Finished: Eternal Sonata

May 21st, 2008

Eternal Sonata is a weird one, in some ways a very typical JRPG, but with a wonderful score and brilliant art direction. The gameplay was solidly okay: the combat system was entertaining, the lack of random battles a definite plus, but the dungeons weren’t particularly inspired (although beautiful), and without maps a couple of them would have been exercises in tedium.

One aspect of the game that has received relatively little mention is the co-op mode, a feature I’d love to see become an RPG standard. While the primary player still dictates the flow of encounters, movement within the overworld, and equipment setup, there is an option to hand control of any of the three primary party members over to a second (or third) controller during combat. The additional player then controls every aspect of that character (including their part during Harmony Chains) whenever battle is entered. The system works well, and is a nice bonus for those of you that game with friends or a significant other beside you. Aside from Super Mario Galaxy, this is the first game I’ve seen with an asymmetrical co-op mode. It’s a welcome innovation, and I hope to see more.

Eternal Sonata also had what was probably the preachiest ending ever, taking both the story and player in unexpected directions. Still, solid nonetheless, and I do suggest staying through the credits for the kōan-filled short, The Shape of Life. Or just watch it on Youtube.

Final Grade: B

2 Responses to “Finished: Eternal Sonata”

  1. cyberscythe on May 22, 2008 9:24 am

    The sort of quasi-multiplayer RPG has been around since FF4, apparently; I remembered it being in FF9.


  2. Chris on May 22, 2008 10:11 am

    Thanks for the info, I didn’t know about FF9 having a battle co-op. I read an offhand post that the FF Anthology may have it as well, but haven’t seen anything else to suggest it (and I don’t own Anthology to test it).


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