If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the Forum Rules. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
Welcome to RPGamer's new forums running under Vanilla Forums! If you're run into any odd or strange issues after our software migration please see this thread for details

Eternal Sonata PS3

Green NuGreen Nu MemberFull Members
edited December 2008 in Staff Review Blogs
11/15/2008
Hours Played: 1.75

First Impressions - A World Full of People With Giant Shoes


This will be the first game that I officially review. I had played the demo for this game and was pleasantly surprised. It seems like it was made specifically for me. A music-themed anime-style RPG based around Chopin, my favorite classical composer (from playing the piano since I was young).

I gave the manual a read, as I always have when I get a new game, and was surprised to find that it actually contained some information! This is horribly uncommon these days. It even explained game mechanics and character stats! Too bad the character stats are so simple and don't really need explanation, but still, this was a good sign that someone cares.

The opening cutscenes were a bit vague to me, and the scenes seemed to be perhaps a bit out of order. If I didn't already know the basic gist of the game's storyline, I probably wouldn't know exactly what the deal was with the world I was playing in. I'm going to go back and watch it again. Not a major issue, the opening was still enjoyable.

I like how there is a choice to play the game using Japanese audio and English subtitles, as I am somewhat of a purist when it comes to works originally created in another country. For the sake of this review, I'm playing the game in English. The English voices are working for me right now, though some of them do have a bit of a high pitch.

The music theme can be seen everywhere, from the score pieces you collect, to the music player available right in the menu, to the musical instrument shaped scenery. The music and sound effects themselves are great, and I can't wait to see/hear which of Chopin's pieces they included in the game.

The graphics are beautiful in 720p. Characters, enemies, and scenery all look great. The only graphical flaw, which is acceptable to me because I assume it is because of performance reasons, are the textures on plants and trees (they just doesn't fit with the rest of the gorgeous graphics).

Battles are fun, though they always are at the beginning of most RPGs. I spent some time grinding with the first character, since I needed to grind to get through the demo. The light/dark mechanic and placement of enemies gives each battle a different feel. The battle tutorials (of the two I viewed) were clear and quick, and told in the voices of the characters you play as, which I liked. I am wondering if targeting may become an issue in the future, since the manual states that you don't actually choose targets to cast healing spells/use items, you just go near and face them. Currently, I like the way that each battle action is regulated by one "time" gauge, rather than using traditional magic/skill points. I am also intrigued by how my "party level" will increase, leading to new abilities and changing how battles work.

For those curious, Eternal Sonata for the PS3 supposedly contains some new quests/an expanded storyline, new playable characters, new dungeons, new music, and a new costume system. I will let people know about these extra inclusions once I encounter them.

And that's my first first impression. More to come.

11/19/2008
Time Played 6.75 hours

"Huh, I'm supposed to fight this?"


I spent some time grinding and figuring out how much each attack cost my action gauge when I was party level one. This was silly, and I'm not sure why I did it, since I hit party level 2 soon after. Still, it helped me to realize that the more you attack in a combo, the less each successive attack costs.

I really love the battle system, and I have high hopes for it. A nice touch is how when you build up enough "Echoes" (kind of combo points), and unleash a special attack, you are treated to a special more-cinematic attack animation. I'm big on stuff like that. The timed defense "chance" button presses seem perfectly balanced. The light/dark mechanic is not just a gimmick, and I love how even characters/enemies/objects' shadows (or the light shining off their tails) are incorporated

Taking photos is cool, though it seems like it makes making money too easy. I am still figuring out how to take the best photos.

I like how leveling up really makes a difference almost with each level (at least at this point), and it's noticeable in battles with the current enemies you are fighting.

Exploring is done fairly well, though I don't like how you have to be facing certain points perfectly to be able to search. The graphics and scenery are very beautiful and inventively designed.

I have gone through the first two expositions on the history of Chopin, and am satisfied with the Chopin pieces used and with the quality of the history taught.

I haven't been bored with the cutscenes yet, and I feel the dialogue is well written (not spectacular, but not bad either).

I did encounter one my my pet peeves of video games...the unbeatable enemy. This is just not necessary in games anymore. Instead of putting me in a fight where I am wasting my items, just have the enemy strike me down in a cutscene. Annoying, but items are easy for me to come by, so not that bad.

11/22/08
Time Played: 14 hours

"I'm ready to go, all I have to do is let loose!"


