NOTE: This review is for Dawn of the New World on the Wii. I evidentially chose the wrong game.
This is a DIRECT sequel to Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube and PS2(if you imported or you live in Japan). It takes place 2 years after the events of ToS. I won't delve into the story but lets just say if you didn't beat ToS1 at least 20% of the plot you will not understand. (Maybe not 20% but still bad.)
Characters the old character still keep there charm from the last game. Emil at first you will say: "Why am I playing as this weakling" but I'm sure you will come to love this guy later. He is the main character this time around. Marta: she seems to be just a love interest to Emil....and that's basically her position through out the entire game but, she has some awesome moments as well. The only real thing have against the characters this time around is that Lloyd has an entirely different voice actor for this game. Which ruined part of the game for me right there.
The gameplay is just like all other Tales. Real time on a 2d/3d plane and compared to ToS1 you might thing the combat is lacking at first but it gets much better down the road especially once you get Mystic arts later. Same classic Tales gameplay with puzzles. (only like 2 you really have to worry about but still) The main problem is the length of the game I beat it in 25 hours but honestly you could beat it in 20 without side quest with side quest probably 30 or 40 but not nearly as much as the 80 hours ToS1 provided. The map is now point and click so....not only do you not get lost but it also takes away from the exploring aspect. IF you played ToS1 you will see a LOT of areas from the first game.
Sound is another somewhat disappointing aspect is the soundtrack its really rehashed from the first game with like 4 new songs and 2 or 3 of the battle music is remixed.
Graphics are kinda well...they are better but almost the same. Random Frame rate in places but its never during a fight and its not even major. Oh! Cutscenes definitely a lot more of them this time around and more voice acting which is also good. The skits are hilarious as usual and give insight on what the characters are thinking.
Overall the game is a good sequel to the first game and fans can find a good amount to enjoy. If you didn't play the first one don't even bother you probably wont even enjoy it unless you completely understand the story. Also I wouldn't say buy it, definitely a rent though but because of the length and all of the old areas it almost feels like a glorified expansion pack to a PC game or something. Still a fun game though.
[N4G Edit]: This was originally posted on my Gamespot profile on January 3rd 2009. This review is edited slightly fixing some errors.