It can be easy to view today's games as all rather dark and dirty, consisting of mainly grays...and more grays. So, it's quite refreshing to sit down and pick up a game that isn't afraid to show bright colors, but at the same time, has a mature storyline with some deep themes hidden within.
Eternal Sonata is my first PS3 RPG, and I must say, I was very impressed by what I played. It wasn't a perfect game, not by any means, but I always found it enjoyable to play because of it's battle system. But, I'll get there in a minute.
Frederick Francois Chopin lies on his deathbed in Paris, and his last and final dream is certainly a doozy. This dream is far more vivid that anything I could ever have dreamed, with lots of characters, and a world that feels quite magical. As the game goes on, it begins to feel something close to a Disney movie. Sure, the characters can be annoying at times, but they are all endearing, if a little generic. The story can be slow, but it keeps you going regardless, eager to see what happens.
Nice graphics! Somewhat annoying characters
It doesn't take long to really appreciate the graphics of the game, which are beautiful. Half of the fun it seemed was moving from one beautiful location to another, just to see what kind of strange worlds the game would take you too. The subtle music references (Every character has a musical name for example), and the very bright and colorful worlds make this game certainly nice looking.
Cutscenes are also well done, though the lip-syncing, like many RPGs, is pretty off. The voice acting is decent during the scenes, with mostly familiar anime actors providing the voices, but some characters (*Cough* Beat and Salsa *Cough) have voices that can just be grating. The game does provide the option to listen to the Japanese voice work if you choose, so that is good.
The gameplay consists of running through linear worlds, with monsters on the map that you hit to fight, like many RPGs out there. The Battle System is a lot of fun however. You are taken to a world, and then your character will have four or five seconds to act before it goes to another character's term. There's a lot of depth here, such as light and dark areas, special moves, etc.
The battles move quickly and always keep me on my toes, however, they never really seemed to be much more than pound away at X and then hit triangle. I mean, there is more to it than that, but that strategy seemed to work a lot of the time.
One of the MANY battles you will face
Anyway, overall, I really liked Eternal Sonata. I can't quite place my finger on why, but it was enjoyable all the way through with it's light and fun characters, slow storyline, and fast battles. It wasn't perfect, but it was very enjoyable. Chopin would be proud.