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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Role-Playing

 

Publisher

Bandai Namco

 

Developer

Bandai Namco

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 21, 2008

 

 

- Stunning visuals
- Great soundtrack
- Good replay value

 

 

- Camera issues in battle
- Frustrating battle system at higher levels

 

 

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Eternal Sonata

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

eternal sonata          eternal sonata

 

Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs, for short) have been one of the biggest genres on both the original Playstation and the Playstation 2. One would think that the same would be said for the Playstation 3. However, two years into its life, it only has a handful of games to its name. With games like Lost Odyssey, Tales of Vesperia, and Blue Dragon going exclusively to the Xbox 360, Sony faithful are left to wonder what quality JRPGs would be coming their way.  In the past four months, Sony has released three JRPGs, one of which being a game called Eternal Sonata, a game made by Tri Crescendo that came out for the Xbox 360 about a year before. With the promises of exclusive content, many gamers were excited to see this title

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- Role-Playing Game Reviews

- Games Published by Bandai Namco

on Sony’s next-gen platform.

 

The story starts out with what would seem to be a God of War opening, where they show one of last scenes of the game. Our heroine, Polka, falls off the end of a cliff. Cut away to a scene of a younger Polka talking with her mother. Then, you find yourself in the bedroom of Frederic Chopin, the famous Polish composer.  Chopin is in bed, more

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or less in a catatonic state due to his illness. While in this state, he visits the world where Polka lives, believing that it is all a part of his subconscious and joining Polka on her various journeys.

 

Throughout the story, you find out that magic, which is typically a great gift in other games, is a curse that causes the public to fear you. In this world, if you can use magic, it means that you are dying and people believe that it is contagious, despite Polka’s attempts to dispel the misnomer. You also find out that the world’s most popular resource, mineral powder, has devastating consequences when used in excess. Polka makes it her duty to go to the ruler and explain the problems with the powder and convince him to lower the taxes on floral powder so people would use it as an alternative. Frederic agrees to go with her so that he may find the answer to the questions he has; why am I here and what is my purpose?

 

The music used in this game is all from the various works written and composed by Frederic Chopin, a soothing tone which is easy on the ears. In addition, in each chapter of the story, there is a pause from the game to tell a little bit about Chopin’s life, each time playing one of his more famous works. Once this passes, you are able to access the music and story in the menu if you wish to re-read the tale or just would like some easy listening. Everything about this title revolves around Frederic Chopin, from the music within the game, to the title of each chapter.

 

eternal sonata          eternal sonata

 

They also added a unique game play device in which the player will collect items called ‘notes’ throughout the game. The nature of these notes is to be used by speaking to people in the towns. Certain people will have notes as well and ask if you have a note that complements theirs. The correct note will result in an item, some with immediate use and others with uses down the line. This unique game play choice enhances replay value as finding all the notes can be quite a challenge.

Eternal Sonata is a visually gorgeous game, looking even better on the Playstation 3 than it did on the Xbox 360. The characters used in the game are as charming as you’ll find, all with names related in some way to music. The inclusion of new dungeons, characters, notes and cut scenes make the game all the better and adds to the replay value. The New Game Plus mode, unlocked after beating the game, contains items that are not found in the first play through, making multiple plays more enjoyable. As good as this game is, however, there are a few things that can be quite aggravating.

 

The battle system, while good and allows for up to three people to play, can be frustrating at times. The camera zooms out for a few seconds so you can see where the opponents are, but then quickly zooms back to you, leaving you five seconds (at the lowest battle system level) to find the enemy and attack them. The battle system has six different levels, which you are unable to downgrade if you do not like, which makes the battles a bit harder but gives you perks in place. At the highest level, the game decides to change the button configurations after every attack, which is more than frustrating given the limited amount of time you have to attack.

 

Despite the flaws that it has, Eternal Sonata is still a visually stunning game with a charming story. Any Playstation 3 owner with a love for RPGs is recommended to pick up this title. The fact that it came out around the same time as Valkyria Chronicles and Fallout 3 should not stop people from picking up this game. If Eternal Sonata is a sign of things to come, then the Sony faithful can expect some great titles from the land of the Rising Sun.

 

- Marc Phillips

(February 2, 2009)

 

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