Eternal Sonata (EU) Reviews

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    Eternal Sonata is a JRPG by the develop Tri-Crescendo.
    It utilises a mixture of button mashing and turn-based combat mixed with aspects of time. For example, you are timed on your attacks when it is your turn and move as thus, pushing buttons - mostly as fast as possible - to inflict as much pain as possible to your enemy before following through with a special attack for extra damage. On turns when the enemies attack you can hit a well-timed button for a block, reducing damage taken.
    It sounds new and then it doesn't. Adding to this core battle function is the idea of 'party levels' - as the game progresses new levels for the current party are accessible, allowing you to build-up and utilise the abilities of your current party.
    In all honesty I have never played such a game and to me this system was wonderfully rewarding, if button mashing is your thing, even turn based combat then there's something interesting to find here.
    The combat is wonderfully rich, crafted well with the characters each having a unique weapon type (most of which relate to music) as well as moves and phrases. Some of the phrases to me seemed to hit the translation barrier that some Japanese to English games hit. Some pass over well while others don't. An example would be one character - the apparent hero of the journey for reasons unknown except to the developer - telling the enemies to 'Go and wash themselves up'.
    Another odd saying that comes from another character is a one liner commonly used only by old people, usually when talking to the youthful generation - 'You need to pull your head in'. Despite these little nit-picky aspects of the games characters its not a huge let-down on the character's behalf.
    Each character has their own back story and each of them develop - or rather Tri-Crescendo tries to make them seem to develop - throughout the course of the game.
    One character however which stands out is Frederick Chopin for who the game is allegedly based upon. The entire game seems set in his head as he lies in a deep coma. The oddness here lies in that at different sections of the game it breaks down into stories about Chopin's life in Poland, not in Poland and his relationship with the French writer George Sand. Who was a woman. Work it out.
    Throughout the game Chopin questions the reality while the other characters question their credibility. In all honesty there is charm to be had in some of the conversations between the characters. There are thought-provoking moments about power and greed, war and what is really real. These are not standards set by games today and it acts as a interesting break in the intensity of the action which leads us to the way combat is initiated.
    The game is linear which is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because you don't wander off and get lost (can't get lost) and missions aside from the occasional puzzle are easy enough to zip through. It is also a curse because the game is beautiful in its own way. Colour leaps off the screen, there are rainbows and rolling fields of grass, deep blue oceans... even the music is beautifully, drawing from Chopin's sheet music. Occasionally you may find yourself wanting to walk across the field but the ever popular invisible wall prevents you from walking any further.
    The enemies are a part of this beautiful landscape, on the screen and you can easily move around them... which is not fortunately very often.
    The screen transitions on occasions and when it does the enemies reappear and while this is a step forward for people wanting to milk EXP and Gold and Items it is also a cheap method of dragging the gameplay out just that little bit longer.
    On the topic of little niggling issues there is the question poor dialogue in the characters, basic one-liners that will make you cringe and voice acting as well as a lack of explaining to the story in whole chunks.
    Despite all of this however, Eternal Sonata is a beautifully crafted game with rich visuals, unique combat and a rewarding combat system. Its not unlikely to experience and explosion of colour on the screen in battle as your party runs in and explodes in black, blue, red - fast movement and acrobatic feats that aid the colour and pace - and then a giant red number pops on the screen indicating lost health on the enemy to signify you've won the battle.

    If you're intrigued by this then its worth a go just for its cheesiness, you may even find yourself laughing at the characters and their interactions. The overall deep storyline which questions fundamental values of human nature is rewarding when you reach its final conclusion - Eternal Sonata clocks in at roughly 20 - 25 hours which makes it an investment of your time - but its well worth, even if just for a look, though the game really does only pick up halfway through.
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    DaShAgSolid review mate. I loved the Japanese voice actors btw !

    Some honest feedback:

    I think you really need to apply some text alignment and make-up. It's a wall of text right now, some paragraphs wouldn't hurt. Also it might be a good idea to start of with story stuff and get into the gameplay as you progress with the review but that's just my opinion. I'm not trying to be a smart-ass or something, your text is just really solid and spot on, I just think you can deliver it better

    keep up the good work !
    Posted by DaShAg on 05 Dec 11 at 11:08
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