic now and you don't have to bother with talking to all of the women if you don't want to.

Missing Examine

The PS3 version adds an "Examine" icon to the door switch in the Tower of Salvation (where you go after Colette is taken away).

~~~ Continued... ~~~

UPDATE: The rest of this post has been moved down below because I went over the post size limit.  Smile


Last edited by Phaelin on Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:58 pm; edited 13 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:59 am

Phaelin wrote:
Presea's Missing Dialogue

This isn't actually a translation error, because this existed in the Japanese port as well, but I'm going to list it here. For some reason, when they made the original PS2 port of Tales of Symphonia in Japanese, they removed one of Presea's lines in the Meltokio sewers and replaced it with a simple "..." line. This change was carried over to the English PS3 port despite using the GCN's version of the English script...which indicates to me that they had to go out of their way to remove this line from the English script as well. Why? No clue.
Ahahaha, you remembered this. It's actually gotten WORSE in this version. Time to bring these images back.



Those were the ones that got changed in the PS2 version. However, Chronicles went a step further and removed two more lines.


...Raine even responds to the first one. :/
And heck, there might be more, since I didn't really check! At his point I'm just...ehhhhh...
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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:08 pm

Phaelin, you never fail to amaze me.

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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:52 pm

Utterly impressive Phaelin!

The battle framerate being cut to 30 FPS and the animated skits boxes were both PS2 version changes; that Namco did not restore it to the Gamecube's 60 since the PS3 would have none of the occasional lag issues (Cyclone? Cyclone.) the Cube version did stirred up a lot more froth than it was worth on GameFaqs right after release.

Mithos' wings are ruined, my gosh. The text box issue does not even make sense, you would think the arrow would just be a part of a object, since the game has multiple boxes for non-dialogue.

Other than that, moral of the story: porting decade-old games is hard, okay?
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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:21 pm

Apparently the editors of the PS2/PS3 versions thought Presea was too talkative before getting her Key Crest...?

The text boxes are a tad complicated since the arrow moves dynamically to keep up with the character's position, so the balloon can't be a static image. On the GCN I imagine they composed the image on an opaque backbuffer so that the details could cover up the border, then drew the whole thing alpha'd to the main screen. Not sure why they didn't on the PS3 version...
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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:58 pm

Phaelin wrote:
Tower of Mana Books

Listed here even though it's not a translation issue, but they changed all of the books in the Tower of Mana. For example, one of the books on the GCN mentioned the moon's original name. Now the books talk about Efreet going berserk and the various Chosen journeys (and the Wonder Chef...). This isn't a bad thing (we get to learn some things that we didn't know before), but it's curious that they replaced the old text here with the new, rather than just adding the new books elsewhere like they did with other new books in other locations.

Only Tethe'alla Observation Record is missing, actually. A longer/re-translated version of the other books is found somewhere else:

Principles of Angelology Volume III became Cronica Angelorum Volume 1 (Linar's house)
The Ancient War: Light and Shadow became Dark and Light in the Ancient War (Zelos' house)
The Story of the Hero Mithos: The Legend of the World's Greatest Man became Superhero Storytime: Mithos and Me (Palmacosta)

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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:37 am

Most of the problems you describe were in issues introduced in the PS2 version. The PS3 version is just a lazy port of that game, unfortunately.
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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:12 pm

True enough, and I guess I should have clarified in the introduction that I'm really covering both PS2 and PS3 changes. Main difference is since I haven't played the PS2 version, I'm not able to make judgments regarding which changes were PS2 vs PS3 so I just lumped them all together.
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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:31 am

Great posts as always Phaelin!

I didn't know that the Sages had night vision. That is really cool.

I was under the impression that Abyssion's hair was always pulsating, even in the GCN version, just really, really faintly.

I have a weird glitch in the PS3 version that messes the colours up really badly if I stand in certain locations (in and around Luin, pre-destruction).

I'll try to film it sometime.
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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:53 am

(Continued from first post)

~~~ Battle ~~~

Multiplayer Camera

The multiplayer battle camera was fixed in the PS3 version (and I think the PS2 one as well). When you have more than one character in "Manual" mode, you now get the same sort of camera that you get if you put all of your characters on "Auto." (The camera is zoomed way out, far enough to see all of the battle participants at once.)

Face Portraits

During battle, the face portraits of your party members no longer glow when they are casting spells. (Exception: For some bizarre reason, the glow exists if the character is suffering from certain status ailments like the "Weak" status. But the glow promptly goes away once the abnormal status is cured.) On the GCN version, I relied heavily on this glow to help me keep track of what my other party members were doing (since most of the time they were off the screen). Even more curiously, the little face icons for enemies will glow when they are casting spells, but not party members.

Over Limit

On the original GCN, when a party member was about to go Over Limit, his outlines would flash red. This same graphical effect also happened to be used to indicate stagger immunity (which is a temporary status all characters get when they are knocked over and are in the process of getting back to their feet). Likely due to the ambiguity caused by using the same effect for two different things, on the PS3 they changed the Over Limit indicator. Now the face portraits get a zooming effect that increases with intensity as the character gets closer and closer to Over Limit.

