|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tri-Crescendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-3||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The battle system is innovative and fun, but just as large a component of Eternal Sonata is the absolutely beautiful artistic design. In fact, Eternal Sonata reminds me a lot of Okami; while the art direction is obviously different for both, the commonality between the two titles is the importance art has on the overall game experience. You get the sense you could be looking at a painting; colors, light, and overall style are absolutely beautiful.
The game's graphics do far more than simply give you pretty pictures to look at as you play through the game; they go a long way in creating a very surreal, believable world. The way the visuals work in conjunction with the plot theme of an alternate reality is incredible; there's a level of immersion present in Eternal Sonata that doesn't come across very often in other games. I certainly wish that the environments had more of an interactive element to them, but that doesn't change the fact that playing Eternal Sonata makes you feel more in-tune with the game than most other titles out there.
Not surprisingly for a game based off a famous musician, Eternal Sonata also features a fantastic musical score. Interestingly, Chopin's music itself isn't used very often; it's not a huge problem, however, because the music created for this game is quite good. Additionally, the voice acting is well-done. Some lesser characters don't feature quite as good voice work as others, but across the board the voice acting is good.
Fans of Eternal Sonata's first time 'round may be disappointed to find out that the PS3 iteration doesn't feature a whole lot of new content. There are two new playable characters and a handful of new dungeons, but I'm hard-pressed to say that these items make the game worth purchasing over again. That said, if you've never experienced this beautiful, immersive game before, the PS3 version is probably better than that of the 360, so there's never been a better time to check out what all the fuss is about. There are a few minor problems, from sometimes-weird enemy A.I. to occasional frustrations in battle, but, overall, Eternal Sonata is a great JRPG and a must-play for any RPG fan. During a holiday season rife with shooters and action titles, I doubt you'll find as solid a traditional RPG as Eternal Sonata.
CCC Freelance Writer