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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: tri-Crescendo
Genre: RPG
Rated: T (Teen)
Players: 1-3
Release Date: September 17, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

While I am sure people can see the beauty of this game through the many screenshots and video clips released, the true delight of Eternal Sonata is the storyline. The game starts out with you finding out that Fredric Chopin, a famous pianist, is dying of tuberculosis. Yes, even a video game character can suffer from human diseases...LOL. While on his deathbed, he enters a fantastic other world that's on the edge of dictatorship. While there, he meets and befriends fiery Allegretto (magical Polka) and Beat (photographer).

Another unique twist to the story is that within this other world, terminally ill people have the ability to cast magical spells. Using this new found knowledge; Fredric, Allegretto and Beat set out on a mystical adventure to cure Polka, only to discover a worldwide conspiracy that reaches the heights of the heads of state.

Considering nothing in the world is perfect, Eternal Sonata suffers from its own share of issues. With this game, players may find a problem with the game's linear feel. Tri-Crescendo tried to make their JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) a favorite of gamers beyond just RPG nuts, but fell a bit short of their aspirations. Another issue plaguing this game is the frequent use of cutscenes and the overall pace of the game. Let’s get one thing clear, RPG's are meant to take some time to play and conquer, but with Eternal Sonata, the story takes too long picking, which can detour gamers from this masterpiece.

A positive to the overall feel of the game is the combat, which is a mixture of action and turn-base attacking. Unlike games like Wild Arms 5 and Tales of Symphonia, the player has the choice to engage enemies in battle or simply just avoid them all together. But for those itching for a fight, when they confront an enemy on the map, the screen flashes to a battle-field in which you control your characters via the actions (X, Y, B, A). This sequence of events would be a hybrid in the since that RPG elements are used, but the player go head-to-head with their enemy in a button-mashing fun fest, which gives off touches of the action genre.

The battles are also enhanced by the use of a light-and-dark system. When you fight a creature in the light, they are much weaker, thus making the battles short and sweet. Because of this system, tactics are required in order to sail through the engaging battles. There's also the offline co-operative gameplay, which can be used within your battle sequences. Since there are three characters within your party, a few of your buddies can pick up a controller for some tag-team action on the computer A.I., which is very refreshing to take part in after playing several hours of the game. The only downside to this co-op play is that once the battle is over, the other two players loose control of their characters until the next battle takes place.

Whether you own a HDTV or not, you will notice the shear beauty of Eternal Sonata from the minute you are place into its immersive worlds. Images could never do this game justice as its beauty is something to be witnessed, thus playing this game is a requirement. Though a linear feel and look to the game, the lands Fredric and his companions travel through are immersive and highly detailed. The character models are highly stylized, full of color, and bright, which is all thanks to the Xbox 360 unique graphical prowlness. The game hub is designed to minimize information on the screen, while maximizing the view of the battlefields and the enrich details of all the character/animal models.

A nice addition to the gameplay/audio aspects of this title is the fact that every few hours, the designers cut away from the game to a real-world history lesson about Chopin. During this cut-away, pertinent European locations are shown via photographs on the screen, while being subtitled with music history. Not many games utilize unique attention grabbers like this before (Bioshock and its quirky images shown during acquiring new tonics). This addition reconnects the events of the game to the real world events, which reaffirms that the main character is Fredric Chopin.

I have yet to play an RPG, let along a JRPG, that is worthy or a second or third play-through. Everyone has that one title that they can play several times once they complete the game, but with Eternal Sonata, there isn't much to look forward to once you beat the game. If you are one of those gamers that must find everything within the game, then by all means, continue your gaming.

Considering the Xbox 360 isn't known for its RPG titles, Eternal Sonata is a welcomed edition the console's immersive library, which is dominated by titles like Gears of War, Bioshock and even Halo 3. The basis for the game is a classic storyline, which isn't cliché, thus allowing the game to be separated from the pack of other RPG titles released. Next to the immersive storyline, the shear beauty of the landscapes, characters will keep your attentions. If you ever wanted a reason to own a high definition television, here is your opportunity. Just like Odin Sphere on the Playstation 2, this is a title that will blow you away from the moment you first load the game.


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