Colette's Angel Skills

Whenever Colette starts casting an angel skill (and when she finishes), there is now a very harsh "ching" sound effect, along with a graphical flash around her model. The effect is somewhat similar (though not identical to) when a character makes his wings appear outside of battle during a cut scene. For this reason, early on I thought perhaps the designers had decided to have all characters pull out their wings before using angel skills, and didn't bother to remove the graphical effect for Colette to take into consideration the fact that she always has her wings out during battle. But...turns out I was wrong. Only Colette has this effect. Neither Kratos nor Zelos (nor any of the angel bosses, for that matter) exhibit this effect when they cast angel skills. (Nor do Kratos/Zelos manifest their wings when using Judgment as party members.) So I remain puzzled as to why this effect was added at all...and why only to Colette.

Canceling Spells

In the GCN version, you can cancel a spell that is being cast by pressing block. In the PS3 version, this works only sporadically. It's really quite frustrating to hit block, try to perform some other action, and realize my character is still standing there with his feet nailed to the ground casting. You know, when I hit block I expect the character to block. Action-based games suffer much more from flaws in play control than a turn-based strategy type game.

(It's possible this change was made in an attempt to diminish the infinite-combo exploit; however, even if that's the case, it's still annoying because there are half a dozen valid reasons for canceling spells besides using it to do an infinite combo. Surely there could have been a better solution to that one issue that wouldn't affect overall game play.)

Battle Menu

In the PS3 version, sometimes when you open the menu during battle while your currently-controlled character is casting, the spell is canceled when you close the menu--just like in Vesperia. However, unlike Vesperia where it pretty much happens consistently, here it only happens sometimes. It definitely happens if you switch characters while the menu is open, but sometimes seems to occur even without that. Yet sometimes the spell is not canceled. In any case, I really liked the GCN's way of doing it better. You could start a spell, then switch out to another character...or even take over for an AI character that was in the middle of casting, and decide for yourself whether to let the spell continue or whether to cancel it.

What really amuses me (in a sad sort of way) is how comparatively hard it is to cancel spells on purpose--but how easy it is to do so unintentionally.

Hold Position

On the GCN "Hold Position" would cause characters to occasionally move away from enemies as necessary. (They would do so in a rather curious sideways lope.) The PS3 version does not appear to allow this at all...which means characters on "Hold Position" typically end up all crowded around the enemies where they very quickly die.

Also, on the GCN characters on "Hold Position" would still block attacks and use their Guardian-type moves. On the PS3, they do so only sporadically. Sometimes they simply stand still and take hits without making any attempt at defending themselves. I have not yet determined what causes this latter behavior to happen. (This might have existed on the GCN, and maybe I never noticed it there.)

Stealing AI

In the GCN version, Colette on AI was smart enough not to use Item Thief/Rover twice on a particular enemy (since you can only steal one thing from each enemy). She doesn't appear to be that smart in the PS3 version. (Just like Repede...)

Spell Charge

They eliminated the Healing Stream exploit. I can't decide whether this was on purpose or on accident.

You see, on the GCN, the Spell Charge EX Skill operated in a curious manner. Any spell cast via Spell Charge did not cost TP and consequently did not increase your Tech usage counter. (This is because any time you use a Tech without costing TP, it doesn't count as a use. This applies to Unison Attacks too.) I assume this was an intentional decision on the GCN although I'm not certain they intended for people to exploit it. My assumption is this was done because it ensures that when you try to release the charged spell later, the game doesn't have to worry about whether you still have enough TP to do so.

On the PS3, spells cast through Spell Charge do cost TP and do count as a use. (If you lack the TP to release the charged spell, you just get the usual "TPxx" icon whenever you would normally have released the spell, though the spell remains charged and ready for if you refill your TP.) This limits the Healing Stream exploit in early game as you will be burning through TP too fast to sustain it, although the Nimble Mage aspect of the exploit remains. (This also means you can't use Spell Charge to cast free Meteor Storms in early game, either...)

~~~ Conclusion ~~~

Looking back on the list, it sounds like a whole lot of negatives. This wasn't actually my intention (I like Chronicles and I'm glad they brought it over here--and they got the original voice actors back); I was merely trying to record anything I noticed that was different. I guess when you take something as good as Tales of Symphonia, any change you make just risks messing with an already near-perfect formula...


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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:41 pm

Phaelin wrote:
Looking back on the list, it sounds like a whole lot of negatives.

Your darn right it does.  I have a friend who put off playing it to the PC version (Zestiria pre-order bonuses yay) and I fear a mite for his experience after realizing the myriad of PS2 version technical issues and the Cursed Book apparently not being fun anymore.  He won't notice, at least not until the Book, but it is a tad disappointing.  Still going to play it, of course, I got the pre-order bonus too.


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PostSubject: Re: Chronicles Evaluation (Spoilers)   Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:00 pm

To be honest, I'm hoping I'm wrong about the Cursed Book. We'll see though. I'll update if I discover anything new/different about it.

Edit: Yay, I was wrong. I finally got a green brazier to let me out of the dungeon. It asked me twice if I wanted to leave, but it did let me out. Will update accordingly.
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