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on 14 February 2009
I bought this game for my 13 year old daughter and was attracted by the pseudo educational overtones in the blurb. When we fired the game up we were impressed by the visual impact but a little non-plussed by the very long and hesitant introduction. The gameplay is slow and basic at the beginning and the game seems to be aimed at very young children. My daughter quickly put the game down and left it.

A couple of weeks later she had another go and stuck with it this time and is now about half way through. Once you get past the opening levels the game becomes more complex and appealling. The combat is a little repetitive (you take turns to bash angry onions and jelly fish/mushroom things and rather wooden boss monsters) but you gain a small army of side-kicks (including a rather dull characterisation of a Chopin) all of whom can be customised. There are musical mini-games and audio clips that do provide a basic introduction to Chopin's work and add an original feel to the game. The more you fight the more powerful the characters become, but there are too many fights and this interrupts the flow of the game.

A wierd and rather slow platform come role play come music lesson game that is worth picking up if you see it cheap.
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on 1 June 2009
When I first bought this game I bought it just for the thought to have a game that simply is not so aggressive and it's a peaceful harmonic one

And this is what I got.
The graphics are fairy taled one that can change your emotions and psychologically introduce you to a peaceful/beautifull world.

in my oppinion this is an amazing game.
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on 21 April 2012
Eternal Sonata is a good, consistent JRPG, with its real strength lying in its artwork, concept and story. Gameplay is easy to get into and clearly explained from the beginning.
The game's tie to Frederic Chopin and his music is very imaginative, and something I personally feel was pretty cool.

The one thing that dampened my experince with this game was progressing through each area: The environments were stunning, but not a great deal happens within them, enemy battles aside (which all play out pretty much the same way). To me, each area almost felt the same despite their unique looks, and this became tiresome after a while.

That said, the gameplay is solid, and offers a semi-differant and fresh approach to battles compared to other more traditional turn based RPGs.

Eternal Sonata is a good game for all its achievements and should appeal to most fans of the JRPG/ RPG genre.
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on 14 January 2008
i love this game and i don't care how short or linear or restricted the exploring is. the story is fantasticly original (a person's dream!) and the there is a whole load of funny little quirks between the characters. an rpg full of conotations and a unique and really good battle system which is a mix of old final fantasy (in that its turn based) and final fantasy 12 (can see the monsters b4 u fight them and control movement but be aware it isn't a rip off). anyone who loves final fantasy will love this. the graphics are brilliant but unrealistic but i think that reminds u that it is a person's dream. graet idea great game
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on 27 November 2009
One of the best rpg games for the xbox 360 with quite an original storyline, one many can enjoy.
Highly recommended for the average rpg/adventure game player, if not any rpg/adventure game player.
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on 15 May 2008
I am a big fan of RPG's and it's a good thing that Microsoft are trying to bring more of them to the Xbox because it needs them BUT I was very dissappointed in this game.

Reading reviews about it you'd think it was some sort of magical experience but it's really not.

Graphically it's very colourful and pretty and the combat is pretty cool too but there really isn't that much to it as a story. The dialogue at points (the most important points usually) feels like it's horribly translated and makes little to no sense. What you end up doing is guessing what they're actually trying to say in relation to the story that develops. Even then it doesn't make sense.

The game itself is very linear and quite dull and I never really felt excited about any part of it especially not towards the end when you are just left sitting frowning at the screen as it pretentiously bombards you with bits from earlier in the game that STILL don't make any sense. How can a voice actor even read any of this stuff without saying "Hold on! This doesn't make any sense, let me show you what you need to say."

If you're an RPG fan you should give it a go just to see what you think for yourself but I really wouldn't recommend paying any more than around £20 for it.
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on 15 August 2009
Story: 6.5/10 (A unique, simple concept, but not exactly memorable...)
Character: 6.5/10 (All are likable, but none lovable)
Gameplay: 9/10 (I found it genuinely addictive)
World: 8/10 (There are mundane areas, but overall it's a place of beauty)
Graphics: 10/10 (They're not realistic; they're like a painting. And that works perfectly in the context of the game)
Music: 8/10 (Beautiful, but not varied enough)

Pros:
- The concept is unique: it's based on key events in Chopin's life.
- I have a feeling that they didn't want to over-complicate aforementioned concept. They don't; the story's pacing is spot on.
- I'll admit it's difficult to care deeply for the characters; but, having said that, they're all likeable.
- The world is beautiful. And the character designs are all very nice too.
- The score, for the most part, suits the game well; the tranquillity complements the artistic, dreamy graphics.
- There are no random battles!!
- The battle system is one of the best - if not the best - I've found in the genre. It may not suit everyone, but that's relative. You can move around for a limited time, planting attacks and special attacks on the various enemies in the battlefield. The time given to you lessens as you progress; supposedly making it a little more challenging... There IS a bit of button bashing, but I preferred that to a series of selections: attack - monster 1; item - potion - character 2; magic - fira - monster 1 (yes, I do find that a bit mundane).
- Parts of the dialogue are full of meaning.

