One of the weirdest Japanese RPGs you'll ever play
posted by Twizlex (DAUPHIN, PA) Sep 25, 2007
Member since Jul 2006
gamers (90%) found this review helpful
The entire world of Eternal Sonata is set in a dream that composer Frederic Chopin is having while on his deathbed. And no, that's not a spoiler - you learn this at the very beginning of the game. Anyways, since this dream world is in the mind of this famous composer, everything is music-inspired: everybody's names (Jazz, Allegretto, Polka, etc.), staircases that are piano keys and play music when you walk on them, water fountains shaped like guitars... You can find pieces of sheet music throughout the game, little collectibles that you can match up with other pieces of music to play songs and unlock bonuses.
Unlike most traditional JRPG's, the combat isn't turn based. Well, it is, but instead of navigating menus and selecting "Attack", the combat plays out in real time. When it's your turn, you actually move your character around and hack away at enemies, or use special attacks. Regular attack is mapped to the A button, and special attack is the Y button. Each character has a light and dark special attack, and which one you use depends on if you're standing in the light or shadows when you hit the button. Enemies also are affected by the light/dark, becoming stronger or weaker, and some can even drastically change shapes. This system is much more entertaining and fun, especially for those out there that think turn-based games are "boring". Also, there aren't any random encounters. You can see the enemies walking around the world and can avoid a lot of them if you wish.
Lastly, I MUST talk about the graphics. This game looks awesome. Not in a next-gen, hyper-realistic or Gears of War way, but in that it looks like a cartoon. Everything is brightly colored and sharp, and the animations are pretty smooth. It's actually really ironic in a way since the story is really dark and depressing.
The only letdown is that this game is really short for an RPG. On top of that, the story kind of unravels at the end, which was a slight disappointment.
gamers (100%) found this review helpful
I can honestly say this is one of the best games I've ever played. The gameplay is fun, the unique combat is great, and the story makes you want to keep playing and playing and playing. If your spectical on whether or not to play this, I say you should give it a chance. I'd give it a perfect 10 if there wasntn't so many cut scense. P.S if you find yourself having trouble in battle farther along in the game, try out the Viola, March, and Salsa combo. You can bring Viola into a light area and heal arrow over and over, while Salsa and March rack up an insane amount of hit points. This should make it so you do max damage and almost never have trouble with your characters dieing. Hope this helps convince you to try this one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
posted by freakazoid_13 (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) May 11, 2012
Member since May 2012
gamers (100%) found this review helpful
Like a lot of people, I read some fantastic things about Eternal Sonata. I mean, how bad can a game be that's about Frederic Chopin? Unfortunately, the game was frustrating and disappointing.
Not being a fan of turn-based combat, I thought I'd give this game a try because of its real time combat and engaging story. The combat was instead only a mild step up from turn-based, as you can run around on your turn or consume a potion before your turn runs out, and when it's not your turn you can sometimes try and block in coming attacks. But you'll still find yourself tapping X and Y for five minutes with identical results. Gear and weapons don't change your appearance or even change animations during combat, so it makes improving gear and weapons almost pointless. As a result of the repetitive combat system, I gets very old very quickly. And yes, they're not random encounters because you can see them coming, but you're still transported to a "fight scene" and most of the time you can't avoid them.
Yes, the game is very pretty, but it's completely destroyed by the fixed camera perspective that doesn't let you appreciate it or your character's attractiveness. The fixed camera is probably one of my major complaints about the game. It's so far away from the character that I found myself squinting most of the time to try to make out where I was going. The lack of a map didn't help either. I got lost in th woods countless times.
All that aside, I was looking forward to the story line, which sounded genuinely unique and interesting. It was, however, poorly executed and hardly if at all driven by player actions or combat. On top of just flat out ghastly voice acting and cliche, poorly written dialogue, over the course of gratuitously frequent and long cut-scenes make this game virtually un-playable.
If you like poorly executed animes about potentially good ideas and don't mind monotonous combat, maybe you can stomach this unfortunate title. I couldn't.