Eternal Sonata

I finally started playing this blasted game. And…it’s good. It’s really good. Not “Oh my god, this is the greatest thing EVAR!!!” good, but still extremely well made and produced. It easily bumps off Blue Dragon and FFXI as far as JRPGs go. (I haven’t played Lost Odyssey yet, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a fairly generic title.) The fighting is extremely frantic and well-paced, especially for a turn-based/real-time system. The graphics are beautiful, especially the environments.

And of course, the music is excellent. It’s not the greatest I’ve ever heard, but it blows away many of the soundtracks from this last generation. Too bad they only included Chopin’s actual work in the brief “edutainment” interludes. Throw in one of the most LSD-laced concepts ever (the whole game is Frederick Chopin’s anime-themed dying dream), and you have an enjoyable time.

The only real complaints I have so far are with some of the writing and the game’s linearity. The script makes it hard to tell exactly what age group the developers were aiming at. The graphics and voice work hint at younger players, but when the game suddenly starts going into a discussion on how Chopin’s music was affected by the political tensions of 19th century Eastern Europe, and then cuts back into how flowers are pretty, I can’t quite tell what the heck the writers are trying to communicate here. The game also loves to smash you with the blunt edge whenever possible. (Hey, did you know deforestation is bad?)

The last nagging issue is the game’s linearity. There is no world map, no warp system, no backtracking whatsoever. (At least, so far.) There is little to no exploration involved in any of the game’s areas. Enemies can be seen beforehand, but invisible walls can push you into a fight you’re simply not ready for. At least Blue Dragon, for all its linear area design, let you go back to previous areas and get stuff you missed; no such luck here.

Note: I am currently about five hours in. I’m just giving my early reactions to the game.

I heard that the game goes to absolute CRAP halfway through. I’m gonna wait to play it until I have much, much more time on my hands.

I’ll agree on that part. The last several hours were…horrible, to say the least. Everything UP TO that point was excellent, but…

Oh man, I thought KOTOR 2 was bad.

Still, if you have time, it’s at least worth a rental. It’s about $40 now, anyway. Now to go back to hunting for Lost Odyssey.