Beat's beginning of battle quotes keep getting better (see title of this and the last update), and it doesn't hurt that they're said in that squeaky voice of his.

With each new game I start, as long as it's not a complete piece of junk, I will love it in the beginning and it can't do any wrong. That "honeymoon" phase for this game is now over, and it specifically ended in what could be considered the first dungeon of the game. Not that the dungeon was awful, but I did think it was a little too big, so combat became repetitive.

However, the combat system and the way it is handled I still like very much. The game allows you to skip enemies by running around them; with random battles this game would be very tedious. Each battle has a random-ish placement of enemies along with random-ish light and dark spots. You can reduce damage done to you by using properly timed button presses during the enemies' attack phases. Positioning is important as you can't reduce damage done from your back. Attacks and special attacks vary by character, and some can hit multiple enemies depending on the character's facing when used. Every character's attacks and special attacks work differently, and none are horribly weak (though some are stronger than others), so swapping new characters into your party regularly is actually viable. Some enemies morph when moving between light and dark areas. Enemies use varied attacks, and even once you think you've seen them all, an enemy may throw a new one at you. Battles require strategy to use the best abilities possible while maximizing the use of the Action Gauge. All these elements work together to stop battles from becoming unbearably tedious. It is battling itself that becomes repetitive, but that again is mitigated by being able to see enemies on the field and avoid them if possible.

I got game over for the first time against one of the bosses. He was pretty strong, and I was arrogant enough to save up my "echoes" (combo points which make special moves stronger) too much, and I didn't take the battle seriously enough. I actually like the fact that I died, because it means that the game will hopefully stay challenging throughout. Using timed button presses for defense was almost required against this boss.

Photos seem simpler than I thought they might be, but that's not bad. You basically just need to get the subject into the center, and have a proper amount of zoom (trying to get other subjects in the background too). Waiting for a "photographer to be in the store" when you sell them nets huge amounts of profit on your good photos.

The Score system, where the player finds scores to perform along with certain NPCs throughout the world, seems like it may be annoying without a guide. I wish it was implemented in a different way, maybe through a section of the menu, where you could unlock the NPCs' scores once you've met them, so you don't have to go back to find them once you get new scores. Not far enough into the system to see if this even matters yet.

AI is a little wonky, but not terrible. Sometimes enemies take odd paths to you (giant circles), or walk right up to you and don't attack. Only specific enemies have specific problems though. Some of the enemy models were reused awfully fast.

Still enjoying it.

11/29/08
Hours Played - 22


I made it through the first (to my knowledge) dungeon added for the PS3. In case people were wondering, it appears that the new characters are only playable in these new areas (though we'll see later). What basically happens, is that at a certain point, a new scene is thrown in and you travel off to a new dungeon. The dungeon was of fair quality, and it explored the past of the world somewhat, but it wasn't incredible. It had decent variation exploration-wise, and tt did contain another fairly challenging boss. Inside this dungeon, you find a new costume (the first that I found), which does nothing but change the look of one of your characters (no battle changing abilities).

Scores, once an appealing side-system to me, I now hate. All you do is collect them, and then find another person with one, and run through them from top to bottom to see if you have the right one. Sometimes one that sounds good ends up being completely wrong. This could have been handled better, but after each performance it takes you out of the score comparison screen, which makes it tedious and annoying to talk to the person again each time you want to try a score.

The photo system seems fairly pointless too. If you can take a few "A" rank photos and sell them when a "photographer is in the store," you get tons of money to the point where you don't even worry about it. Money is not that necessary either. The photo system needs to add more to the game (maybe it does later?).

The game is taking on a "Metal Gear Sonata" feel, with the cutscenes running way too long for me sometimes, and I actually yearn for just some simple text scenes which I could skip through quickly. One character's <span class="spoiler">death</span> scene runs on WAY too long. Chopin's history scenes are still interesting at least. I am hoping to finish the game within one more week.

12/6/08
Final Played Time - 38 hours


I finished the game, including the optional dungeon. Thanks to Clix for the heads up on that dungeon, because in my opinion the thing is impossible to find if you don't know about it. The new PS3 characters are not only available for one dungeon; they also become available towards the later part of the game for good. Unless more PS3 content is available in Encore playthroughs, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot. Going along with a guide for the Xbox 360 version of the game, there was only one extra dungeon and one extra boss fight. I only found one costume, and I explored fairly well, so these might be found in the Encore as well (the costume screen shows at least 3 more can be found or unlocked).

