Famous 19th-century pianist Frédéric Chopin, hit with tuberculosis and on his deathbed at the age of 39, is transported to a dream world in which the sick have healing powers and everyone and everything has to do with music. Eternal Sonata centers itself around a world where there is a strong conflict between Forte and Baroque, two major political organizations in Chopin’s dream world. But who is Chopin really? This is where Eternal Sonata comes in.
Forte is led by Count Waltz and his actions revolve around the political intrigue of Chopin’s dream world. Eternal Sonata has the cliche death scenes and what not. The major problem with Eternal Sonata starts from the get go. The characters are unbeleivable. Why are we supposed to feel any compassion for a character we just met? Or believe a story which does not have the most strong cases of political mischief? The drama unfolds from long monologues, but at least the music is nice.
The story would be great if Eternal Sonata’s world were believable. Unfortunately, it is very linear and borderlines on a bit annoying. The game world does not feature a map instead, you’re always moving forward to reach the next quest. You do not have any side quests or really any towns to explore as buildings are just where you buy weapons and items.
Eternal Sonata comes with great cel-shade visuals that contrast the dark and sometimes sadistic plot. Unfortunately, Eternal Sonata damages beauty, favoring a zoomed-out view that is completely stiff. The cutscenes are pretty bad, speaking of stiff things in Eternal Sonata. During cutscenes, characters stand like wax figures, which leaves us to wonder how Chopin managed to become a pianist with stiff wrists.
One thing we do not want to dive into is the battle system. It is turn based, it works great — but it is f$&@%*! old! Seriously guys, those times when this system was part of any great “classic” is over. Move on!
Worse off, the ending just is not enough of a payoff to justify the 25-30 hours spent getting to the end. Then there is the preachy dialogue. What sort of audience was tri-Crescendo aiming for? Kids who might still respond to Saturday morning cartoon morality? Let’s hope their publisher gives them more funding next time so they can do this game in its full vision.
One year later and Eternal Sonata is still a depressing story of a mediocre Chopin in his messed up dream world. The colorful settings and motif with Chopin’s dream world is timeless and the compositionsare eye catching, but the problems remain: there is very little substance or motivations for why characters do what they do at all for any reason.