I am loving it.
I would be lying if I said that my reasoning for picking up Eternal Sonata had nothing to do with the musical themed world that it presented. I didn’t care if the reviews for it were good or not. I didn’t care if the story itself actually turns out to be good or not. What drew me to it was that an entire world was built around music and musical terms. The nostalgia factor is what made me buy this game. Most of my childhood revolved around music. I started piano lessons when I was in Kindergarten and progressed to trumpet when I was a preteen. The only thing that rivals my love of gaming, and even reading, is music.
The characters all have music inspired names like Beat, Allegretto (a quick beat between moderato and allegro)—affectionately called Retto by the other characters—and Polka, and even the cities have names from various musical terms like Ritardando (“to slow down”). So, I’ve been having a bit of a music geek moment shouting out definitions to the musical terms that I’ve encountered so far, telling my kids what they mean. My son is actually showing interest in the music terms.
However, this game is really a gem in disguise. I’ve gone into it not knowing what to really expect. My mother-in-law played it and loved, but she’s been mum on what the story is about. (And yes, I’m a gamer who married into a family of gamers.) I’m only about an hour into the game at this point. Have fought my first big battle using the brothers, Retto and Beat, and the opening credits just rolled. There’s been some beautiful opening scenes that have showed a world that is vibrant and colorful, but touched with a bit of melancholy as the players learn a bit about Polka’s fate.
Retto has been the breakout character for me thus far. I love using the character because he suits my typical style of play. I like to take the alpha strike rather than being support. But I also like how the character’s personality (and this goes for all of them) is emerging early. Retto and Beat steal bread to feed children in the town of Ritardando. At this point in the game, you don’t know where their parents are—whether they’re orphans, abandoned, or runaways.
Beat is the typical whimsical little brother, but Retto, while compassionate, has a touch of cynicism in him despite his age (early teens). Polka is already proving to be gentle, if not a bit longsuffering, but there’s always one female character that fits this archetype in your classic fantasy-themed roleplaying game. I call it the Aeris Syndrome. I’m looking forward to seeing if a stronger, more abrasive female character is introduced as there typically is—which also has a syndrome that I call the Tifa Complex.
A teenage Federic Chopin is also a character in the game. He's new, so I haven't really gotten a chance to see what his deal is, but I'm starting to get an idea of how this is shaping up, even though the obvious is put out there (this world being a product of his doing), but there are still many questions. The story is already proving to be very entertaining, giving small snatches of this world without being overwhelming or too clichéd. I see many hours of game play in my future.