Eternal Sonata Review: a Dream That Disappoints

By: sayed islam

Eternal Sonata is a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 exclusive video game that comes from Namco. The game is a role playing game set in an alternate reality. It transpires in Paris, and the protagonist is named Frederic Francois Chopin. He succumbs to a disease and dies; however, something occurs before his untimely death. Before dying, he dreamt of a mystical world full of enchantment and mystery. Herein lies the dilemma. Was the dream more real than he could ever imagine? Is it possible that the dream was nothing but a figment of his imagination? That is what gamers will ponder in Eternal Sonata. If this storyline sounds monotonous, then it is because it is monotonous. I would like to take the been there done that approach with the plot in this game. There have been a few similarities to the parallel world in this game to The Matrix Trilogy. Now that I think about it, I was waiting Frederic to wake from his dream and say "I know kung fu." Unfortunately, that never came to fruition. The game might have had a cohesive plot from the start, but that swiftly dissipates as gamers progress. It turns into this bizarre and ineffable story that is all over the place. This game is definitely not the best storytelling from a next generation console like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Luckily, the gameplay is a significant improvement over the convoluted plot.

Up to four players can be in a party. All of the adversaries can be seen in real time (ala Chrono Cross and Final Fantast XII); furthermore, they can easily be ignored. The combat is fast and furious throughout the duration of the game. Members of your party have a certain amount of time in which they are given to perform a specific task. Within the time given, the player can attack, heal, move, and various other actions. The trick is to find an action that increases the time gauge higher and higher. Linking combination attacks together will enable gamers to execute more powerful maneuvers. This provides a real strategic contemplation to the gameplay. When a foe attacks your character, you can chose to block or counter attack if you time it correctly. Moving around during combat can have different ramifications on the battle. For instance, being in the shade can have either positive or negative results (depending on the character). Conversely, the same rule applies for the opponents. There could be an appearance alteration when they are in the sunlight, or their attributes might be bolstered. The controls are fairly responsive in the game, and I had no gripes about how to do an attack. There is also a cooperative multiplayer that was a nice touch. The graphics in the game are egregious. It looks like this game was on a Nintendo Wii console. This is not what I have come to expect from the hardware on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. If any gamer were to do a side by side comparison of the visuals in Eternal Sonata and Oblivion, then it would be obvious that Oblivion is superior. I do not know what the game developers were thinking with the visuals in this game. The one aspect of the game that really intrigued me was the audio. I have to admit the musical score is amazing. There is a wide variety of instruments from pianos to violins that perfectly fit the theme of the game. The countless number of crescendos and decrescendos is absolutely brilliant. Disappointingly, the voice acting itself is average at best. Occasionally, I felt like the dialogue was unintentionally humorous. Overall, Eternal Sonata will not keep anyone up all night playing. The game is easily something that can had potential to be fascinating, but the flaws are too enormous to dismiss.
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