I recently finished Eternal Sonata (ES), clocking in at around 18 hours, and I’m ready to give my impressions.
I’ve never played a game that tried so hard to send a message and execute that so poorly. For easily 95% of the game, you’re facing standard RPG fare, even less so because the characters have little depth. There are a few scenes where ES deviates somewhat, but they are too long-winded to be genuinely interesting. It’s not until the final scene - the very lsat scene - that the developers try to cram something halfway unique into the storyline, but it’s done in such a haphazard way as to be nearly incomprehensible, and it’s also just not that interesting. This is also the point where the messages, which were less direct and were neatly tied into the narrative, are laid out in a very long sermon from the main characters. The messages themselves are OK, but nothing you haven’t seen before in better told stories. So yea, as far as storyline goes, I can’t recommend this.
Artistically, the game is a masterpiece. The art is amazing. Prettiest thing you might ever see. The character designs are vibrant and interesting, especially Chopin. All the environments were gigantic and carefully crafted. My only problem here is the enemy design, which was relatively uninspired. Musically, the game is also stellar. Not just Chopin’s works, which of course are great. The original music is pretty hip too.
In terms of gameplay, things are fairly good, but not amazng. There are constantly subtle tweaks to the battle system which force you to change your play style slightly, and the tweaks are typically good. The quasi-real time combat stays fun and entertaining throughout, and even though it should be crazy repetitive, that was never a problem. World-map exploring was your typical fare, with the mini-game of “collect and try score pieces” being the most worthless diversion ever. Level designs are decent, and you’re not typically forced to battle more than you’d like. Overall, I enjoyed the play experience.
While it’s not the best RPG around, not nearly good enough for my top 5, there are certainly worse ways to spend your time.
Yes, five. If I use three, Zach uses one, and you use one, that makes five.