Hello and welcome back to P-Vock's Music Box. There are simply too many video games right now. God of War, Sonic Frontiers, Sparks of Hope, Bayonetta 3, and so many other exciting new releases that make my heart happy and my wallet weep are dominating the conversation. Despite this, the game I'm most happy about is a game from 2003.
Despite its immense popularity in Japan, the Tales of series gets little love over here, which physically hurts me. The characters don't get discussed, the combat is not praised, and the stories just do not get remembered as much as they should.
With the exception of one game.
After years of hoping, and giving up on hope, Tales of Symphonia is finally coming to modern platforms, and while some fans argue these releases won't be the best way to play the game, I'm simply content that more people can play this absolute classic.
Tales of Symphonia is the most popular and celebrated game in the series by far. A
game with stand-out characters, awesome set pieces, a moving and genuinely thought-provoking story, and more bangin' battle themes than most fighting games.
This is the first battle theme. This is the INTRO battle theme.
Usually, opening battle themes are more reserved, confident, and energetic. This just says nuts to that and delivered something frantic and high-tempo for you to bob along to as you wail on your enemies with awesome combos and devastating magic spells that will only get better.
Most games don't have anything that could top this, and this is the base of the mountain that is the Tales of Symphonia OST. Much like the combat systems and options you have with each character, it is only going to get better.
Everything I said about Full Force is cranked up tenfold for Like a Glint of Light. The melody slaps you in the face immediately with that intense synth. Those drums yell out louder than the enemies you are juggling in the air with a ten-hit kicking combo or a flurry of spells and explosions.
It is the perfect level of chaos for a battle that takes place in real-time with upwards of ten characters on-screen duking it out (this series is seriously impressive). Despite that, it feels under control. The music is still structured and organized while delivering the madness you're experiencing in the fights proper.
You don't hear this battle theme for a while. You probably have a good grasp of the combat by the time you reach it, so the structured chaos echoing in your ears is reflective of how far you've come by the time you hear it. It's the most iconic individual track from Tales of Symphonia for a reason. I'd even argue that it is probably the second most iconic track in the entire series.
Fighting of the Spirit is the only track to appear in multiple Tales of games, excluding some times when characters have made super boss cameos in later games and been accompanied by a theme from their original entry. It is the most iconic theme in the series, and it is a joy to hear every single time.
One of the staples of many Tales of games is having to recruit super powerful elemental beings (other franchises like Final Fantasy and Megami Tensei do similar things), and this is usually what accompanies you as you fight said being to prove your resolve and show that you're worthy of their aid.
I think the mix of desperation and confidence exuded in this track is absolutely perfect for a moment such as that. You desperately need these beings' assistance, but you're more than equipped to handle them and do what it takes to save the world and stop racism at the hands of a childish antichrist (that's basically the plot of the game).
I'm so excited for more people to experience Tales of Symphonia when it is rereleased early next year. It's a game I think anyone who paid attention to the releases on the Gamecube would recognize, but I doubt many have actually played, which is a crying shame. The Tales of series is full of so many fantastic entries that don't see the acclaim they deserve, but at least I can still get nuggets of hope like this rerelease every now and again.
Maybe someday, the games we never got in the West at all can see a worldwide release. Well, a manchild can dream...
I truly hope your weekend is as bombastic as these bonking battle beats. Thank you as always for checking out my content. I'll catch you back here next time with another suggestion from my Music Box.
PS. Don't look up if this game ever got a sequel. There is definitely no terrible sequel that completely misses the entire point of practically everything this game did. Nope. Not at all.....