While I haven't enjoyed certain parts of the storyline so far I will say that it definitely feels like Tales of Symphonia. The main character is different than in the first game. Anyway you collect monsters by defeating them in battle. You need to have the major element and 4 minor elements match in order for the creatures to be spellbound, which will initiate the pact at the end of the battle. It may or may not fail and you can use creatures you've already captured to increase the strength of the pact magic which does increase the chances of forming a pact with that monster but you should keep in mind that you can still fail the pact. Aside from initiating it you have nothing else to do for the pact. Strangely enough or at least in my case it seemed like my chances of a successful pact increased if I watched the animation every time I attempted a pact which was time consuming because of how many times I failed. Collecting these monsters seems like a necessary step in the game. The monsters you've collected can be fed to increase their stats and even evolve them when they're ready to evolve. Anyway as far as artes go, the main character has many artes that are either similar to Lloyd's or are the exact same despite the noticeable differences between them and their styles. You still maintain the ability to free move on the battlefield and jump if you wish or need to, as well as limit the artes of your companions. Strategies are still in the game so you may if you wish tell a character to stop using TP except for healing at 75% or below. This will help with characters that use up a lot of TP spamming artes. crafting new pieces of armour or weapons can be a lot cheaper than buying new weapons and armour which saves money and sometimes you can craft armour that you won't see until 3 main story advances. Anyway overall the game feels more refined while adding some new elements since its predecessor and I've enjoyed all of its features.