I enjoyed the game, but it became tedious. The battle system is progressive and fun, but not deep enough. I didn't care much for the characters, and the cutscenes mostly had too slow a pace. Cutscenes basically could be broken down to...

Boss - "I'm evil"
Character - "You're evil!"
Boss - "I'm, evil"
Character - "We don't like evil!"
Character - "My insecurities are a hindrance!"
Character - "I regret my past!"
Boss - "I'm evil"

This is not something that is compelling to watch when it draws on for 10-20 minutes. The best cutscene in the game is the ending (rightfully so), and was surprisingly touching. Review coming soon.



You must gather your party before venturing forth
«1

Comments

  • ClixClix Former Listmaster Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Yes, the opening is a bit odd, but it's all explained at the end, so have patience. The party level system is probably one of the best parts of the game. Battles become harder and fast, but the amount of abilities possible increase. This helps greatly, as the simplistic system would otherwise get very, very boring by the end of the game. It's amazing to get up to Party Level 6 and watch the maps exploded with endless firepower. laugh.gif
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Yes, the opening is a bit odd, but it's all explained at the end, so have patience. The party level system is probably one of the best parts of the game. Battles become harder and fast, but the amount of abilities possible increase. This helps greatly, as the simplistic system would otherwise get very, very boring by the end of the game. It's amazing to get up to Party Level 6 and watch the maps exploded with endless firepower. laugh.gif
    I'm looking forward to the variances each Party Level brings, I hit level 2 and it does change the strategy you must use. Blog update coming tonight or tomorrow.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • ClixClix Former Listmaster Full Members
    edited November 2008
    I think it's really Party Level 4 that really starts to shake things up. Also, just as a seriously early heads-up, you may need a guide just to locate the secret dungeon. You do NOT want to miss the secret dungeon, as that gets you Party Level 6 and oodles of other good stuff.
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    I think it's really Party Level 4 that really starts to shake things up. Also, just as a seriously early heads-up, you may need a guide just to locate the secret dungeon. You do NOT want to miss the secret dungeon, as that gets you Party Level 6 and oodles of other good stuff.
    Thanks for the heads-up. I never play games using guides, but if I don't locate it I will.

    For some reason I thought this game got bad reviews, but now that I went and looked at them and see that they're positive, I don't feel so odd for loving the game so far.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • ClixClix Former Listmaster Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Another heads up, there's a secret boss mid-game that's easy to miss because it's a slit path (I found out about it later). That's the only help I'm giving. Trust me... you should figure out where it is, as there's more or less only one split path in the whole game.
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Another heads up, there's a secret boss mid-game that's easy to miss because it's a slit path (I found out about it later). That's the only help I'm giving. Trust me... you should figure out where it is, as there's more or less only one split path in the whole game.
    *Updated*

    And thanks for the non-spoiler-ish hints. My gaming ego makes me think that I would find these things on my own, since I am the type of person who explores every nook and cranny, but that still is not always the case.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • ClixClix Former Listmaster Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Yeah, there are a couple annoying points of no-return. :/ I searched every nook and still missed it because I turn a wrong turn and couldn't take it back.
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Is it as buggy as the 360 version like most other Tri-Crescendo/Ace games?

    I couldn't even get past 4 hours because the game kept crashing in a certain boss fight, not taking into account that at that point the game also keeps crashing when I check the status screen.

    The fact that I live in the Philippines and that it's a Japanese system means I can't update the game, so now I'm gonna have to return it and trade for something else...

    Man and to think the game is awesome even for the few hours it would let me play...
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2008
    Is it as buggy as the 360 version like most other Tri-Crescendo/Ace games?

    I couldn't even get past 4 hours because the game kept crashing in a certain boss fight, not taking into account that at that point the game also keeps crashing when I check the status screen.

    The fact that I live in the Philippines and that it's a Japanese system means I can't update the game, so now I'm gonna have to return it and trade for something else...

    Man and to think the game is awesome even for the few hours it would let me play...
    I think it might be because you're playing it on a Japanese console. It never crashed once for me the two times I played it on the 360.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Might be. US units are hella expensive here. I just had the region locker removed so I can play US games. I only recently got a unit so I haven't played a lot on it.

