Tales of Symphonia GameCube


Generally favorable reviews - based on 60 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 60
  2. Negative: 0 out of 60
Buy On
  1. This game, while not perfect, will even attract and hold non-RPG fans with its unique battle system, and interesting story. The game is a great, interesting, and fun experience.
  2. Computer Games Magazine
    A work of art with nicely drawn anime sequences and beautifully rendered cel-shaded graphics. [Oct 2004, p.9]
  3. 100
    The cel-shaded visuals look beautiful, as does the stunning anime sequences scattered throughout the game.
  4. The charming storyline, the captivating characters and the amazingly fun battle system all puts together one of the best RPGs on the market. When all is said and done, this game has easily broken its way onto my top ten favorite RPGs of all time.
  5. Nintendo Power
    Easily the finest RPG on the GCN, and one of the best that I've ever played. The game is deeper than the Marianas Trench, but somehow it never gets bogged down by its own complexity. [Sept 2004, p.115]
  6. The GameCube finally has a kick-ass RPG that they can call their own. I am simply blown away by Tales of Symphonia. The graphics are beautiful, the music is awesome, the voices are top-notch and the game play is to die for.
  7. One of the best RPG's this entire generation. It is far from the typical "Final Fantasy" clone, and makes me wish I've noticed the Tales' series of games earlier.
  8. The 3D real-time combat sets this game apart from anything else in the genre and takes the edge off what is typically a grueling leveling-up grind of endless encounters and combat.
  9. The best RPG I've played all summer. I love that I'm loving an RPG on the GameCube.
  10. 92
    It's unique, and just plain fun battle system is well executed, and the graphics speak for themselves.
  11. Tales of Symphonia features something rarely perfected by any other companies; great voice acting.
  12. netjak
    It will be remembered as proof that Nintendo could have solid role-playing games on its systems again. And, perhaps, it will be proof that a game can even transcend prejudices people bring about its voice actors.
  13. The best part about the combat system? The next to no loading time as you go in and out of combat.
  14. Arguably the finest example ever made of the truly traditional Japanese RPG. It may be clichéd, and altogether a little too bright and happy for its own good, but Tales of Symphonia is nonetheless epic, enjoyable, and superbly constructed.
  15. games(TM)
    It's through the amount of details, distractions and other additions to the more obvious elements that Symphonia builds itself up from what starts as an above-average RPG into one that'll stand as a benchmark in future. [Oct 2004, p.102]
  16. AceGamez
    It's another masterpiece by Namco and a more than welcome addition to Namco's ever growing 'Tales of' series.
  17. It's fun, lengthy, and beautiful...hard to beat a combination like that.
  18. Buy this sucker. It's got "diamond in the rough" written all over it.
  19. GameCube fans can finally put their 20-sided die away, as Tales of Symphonia is exactly what they needed. It's an ace on any system.
  20. From a technical perspective Tales does the genre proud, and from an aesthetic viewpoint there are few who could stand side by side and not be dwarfed by its majesty.
  21. 90
    A fantastically deep and satisfying fantasy world.
  22. Pelit (Finland)
    A very good RPG adventure. The structure is too conventional and the storyline is nothing special, but the real-time combat system is great. [Jan. 05]
  23. 90
    Stay for the story, characters, and the sights of Symphonia...but be wary of the action-heavy, automated battle system. The fate of the world may feel a little bit out of your hands. [Aug 2004, p.98]
  24. A long game. You could probably speed through the game in a mere fifty hours, but if you choose to follow all the sub-plots, side quests or indulge in the myriad collectables, you really can fill the more than eighty hours of time that Namco claims this game will take a dedicated player.
  25. When it is all said and done, though, Tales of Symphonia will provide Gamecube gamers fifty to eighty hours of solid, battle-happy role playing goodness.
  26. Fans of Japanese role-playing games will take to its style and the depth of its battle system, and those curious about the genre who loathe the idea of turn-based battle and scads of random encounters, will appreciate the quick fighting pace.
  27. Game Informer
    Even though the amazing graphics are the most noticeable aspect of Tales of Symphonia, the area where it truly distinguishes itself is in its addictive and highly variable combat mechanic. [July 2004, p.117]
  28. Those who've been dying for a proper RPG on GameCube have just had their prayers answered. If you've never played through a game of this sort before.
  29. 85
    Tales is a lot of fun. Plain and simple. And, due to its hybrid RPG/adventure game nature, it's got the customization, strategy, and experience system that RPG fans admire, as well as a battle system and puzzle solving elements that appeals to action/adventure oriented gamers.
  30. A symphonic masterpiece. Such a statement may sound repetitive, but when an RPG is this good you can't help but repeat yourself.
  31. The devil is really in the details. I was obsessed with collecting recipes all over the world, by seeking out the elusive Wonder Chef, whose dishes provide various healing effects after fights.
  32. 85
    While this undoubtedly sounds familiar to RPG veterans, Symphonia manages to distinguish itself through solid and enjoyable gameplay.
  33. The game will give you plenty to do. Not only are there lots of mini games, sidequests, and optional bosses but the whole adventure will be around 80 hours!
  34. 85
    Quite frankly, it's the best RPG to grace a Nintendo console since the Super Nintendo glory days.
  35. The only thing that really got on our nerves was the rubbish dialogue. There are times when it's pretty appalling and it does kind of spoil the magic a little - likewise, the plot can be pretty cliched and RPG veterans will find it tiresome in places. [NGC]
  36. What made me love this game is the battle system.
  37. One of the greatest RPGs to come out in recent years, far surpassing most other attempts at the genre, even by famed Squaresoft. The storyline, characters, combat just blow everything else out of the water.
  38. A fantastic looking title with a pleasant mixture of traditional and non-traditional RPG elements to create a refreshingly new gaming experience.
  39. Play Magazine
    A twisting, turning quest fraught with religious controversy, ethical questions and issues of prejudice and sacrifice. [Aug 2004, p.51]
  40. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The game's gorgeous graphics will work your eyes just as hard as the battles work your thumb, too. [Aug 2004, p.110]
  41. This is a game that's simply fun and likable enough to be worth the bother of seeing all the way through. How often can you say that?
  42. Edge Magazine
    The plot is revealed in awkward clumps which never quite dovetail. There's no question, however, that Namco has managed to twist out a tale that sustains your interest across both discs. [Oct 2004, p.106]
  43. 80
    Tales will take over your life from the moment you start until the credits roll. The end sequence will take between forty and seventy hours to reach and, although it'll satisfy, it will also sadden. The game does, unfortunately, end.
  44. GMR Magazine
    The game's not just about kicking ass, though. It's also about gorgeous graphics. [Aug 2004, p.99]
  45. Perhaps the only questionable aspect might be the length, but given the game's pacing and the gradual addition of new elements, characters and locations to the gameplay, this never becomes a drudge.
  46. There's only on thing that irks me though. All of these characters have distinct voices and wonderfully rich attitudes. The voice acting is superbly done with so much clarity and excellence. But despite all of the quality, the characters' cel-shaded lips don't move.
  47. Doesn't make any ground breaking moves to the RPG genre but it does give Gamecube fans an RPG to be proud of.
  48. Some people won't enjoy the combat system where the greatest strategy is just to keep on grinding your level up. However, if you look past the flaws, there's really an amusing experience laying in wait.
  49. There aren't enough save points so you might have to replay hours worth of the game if the adventuring party dies far from a save point. Despite this beef, Symphonia succeeds because of its deep battle system, stylish graphics and enormous game world.
  50. Cheat Code Central
    A lengthy and enjoyable RPG that should keep fans of the genre busy and out of the sun for a good portion of the summer - as long as you can put up with those wide-eyed, spiky headed, always-surprised-or-in-shock, anime cretins.
  51. With the anime cell-shaded graphics and weak storyline Tales of Symphonia may not appeal to every RPG fan. But if you own a GameCube and have been waiting for a fun and addictive RPG, you can't go wrong with this game.
  52. The customization is deep, but not so deep as to be lengthy, and the game itself looks crisp and well-polished.
  53. A no-nonsense, straightforward, old school, GameCube-exclusive RPG.
  54. 80
    From the hectic, mashy battles to the meticulous character customization, there's something here for every breed of player.
  55. The world is absolutely beautiful and you'll find yourself mesmerized at some of the scenery. Battling is a joy and really puts you in the driver's seat, so to speak, instead of just forcing you to be an observer of the action taking place on the screen.
  56. The battle system is light years ahead of anything else in the RPG world - remarkably, it actually makes dungeon crawling fun - and the sheer amount of options you have with it means that you'll never get bored. [JPN Import]
  57. 75
    Symphonia isn't any great shakes as a narrative, and its graphics may inspire more hate than love, but it's fun to play, and that's the important part.
  58. Unfortunately, even great length doesn't entirely offset the boring story arc and occasionally frustrating gameplay. The game seems intent just sticking to the dungeon/town/dungeon theme and tossing one fantasy RPG cliché after another at you, which does grow a little tiresome.
  59. A fairly good RPG. Nothing stands out about it, nothing incredibly amazing has been done with it, but it is a serviceable and enjoyable game if you're a fan of the genre.
  60. 70
    Continuing a short but respected series, the game does little to broaden the genre, but at least it performs with style and solid mechanics.

