PS3 Previews: Eternal Sonata Preview

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Eternal Sonata Preview

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Scheduled release date:

October 21, 2008

Publisher:

Namco Bandai

Developer:

tri-Crescendo

Number Of Players:

1 Player

Genre:

RPG

Last year, Xbox 360 owners were treated to a relatively original and very musical RPG known as Eternal Sonata. For months after the release, rumors began to spread that Namco Bandai would bring the solid melodic adventure to the PlayStation 3, and, thankfully, those rumors proved true. The PS3 version will launch in North America on October 21 – adding to an already impressive October lineup – and for PS3 owners, this should be one of the very first role-playing titles worth buying for Sony’s next-gen machine. The good news is that although it’s about a year late, this new version will feature plenty of additions and enhancements, and in that way, it reminds us of the upcoming Bioshock PS3 version. Translation: Eternal Sonata PS3 will be the best version of the two, and if you didn’t play it on the 360, it’s a must-consider for the fall. The gameplay isn’t entirely original but it is intriguing, and the foundation built around legendary composer Frederic Chopin will appeal to true music lovers. Check it out.

The developers must’ve obtained a special license or two to use the composer’s life as the basis for this game, as many of your adventures will actually take place inside Chopin’s dreams. In fact, Chopin is on his deathbed and you will adopt the role of the “virtual” Chopin in his own dreams, and there you will battle all kinds of enemies that are hell-bent on…well, we’re not entirely sure. But they certainly pose a problem, and by utilizing a battle system that features both real-time and traditional turn-based elements, you and your friends will soldier through the talented pianist’s dreams and nightmares. Some of the characters you will encounter in your travels are the colorful Polka, the cocky Allegretto, and of course, good ol’ Beat (are we spotting a trend, here?). You’ll actually start the game with Polka, but much like the old Wild ARMs RPGs the whole crew will soon come together and – hopefully – stay together for the remainder of the quest. Obviously, music plays a tremendous role in Eternal Sonata, and we have to assume Chopin’s wonderful compositions will be included.

Now, about that combat. Perhaps it’s best to compare it to something like Valkyrie Profile 2; the only difference is that while the exploration in the latter was 2D, the entire world of Sonata is three-dimensional. However, the battlefields in both games are 3D, and you move your characters in real-time with only a few simple restrictions. You can assign commands to your team at any time, but there is no turn-based attack system, despite the fact you are fighting on a battlefield that is separate from the landscape you explore. One of the more unique aspects of the combat is how light and dark directly impacts how you approach your foes; when in the dark, enemies can morph and change into more damaging forms so watch your step! Those who enjoy a hybrid fighting system that may remind you of games like Star Ocean: ‘Til the End of Time should be right at home when crossing swords with enemies in Eternal Sonata. The only question we really have is this: how complex is the interaction between our allies? Can we set them up for devastating combo attacks?

Also, we’d like to know how well the AI functions, especially when it comes to our CPU-controlled characters. We’ll be able to set the commands appropriately, depending on the situation, but let’s hope they can handle their business without the player being forced to constantly intervene. Now, as for the new additions to the PS3 version: one of the most significant is the inclusion of two new playable characters, called Crescendo and Serenade respectively. They were part of the story in the 360 version, but they’re actually playable in the PS3 version, so that’s a big bonus. PS3 owners will also get the benefit of three new quests and two new dungeons, which are called Lament and the Church of the EZI. Sadly, only one of them will be open during your first playthrough; the second won’t open unless you decide to go back through the game again. The last bit of bonus material – not surprisingly – revolves around the soundtrack; tri-Crescendo has added six new tracks for your listening pleasure. All this being considered, it seems clear that PS3 owners are going to get the superior version in this instance, even though we had to wait a lot longer to get it.

The lack of PlayStation 3 RPGs so far this generation has been most distressing; just ask any fan of the genre. However, Eternal Sonata should be a breath of fresh air; it’s colorful, engaging, musically superb, and with all that extra content, it means we won’t be playing an exact replica of the 360 version. The realm of the Japanese RPG has become significantly smaller over the past few years, but publishers like Bandai and Atlus will continue to deliver titles to hardcore followers of such games. This is one game that ought to satisfy such fans, what with its semi-traditional format, hybrid combat, and anime-style art. Obviously, there are a great many big games coming out in October, but RPG lovers really have no other recourse: Eternal Sonata is the best choice, and well worth the price of admission. Just remember, it is geared towards the RPG buffs, so steer clear if you’re not amongst that crowd.