Cons:
- The story is pretty basic.
- Way too easy (especially if you make use of Beat's photography to earn Gil; I didn't do this until the 5th of the 8 chapters; until this point I'd been only marginally challenged).
- The bosses aren't all that challenging either...
- You have no control over the camera's angle.
- Some of the voice acting is cringeworthy... (I turned it onto Japanese at one point; subtitles avoided this from being problematic)
- There are a few cringeworthy scenes too (Claves' key moment, anyone?).
- It didn't bother me, but parts of the dialogue are preachy.
- The game's incredibly short. It took me little more than 20 hours to complete this. Sure, I didn't explore EVERYWHERE, but the areas I missed were simply alternate routes from one location to another.

Conclusion:
A short and sweet JRPG. The story is nowhere near as engaging or complex as those of the Final Fantasy or Tales of series, but I don't think this is MEANT to be an epic. It was instead created to be a unique piece of art; a metaphor. Play and appreciate it for what it is; don't buy it if you want a mainstream JRPG.
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VINE VOICEon 22 February 2009
Having been thoroughly hacked off by the poor quality of recent JRPGs like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey and Last Remnant, I finally got around to playing through Eternal Sonata after a pleasant experience with the demo back when it first came out and boy oh boy what a treat this game was.

Having the fairly bizarre premise of composer Frederic Chopin dreaming on his deathbed of being trapped in a traditional Namco 'Tales of...' game(That's what it is, lets face it) seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity to me, as this angle of the plot never really seems to contribute a huge amount to the proceedings, with the plot instead being more focussed on the adventures of a pair of street urchins called Beat and Allegretto as they and Chopin himself(Seemingly unfazed by the garish anime world he's now living in) teamed with a young girl called Polka(Yes, all the characters have musical themed names) as they begin initially seperate journeys with the same goal and end up in a struggle between a ruthless dictator and a resistance group in what initally comes off as a generic JRPG plot, but if you scratch the surface, the whole thing reveals a surprising depth with a metaphor laden story that dwells heavily on the nature of existence and death and isn't afraid to get into some rather thick eared exposition and monlogues to the camera as events progress. It really does begin quite deceptively simple and that works excellently in the game's favour.

Unusual plot aside, the gameplay is joyous. With random battle free landscapes and dungeons punctuated by genuinely fun to play and engaging combat that never gets overly complex or overlong at any point. This is a seriouly fun JRPG gameplay wise, with a lot of mainstream appeal if this sort of game doesn't usually speak to you.

Visually and aurally the game is likewise a feast, with stunning anime inspired visuals and a deeply stirring soundtrack made up heavily of Chopin's own music and surprisingly free of the usual J-POP fluffy floaty fare that usually gets thrown into games of this sort.

It's not a long game though, and things can feel a tad repetitive at times, but never enough to spoil the fun.

Eternal Sonata is a wonderful JRPG and I can only hope that Namco continue to bring us such delightful games in the future(And yes, that is a hint I want a release in Europe for Tales of Vesperia already. What's the hold up?)
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on 11 February 2009
I would first like to point out that, before buying this game I was completely unaware of Chopin being a real person, and that this was a game exploring his last few hours.
With that out of the way, I would just like to say that eternal sonata is one of the best jrpgs avaible for the newest generation.
The story, which all takes place in the dying composers mind, is well thought out and while not as brilliantly written as a final fantasy game, still stands above the majorities of jrpg's.
The battles are entertaining, while ultimatly being a standard turn based system, the implementation of movement and having to hit buttons in real time keeps you involved.
Graphicly even two years after its release, I still feel that eternal sonata is one of the best looking 360 games i have come across, maybe even the best looking next gen game in general, everything is bright, colourful and beautiful, you are literally playing a disney film.
Music in the game come from either Motoi Sakuraba or Frédéric Chopin himself, and either way it is enchanting, the lush orchestrated pieces will stick in your head as well as set the mood for each section of the game

Though I could continue to sing praise towards this game, I feel there are a few slight flaws with the overall package that should be mentioned, firstly the difficulty, when compared to other jrpgs such as dragon quest is pretty much non existant, while this may suit the younger generation, those of us who have been playing since the Snes or even NES days of rpgs may find this a little too simple.
My final complaint is with the sections inbetween parts of gameplay, when the game will break you away from the alternate reality to remind you that the composer died a very young age of a horrible diesease, which to say the least is a buzz kill.

Overall, a thoughly good jrpg romp, with an interesting battle system and beautiful graphics and music that will keep you keep you entertained for a while, but veterans of the genre should expect to finish this game in no time.
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on 29 January 2009
This wonderful little title has surprised me as standing out among your standard and generic J-RPGs into something a little more special if unorthodox.