    It's annoying, since I get to play Gear of War 2 and Vesperia with no issues, and Eternal Sonata easily trumps both in sheer artistry and imagination. This sucks to think Eternal Sonata was the first game I bought with this thing and the first game I popped into it.
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    The only "bug" I've encountered has been that some battles load abnormally slow, maybe 5-10 seconds extra. In the nearly 7 hours of play time, that was only 2 or 3 battles.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2008
    Quote: wrote:
    I spent some time grinding and figuring out how much each attack cost my action gauge when I was party level one. This was silly, and I'm not sure why I did it, since I hit party level 2 soon after. Still, it helped me to realize that the more you attack in a combo, the less each successive attack costs.

    You've got that wrong, actually. There is no action gauge, it's a time gauge. Every attack takes a certain amount of time, and every hit causes a tiny fraction of time to be added to the gauge.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • HeeHoHeeHo Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    This sucks to think Eternal Sonata was the first game I bought with this thing and the first game I popped into it.
    Don't worry, Meo. Aside from maybe the aesthetics, you're seriously not missing much. I had more fun with Enchanted Arms.
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Quote: wrote:
    I spent some time grinding and figuring out how much each attack cost my action gauge when I was party level one. This was silly, and I'm not sure why I did it, since I hit party level 2 soon after. Still, it helped me to realize that the more you attack in a combo, the less each successive attack costs.

    You've got that wrong, actually. There is no action gauge, it's a time gauge. Every attack takes a certain amount of time, and every hit causes a tiny fraction of time to be added to the gauge.
    It's officially called the Action Gauge though, not the Time Gauge, hence why I called it an Action Gauge.

    You are right that the way I worded what I said was not necessarily specifically correct, but technically the more hits there are in a combo the less the attacks will cost, whether that comes from the addition of time, or from the attack taking less out of the Action Gauge in addition to the addition of time. For example, with Polka, one attack costs 0.80, two cost 1.13, three cost 1.54. Since her combos work in sets of three, moving onto six attacks will cost you 2.67, nine cost 3.4. Time is added from each attack but using a longer combo technically makes each set of attacks cost less than attacking in separate combos. The average cost per attack goes down with each successive combo hit, it isn't just a regular cost and addition of time, otherwise wouldn't three cost 1.54, six cost 3.08, etc?

    So, what I was saying, is that the more successive attacks you perform, the less each attack will technically cost if they are averaged (up to around 9 attacks, I didn't bother to test further). The exact reason for this, I do not know yet.

    Edit: Figured it out. There's an extra set amount of time being added at the end of combos or something.



    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2008
    Sounds pretty cool thus far. I can't wait to see what more you have to say about the game.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • AurianAurian Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    I am playing the Xbox360 version now and have no problems with bugs of any sort. Not even slow loading times for the battles.

    As for the missable boss, were you referring to a certain someone in a firey cave? I actually went past that boss, because I took a different path in the dungeon.

    Its still one of the more visually gorgeous games I`ve played but at this point some things are starting to grate . I am finding the battles are getting a bit boring, and I am wondering if I need to keep all the party members levelled up or if they will split up again. I also find some of the speeches a bit much, who talks like this anyways?

    EDIT - WHY IS THE SPOILER BUTTON BROKEN?



  • JoaqenixJoaqenix Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    I had your experience with the game Aurian. Visually its gorgeous, the music is great etc. but if you don't just finish the game quickly (which isn't hard, I think it took me only 24 hours-ish) eventually I sorta snapped out of the "wow this game is beautiful" daze and got bored with it.

    The battle system is just really easy/repetitive when it comes down to it. I also think they should have axed at least two of the playable characters...and now the PS3 version has two MORE? Its gonna be so crowded. I love having lots of options for playable characters, but only if they're unique/the game is long enough to give them a lot of character development.

