So, we’re here again about a bad PC Port, and it’s one that’s likely to cause a lot of blood boiling because it’s of a classic game in Tales of Symphonia. Actually we have to start this report with the name itself, because while it was advertised to preorderers of Tales of Zestiria as being Tales of Symphonia HD, the “HD” part of the title seems to have been dropped unceremoniously and without notification to them.
And that’s probably a good thing, because well there’s nothing “High Definition” about this port.
Let’s start off with with the idea of high definition in fact. There’s a reason this game has its auto resolution set to 720p and that’s because even if you tell it to go to 1080p, what you’re going to get is upscaled 720p images lazily put up. In fact, in one part of the options menu it was poorly implemented and led to some of the stuff going off screen.
Of course, the resolution is unlikely to be the first thing you notice if you end up with this game. What you will notice is as soon as you launch is a long wait time. Get used to that if you decide you want to play this game. Every time you want to change options, save, load or start a new game, you’re looking at up to about a 30 second wait here. Each time. I suggest having a book with you when playing this game or something else because you aren’t going to want to alt-tab with this because it does not take well to that in general I found in my short time testing the game so far. Their support says the delay is on Windows 7, which is what I’m using on this PC, but they state the delay only occurs when saving. On launching the game or going to the settings menu, I also face that 20-30 second delay of pain.
Nor does it like Steam Overlay. While you can open the overlay, I’d suggest not doing anything there—like launching the FPS counter as I tried to in-game a couple times, which subsequently crashed it and other reports have cited it as an issue as well.
Speaking of the FPS, it’s locked at 30 like the PlayStation 2 version was. While it states that it’s based on the PlayStation 3 port of the Playstation 2 version, that information was not originally made available and it’s badly done there. I will just bring up that the original launch of Tales of Symphonia on Gamecube ran at 60 FPS.
If this was all that was wrong with the title it would be probably written down as a bad port but not getting some of the comparison’s that you may have seen on the Internet—although the stealth HD removal is reminiscent of the worst practices of big publishers. It wouldn’t be one of these, however, with a classic bad DRM story and we have one here! In fact, bless their souls, Namco Bandai went and brought in a DRM we haven’t seen often in recent years on PC: VMProtect. There’s a good chance that the delay issues in fact are directly related to this wonderful piece of DRM, which writes a new exe file in your C drive each time, as well as creating a new folder! It also doesn’t delete the stuff, so while the individual files tend to be small, the fact that it creates a new exe, a new Windows position folder, a new log folder and file, and if the game crashes a new CrashDump Folder, means that I have already over 500 megabytes in the DRM’s files. That is largely attrituable to one of the crashlogs, but it shows how much is getting rewritten around there potentially each time, and this game crashes easily to Steam overlay stuff or just alt-tabbing sometimes. SSD users be wary of this in particular, as while the exe part is getting talked about, a lot more is getting written each launch by this DRM.
There are even more issues with the port itself—some in the minor irritation area, and others in the major areas. I haven’t confirmed 100% of all of these yet myself, but they are being reported in numerous locations. Different languages are reportedly broken, with text not fitting always due to having different text types and not even all of it is translated always or showing up. That may be related to the fact that the PC localization stuff is embarrassingly set as a text file and an excel worksheet—and, well, at that point I don’t really know what joke to put in. If as a raptor I had a palm, I’d be imitating your Captain Picard right now with a facepalm.
Of course the language issues go beyond just non-English ones. I guess those localization files managed to mess up other things, as there’s at least one case of a brand new English spelling error blatantly in the options menu. You don’t have “Battle Controls” any more, instead you have “Battle Contorols.”
Additionally, there are only 6 save slots in the game for some unknown reason (of course, at least unlike Telltale the porters figured out what a save slot is). Also, in at least one spot there is remnants of the PS3 Button controls, even when you are using the keyboard there—and note you can’t use your mouse in the menus either.
One last little bit here is that there appears to be traces of SecurRom in the executable. Now whether that is just a legacy check, a case of using Sony’s SecurROM Launcher, or actually there we don’t know. In this case it behooves everyone to be extra careful, especially on Windows 10, as it may not run there at all. There are also unconfirmed reports of Denuvo being on there as well; it is in fact possible that the SecuROM Launcher is there because of Denuvo given their partnership with Sony. We’ll update as we learn more on this point.
12:41:18 | G:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Tales of Symphonia\TOS.exe | WhiteLabel (SecuROM) protection Detected – Version 08.14.0028
What’s a bit odd is there are some parts of the port that show a bit of care. The keys for the keyboard and mouse are almost completely rebindable through the options menu. Additionally the game easily switches most prompts between keyboard and controller based on what you used for the last input, so that if after that you move on your controller the prompts all switch to the controller one (or at least the Xbox One controller prompt. I can’t confirm if or how it will work for PlayStation controllers). Even more, the controls for the controller, while not totally rebindable, are largely tweakable as you can move around in an area where you want a particular one.
One final bit of fail port here … apparently they can’t even remember who their character are as this picture of Zelos is labelled as Mithos.
This took me hours to write up because every time I turn around there was new information coming out about how bad this port is. Bandai Namco—congratulations on taking the early forerunner position for worst PC port of the year!