Awards & Rankings

#4 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2004
#5 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 196 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 69
  2. Negative: 3 out of 69
  1. Steven
    Jul 25, 2009
    Closest thing to a perfect game, amazing characters, amazing story, extremely fun battles, everything, the only problem is whan playing with Closest thing to a perfect game, amazing characters, amazing story, extremely fun battles, everything, the only problem is whan playing with multiple people the first player has to be a long range spellcaster othewise the camera will follow first player and leave everyone confused, but if playing with alot of people it isnt really an issue since someone has to be a magic user. Full Review »
  2. PabloR
    Jun 13, 2008
    Probably best if not it. It's story isn't cliche.. and the characters with the exception of 1.. are so perfect. It's setting Probably best if not it. It's story isn't cliche.. and the characters with the exception of 1.. are so perfect. It's setting is just so original.. and the music makes you feel the mood.. The battle is the best of any RPG in the world for the simple fact that it's simple and 4 players! How unbelievable is that. Full Review »
  3. Apr 3, 2016
    Tales of Symphonia is among the greats when it comes to JRPGs. This well written masterpiece was my favourite game for the Nintendo GameCubeTales of Symphonia is among the greats when it comes to JRPGs. This well written masterpiece was my favourite game for the Nintendo GameCube and is my second favourite RPG next to Chrono Trigger. This game features a diverse cast each with their own heartfelt and hard-felt back stories and an overall plot that will make you think and make you feel for you party members. With a wide variety of side questing you can easily clock well over 100 hours of game time. The gameplay is fluid along with the battle system. Tales of Symphonia has a fantastic score to accompany you in the journey. Tales of Symphonia kick started my love for the Tales Series. Full Review »