Well first of all before mentioning any of the extreme difference from most Japanese , let's mention something you can't escape noticing when playing this game : The beauty. This game is a visual and audio masterpiece , both sides compliment each other for a magical experience , something very artful that is quite absent in most modern games nowadays.

The Graphics are some of the most pleasant cel-shaded experiences you will find at the moment and the music is taken from the works of a famous real life composer who also is used as a playable main character in the game funnily enough. The soundtrack in itself is a classical masterpiece.

Okay now onto innovations in the typical genre of Japanese RPGs.

One of the gripes of a typical Japanese RPG for gamers who tend to like action , is the whole battle menu system most games in the genre have. In other words choosing actions from a list and watching the outcomes being played out in turn based sequences you feel like you have no real control over.

Eternal Sonata dares to be different though by giving us real time movement and action within the standard turn based battle affair. In other words character still take turns .... but now positioning , moving and pressing buttons to attack is done by the player in real time.
So now we have a J-RPG where we actually feel like we're doing the fighting for once. ( Well besides stuff like Zelda of course )

Although combat options and strategies are somewhat limited ( some might say it devolves into repetitive button mashing combos ), it's given me a breath of real time excitement within battles in a J-RPG for a change, rather than sitting back and watching cut scenes of each attack from a typical menu based system ( which feels even more mind numbingly repetitive than the above ) You feel much more involved in the action in this way.

Even though combat system is limited , it does actually does evolve as you progress through the game though .... as you go along you will to learn to block , combo and counter attacks. All these come in form of real time button reactions , which makes the player feel more involved with the action than they would in a standard menu based RPG.
You will need your wits and reactions about you when you play this RPG ..... no casual sitting down and choosing from a list of attacks here.

Another thing important is character position , obviously sneaking around your opponent to attack the back/side is obvious. But this game also makes use of shadows and lighting. Characters will use different moves depending if they are standing in the light or the shadows.

Also another thing this game does away with which has been an increasing trend in JRPGs for the last few years now , is Random battles / random monster attacks. You can see the monsters you will fight against on the screen , so you can avoid them if you don't want to be sucked into a fight.

Unfortunately the battle situations thrown at you are quite limited also. I there was never a situation when there wasn't more than 3 monsters in one battle ..... and the bestiary / monsters catalogue is very lacking. There only seems to be one or two kinds of monsters for most areas ... and even though later on you'll find alot of them are palette swaps. Boss battles feel amazing though , even despite the low enemy counter and monster pool.

Other down points is the length of the game , quite short for an RPG.
It's such a beautiful looking and sounding adventure, you really wish it went on longer than 20-40 hours.
I haven't played a game in a long time ( Especially on X-box ) that has won me over with pure magical charm.

Unfortunately you can only do so much in the game , as this is an RPG with not much freedom to explore , which in a way is a huge step back , which is ironic after the daring innovations in the battle system it took courage to employ.
This is pretty much a RPG on "rails ". But it is a concentrated experience though.

Another annoyance / disappointment is although the dialogue in cut scenes, cinematics and battle scenes are fully voiced , the dialogue in game exploration scenes are all text. Loads of games still do this nowadays, I can't understand why with all the next gen technology and capacity availible to us.Maybe taking voice actors time is more expensive than we thought.

This title has voice options available in both English and Japanese with subtitles too.
The english voice actors do well i think with the material available.
The dialogue can be weird or over dramatically cheesey, so it can't be helped ... haha ....

Anyway the cinematics eventually won me over as I got more into the story though .... but it all ended too soon for me. There was more potential to be explored with this game and it's story.

Another thing that might throw people off is the ambiguity of the storyline ! Not many people I believe , will appreciate the philosophical nature of the story (Especially when most 360 gamers are adrenaline shooter nuts ).
The background / concept of the tale somewhat be hard to grasp, which is ironic since the nature of the characters themselves can be read plain as day and morals are presented somewhat too bluntly.

Plus as a reward for finishing each chapter , you are presented with a free boring history lesson of the life of the composer featured in this game complete with photos. It's the equivalent of someone forcing you to watch their holiday slides... haha ... easily the most boring thing on 360 to watch .... but I forgive the game for that because I love the rest of this game so much.

As much as I love the visuals, the star of the show is definitely the music. The soundtrack of this game is a theatrical masterpiece of classical music reinvisioned ! A lot of the music in this game is based on classical works of a real life famous Victorian composer who also stars as a main character in this game !
The music is the perfect partner for these amazing cel shaded graphics , along with a sprinkling of beautiful voice-acting for the cherry on the cake !

Eternal Sonata has earned a place in my top favourite RPGs of all time for it's daringness to go outside the box and delivering a rare and magical experience of beauty and morals.
All fans of J-RPGs should give it a go. But it's such a marmite title, even alot of it's target audience has been unaccepting of it because of it's differences.
But I love it. I was happy to experience this orchestration of elegance !
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