There are few games which embrace musical inspiration like Eternal Sonata does. A role playing game with a difference, the Bandai Namco title is about the fantastic dreams of Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin. A fictional world is created in his mind while lying on his deathbed, which is where you come in.
Music to your ears
As Chopin's last moments tick away, the alternative reality in his mind forms into various stories which you play through, introducing characters such as the magic wielding Polka, street urchins Beat and Allegretto, and Chopin's fictional dream persona.
With others joining the party as the tale progresses, you find yourself battling against various colourful creatures, leading to a confrontation with the maniacal Count Waltz, who is turning the populace of Forte into mindless drones of his will - although that isn’t the end of the story, which covers a range of subjects such as poverty, equality, death and escapism.
The visuals of both cutscenes and the main game are presented in a style similar to 3D animated films, bright with colour and detail, and voice acted to portray a movie experience that envelops you into the storyline, which flits from the fantasy of your multiple character adventure and Chopin's ailing health.
Rhythm and blues
While Chopin's plight keeps the tone of Eternal Sonata grounded and emotional, his playable dream also layers this with an affecting tale that brings everything together through a deep quest which mixes action elements with role playing gameplay. The result is a fast paced and involving game.
You are free to explore the luscious surroundings, chatting with others for story progression and clues, collecting items and partaking in little tasks aside from your main mission, such as taking photographs of your foes and selling them, or collecting Score Pieces, which are fragments of a musical score which lets you perform melodic Sessions with people you meet.
When you enter battle you are still free to move around the arena, however you have limited time to travel and perform your attacks, with each move reducing your allocated time before the next character's turn. Your tactics and timing are also important, as approaching a foe from behind gives you an advantage (and vice versa), while you're given a chance to defend and counter attack at the right opportunities - if your reflexes are well timed.
With up to three people in your party allowed to fight at one time, Eternal Sonata's battles are intense, action packed and fun, especially with the wide range of spectacular magic attacks complimenting the weapon based moves.
Variable factors also affect the characters and monsters, such as light and dark areas on the battlefield altering a creature's form, or a special skill being made available under those conditions. And should your friends want to do more than watch this beautiful title, there's the option for up to three players to take part in the combat sequences, making it even more tactical and engaging.
Given the ties to Chopin, Eternal Sonata naturally features a selection of the composer's compositions which mix with the sweeping and majestic score created for the game, suitably changing the mood to suit the on-screen drama.
Packing a host of PlayStation 3 exclusive content, including new music, dungeons and costumes, Eternal Sonata is an epic adventure that envelops you into a wondrous fantasy world. Not satisfied with providing attractive and engrossing gameplay, it also gives you a respectful and heart-warming journey into the fictional realm of one of the world's most respected composers. Play Eternal Sonata and enjoy the magic of its music.