Eternal Sonata Review (PS3)

by September 10th, 2009

If you’re new to RPG games it’s worth picking up, but if you’re a hardcore RPG fan, you’ll find this game too short.

A year or so after the original Xbox 360 version, the Playstation 3 gets a port of Eternal Sonata. With the Xbox 360 version being a success back in 2007, there have been a few changes for the Playstation 3 version. The graphics look crystal clear for the Playstation version and there are new dungeons which can be explored, but overall there isn’t any side quests you would see on other RPG games like Final Fantasy XII or Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.

Eternal SonataFor those who have never heard of Eternal Sonata, the story is mixed with dreams and reality. In the waking hours of famed composer Frederic Francois Chopin’s Life, the player is transported into his dream world: a beautiful symphony full of bright colours and memorable characters. However, in the dream world, Fredric is fully aware of his existence and his presence within the fantasy world.

In this lucid dream you will be introduced to most of the characters in Eternal Sonata, each representative of different parts of Chopin’s psyche: there is Allegretto, a poor 16 year-old “Robin Hood” type whose only interest is to bring down the evil Count Waltz. Polka, a 14 year old who has been condemned to die because of a life threatening illness, Salsa, one of the guardians of Agogo forest, whose very existence has been threatened by the evil Waltz; and Jazz, the leader of Andantino, a revolutionary group that seeks to overthrow Waltz, leader of the Kingdom of Forte, and put an end to his evil ways.

Gameplay: The gameplay for Eternal Sonata’s battle system is Turn-Based where you’ll be using only 3 characters during each battle, incorporating elements of an action game. Each of your characters turns is preceded by “Tactical Time”, a period of time which the player can use to decide the course of action to take with that character. Once one of your characters initiates an action or “Tactical Time” expires, you’ll have a limited amount of time denoted by an Action Gauge to move the character, attack the enemy, and use recovery skills or items.

Eternal Sonata is a sweet and simple short RPG game.

Regular attacks are made at melee or ranged distances depending on the weapon choice of the character, and add a small quantity of time back to the Action Gauge, and additionally add to the parties “Echoes” meter. Special skills which can include both offensive attacks and recovery skills will consume whatever Echoes have been generated to that point, and will have a more powerful effect relative to that number.

When one of your characters defends against an attack, there is a short period before the attack strikes where the player can press a button to block some of the damage for the attack, or to possibly even counter-attack the blow and interrupt the monster’s turn. Recovery and other one-time-use items are kept in a common pouch with a limited capacity; the player must “set” items in the pouch so that they can be cycled through and triggered during battle.

Light and dark areas on the battle field generated by the time of day, environment, and shadows of the characters and monsters will affect combat. Each of your characters have one or more special skills that are active in lit areas, and a similar number but with very different effects in a dark area. Almost every monster will have a dissimilar set of powers in the area of the battlefield they are in, while other monsters will actually change form when they move between lit and dark areas. You can manipulate the nature of areas using special items, but this can also be affected by the monsters themselves, or through dynamic changes on the battlefield such as the shadow of a cloud moving across the ground.

Eternal SonataDuring battles you can also take photos if you have Beat in your party, which can be sold in item/weapon shops for money. The areas you will travel to in Eternal Sonata are quite small but well detailed and you won’t get lost too easily unlike other RPG games that have big areas you can explore like on the Final Fantasy series where there’s loads of dungeons, towns and places to visit.

Graphics and Sound: What I really liked about this game was the rich and colourful graphics throughout the whole game that you just can’t keep your eyes off of. Tri-Crescendo have really done a good job on the Anime graphics and it’s a good looking RPG game for a next gen console.

It’s easy to get swept up in the French Impressionist colour palette and gorgeous lighting, but incredible artistry gushes from every aspect of the visual design. The clothing of your party members is richly drawn, with intricate stitching and other fine details. The interiors of cottages are filled with meticulously designed décor, from textured linens to finely crafted plates hanging on the walls.

Environments are spectacular, even such traditionally cliché locations such as swamps or forests, which use shadows and mild light bloom to create scenes you would expect to see in a Monet painting. In fact, they look even better on the Playstation 3 then the Xbox 360, because the colours seem to pop even more. But all of this 2D art does come at the expense of 3D exploration. You can’t freely explore every part and area and rotate the camera most times. The PS3 version dies suffer from some odd, occasional frame rate hitches, but make a no complaints Eternal Sonata is a visual triumph and a beautiful artistic achievement.

Eternal SonataVoicing has it’s up and down moments some characters have weak voicing but you’ve got the option to change the voicing to Japanese if your into Anime. Most of the characters talk a lot about life, why we have High-Tax on all items except Mineral powdered. Another good thing I liked about Eternal Sonata was the music which was outstanding to listen and quite relaxing to listen too.

Also, between chapters, scenes inform the player about events which occurred in Chopin’s life. It’s educational, but it’s also incredibly fun and interesting as you piece together what happened in the game and correlate it to reality.

Overall: It may not be the best RPG game I’ve played but it does have its moments and the charming art makes you want to come back to this game again and again. Hardcore RPG fans might feel a bit disappointed that Eternal Sonata is a very short game where you could actually beat the game under or over 20-30 hours at least.

For anyone who’s new to RPG’s, this is one game you’ll enjoy playing if you’ve recently bought a new console and you’re new to gaming. Eternal Sonata is a sweet and simple short RPG game.

The Good: Gorgeous visuals look even better on the PlayStation 3, Charming story is populated by an appealing cast, Fantastic soundtrack, Combination real-time/
turn-based combat is flashy and fun.
The Bad: Easy and linear adventure with little exploration, No camrea control.


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Silver Y AwardSilver Y Award
4 4 / 5
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Ben Leslie

My name is Ben Leslie and I'm from the North East UK outside of Newcastle around Northumberland area. I've been playing games since the Sega Mega Drive years ago, then moved on with the legendary PS1. I do write reviews on Gamespot in my spare time and I have my own Union site called Kingdom Hearts World Union. My top 5 all time favourite games- 1-Final Fantasy IX and VII(PS1) 2-Kingdom Hearts series (PS2) 3-Sonic the Hedeghog (Sega Mega Drive) 4-Devil May Cry 3 (PS2) 5-Hogs of War (PS1)

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About Ben Leslie

My name is Ben Leslie and I'm from the North East UK outside of Newcastle around Northumberland area. I've been playing games since the Sega Mega Drive years ago, then moved on with the legendary PS1. I do write reviews on Gamespot in my spare time and I have my own Union site called Kingdom Hearts World Union. My top 5 all time favourite games- 1-Final Fantasy IX and VII(PS1) 2-Kingdom Hearts series (PS2) 3-Sonic the Hedeghog (Sega Mega Drive) 4-Devil May Cry 3 (PS2) 5-Hogs of War (PS1)

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