9/25/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (13 posts)

AceTatsujin
Thursday, September 25, 2008 @ 10:47:05 PM
Reply

Oh yea man! That's the first RPG to put some good timings on it. Then Valkryia Chronicles will be right after it!

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Advent Child
Friday, September 26, 2008 @ 3:04:37 AM
Reply

You know I am on the fence about this. I mean I have both a PS3 and Xbox 360, and the PS3 version will definitely be better. However, everyone can see how many games are coming out and everyone is strapped for cash. I am sure I can find this a lot cheaper on the Xbox now.

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DIsmael85
Friday, September 26, 2008 @ 11:20:51 AM

This may be so, but I will definitely not argue that the PS3 version will be well worth it, and damnit it's been a while, and Im happy there is finally a JRPG on my system.

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vampko
Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 11:26:53 PM

if you have a ps3, you will be cheating yourself if you don't get the PS3 version first. The 360 version may be a bit cheaper, but it will not be as good as the PS3 version. Take it from someone who lost out when FES was released. I still can't seem to bring myself to go through all that work again, when I already know the storyline. But, I really want to see the different costumes, and S-link endings. Just pay the extra cash, and have the complete experience.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, September 26, 2008 @ 3:05:54 PM
Reply

I'll be picking it up right away, cash permitting, so if I preorder LBP now then I can squirrel away some dough, pay some bills late, and grab this title. Even if its a port, its still the better of them, and First person shooters have me First person pissed. I want an enjoyable JRPG, plus its time to show the devs where ALL RPGs belong: at home with Sony. Who knows, if I take my time and screw around (with lots of LBP in between) I might not beat it before White Knight Chronicles is released in the US.

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Daedusian
Friday, September 26, 2008 @ 4:59:21 PM
Reply

Hahaha! We are just reviewing Frederic Chopin's work atm, in my college music course.

But anyways, back on topic. My friend got ES for his 360 and it looks pretty solid. I will be getting it eventually but not right away, I'd be broke if I did.

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clowangel
Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 1:46:39 PM
Reply

Finally an RPG...! ><; I'm an RPG gamer, and the lack of RPGs have been driving me crazy. I'm definitely looking forward to purchasing this game. ^^

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vampko
Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 8:28:26 PM
Reply

umm..how much have you played of this? You control every character. There is NO AI to speak of. Oh, and you split up quite a bit throughout the game. It actually probably best resembles a game from a long time ago that was quite amazing. Epheremal Fantasia. That would probably be the closest to the combat system. And, yes, it is quite awesome, and a worthy addition to any RPG collection. I sold my 360 one so i could make room for the PS3 version. I even held off on getting any farther once I got confirmation of the PS3 US release.

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GoldenShadow
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 1:13:53 PM

There is the A.I. that controls the enemies, and the NPCs

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cegmp
Monday, September 29, 2008 @ 1:21:59 AM
Reply

Great news for me, being an RPG buff. I was actually quite afraid that they wouldn't make an NA version. So this truly a great news. I'm planning of getting this above every other game this year. And, like vampo said, I remembered that you controlled every character.

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creepypete
Sunday, October 05, 2008 @ 12:44:56 PM
Reply

If "superior" means waiting a year and a half to play a game once it is available, I will pick the "inferior" version every time.
I sat through countless posts on how this game sucked from the fanboys when it was only available on the 360 as an exclusive, and now those same people think it's great?.. . please.

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GoldenShadow
Friday, October 24, 2008 @ 1:30:51 PM
Reply

I bought this game on wed. and i am currently about 15 hrs into it. I am surprised by the amazing depth and gameplay, as well as the character development. (spoilers)
I am currently in a mirror that took me to an alternate dimension, I understand that this is completely new to the game. Pretty awesome, I get to play with polka alone, and later crescendo and serenade join up with her in this mirror world called "lament"

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GoldenShadow
Friday, October 24, 2008 @ 1:30:52 PM
Reply

I bought this game on wed. and i am currently about 15 hrs into it. I am surprised by the amazing depth and gameplay, as well as the character development. (spoilers)
I am currently in a mirror that took me to an alternate dimension, I understand that this is completely new to the game. Pretty awesome, I get to play with polka alone, and later crescendo and serenade join up with her in this mirror world called "lament"

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

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