Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of February 24, 2014 (Cosmic Coincidence Edition)

Unusual edition today! Didn’t get much accomplished but took a master course in RPG design—in a sense—so this is in blog format below the jump. Lots to say!

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Tales of Symphonia Text Review and Story Breakdown: Part 2

Originally a script for a video review, so some parts may stick out and, without visual aids, I recommend having played the game already! Note: this is for the original Tales of Symphonia, so if anything changed in the re-release, I haven’t touched on it here.

Quick links to other entries:

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

…Where was I again?

Oh, right. “I just believe” isn’t too terrible a response. We all believe in at least a few things we haven’t seen firsthand.

caption: dark matter, string theory, human rights and other Platonic notions of justice or goodness, parallel universes, life on other planets, life at ocean depths that haven’t been visited, animals you’ve never seen, countries you’ve never traveled to, the laws of physics remaining constant tomorrow

And I’ll give credit for not pulling out Pascal’s Wager.

No, not that Pascal. Wrong Tales game!

caption briefly flashed; people will have to pause if they want to read it: In all seriousness, while Pascal’s Wager may be a poor reason for Christian faith because of the specifics of our faith, namely that “I’ll believe just in case lulz” arguably isn’t a belief, it’s a pretty handy tool for probabilistic utilitarians in the tangible world. I don’t know for sure if lead-based paint, cell phone signals, sulfates in shampoo, aspartame in soda, or fluoridated water are harmful or if microwaves really so supercharge the particles inside food that our bodies’ defense systems cease to recognize them as food and begin attacking them like poison or something. I just ask myself what it would cost me to avoid them all and the answer was “not much,” so I kept microwave popcorn and tossed out everything else. No more philosophy in the rest of the videos, promise!

7) It’s Bunglers All The Way Down

The party leaves Palmacosta again, but in their absence, Chocolat’s taken to a human ranch. Everyone agrees to save her, but first they run into the ninja girl again, praying in a church. She gets huffy and flustered while Lloyd and mostly Colette disarm her with kindness and get her name, Sheena, until she can’t take any more happy power and smoke bombs out again. (Caption: Hopeless Characters: 1)

Now off to the ranch. The Governor’s assistant warns everyone they’ve been led into a trap, so Kratos and Raine want to ditch Chocolat and go save the world. Colette vetoes them because she’s the Chosen, and the assistant wants in too. Even though he can’t fight [Hopeless Characters: 2], Lloyd’s like yeah, sure, because no one knows as much as him about being told you’re worthless.

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Tales of Symphonia Text Review and Story Breakdown: Part 1

Originally a script for a video review, so some parts may stick out and, without visual aids, I recommend having played the game already! Note: this is for the original Tales of Symphonia, so if anything changed in the re-release, I haven’t touched on it here.

Quick links to other entries:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The story in Tales of Symphonia, especially early on, aims toward old-school RPG fans. People who value originality above all may not like it too much, but some of us live for this kind of thing. For the most part, it’s a fun and lighthearted fantasy story–and like with so much classical fantasy (see the Silver Age of comics, Dragonball Z), the story is a little silly (see Batman: The Brave and the Bold, original Dragonball), a little cheesy (Star Wars, Sailor Moon), and even a little self-contradicting, but that’s the beauty of it and it has a big heart in the right place.

If you want to jump on the emotional roller coaster, though, you’ll need to play the game yourself. I’m only here to make fun of what I love. To get 100% completion, you need to finish this game at least three times—and I did that and started noticing certain… things. I’ll take them in the order they come up.

the three mandatory best friends for 100% completion

1) Colette Brunel Who Now?

It seems like the writers had no idea what to do with Colette’s character. I’m not saying I don’t like her! I like her a lot, but we’ll talk about that later. I’m just saying it seems they wanted to make their heroine appeal to everybody, so they gave her every character trait they could think of even when they conflict with each other. You can tell in the first few minutes if you look for it. Let’s go to examples!

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Tales of Symphonia Text Review and Story Breakdown: Introduction

With the PS3 re-release of this classic RPG on its way in just a couple days, I figured I’d post my satirical review of the story while it’s relevant! One or two updates per week until I’m done with them.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I wrote this script a few years back when replaying Tales of Symphonia, meaning to turn it into a lengthy video review. My heart wasn’t in it when I tried recording, though, because I’m not versed in the language of cinema and video.