    Also, I don't think this is a spoiler, but was I the only one who thought it was annoying that all the "powerhouse" characters were in one group and all the "weaklings" in the other when they split up? That seemed like bad game design if you ask me.
  • ClixClix Former Listmaster Full Members
    edited November 2008
    As for the missable boss, were you referring to a certain someone in a firey cave? I actually went past that boss, because I took a different path in the dungeon.
    Same. That's why I've given a minute warning to our kind reviewer, as I am sure that battle would have been interesting.
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    *updated*
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • SiliconNooBSiliconNooB Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    I really did'nt like this game, as far as I can tell its only appeal is in its graphics.
    Lusipurr.com: One man's monument to himself!
    9 out of 10 Dentists recomend UNDERBOOB!
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    I really did'nt like this game, as far as I can tell its only appeal is in its graphics.
    I have to disagree. Though it is kind of RPG-lite as far as customization goes (at least up to the point I am at), it does have an appeal outside of graphics. The battle system is unique, and though battling itself can get tedious, battles themselves have enough variation so that they do not play out the same exact way every single time. The way the game eliminates magic points and uses an action meter to regulate all actions is nicely done too. The combo system and the way it strengthens attacks allows for player strategy. The light and dark system affects both special attacks and the forms of monsters (and weapon attack power in some cases). The Party Level system creates an atmosphere where battles themselves change at certain points in the game. The score system, while seeming somewhat shallow to me, is still a fun little thing. The entire storyline in general is very creative.

    And, the graphics are good. But I know we all have our own opinions.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    *updated*
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • ClixClix Former Listmaster Full Members
    edited November 2008
    The game is taking on a "Metal Gear Sonata" feel, with the cutscenes running way too long for me sometimes, and I actually yearn for just some simple text scenes which I could skip through quickly. One character's <span class="spoiler">death</span> scene runs on WAY too long.
    Yeah.... Considering that <span class="spoiler">she</span> was only around for a few hours and about 5 scenes, <span class="spoiler">her death</span> and all the flashbacks it contained were completely overdone...
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2008
    The game is taking on a "Metal Gear Sonata" feel, with the cutscenes running way too long for me sometimes, and I actually yearn for just some simple text scenes which I could skip through quickly. One character's <span class="spoiler">death</span> scene runs on WAY too long.
    Yeah.... Considering that <span class="spoiler">she</span> was only around for a few hours and about 5 scenes, <span class="spoiler">her death</span> and all the flashbacks it contained were completely overdone...
    Honestly, that scene was one of my favorites in the entire game. It was overly dramatic for a reason. Reminded me of a stage-play soliloquy.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    The game is taking on a "Metal Gear Sonata" feel, with the cutscenes running way too long for me sometimes, and I actually yearn for just some simple text scenes which I could skip through quickly. One character's <span class="spoiler">death</span> scene runs on WAY too long.
    Yeah.... Considering that <span class="spoiler">she</span> was only around for a few hours and about 5 scenes, <span class="spoiler">her death</span> and all the flashbacks it contained were completely overdone...
    Honestly, that scene was one of my favorites in the entire game. It was overly dramatic for a reason. Reminded me of a stage-play soliloquy.
    To each his own, but to me there was nothing special about it. It wasn't particularly original ... <span class="spoiler">girl spies on guy, ends up falling in love, and then regrets it. Plus, it was obvious to me that Claves was the spy and not Falsetto</span>. Also, it wasn't the drama of the scene which particularly bothered me, but the unnecessary length of it. I can see what you mean about it being like a soliloquy, I just wasn't into it.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • HeeHoHeeHo Member Full Members
    edited November 2008
    Honestly, that scene was one of my favorites in the entire game. It was overly dramatic for a reason. Reminded me of a stage-play soliloquy.
    Well part of the ridiculousness of the cutscene was that scenes in the flashback happened moments ago... Most players gut reactions were like "WTF, why is this happening again? Why is this so overblown already?".
  • JoaqenixJoaqenix Member Full Members
    edited December 2008
    Well and also, considering the character involved, I think most people's reaction was "who cares?" At least, I know mine was. The scene was way too over-drawn for something that happened in the middle of the game to someone no one really cared about.
  • AurianAurian Member Full Members
    edited December 2008
    Yeah, she wasn`t with the party long enough, so you don`t get the Aeris impact.

    Also, it was WAY too long, and I was like "just hurry up and die already, you silly twit, since you could have walked to a town and gotten a doctor by the time you are done blabbering on"



  • NergalNergal The Don Full Members
    edited December 2008
    Yeah, I wasn't a big fan of that scene either. It was probably one of the only things about Eternal Sonata that I didn't enjoy. It probably would've worked better, as Aurian said, if Claves had in fact been in the party a bit longer. Oh yeah, it should be called the "Nei Impact", not the "Aeris Impact". wink.gif thumbs-up.gif



  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited December 2008
    *final update*
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
Sign In or Register to comment.