Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Part One: Introduction

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

Developer: Namco Tales Studio

Publisher: Namco Bandai

System: Nintendo Wii

Released: November 11th, 2008

What Came Before

Once, there was a world called Sylvarant. Its mana was in decline, threatening all life and magic in the world. It was time to begin the Journey of World Regeneration. To that end, the goddess Martel selected a Chosen one: Colette Brunel, a sweet and compassionate young lady.

The cast of ToS. Left to right: Genis, Lloyd, Colette, Presea, Raine, Zelos, Regal, and Sheena

Her friends Lloyd Irving (a slightly ditzy but well-meaning swordsman raised by a dwarf) and Genis Sage (a child prodigy and half-elf) as well as their teacher, Raine Sage (Genis’ older sister) joined Colette on her quest.

The quest required the Chosen to release the seals on the Summon Spirits. With each seal broken, the Chosen became less and less human and more like an angel. The final seal required the Chosen to give up their heart, the memories of their human life, and their life itself.

The party eventually learned that Sylvarant had a parasitic relationship with the mana of another world: Tethe’alla. If Sylvarant’s mana was in decline, then Tethe’alla flourished, and vice-versa. The party sought a way to sever the connection between both worlds by forming pacts with the Summon Spirits of each.

In the end, the party survived a lot of tragedy to stop Mithos Yggdrasil, a half-elf and the embittered brother of Martel, from destroying both worlds to create a new one just for himself and Martel to live in. He said that he had no regrets and would do it all over again before he was killed by Lloyd.

The heroes fused both worlds into one. Lloyd and Colette revived the Great Seed of the World Tree with the Eternal Sword (gained by forming a pact with the Summon Spirit named Origin), which provided endless mana to the fused world.

Tensions arose between the inhabitants of both worlds due to cultural and technological differences. Some of the people of Sylvarant formed the Vanguard to oppose the Church of Martel, which was maintained by the citizens of Tethe’alla.

Eighteen months after the end of Tales of Symphonia, the Church of Martel, led by Lloyd, attacked the Sylvaranti city of Palamacosta because members of the Vanguard were meeting there. The atrocity led to the deaths of innocent bystanders and Palmacosta was set ablaze in the chaos. It came to be known as the “Palmacosta Blood Purge”.

This was why Emil Castagnier hated Lloyd. He killed Emil’s parents.

Emil was sent to live in Luin with his aunt and uncle, who abused the timid boy. His uncle would hit him sometimes.

One day, he met a Vanguard agent named Richter Abend who told him that “Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality.” Emil’s journey began when he met a free-spirited girl named Marta Lualdi, who had a grudge against Colette. Marta was a fugitive being hunted by the Vanguard… and Richter. Emil rescued Marta from Richter and met Tenebrae, a Centurion of the Summon Spirit, Ratatosk. Tenebrae and Marta were on a mission to awaken the other Centurions revive Ratatosk and to restore balance to the world’s environment. Emil formed a pact with Tenebrae to become a Knight of Ratatosk. This pact unlocked a separate personality inside of Emil that was combative, abrasive, and loved to fight.

Nothing would ever be the same again.

L to R: Marta, Emil, and Tenebrae

Dramatis Personae

You may have hoped from seeing them in the anime intro that Alice and Decus would be possible party members on your side. WRONG.

Decus and Alice

Alice is a cute but very evil little girl. Wait, she’s supposed to be eighteen?!

This half-elf is the leader of Vanguard’s combat unit. She opposes Emil and Marta while attempting to hunt down Colette and Zelos Wilder (the Chosen of Tethe’alla) for their Cruxis Crystals. Cruxis Crystals help nurture the dormant power of the beings that they are attached to.

Decus is Alice’s bodyguard. He loves Alice deeply.

Zelos is, as described above, the Chosen of Tethe’alla. He is an attractive man that is popular with the ladies, but he has a very dark past. His parents were in an arranged marriage, and his father cheated on his mother, Mylene, with an elven mistress. She became pregnant and gave birth to Seles, Zelos’ half-human half-sister. When their father died, all hell broke loose and Seles’ mother tried to kill Zelos so that Seles would become Tethe’alla’s Chosen, ensuring a more privileged life for her and her daughter. Mylene was caught in the crossfire and her dying words to her child were that he should never have been born. Seles’ mother was condemned to death and Seles was sent to live in an abbey for the rest of her life. Zelos combats feelings of worthlessness from being neglected by his parents and insecurity over his belief that Seles would have been a better Chosen than himself.

But he made friends and saved the world, so there.

Tales hides some very dark plot points under anime cuteness, especially considering the art style of ToS.

Gameplay Differences

DotNW has several differences from the first game. The main difference is that Emil and Marta are the only main party members throughout the whole game. The heroes from the previous game occasionally join the party as guests, but their equipment can not be changed, nor can they gain any levels.

Monsters can join the party if Emil successfully forms a pact with them. Certain monsters can evolve into new forms. Cooking the right foods for them can affect their evolutions, stats, or growth rates.

At this point in the story, we made it to the Dynasty Ruins. Emil and Marta visit the Ruins in search of Thomas, who may have known why the area was plagued with storms. Alice found and attacked our heroes, but one of her monsters rebelled against her. However, Zelos rescued her from the monster.

Zelos introduced himself to Emil and Marta, and revealed that he was friends with Lloyd. Emil was disgusted to meet someone who would admit to being friends with Lloyd, so Zelos left with Thomas.

At the bottom of the Ruins, the part found that water monsters were battling for territory and that the weather abnormalities were due to Aqua the Centurion neglecting her duties. When Tenebrae said that the lake in the Ruins may have been connected to the ocean, they discovered the Manitou, the most territorial of all aquatic monsters. It was the one causing the storms.

I don’t think I had quite gotten to Manitou at this point.

January 21st, 2010: I’ve been trying to leave the Dynasty Ruins for a long time. It seems it was as simple as GOING THROUGH a doorway that was almost too dark to see. Check that – it was too dark to see. I walked through it by accident.

I’m not angry. It just seems silly that that was holding me back all this time.

Tales of Symphonia was responsible for me falling in love with Tales.

One of our monsters evolved. It don’t think that’s ever happened before.

I completed a Katz Guild quest successfully for the first time.