That said, no reason to let it go to waste. I may not love making video reviews, but I do love Tales of Symphonia. You’ll just have to use your imagination and memory at some points where clips would have been. =P

My script is incredibly long because the game is incredibly long, so here are the tl;dr takeaways if you want to read something specific:

Part 1: Beginning – Magnius at Palmacosta

  • 1-1: Colette is written unbelievably inconsistently from the first five minutes
  • 1-2: Lloyd gets verbal smackdowns all the time early on and has a chip on his shoulder
  • 1-3: Tales of Symphonia starts a lot like Secret of Mana; also, dat Dragon Quest VII hero design
  • 1-4: Lloyd “stop apologizing, you dork!” Irving actually apologizes more than Colette
  • 1-5: What’s so weird about wings? Foreshadowing?
  • 1-6: The first big heroic deed in Palmacosta raises the classical problem of evil, which secretly raises the classical Münchhausen Trilemma and Cartesian doubt and Humean skepticism and many other things; the game dismisses this pretty quickly, but I don’t

Part 2: Saving Palmacosta – Defeating Kvar

  • 2-7: Lots of standing around during Magnius’ monologue when taking action would have helped
  • 2-8: Lloyd “you’re not allowed to apologize any more” Irving has still apologized more than Colette by the time of the second scene (is this just a translation thing?); also, Noishe is a Pokémon
  • 2-9: Raine “Sage” and “Genius” “Sage” can’t interpret the Book of Regeneration correctly but Colette can
  • 2-10: There is no part 2-10
  • 2-11: Dwarven Vow #11 is secretly the game’s most brilliant foreshadowing; also, turning into an angel seems like a positive
  • 2-12: Only Colette and Sheena are called clumsy but actually the whole party is; in fact, Lloyd even goofs up getting revenge on the guy who killed his mother

Part 3: Post-Kvar Fallout – Tower of Salvation Preparation

  • 3-13: The party is 100% sure that the angel transformation is bad and can be reversed, but neither is necessarily true
  • 3-14: Sheena needs an outfit change if she wants people to assume she’s pure and the Tower of Mana could theoretically have been skipped
  • 3-15: Turning into an angel finally seems negative when Colette loses her voice; meanwhile, Lloyd doesn’t understand that food is important
  • 3-16: Lloyd and Colette aren’t yet shown as heroes, but that makes them heroes all the more
  • 3-17: Colette and death in fiction in general hinge on character appreciation

Part 4: Tower of Salvation – Meltokio Sewers

  • 4-18: Dracula’s got the score on Colette and the entire plot up to this point
  • 4-19: Seven irrefutable proofs that Noishe must be a Pokémon (and the Renegades are bigger bunglers than Team Rocket)
  • 4-20: Girls with red hair are stellar, guys who wear pink are awesome, and Zelos is amazing; also, hints of Lloyd+Sheena (deredere), Colette+Zelos (tsundere), and Genis+Presea (ordinary crush)
  • 4-21: I can’t believe it’s not midi-chlorians and speciesism!
  • 4-22: Zelos is instantly as clumsy as everyone else except Presea and even Symphonia can’t save sewers

Part 5: Meltokio – Rescuing Colette

  • 5-23: Colette/Zelos OTP yo (no, really, they’re eerily parallel characters and honest only with each other)
  • 5-24: Sheena hates fun, Lloyd is tired of human nature, and Presea and Regal are thematically redundant story-wise
  • 5-25: Sheena’s character moves forward in Mizuho, but Rodyle sets up an amazing tee ball for Colette’s character and then nothing happens with it; also, those terrible Regal lines

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of February 17, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Fixed some issues with stat growth
* Set up character classes, stat growth, and starting equipment for Celty and Leaf
* Preliminarily finalized HP and EP regeneration rates
* Got gameplay functional and flavor text written for status effects: Last Stand, Asleep, Berserk, Bound – Arms/Legs/Full, Burning, Crystallized, Disoriented, Fatigued, Frozen, Oiled, Paralyzed, Sealed, Stunned, Watered, and one effect that’s too spoiler-y to mention here (note: not all of these effects may make it into the final game)
* Wrote flavor text for status effects: Confused, Flustered, Frozen, Poisoned, Spasming, Tempted, Tranquilized (these are not functional)
* Set up character classes and stat growth for Tango, Evelyn, Lucky, Telia, Cecille, Flute, Relany, Jig, Sakura, Astrid, Jelia, Kelly, Besarre, Jun, Ardis, Lash, Saga, and Spring

Current focus

I might not get much accomplished this week, actually, but if I do it’s gameplay as always. If art drafts come in, I’ll take care of those.

Weekly goals

See comments.


My need for a new computer is too apparent now; as one example, today I had to restart twice just so I could open any Internet browser. Last week I also had to redo about seventy minutes that were lost when I crashed Unity—and there was another time when I crashed my computer five seconds after making a backup in Unity. I spent the whole restart cycle praying I hadn’t lost anything and, as it turns out, I didn’t! Hey, I do believe prayer pans out, but all the same I believe it’s time to get some technology on my side too. =P So I’m looking into that and the transition from one computer to a new one is never as simple as I’d like it to be.

In addition, while I’ve thrown out all pretensions of ever creating a 140-minute video review of Tales of Symphonia because Dreamblazers is my focus, I figured I’d at least post the script since it’s already written—it only needs a little cleanup to make it sensible in a blog format. The PS3 re-release comes out in less than ten days now and this is my second favorite single-player RPG and a huge influence for me, so I wanted to do a little something for the tenth anniversary. =)

All that said, can’t imagine a week where I don’t get anything done on the game design front, so I’m sure I’ll have something here for the next devlog post.